Welcome to your one-stop shop for UGA football news and takes every Monday through Friday. Today we look at what Bob Stoops said about Kirby Smart, a Diamond Dog being named a Freshman All-American, and the chances that two Bulldog running backs rush for 1,000 yards in 2017.
Will UGA football have two 1,000-yard rushers in 2017?
Bleacher Report on Monday named Georgia’s stable of running backs best backfield in college football, mostly off the work of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Both backs have 1,000 yard rushing seasons on their résumés, but not in the same season.
On Wednesday, Edward Aschoff of ESPN looked at the potential 1,000-yard rushers in the SEC this season. Unsurprisingly, since each has done it in the past, Chubb and Michel both made the cut. But what are the chances that each can put it all together and eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in their senior season?
Chubb has gone for 1,000 yards twice in his career, as a freshman in 2014 (1,547 yards) and last year as a junior (1,130). He was on pace to reach it as a sophomore, but a devastating knee injury against Tennessee ended those hopes early.
But Chubb’s loss was Michel’s gain. Without Chubb to be the workhorse, Michel received the bulk of the carries during the 2015 season and ended the campaign with 1,161 yards. He had a good shot to get to 1,000 along with Chubb last season but was undone by a preseason injury. Michel missed the 2016 opener against North Carolina and only had 3 carries in Week 2 against Nicholls State. Those missed carries hampered his bid for 1,000, and he ended the season with 840 yards.
The biggest factor working for them in their pursuit of matching 1,000 yards season is the offense of Jim Chaney. His scheme is predicated on feeding the running backs and letting them control the pace of play and dictate the game. He’s also had two rushers eclipse 1,000 yards in the same season. While Chaney was offensive coordinator at Arkansas in 2014, Jonathan Williams rushed for 1,190 and Alex Collins rushed for 1,110 yards. Both had more than 200 carries that season.
If Chubb and Michel can each tote the rock more than 200 times in 2017, it’s likely that they’ll both surpass 1,000 yards. Chubb’s averaged 6.4 yard per carry in his career, meaning he’d need 156 carries at that pace to get 1,000. Michel’s averaged 5.5 ypc in his career — a rate which would require 182 carries to get 1,000. Georgia ran the ball 533 times in 2016, with Chubb getting 224 and from Michel getting 152.
As talented as the two are and have been over the course of their careers, it seems like they should have already gone for 1,000 apiece in a season. But health has worked against them. The only season when both were at full health was their freshman year, when Todd Gurley was still No. 1 on the depth chart.
If these two can stay healthy for a full season, there’s no reason to think they won’t exceed 1,000 yards each. And if they can do that, there’s no reason to think the Bulldogs won’t have a really — really — good season.
What Bob Stoops said about Kirby Smart
In the most surprising news of the college football offseason, Bob Stoops stepped down as head coach of Oklahoma on Wednesday. At the time of his announcement, he was one of only five active college football coaches with a national championship.
The Oklahoma gig was the first and only head coaching job of Stoops’ career. He was a defensive coordinator for Steve Spurrier at Florida, where he won a national title the season before landing the job in Norman. That should be of particular interest to Georgia fans, as Kirby Smart won the national title at Alabama the season before taking the helm in Athens.
Last year, Seth Emerson of DawgNation spoke to Stoops about making the transition from assistant to head coach.
“Yeah, the extent of decisions to be made. Meaning it was unending,” Stoops said this week in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “You go from assistant coach, where you’re making a few decisions every day, to making a decision a minute as you go through the day. A little bit overwhelming, initially. Especially when you’re coming to a program where the expectations are high.”
There’s no doubt that Smart looked overwhelmed at times during his first season as head man at Georgia. But if Smart can follow in the footsteps of Stoops — or Dabo Swinney, who went from receivers coach to head coach, skipping coordinator altogether — good things are in store for the Bulldogs.
Emerson also spoke with Stoops about what he expected from Smart as a head coach (Alabama’s and Oklahoma’s coaching staff collaborated often during Stoops’ tenure) and the former Oklahoma coach gave Smart a good review.
“Oh sure, I’ve got great respect for Kirby, and obviously what he was able to do at Alabama and everywhere he’s been,” Stoops said. “He’s been at great programs, been around other great people. What I can see is a great leader and a bright guy. So I think he’s going to do an excellent job.”
Bulldogs shortstop named Freshman All-American
It wasn’t a good year for Georgia baseball, but one positive was the play of freshman Cam Shepherd, and he’s being rewarded with plenty of offseason accolades. The shortstop from Duluth, named to the freshman All-SEC team last month, on Wednesday was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball.
— Georgia Baseball (@BaseballUGA) June 7, 2017
Accentuate the negative
During the offseason, we tend to focus on the reasons why each college football team could succeed in the coming year. But Aaron Torres of Fox Sports has taken a more cynical approach, and gave one reason why every team in the Top 25 will fail to meet expectations in 2017. Uplifting stuff, right?
Georgia was included in this Top 25 at No. 12, and if the Bulldogs fail to meet expectations, Torres thinks it will be because Smart just isn’t as good as many thought he’d be.
Kirby Smart’s first year in Athens was neither a rip-roaring success, nor a catastrophic failure. The Bulldogs went a respectable 8-5 (which included a surprise victory over rival Auburn) but lost to Vanderbilt and had way too many close calls against inferior teams. So was it a byproduct of a young coach getting his sea legs? Or a byproduct of the type of coach that Smart is? With a loaded roster that’s favored to win the SEC East, we’re about to find out.
- A quality control story: As UGA’s support staff keeps growing, no sign trend will end (Seth Emerson, DawgNation)
- Georgia names David Carter new assistant basketball coach (Seth Emerson, DawgNation)
- UGA recruiting: 5-star QB Justin Fields instantly becomes a top-5 target (Jeff Sentell, DawgNation)
- How programs such as UGA utilize a 10th assistant coach? (Marc Weiszer, Athens Banner-Herald)
- Yante Maten’s return aids Georgia’s outlook in 2017-18 (Jason Butt, The Telegraph)
- Former Dawgs Jarius Wynn, Abry Jones have some advice for Trenton Thompson (Anthony Dasher, UGA Sports)
It’s every dog for itself out here, man.
THIS PERSON FAKED FAINTING TO SEE WHAT THEIR DOG WOULD DO pic.twitter.com/2HpXJnFCC2
— FREDDY (@FreddyAmazin) June 7, 2017