Good day, UGA. Welcome to your one-stop shop for all the relevant UGA football news and takes every Monday through Friday. Today, we try to find a spot for Jonathan Ledbetter on a crowded defensive line and mourn the death of a legendary mascot.
Who to play? Ledbetter vs. Marshall
Sophomore defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter’s six-game suspension is over and he is eligible to play this weekend against Vanderbilt. Cue Pearl Jam:
Ledbetter was working with the first-team defense in the spring before a DUI in July — his second alcohol-related arrest — led to the suspension. With Ledbetter relegated to the scout team, freshman David Marshall stepped into the lineup. Marshall’s already started one game and shown he can be a productive member of the defensive line rotation, even as a true freshman. Considering that, will Ledbetter be able to come in and reclaim his spot?
From a statistical standpoint — although statistics don’t always show how effective a defensive end is — Marshall has the upper hand. Marshall has played in five games this season and racked up 9 total tackles, 7 solo, including a sack against North Carolina. Ledbetter only played in seven games his entire freshman season and only contributed 4 tackles, 2 solo. Those numbers are probably a bit skewed, though. Last season’s defensive line had more depth and experience than this season’s, which limited Ledbetter’s snaps. Compare that with this year, when Kirby Smart has played any able-bodied lineman he has to try and figure out some kind of combination that works.
While Marshall has the edge in the stats, Ledbetter seems to have an edge when it comes to raw talent, at least based on recruiting rankings. Ledbetter came in rated as a 4-star prospect by most recruiting services and was one of the headliners of the 2015 class. Marshall was a 3-star recruit who flipped from Auburn on Signing Day last February. That would seem to give the edge to Ledbetter, but when you consider that Marshall will theoretically be on campus longer, and thus the coaches will have more time to cultivate and utilize his talent, it makes sense that he would receive some preference over Ledbetter.
The “What have you done for me lately?” perspective also suggests Marshall should get the nod. One guy has played and produced, while the other hasn’t. Pretty simple. Ledbetter hasn’t been idle, though. He’s been practicing since August, and Natrez Patrick went as far as to say Ledbetter has been the scout team player of the week “every week.” Smart, too, praised Ledbetter’s performance for the scout team.
“It wasn’t like he was just over there on a knee,” said Smart, according to DawgNation’s Seth Emerson. “He was taking a lot of reps. He was disruptive to them on the scout team in order to give us all these looks of the hard players we’ve been having to block. He’s been the guy that would go in there and play those positions. We’re excited to have him back.”
There is some bad/good news for Ledbetter as he tries to work his way back into the rotation: UGA has played eight defensive lineman in some games this season. The bad news is that’s a big crowd for Ledbetter to work through to earn back his spot. The good news is that UGA has had to play that many defenders in an effort to create a productive defensive line, meaning few guys have solidified their spot. If Ledbetter works hard in practice, then sets the edge well and snags a few tackles, maybe a sack, this weekend against Vanderbilt, it won’t be hard for Smart to find space for him in the rotation.
One thing is for sure: Ledbetter is ready to play.
— Jon Ledbetter ™ (@LedbetterDE15) October 9, 2016
- Chip Towers writes about how Georgia has to accept the bad with the good when it comes to Jacob Eason.
- Sony Michel was noncommittal when asked about his pro prospects after his junior season, saying he’s living in the “right now.”
- From practice Tuesday, it appears Natrez Patrick and Roquan Smith are separating themselves from Reggie Carter at inside linebacker.
- Georgia’s tailbacks were close to making history last weekend. Dating back to at least 1964, no three UGA players have rushed for 100 yards in the same game.
- Aubrey Solomon’s mom said UGA is standing out in the recruitment of her son.
- The Georgia offense has to spend this week preparing for a Vanderbilt defense that is better than you might expect.
- Over at DawgSports, podunkdawg is doing a victory dance for the South Carolina win, if you’d like to join the celebration.
UGA volleyball on TV Wednesday night
The volleyball team will be in Auburn Wednesday to take on the Tigers, and you can watch it live. First serve on The Plains is set for 8 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.
Same ol’ ball coach
Where do you think Steve Spurrier was this Sunday when his former team was squaring off with the Bulldogs? Just at a sports bar with a bunch of randos. From The State:
“I found me a little sports bar down the road. There was a crowd at a little place called Wings on A1A,” he told The State. “The manager of the place sort of recognized me even though I had my hat and sunglasses on. My hat and sunglasses aren’t working as well as they used to. I found me some buddies there and watched the Gamecocks-Georgia game.”
Like, literally just plopped down with some folks and started watching football.
“It was a lady and her husband, about the same age I was, that live down the road from me. They were in there, and then a couple of FSU sisters came in with their husbands so they wanted to talk a while,” Spurrier said.
Of course, Spurrier wouldn’t be Spurrier if he didn’t take any and every opportunity for a swipe at FSU and Bobby Bowden.
“The FSU people and I are buddies now. I told them since Jimbo Fisher is there I don’t have any ill will. Really, I’m OK with Bobby (Bowden). His defensive team bragged about hurting people and I thought that’s no part of college football. But that’s a long time ago.”
If you’re ever at a sports bar near Crescent Beach, Fla., keep your head on a swivel because SOS may pop up and wanna go halfsies on a basket of wings. Never change, coach.
Otis meets Isaiah
Damn good cat
On a somber note, LSU’s Mike the Tiger died Tuesday after a four-month battle with cancer. He was 11.
— LSU (@lsu) October 11, 2016
As supporters of a team with a live mascot of its own, Georgia fans can empathize with the heartache LSU fans are going through right now. Over time, these animals are living, breathing representations of everything you love about your school. And when one dies, it hurts. So, my condolences go out to all the LSU fans mourning this loss, and I’ll salute Mike with the only words a Georgia fan knows to use to salute a fallen mascot: Damn good cat.
In honor of Mike the Tiger, and cats and dogs working together and all that, today’s good dog also includes a good cat. Until Thursday.
My mother said I would not get a good relationship between my cat and my dog pic.twitter.com/wO3ssZ7RqG
— CÓMEME EL TOTORO (@__Mortis) October 9, 2016