Thursday, April 06, 2006

Feldman's Nuggets

As I've mentioned before, Bruce Feldman's blog is one of the few MSM outlets that provides useful information on a regular basis (and he's a buff Member of the Tribe, to boot, or so Orson says), but he's on a patch of thin ice in his latest entry($). Quoth the Feldman on big recruiting needs for major programs:

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.


peacedog said...

Again, I've heard off the record that:

1. The LBs and/or Safeties did no small amount of "misadjusting" to the offensive sets once in the formation, presnap. I'd like to heap all of the blame on both groups, actually. Which is physically impossible.

2. Somecommtentary that our being out of position notwithstanding, we had a number of guys get into position to make a play only to make it "wrong". Soem other GA blogger (who may be along soon) noted that on one play, I believe it was Taylor moved to one side to make a tackle and took on a blocker with his outside shoulder - which is the opposite of what you're supposed to do in that situation (according to that person; or maybe he took the guy on with his inside, I forget)).

I've seen similar commentary about other plays.

I'm hoping, at least in part, that some of hwat we've heard from the coaches is just coachspeak since. Given that Richt is a master of it, I expect that most of the staff just follows suit.

Another interesting note: eslewhere I read that plenty of people wanted to visit the Mountaineers to learn how to succeed against a defense like Georgia's. Well. . .it seems to me a gameplan for WVU's offense already existed. Looking at the Sugar Bowl is probably not productive in that respect, and so unless a spread offense is playing us in the near future those visiting coaches may not learn as much as they'd hoped.

Sadly, there is one spread offense playing us in the future. Topic for another time.

Michael said...

In retrospect, the Sugar Bowl meltdown was a convergence of three factors:

1. Georgia having a huge letdown after playing their best game of the year against LSU and then lining up against an unheralded bowl opponent. Playing Ohio State or Notre Dame would have grabbed their attention.

2. Willie Martinez not understanding the right way to defend a run-based spread offense.

3. Georgia's linebackers misaligning on certain plays and then not positioning themselves properly after the snap.

peacedog said...

#1 doesn't get enough discussion - or it hasn't in the previous months. I agree that someone like OSU would've been preferable.

Also, I think our egos swelled a little bit, sort of exacerbating the effect.

#2 - oh the agony.

#3 - would that I could watch a tivo replay.

But, no matter the alignment issues, the coaches wouldn't talk about it much. I can just hope we learn from it.

Reel Fanatic said...

Interesting stuff ... anyone else in the audience for Matthew Stafford's 64-yard touchdown - in the air - to Mikey Henderson yesterday ... the future is now