4. Georgia, linebackers: The good news? The Bulldogs should have one of the two best linebacking crews in the country (along with Penn State). The bad news: Most of them won't be in Athens after the '06 season. That list of soon-to-be-departing includes Tony Taylor, Jarvis Jackson and versatile Danny Verdun Wheeler. Also, highly touted strongside backer Brandon Miller will be a junior, and is talented enough to be lured out early. The Dawgs just inked four linebackers, including Hargrave star Darius Dewberry, but they probably need to make another big hit again.
Uh, did someone not stay awake for BadAnglePalooza2006 in the Sugar Bowl? Or possibly Kenny Irons' 179-yard pantsing of the Georgia linebackers in the Auburn game? Hell, even Florida ran on the Dawgs last year (153 yards and 4.1 yards per carry, despite nursing a lead the whole fourth quarter) and Urban Meyer loves his backs so much that he's threatened to cast them down with the Sodomites for being too obtuse. All that said, while the praise for the Dawgs' 'backers is misplaced, Feldman does make a good point that Georgia desperately needs replacements for 2007, since there are only two linebackers on the roster (other than incoming freshmen) after 2006 and one of them - Brandon Miller - is hopefully going to play Sonny to opposing running backs' Carlo all fall and put himself into position to go pro early. Even if he stays, Georgia needs more numbers at linebacker.
Interestingly, Feldman goes on to say the following about the Sugar Bowl:
Late last season, Pitt, South Florida and Georgia moved extra defenders up near the line to slow down Slaton and force White's passing arm. The pressure now goes on the WVU receivers -- most notably, junior wideout Darius Reynaud and senior Brandon Myles.
While doing my little spring football tour, I visited UGA D-coordinator Willie Martinez who said the biggest challenge with that Mountaineer offense is indeed the execution. They had players in position to deal with speedy White and Slaton, it's just the Mountaineers playmakers were too shifty and explosive for them. Guys just didn't get it done.
If that's true, then what does that say about Georgia's linebackers? Personally, I don't buy it because my recollection from the game is that Georgia left six in the box on most plays, not realizing that WVU kept three receivers on the field solely as decoys to create lanes for their runners. And if my view is true, then am I giving Georgia's linebackers a hard time? Were they victims of scheme issues in that game and in the Auburn game, where they seemingly weren't made aware that running backs don't have to run between the tackles by rule.
And one more beef: Feldman correctly points out that Michigan is desperate for a blue chip quarterback, but the prospects he mentions for the position are Mike Paulus (yes, the brother of spaztastic Duke guard Greg "Worse than Friedrich" Paulus) and Chris Forcier (because what makes more sense than bringing in two brothers to compete with one another for one position?) No mention of OMG, THE HOTTNESS!!! prospect Ryan Mallett, whom Lloyd and Loeffler are presumably going to get to Ann Arbor, even if they have to get him to help them load furniture into their windowless van.
Yeah, he is BelvedereBuckeye on the O-Zone, but he could be a persuasive recruiter for the Maize and Blue with the right incentives.
Incidentally, I'm not blogging about the Braves' pitching right now because I want this to be a site with material that you can print and read to the whole assembled brood at story time while having milk and cookies. I know I'm violating the first rule of blogging - KILL KILL KILL!!! - but I don't have anything nice to say and so I'm not going to say anything at all.