Hi, I'm Lane and I like warm hugs!
Agreed JP; Caleb's final statement is indicative of the mistake many fans make: "Richt just isn’t the man to take us all the way, if we couldn’t win a title with Aaron Murray, Matthew Stafford, David Greene, Knowshon Moreno, AJ Green, or Gurley, I fear that we may not ever win a title." These are all individuals, but championships happen when the right combination of individuals play as a team (and catch a few breaks too!). Even the 1980 NC didn't just happen because of Hershel (though it wouldn't have happened without him either); it happened because they played as a team and had a heck of a last minute win in Jacksonville. Look at any of the national champions over the last decade. They are teams, not one or two individuals and everyone else. As far as recruiting goes, the bigger factor is the type of mindset these top recruits bring to campus. It's the difference between a Gurley and a Alvin Kamara. Both talented, but one committed to something beyond himself. Obviously, it helps nabbing top talent, but until they've proven they're not prima donnas, stars mean nothing. I think Richt can (and will) win it all in Athens. He had the right teams to do it in 2001 and 2007; but it takes all the cards falling in the right place (like not having more than one undefeated team nationally as in 2001) as well as taking care of business (like not dropping stupid games to SC of TN in 2007). Everyone is discounting the Dawgs this year, even to win the East. Fine by me. Richt-coached teams typically perform better when they're discounted in the national lime-light.
I disagree about our secondary play not being improved since the Clemson game. Watching them play against Clemson, they looked lost and undisciplined. Yesterday, they looked like they were coached to play soft coverage on two great receivers in order to avoid giving up the big play. Granted, it meant that Mett and his boys were able to eat up 7 - 12 yards a pop at times, but they never gave up a huge play in the passing game. They stayed disciplined, albeit cautious. Of course, it didn't help our young secondary that Mett was getting a ton of time to throw the ball. I see improvement there and hope it continues. The big news from the game is what JP reference below -- we held their ground game to only 77-yards for the day. That was huge and will be huge when we play Florida in Nov. and, if we make it to Atlanta, play Alabama or LSU again.
Totally agree that our defense played better top to bottom this week than the last two... But is that because of the level of competition we played against or because they're finally coming together? Jury is still out, though I'm optimistic. I do hope that we're able to pressure Mett like we pressured UNT's QB... But that LSU offensive line is going to be a lot bigger and meaner than the Mean Green's. If Grantham is willing to roll the dice early and rattle Mett, I think that's our best bet of having him make turnovers down the stretch. Time will tell. I don't want to talk about special teams -- if they don't shape up, next week will be a disaster.
Comment on SEC’s 14 burning questions for week four
Wolfman, I really appreciate your SEC-caliber fan-hood. A tip of my hat to you for so adamantly supporting your Tigers. But here's the thing about being in the SEC... When you play a team like Toledo or Indiana, it is expected that you beat them. End of story. They aren't watermark teams, they aren't bragging rights teams. The Toledo's and Indiana's are supposed to be wins for an SEC team; no matter how much the national media talks about them "fielding their best team in years" or being a "strong contender to upset any SEC team," it is expected that SEC teams win those games. The only news-worthy thing that comes of those games is if the non-SEC team pulls an upset. So no one really cares that Mizzou should start 4-0 or that James Franklin is on a 6,000-yard pace for the season if they played Murray State, Toledo, Indiana, and Arkansas State. Nothing to see here, move along. Another thing that's important to remember is that last season no longer matters -- it's over. This is not a rest on your laurels conference or one where any statement beginning with "if only..." means anything. No one cares how close Mizzou came to beating Florida or Vanderbilt or Georgia or whoever last season. Mizzou didn't beat them last year; and until Mizzou beats someone of consequence this year, it does not matter who else they beat. Mizzou will have go to Nashville or Athens or Oxford and win or beat USC or Florida or A&M at home to gain respect. Now, I believe you can beat Florida at home -- their offense is totally inept. But don't think for a second that the trip to Vandy will be easy or that you'll waltz over Ole Miss. You can probably guess my opinions about Mizzous venture between the hedges. I guess my point is this -- don't punch your ticket to Atlanta or New York or Pasadena before you've played a couple in-conference games. A lot of Georgia fans think that beating USC means we're headed to the SECCG; wrong-thinking. Until you've played a few teams that test your team's mettle, it's better to hold back on passing/rushing records, game outcomes, and the bequeathing of awards.
Comment on SEC’s 14 burning questions for week four
1. Blocking downfield, to help the run-games 2. Yes 3. No -- wait until after they've played LSU. 4. No. They're good, but not great. 5. Gurley 6. How many total snaps were there? 7. Probably 8. Doubtful. 9. So... they'll end the season 5 and 7, maybe? 10. Maybe. 11. No. 12. Pick-6 Jeff Driskell. 13. No. 14. At this point, that's doubtful... But possible. I say they beat Florida.
Comment on Sumlin not a fan of Johnny Cam
There are coaches who have left the SEC for other big name programs with less over all competition to make it to the top. Why wouldn't one leave for another storied program if he felt like his concerns, goals, and emphasis for the program were ignored? I don't think you quite hear what Sumlin is saying. How often do you hear a head coach call out his university for doing something that he thinks damages the team? He basically put himself at direct odds with the decision-makers above him. Doesn't sound like he cares a bit for A&M's handling of Manziel and if he thinks it's that subversive to him coaching, why not leave? Not saying he will, but I'm sure the though has crossed his mind.
Comment on SEC Heisman Watch: Week 2
I'd have have Gurley ahead of Manziel at this point, only by virtue of the level of competition they've both played against. Now, if Manziel comes out this weekend and makes Alabama's defense look silly again, he should be the front-runner. But putting up those type of numbers against two nobodies should be a given for the reigning Heisman winner.
Comment on Sumlin not a fan of Johnny Cam
What a crock! A&M has lost touch with reality -- clearly, this is a ploy that the university approved. Shame on CBS for thinking it up and shame on the university for approving it without even consulting their HC. Sumlin is 100% right: football is about the team and not any one individual. What a morale killer for the rest of the team. If I were Sumlin, I'd be looking real close at the USC or Texas jobs coming open soon... What?!
Comment on Six biggest takeaways from the SEC’s week 2
This is a pretty big hit, to be honest. Not so much because he's the most productive receiver, necessarily, but he's the speediest and can stretch opposing defenses. We're loaded at wide receiver, but I'm not sure Conley or Wooten can really replace Mitchell in the long game. Maybe Justin Scott-Wesley, but he'll have to grow-up quick with reading DB's and timing routes with Murray's progressions. Hate it for Mitchell and for the team.
Ohio State has the best chance of running the table and getting an automatic bid into the championship game, so I'm taking them to match-up against the SEC Champion in Pasadena in January. After that, I think the dark horse is the next surest bet. Stanford is the best built to challenge the SEC in a game, but I don't think they'll come through the season unscathed. I think we'll see issues with Oregon (HC is a lot different than OC) and I'm not buying any Longhorns stock. Look for Ohio State-Alabama, Ohio State-Georgia, or Ohio State-A&M for the title game, with the possibility of Oklahoma State sneaking past Ohio State.... Oh, and eight straight!
Ohio State has the best chance of running the table and getting an automatic bid into the championship game, so I'm taking them to match-up against the SEC Champion in Pasadena in January. After that, I think the dark horse is the next surest bet. Stanford is the best built to challenge the SEC in a game, but I don't think they'll come through the season unscathed. I think we'll see issues with Oregon (HC is a lot different than OC) and I'm not buying any Longhorns stock. Look for Ohio State-Alabama, Ohio State-Georgia, or Ohio State-A&M for the title game, with the possibility of Oklahoma State sneaking past Ohio State.
I'm really hoping Richt and Bobo are planning around time of possession and not speed of scoring for this one. The best defensive tactic we have going for us, at this point, is our running game and the ability to control the clock. Keep Clemson's offense off the field and our fledgling defense fresh, Georgia has a chance to be the only one burning barns. Granted, our run-game has a tendency to be just as explosive as our passing-game. I would rather see a time-of-possession, clock-control approach in this game -- not an early-and-often offensive plan. I don't see MSU beating Oklahoma State. Crazy things happen, but I foresee OSU running-up the score early and MSU unable to recover. I expect Mett to have an coming-out party against TCU -- lots of smirking from Les Miles during the half-time interview!
Fair enough about 2009. Not sure I'd be as concerned about Auburn's defense; Ellis Johnson knows how to coach up a defense for SEC-caliber play. If the personnel/talent is there, they'll be good under Johnson.
I think an equally fair questions would be: what is Missouri bringing that we know based on the same history will be above or even with Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, and Auburn? Their one season of SEC-play in the books is mediocre at best. Mississippi State and Auburn can boast similar talent pools as Missouri and, like it or not, Vanderbilt has a boat-load of angst and swagger under Coach James Franklin that will make them competitive with every team they play. Based solely on past performance, ranking those three above Mizzou is fair. But, hey, I'm sure that Jon would welcome being proved wrong (as would I). I also disagree about Mizzou having the best wide receiver corps in the nation -- Georgia is loaded, experienced, and battle-tested at the position, top to bottom.
I get that Scott Loeffler's offense was horrendous compared to... Well, every offense in the country last year. I'm sure that Auburn will be better offensively than 2012, but I'm not buying the return of Malzahn as some sort of offensive revolution. He was 8-5 in both 2009 and 2011. Better than 3-9, yes, but Auburn hasn't lacked talent in quite some time; like Chizik, Malzahn has yet to prove he can amass a stellar winning record in the SEC without Cam Newton. Not saying he can't, but 8-5 won't keep a job on the Plains.
Comment on SEC 2013 preseason bowl projections
Just let it ride, JP, let it ride. We'll all know soon enough.
Here's the thing about Spurrier, Wolfman: he simply can't keep quiet. Ever. About anything. Ever.
Spot on Bobnjul... Y'all don't have to make it 4 in a row for this rivalry to be real. It's real today.