Archive for June, 2016

Defense Is Key to UGA Success in 2016

When James Carville was running Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, there was a famous mantra, “The economy, stupid.”

There were actually three messages that Carville had to keep the campaign on message, but talking about the economy was his most famous:

  1. Change vs more of the same
  2. The economy, stupid
  3. Don’t forget health care

Regardless of your political leanings, you have to admit James Carville is a great strategist.  I don’t agree with him, but I love to hear him.

I bought the Phil Steele last week.  I haven’t gotten deep into it yet, but I started it same way I always do:  I looked over the Georgia page.

I wanted to guard my optimism this season because of the uncertain health status of Nick Chubb, questions at quarterback, and the new coaching regime.  But after reading over some of the numbers in Phil Steele, my hesitation quickly turned to optimism.


The defense, stupid.

Nick Chubb will certainly play a factor into the success of the season.  But I still think that Georgia will be a viable player in the SEC East race and win 10 games this season because of the defense.

Georgia has, according to Steele, 6 returning starters on defense.  I don’t agree with that because he doesn’t count Davin Bellamy or Lorenzo Carter.  While they may not have technically been “starters” last season, they each saw significant playing time.  I think it’s fair to call them “starters” in the sense of it’s nothing new.  So really, I think you can more accurately say UGA has 8 returning starters on defense.

Last season, Georgia had 6 returning starters on defense, and in turn yielded the lowest defensive points allowed per game since 2006.  How good was Jeremy Pruitt?  From 2013 to 2014, defensive ppg went from 29.0 to 20.7, and last year fell again to 16.9.

Now, I don’t think it’s totally fair to call 2013 a total indictment on Grantham, because the defense certainly played better in total during his tenure, though I think we can all agree Pruitt was an upgrade.  The 2013 unit replaced all those starts from 2012 and had 3 returning starters.

If Mel Tucker and Kirby Smart’s defensive results are simply just as good as what Jeremy Pruitt did, we shouldn’t see much of a drop off on defense, especially considering we retained two position coaches from last year’s unit and we have 6 (8) returning starters.

It could be another good defense in 2016.

Should we expect Alabama level of good defense?  No, I don’t think so.  At least not initially.

But even if we improve slightly over our average output per game over the past several seasons, that would be enough.

Look at the chart below to see the points allowed by UGA and Alabama:

defense 2009-2015

Since the Alabama started winning National Championships-4 championships in the 7 years represented on the chart-take the average ppg allowed from UGA and Alabama. Even doing Olympic scoring to take out any anomalies, if you take out the highest and lowest ppg, it doesn’t change anything.  UGA and Alabama’s averages still stay the same.

If we are half as good as the difference, in other words if the Kirby/Tucker effect doesn’t get us as good as Alabama bur gets us closer, Georgia will be giving up somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 ppg.  If Georgia gives up 17 ppg or fewer, the Dawgs will win 10 games.

Do you think there will be a major drop off from Pruitt to Kirby/Tucker?  I don’t.

So I think that Georgia should be in neighborhood of 10 wins.  For Kirby Smart’s first season, that would be good enough.

But depending on how the offense goes will determine if UGA gets to 9 or 10 wins, yet still isn’t a factor in the SEC race like.  If Chubb is healthy or the quarterback situation isn’t a liability, then the Dawgs could have a chance to win the East.

First and foremost, it’s all about the defense, stupid.

But don’t forget about the offense.


BBQ Thursday: Hickory Pitt, Chattanooga

I was traveling this week and had an overnight stop in Chattanooga.  I grew up in Rome, and my grandparents lived in tiny Trenton, GA in Dade County.  For those of you who haven’t heard of Trenton or Dade County, it is quite small and there isn’t much there you should know about.  But looking at the map of Georgia, it is that small sliver of a county in extreme Northwest Georgia where Alabama and Tennessee converge with the Peach State.

So growing up, I’ve spent a lot of time in and around Chattanooga, albeit not recently as an adult.

So passing through town, my family and I had time for one dinner, so I searched “best restaurants in Chattanooga”.  A lot of places came up on the first page, but they all looked fancy and not quite appropriate to take a the three year old who has been in the car all day.  So I made a grave mistake.  I went to the next page.

I was hoping for some barbecue, and the first place on the second search page was what I was looking for:  Hickory Pit BBQ.


Check out this side dish:

Freedom Fries

We ain’t got time for no sissy French Fries here.

I was going to get a sandwich and stew, but with Freedom Fries on the menu, how can you turn those away?  And stew wasn’t available as a side item, so I got the sandwich, fries and baked beans.  I feel like if you are going to be calling your fries Freedom Fries, they need to be really special, and really good.  These were not.

I believe a picture says 1,00 words, so here are some pictures of my meal:



Sometimes, a shitty looking restaurant in a shitty part of town can be really good.  Or, in this case, it turns out to be shitty.


Three Make or Break Games

There are a lot of games this fall to raise the needle up as far as anticipation.

There’s Kirby Smart’s debut. A pivotal game for the division against UTK. Jacksonville. A chance to exact more mastery against Malzahn. The bugs. And others along the way.

Here are, at least in my mind, three games that can make or break the season.

  1. North Carolina: This one is big for oh so many reasons. First – the Bulldog Nation has some demons of the Georgia Dome to rid itself of. And then there’s the whole Kirby Smart’s first chance to prove himself as head coach against and pretty good quality opponent. Losing won’t detonate the whole season, but it’ll certainly get things off to a good start, and also avoid detractors that are bigger fans of The University of Mark Richt than UGA from foaming at the mouth.
  2. Tennessee: If Georgia takes care of business, this one could be big, and even may still be if a loss to Ole Miss happens. Win this and the season, as usual, hinges on the WLOCP. Plus, you can stunt the upward path of a Tennessee program that just may be better than the ’72 Dolphins if you ask their fan base.
  3. Florida: First of all, Kirby knows what this game means as a South Georgian and former player. Remember – he grew up partially in a time where Georgia did not lose often in Jax. If there are any doubters about CKS – they’ll be greatly silenced by doing something Richt struggled to do for the most part – beat Florida.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg