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August 30, 2011

The SEC East

Last month, PWD laid out his case for how the SEC East might be won.  In essence, you don't have to be the fastest person in your group to survive a bear attack, you just have to not be the slowest.  Better known as the answer to the rhetorical: "How in the hell did South Carolina win the SEC East?". 

I prefer to look at it like a big election shocker.  Last year, the typical candidates were doing their own thing. Not paying attention to the little things that had gotten them to their elected positions in the first place. A lightly funded, sprightly upstart comes along and bam!  Upheaval.  Despite finishing in the bottom half of the conference in offense and defense, they win the East.

What happens now?  Well, it looks like Georgia and Florida have taken steps to change. I've been watching Florida with my typical condescension and disdain, but Weis is a much better Offensive Coordinator for their current offensive talent than whatever puppet St. Urban had there.  Their defense will probably take a step back due to the number of guys that are gone, but it was pretty solid, so it'll probably still be above average. 

Georgia.  Well, Georgia.  Georgia played one of the least inspired games offensively of the year against South Carolina.  In my opinion, we panicked after finding out we wouldn't have AJ and didn't change the game plan to reflect that.  Georgia's D held South Carolina to their lowest point total of the season.  I'm trending bullish on Georgia's offense and am very confident in the ability of the defense to improve in the key places it needs to, namely big pass play and run shut down.  Can we play with fire and determination?  Remains to be seen.

At this point, the polls are open and turnout can change things.  South Carolina needs a career year from Garcia (and him not getting into any public trouble).  They need Jeffrey to replicate his last season and to stay healthy.  They need the offensive line to be as good as they were to make room for Lattimore and give time to Garcia to find Jeffrey (insert your own joke here).  Their defense has some work to do.  Georgia is young at WR and RB, so how much will having the best TE in the nation mean?  On defense, there are question marks, but 3-4 2.0 will yield dividends.  Florida changed coaches, and schemes.  Will they have enough talent to overcome the change?

I say all of this to say the East is a toss up.  By my reckoning, it might not be decided until Florida goes to Columbia in November. I'm not ready to say Georgia will win the East.  I am certainly not ready to make the forgone conclusion they won't. 



Ryan said...

I think the one thing that really gives me hope about the whole wr situation is that Aaron White would be starting anywhere else in the SEC. Arthur Lynch by all accounts is a beast, just caught behind two of the best in the country. And Jim Rome could come in and meaningfully contribute to a ton of programs too.

That being said, Bobo has to figure out a way to get these guys on the field if the wide receivers can't cut it.

Tyler Dawgden said...


I think the necessity of breaking out of the three TB plays (dive, sweep, draw) and three passing formations, coupled with the appearance we are going back to the hurry up, is what is giving me hope.

I look for TE (including Orson, even in a flex) to be a first look on many more plays than we have seen in any Georgia offense in a number of years. Combine that with Aaron's mobility, I can see a number of three TE sets, with Orson, Aron/Figgings and Lynch in the game. Put a burner like Mitchell in the slot and a big guy like Brown out wide and you have serious match up issues for defenses.

Again, I'm not ready to declare all is well. I waited a long to time to write this post for a reason. A month ago, I'd have put us no better than in a dog fight for second. Now, I think it is a three way race, with Georgia having as good a chance as SC, with UF a close third.

Anonymous said...

That's it! Three TE sets.

Our big, fast TEs and Brown, Bennett, et al., at split end would overwhelm Boise State's tiny CBs. Lynch has a big size advantage on their DE McClellin (probably their all-round best defensive player) to boot.

Play our big guys and make them try to stop us.

Anonymous said...

@TD: I wouldn't put too much worth on holding South Carolina to 17 points last year (their lowest offensive production); they absolutely manhandled the OL of Georgia, and SS even noted after the game that he basically ran the same play with Lattimore the whole game. Don't you think SCaro offense will be a little more sophisticated this year with Lattimore having a whole year under his belt?

Anonymous said...

Thumb slipped....meant our DL got manhandled. Anyway, Dawgs need to man up this year.
...and watch out for the fake punts, SS always seems to sneak one in in Athens.

Tyler Dawgden said...

Anon 11:18,

I worry about that a bit, too. However, one of the other not good games they had were against a statistically worse D (Auburn) at the end of the season when they were being a bit more creative.

The front seven is vastly improved over last year. SC beat us because we never got a three and out and because their two TD drives were for 7+ minutes each. Yes, they whipped us up front, which I worry about again.

Honestly, I don't know how much more sophisticated they can be with Garcia, senior or not.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:05,
I think that's too good of an idea for our coaches... I hope I'm wrong.

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