Apr 27, 2010

Georgia's QB Situation (including walk-ons) vs. Past Years Under Richt

The talk of the Bulldog Nation in the past 24 hours has revolved around the possibility of quarterback Logan Gray transferring. So if Gray did decide to transfer, how would Georgia's current QB group look? Everyone knows Aaron Murray is the current #1 on the depth chart, and most everyone knows about Lassiter High School recruit Hutson Mason who will be joining the Dawgs in Athens soon. But few know that there are also two walk-ons that will be joining the team this fall.

Redshirt Freshman Aaron Murray (4 star on Rivals and #3 QB)
Freshman Hutson Mason (3 star on Rivals)
Freshman Greg Bingham out of Columbus High School (2 stars on Rivals)
Freshman Parker Welch out of Wayne County High School (2 stars on Scout.com)

That leaves the 2010 class with four QBs, all "freshman" who have never taken a snap at the college level, and only two scholarship players. Things look a lot better if we can keep the more experienced Redshirt Junior Logan Gray on board.

Curious to see how thin (and young) this QB class is (or would be without Gray) compared to past years?

R.Sr. Joe Cox
R.So. Logan Gray
Fr. Aaron Murray
Fr. Zach Mettenberger
R.Jr. Jonathan Batson (walk-on)

Jr. Matthew Stafford
R.Jr. Joe Cox
R.Fr. Logan Gray
R.So. Jonathan deLaureal (walk-on)
R.So. Jonathan Batson (walk-on)

So. Matthew Stafford
R.So. Joe Cox
Fr. Logan Gray
R.Jr. Blake Barnes
R.Fr. Jonathan deLaureal (walk-on)

R.Sr. Joe Tereshinski III
R.So. Blake Barnes
R.Fr. Joe Cox
Fr. Matthew Stafford
Fr. Jonathan deLaureal (walk-on)

R.Sr. D.J. Shockley
R.Jr. Joe Tereshinski III
Fr. Joe Cox
R.Fr. Blake Barnes

R.Sr. David Greene
R.Jr. D.J. Shockley
R.So. Joe Tereshinski III
Fr. Blake Barnes

R.Jr. David Greene
R.So. D.J. Shockley
So. Rollins Luckey
R.Fr. Joe Tereshinski III

Sr. Cory Phillips
R.So. David Greene
Fr. D.J. Shockley
Fr. Joe Tereshinski III

IF Gray decided to transfer, Georgia would have by far the youngest QB group of the Mark Richt era, and the thinnest (with only four QBs, and only two scholarship players).

Apr 26, 2010

Conference Realignments: Do we really need this?

The hot topic so far this off-season is an apparently unavoidable conference realignment, in which monumental changes will be made to every single conference as teams will switch to other conferences, west coast teams to east coast conferences, dogs and cats living together, and all other sorts of craziness.

The most recent proposition for possible changes is from Ron Morris at GoGamecocks.com. He's having visions of a college football world in which Missouri goes to the Big Ten, Arkansas to the Big 12, South Carolina to the ACC, and then Miami and Florida State to the SEC. Somehow or another, he ends up with a new SEC East consisting of Florida, Georgia, Florida State, Miami, Kentucky and Tennessee. Oh boy. Also, Georgia Tech sneaks their way into the SEC West. Right...

My question is this: Why are we making things so complicated?

First of all, is a conference realignment really necessary? From my viewpoint, the only problem with the "Big Six" conferences right now is that three of those conferences are lacking championship games, thus giving them an unfair advantage to reach the national championship. An undefeated Pac-10, Big Ten or Big East team could go straight to the big game without playing the extra conference game that faces the SEC, ACC and Big 12. Fine. We need to fix that.

I'm perfectly fine with the SEC, ACC and Big 12 as they are. If anything, the only real problem is the ACC's divisional titles of "Coastal" and "Atlantic," which really makes no sense. It might be nice for them to shake things up with a "North" and "South" type of division.

But that's debatable.

As for the real problem conferences, though...

Big Ten: Has 11 teams. Needs one more for a 12-team divisional structure with a conference championship. Notre Dame is the obvious choice here, if some deal could be made. If not, there are plenty of other non-Big-Six conference teams that could be taken. The MAC would be a good conference to raid for teams. Central Michigan or Ohio are good choices, for geographical and logistical reasons.

Pac-10: There are 10 teams (obviously), so if necessary, they could find a way to make two five-team divisions and hold a conference championship game. If not, they only need to add two teams to look similar to the rest. An often mentioned solution is to take BYU and Utah from the MWC. But the WAC is also a possibility. Boise State, Nevada or Fresno State are all good choices to fill that hole.

Big East: Here's the biggest problem, since the Big East only had eight teams. But there are plenty of Conference USA or Sun Belt teams that could move up. East Carolina, Troy, Middle Tennessee and UCF come to mind.

Of course there are plenty of negotiations that have to be made to make any of this work, but I think it makes a lot more sense to take teams from non-Big-Six conferences than to swap around teams that already have a good fit.

Apr 18, 2010

Mettenberger Dismissed: Was this already coming?

I'm sure everyone will know about this before they come upon this meager blog post.

This gets me thinking, though.


Is it possible that this was already a possibility last week, maybe even before G-Day, and could have been a factor in the decision to play Mettenberger with only the Black Team and to get no snaps with the first team offense? Maybe the unreleased incident that led to this was already known?

It's extremely unlikely, and I doubt Coach Richt would hold something like that off until later, but there was something fishy about G-Day and the QB rotation. I hate to stir the pot on a situation that's still completely unknown, but I can't help but wonder.

UPDATE (5:57 p.m.): The AJC is reporting that Georgia Associate Athletics Director Claude Felton stated that "there was not a new incident involving Zach."

UPDATE (8:20 p.m.): I've thought about this a little more, and I'm starting to believe my own theory. Mettenberger's play with only the Black Team at G-Day was shrugged off as "part of the plan," but think about it this way:
Logan Gray played with the Red Team (first team offense) for the entire first half.
Aaron Murray played with the Red Team for the entire second half.
Zach Mettenberger played with only the Black team, on and off throughout the game.

Doesn't that seem maybe how you might divide the snaps in a spring game if you had two QBs competing, and a third on the outside who isn't really in the race?

I'm not saying he was going to be dismissed from the team before G-Day. I just think it seems like the coaches might have known something was up before, which would also explain Coach Richt's constant use of the term "minimum one game suspension" for Mettenberger's punishment. And since we now know that there was no new incident other than the one that brought his suspension, it's very possible that they've been struggling to determine what to do with the situation.

If you're facepalming right now in extreme depression over the news, here's some perspective. Remember, before G-Day, everyone was certain Murray would be the starter. One spring game later, and everyone decided that things were different. Let's hope that most people who assumed from the spring game were wrong.

Apr 12, 2010

One More Quick Look at the QBs

Here are the QB stats, based on which team they played on at G-Day:


Logan Gray
On Red team:
6 series
7/13 for 102 yards, 1 TD

On Black team:
2 series
3/4 for 30 yards

Aaron Murray
On Red Team:
3 series
8/19 for 96 yards, 1 INT

On Black Team:
2 series
2/3 for 0 net yards

Zach Mettenberger
On Red Team:
0 series

On Black Team:
5 series
6/10 for 150 yards, 2 TD


Most everyone has noticed by now that Mettenberger didn't play a single snap with the Red team (first team offense, against the first team defense).

My first thought is, why didn't Mett get any time with the Red? Although you can take a lot from watching them play with anyone, we never got to see Mettenberger play against the #1 defense, nor did we see much of Murray against the #2 defense. Murray only attempted 3 passes while on the Black team, and only saw 2 short drives.

Also, notice that the #2 offense (Black team) generally seemed to have more success than the Red's, maybe because of going against the #2 defense. Ealey on the Red team had seven carries for only 22 yards, while Thomas and Jackson on the Black team had a combined 84 yards.

This sort of makes you wonder why the coaches did this with the QBs, and if Mettenberger has been mostly with the #2 offense (against the #2 defense) through all of the scrimmages, not just G-Day. Is that a sign that he hasn't been performing as well, and they're rewarding Gray and Murray by letting them play more with the 1's? Or it just happened that way and they didn't even notice? (doubtful)

In other words, there's a lot going on behind the scenes that we might not know about.

I'm wondering if a lot of fans are going to be surprised when the coaches release the temporary depth chart later this week or next.

(Other note: Watching the TV recording of the game, I noticed that Murray's receivers dropped at least four passes that hit their hands (2 of which looked like possible touchdown passes on his last drive). From what I saw, Gray and Mettenberger each had one legitimate drop from their receivers.

Those who were so disappointed in Murray's performance might feel a little better if he ended up 12/19 for about 130 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT for the Red Team. That's about where his stats would have been if everything had gone better for him.

Apr 11, 2010

Black Team Wins: End of World? (And other G-Day Musings)

First of all, I mentioned earlier this week a trend in the past five G-Days where, generally, the more points scored, the better the season later that year. Actually, the trend best correlated with the number of points scored by the Red (or winning) team, but in general, high-scoring games led to better years.

2009: 13 points (16 total), 8-5 record
2006: 14 points (24 total), 9-4 record
2008: 17 points (20 total), 10-3 record
2005: 21 points (33 total), 10-3 record (winning SEC)
2007: 34 points (55 total), 11-2 record.

So with a Black team win yesterday, 17-7, if we count the winning team points, that would make this year a possible 10-3 record season (or similar to 2008, success wise). If we count total points scored (24), we'd end up more like the 2006 season with a 9-4 record (and a never ending quarterback carousel throughout the first half of the year).

As I mentioned before, however, in that past five year span (and as long as I can remember), the Red team has won the game. I knew coming into Saturday that the QBs would be swapping back and forth on each team, so I figured this could be a problem for the usual Red win. And it was. So now I'm not really sure how to apply this game to the mysterious trend. Maybe it doesn't apply at all. Or maybe the Black team winning the game will lead to serious, unforseen consequences... creating some type of bizarro Bulldog season. Maybe it's like crossing the streams in Ghostbusters, an act that could potentially bring an end to the world as we know it.


Other G-Day Musings:

-I've seen a few people on the messageboards declaring this G-Day "boring." I only have one question to ask in reply to this. Were you at G-Day last year?

-Although the defense was barely showing anything in the scrimmage, I feel like they were getting at the QBs more than usual at G-Day games. There were seven sacks in the game, and many other times the quarterbacks were running for their lives to avoid the dreaded two-hand touch of doom.

-Speaking of sacks, how many times did a defensive rusher push the QB and let off, assuming they got a sack, only to see no call from the refs? Yeah, there probably could have been at least ten total sacks if called. Maybe more.

-On the QBs: Now this makes things interesting, doesn't it? For months, the general consensus has been "Murray is the clear-cut favorite, he'll definitely be our starter," and after one spring game (unsurprisingly) that banter has changed to "Murray sucks, Mettenberger is the best."

Mettenberger definitely looked very good, and Gray did a good job too with his time, especially in the first half.

My first thought was that this was essentially the 15th practice of the spring. There were 14 other chances for the QBs to show what they've got, and honestly, no one has any idea of the whole picture of how they've performed so far (except for the coaches).

We can look at their total scrimmage stats (although these are also highly unofficial), and I was going to do that, but the Master, David Hale, is too quick for me. It looks like Mettenberger did the best in all three scrimmages. But that still doesn't account for every practice, or what exactly the coaches saw from each player.

Also, after watching the game again later on TV, Murray didn't look nearly as bad as people are saying. His largest transgression was the pick he threw right at Marcus Dowtin, and after watching that again, I'm not sure if he was trying to throw the ball away to an (assumed) empty spot on the field, or if it was possible that after switching from the white to red-jerseyed team he thought Dowtin was a receiver. The commentators seemed to thing he was trying to dump it to the fullback, who was clearly tied up about 4 yards to the left with a defender. Either way, it was a bad pick and likely brought a collective sigh out of the crowd.

His other error was overthrowing about three deep passes, which, honestly, happens sometimes. How many times does Stafford continue today to overthrow those? At least it's better to overthrow than underthrow on the deep routes.

Other than that, Murray looked pretty good to me. Most of his passes were on target, and he was the victim of a few drops that other QBs didn't see as much. Even on the last drive of the game, he threw a nice one to Orson Charles at the end zone who couldn't haul it down. It was thrown a bit too high, but it was catchable, and if caught would have been an amazing pass and catch for a great finale to the G-Day game (and think about it: if Murray had ended the game with a touchdown drive all the way down the field, do you think people would be thinking Mettenberger is the clear winner?).

The biggest reason why people are down on Murray is because he didn't deliver where the fans care most: deep passes and touchdowns. Other than those glamorous moments, most fans don't pay much attention to form, movement, decision-making and release on those shorter-yard gains.

Basically, there are plenty of other things from this spring that only the coaches know about, which will help them to make their decision on the temporary depth chart to be released soon. But as Coach Richt reiterated many times in yesterday's press conference, we have the whole summer, and plenty of fall practices and scrimmages, before the first game. The QB battle is no where near complete.

It should also be noted that he says the starting QB in game one (not Mettenberger), will have a huge advantage to be the starter in game two. In other words, if whoever (Gray or Murray) starts in game one does a really good job, they'll likely get to start the next game, and keep going as long as they can continue to prove that they're the right guy.

Still, I can't help but wonder if we're going to see two or all three quarterbacks significantly this fall, at least through the first few games (similar to 2006). Hopefully if we do, it won't be a 2006-esque season.

Apr 7, 2010

Another Reason Why a High-Scoring G-Day Would Be Just Fine

The 2009 G-Day snoozefest which was won by the Red team 13-3 may have seemed like a defensive triumph. The 2009 Georgia defense went on to finish 7th in the SEC (while the offense finished 8th).

On the other hand, after a high-scoring defense-lacking 2007 G-Day game won by the red 34-21, the 2007 Georgia defense finished 3rd in the SEC (while the offense finished 6th).

So a high scoring G-Day game doesn't really give any indication at all of how the defense will fare during the season. I'm still hoping for a lot of points (partly due to this).

Apr 6, 2010

Ghosts of G-Days Past: An Eerie Trend that may Predict 2010

I return to this ghost town of a blog to bring you this breaking news update: G-Day may give us extraordinary insight into the 2010 Georgia football season. That's right, this Saturday's spring scrimmage could hold all of the answers to how many games Georgia will win, how many they'll lose and how much turf Ben Jones will victoriously eat throughout the season.

Everyone knows that you can't take much away from scrimmages, where your team plays... your team. But what if you could? What if there is some... disturbing trend?

Let's take a quick look back at the last five G-Day games and see what they may teach us.

2005: D.J. Shockley proved himself as Georgia's starting QB by throwing three touchdown passes, and the Dawgs' offense actually ran the wishbone formation four times. The Red Team (first team offense) went on to beat the White Team by a score of 21-12.

2006: Georgia's defense shined (and/or the offense struggled) leading to a mostly yawn-inducing 14-10 Red win over the Black team (yes, the name changed from White to Black). The quarterbacks did not impress. Other than a 64-yard bomb on play-action from Matthew Stafford, the numbers were very, very bad. Stafford went 5 of 12 for 102 yards, the more-experienced Joe Tereshinski III went 2 of 7 for 45 yards and 2 interceptions, and Joe Cox threw 12 of 21 for 162.... but with 4 interceptions. What a way to go into summer.... (during which Tereshinski was nervously proclaimed starter).

2007: Then fireworks happened at the 2007 G-Day where the Red won over the Black 34-21. This time the offense did the impressing as Stafford went 6 of 12 for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns (zero interceptions), the receivers had almost 400 yards combined, and a young Knowshon Moreno ran for 68 yards on 11 carries. This game, while fun, caused some worry about the Georgia first-team defense which gave up 20 points in the first half.

2008: The offense was a little less exciting, but still did well, leading the Red to a 17-3 victory over the Black team. Stafford was 6 of 10 for 78 yards and 1 TD, and Michael Moore caught two touchdown passes. The rushing numbers were light, but Caleb King led with 6 carries for 31 yards.

2009: Perhaps the most boring G-Day in recent history (are we now cursed every time ESPN comes into town?). Neither team scored a touchdown until the final seconds when Carlton Thomas dashed into the end zone to help the Red win 13-3. Cox was 9 of 16 for 105 yards but no touchdowns. It was a calm and quiet day in Sanford Stadium. But at least the weather was nice.

So what exactly can we take from these five G-Day experiences? Let's put them all together.

2005: Red wins 21-12 and the offense does great. Georgia goes on to a 10-3 season, winning the SEC Championship.
2006: Red wins 14-10 in an offensive struggle. Georgia goes 9-4.
2007: Red wins 34-21 as the offense ignites. Georgia goes 11-2, wins Sugar Bowl.
2008: Red wins 17-3 and the offense does well, but not great. Georgia goes 10-3, but still disappointing.
2009: Red wins 13-3 and the offense does very little. Georgia goes 8-5.

Notice a trend here?

It appears that in the past five years, the better Georgia's offense does, the better the team does in the fall. In fact, it's startlingly accurate. Looking at the total points the Red team scores, you'll see the season records perfectly correlate with the Red's offensive scoring.

2009: 13 points (16 total), 8-5 record
2006: 14 points (24 total), 9-4 record
2008: 17 points (20 total), 10-3 record
2005: 21 points (33 total), 10-3 record (winning SEC)
2007: 34 points (55 total), 11-2 record.

It doesn't quite work out with the total points by both teams, but almost. The Red points definitely match up.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that stats like these may mean absolutely nothing. Usually, I feel like you can throw the history stats out the window, as each year is completely different. But I looked back at the past few G-Days hoping I could find some correlation, but not really expecting it, and here's what I found. Everyone knows you can't take much from scrimmages, but... maybe you can take something.

Most are probably hoping to see some great displays of the 3-4 defense on Saturday, while also hoping to see a quarterback separate himself from the pack. Judging by this strange trend, however, you might just hope to see an offensively exciting game with a lot of touchdowns and points scored. The 2007 defense which looked shaky in the G-Day game went on to be a great strength later in the season (remember what they did to Hawaii?).

Finally, it should be noted that things may be different with the offenses this year. The three QBs are all in the middle of the competition and may play on the Red and Black teams during the game. But the total points also correlated pretty well with the season records, so it wouldn't be bad to root for both teams to score a lot.

So I wouldn't be too worried if the offense tears it up through the air... in fact, I'll probably be pretty happy, not only because it would be a more exciting game for the fans, but because it could mean good things for the Dawgs in 2010.