Good day, UGA. Welcome to your one-stop shop for all the relevant UGA football news and takes every Monday through Friday morning. Today, we prepare for potential hurricane conditions in Columbia, S.C., this weekend and look at the possibility of a mammoth-sized offensive line in Athens in the near future.
PSA: Weather warning
Hurricane Matthew has all the signs of being a big one. Just look at the size of this thing.
Cameras outside the space station captured dramatic views of major Hurricane Matthew as the orbital complex flew 250 miles above (speed x4). pic.twitter.com/nfAQuw2OQC
— Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) October 3, 2016
Hurricane paths are, of course, highly unpredictable, but it seems like a pretty good bet that Matthew will hit the state of South Carolina this weekend. This image from Weather Underground shows that Matthew is expected to hit South Carolina around 2 p.m. on Saturday, hours before UGA vs. USC is scheduled to kick off in Columbia at 7:30 p.m. ET.
There is the chance that Matthew misses the Southeastern coast and makes landfall farther north, but don’t expect South Carolina or the SEC to take any chances. It was a year ago today that nonstop rain caused mass flooding throughout the Palmetto State. As much as we all love football, keeping people safe is the first priority. Keep your eyes on DawgNation for any news that the kickoff time has changed, and be prepared for the possibility of a postponement.
Where’s the beef? There’s the beef
Jeff Sentell rounded up some of the thoughts of recruits who were in Athens this weekend for the Tennessee game, and it included an interesting tweet from UGA offensive line commit Netori Johnson that harkened a potentially bright future for Georgia in the trenches.
Final 5 pic.twitter.com/tmtgwvufNI
— Netori Johnson (@ATLNETORIJ) October 2, 2016
Pictured are offensive line recruits Andrew Thomas (far left), Jamaree Salyer (second from left), Johnson (middle), Justin Shaffer (second from right) and D’Antne Demery (far right), along with offensive line coach Sam Pittman. Thomas, Johnson, Shaffer and Demery are all committed to UGA, while Salyer — a 5-star who plays for Atlanta’s Pace Academy — is undecided.
Pittman was known for his beefy lines at Arkansas, and it was clear when he was hired by Georgia that getting more size on the line was a priority. With the four already committed plus Salyer, Pittman would be on his way to one of the biggest offensive lines in America.
Offensive line recruiting is an area of emphasis for the Dawgs this year, and it’s easy to see why when you watch a game. Georgia is frequently bullied up front and unable to get push on run plays that could spring Nick Chubb or Sony Michel into the open field. One reason for that could be a lack of size.
Shehan Jeyarajah averaged the heights and weights of each SEC team’s starting linemen for SEC Country a few months before the season began. Georgia’s is the smallest, weighing in at an average of 295 pounds. By comparison, Alabama and Arkansas top the list with 316-pound averages each, while Florida pulls in at third with 315. Considering UGA wants to run a power offense similar to Alabama, Arkansas and Florida, it needs an offensive line whose size is on par with those guys, instead of being at the bottom with Ole Miss, Missouri and Auburn, all teams that run the spread.
The average weight of the potential Georgia offensive line you see above — based on the weights listed on each player’s 247Sports profile — is 332 pounds, 16 pounds more than the current leaders.
It’s worth remembering two things, though. One, we don’t know if the weights listed on 247 are totally accurate. And two, those weights should come down significantly when the players are introduced to UGA’s weight program. But one thing is out of doubt: Those are some big boys. Georgia’s offensive line isn’t what it needs to be for the type of offense it’s running right now. But that photo should give you hope that reinforcements are right around the corner.
- Let’s start with some good news. Nick Chubb is cleared to play this week against South Carolina.
- Linebacker Reggie Carter and defensive lineman John Atkins were absent from practice during the media viewing period on Monday.
- The Vanderbilt game in Athens on Oct. 15 kicks off at noon ET and will be broadcast on SEC Network.
- You’ve probably been searching for things that could have gone different in the run-up to Tennessee’s Hail Mary, and may have thought that Georgia should’ve kicked off out of bounds to put the Vols on the 35 instead of allowing a return. Not so fast, my friend.
- In his Monday press conference, Kirby Smart went fairly in depth on defending the Hail Mary and his team’s execution of its Hail Mary defense.
- Todd Gurley’s second season in the NFL has been a far cry from his first so far. At Deadspin, Tom Ley makes a convincing case why that’s on the Rams’ offensive line and not the former Dawg.
Less important PSA: Major baggage
If the South Carolina game goes on as scheduled, and you plan on attending, you should know that USC changed its rules in regard to the kind of bags allowed in Williams-Brice Stadium. No camera bags, backpacks, binocular cases, fanny packs are allowed and no purses larger than a clutch bag are allowed, either. So if you want to bring a bag into the game, it either needs to be clear plastic or really small. Check here for all the guidelines.
Bubba gets emotional about the Ryder Cup
The USA won the Ryder Cup for the first time since 2008 over the weekend. No Georgia golfers competed in the event, but Bubba Watson was at Hazeltine all weekend as a vice captain for the Americans. Even though Bubba didn’t play, Brandt Snedeker said he was pivotal to the American victory.
“He’s the reason why I got my point today,” Snedeker said following the American victory, according to ESPN. “He was in my ear all day, walking with me every step of the way, letting me know he was supporting me 100 percent. That means a ton in this kind of stuff.”
Phil Mickelson also had some kind words for Bubba.
3. Phil hugging Bubba on 18 green and saying "I'm really glad you were a part of his team. I know you'll be playing on it in two years."
— Kevin Van Valkenburg (@KVanValkenburg) October 3, 2016
After the U.S. sealed the victory, Bubba gave a touching interview to Golf Channel in which he talked about how much the Ryder Cup means to him personally, in part because Ryder Cup 2010 was the last time his father saw him compete.
“The last event my dad saw me play was the Ryder Cup in 2010. Nine days after the Ryder Cup, my dad passed away. So the last time he watched me play golf was the Ryder Cup. He was at a hospital with a bunch of IVs in him and different things to keep him breathing and going so he could watch his son. Then the two greatest things that I’ve ever wanted to accomplish in golf was be a Hall of Famer and be a Ryder Cup captain. I think that Ryder Cup captain is another form of Hall of Fame. I told the guys last night, this is the greatest thing I have ever done in golf.”
“As a God-fearing man, I love to help and I love to give. Finally I found my place on the team is to help. A couple guys called me and said, ‘Bubba, I need you by my side, shoulder to shoulder.’ And the last couple of days that’s what I did. It was a dream come true for me. This is the greatest thing that I have ever done in golf. I am so happy for this team. This team was amazing. They took me with open arms and let me be a part of it. For U.S.A., for all that, this is absolutely amazing. The greatest thing I have ever done in my career and been a part of.”
“The greatest thing I’ve ever done in my career” is a big statement coming from a man who has won the Masters twice. It sucks that Bubba didn’t get to compete, but it’s good to see that he was such an integral part of the team. You can check out his full interview below.
You need to watch this Bubba Watson interview. pic.twitter.com/1LqfSjSjEp
— -$900m (@JohnEkdahl) October 2, 2016