Thursday, July 14, 2005

Blogpoll 3 - In 3D

I'm not really a conformist by nature, and I'm something of an introvert. Yet at times I've always been comfortable riding along with the masses. What herd am I following now? Whoever the hell signed up to participate in the Blogpoll. I can only identify 3.5 people doing it. Interestinly, like orgies, this really adds to the appeal.

It's late, but that's how I get down.

Q: Which unheralded player on your team will be the hardest to replace?

A: Georgia didn't lose many seniors from the 2004 team. Of course, some of the names are recognizeable: David Green, David Pollock, Thomas Davis, Fred Gibson, Reggie Brown, Odel Thurman. They all played big roles (still to varying degrees) in 2004, and they'll all be missed. What's interesting is that outside of the big names, it was mostly underclassmen contributing. Jeremy Thomas was a steady fullback, but all he really brought to the table over Des Williams was consistency. Williams' performance got better (and more consistent) as the season went on, and he played more and more. I'm not sure Thomas is going to be missed. No, it's mostly backups from the rest of the senior class.

Thanks to offseason attrition, Arnold Harrison sort of wins this award by default. Harrison was a steady, though not spectacular, linebacker. There is young talent at the position, but issues (Derek White), injuries (Jarvis Jackson), and inconsistent play (Danny-Verdun Wheeler) mean that a veteran presence like Harrison's would be nice. However, I don't think it will be sorely missed (I reserve the right to take that back), nor terribly difficult to replace.

Q: Which seemingly inconsequential player could make the biggest impact?

A: Kelin Johnson, a sophomore safety. Johnson had an excellent year on special teams last year - that proving grounds where freshman often start to find their feet. A virtual unknown out of highschool, he seems to have decent speed and atheletic ability. Georgia had some serious secondary problems last year. They stemmed largely from the fact that:

1) Thomas Davis is a linebacker. A darn good athelete - good enough to play safety in college. But he's a LB masquerading as a classic strong safety. He's better around the line of scrimmage than 25 yards away from it.

2) Greg Blue is Thomas Davis, only significatly less speedy, athletic. And good.

Blue isn't bad and he can hit, but he made Davis' cover skills look good. If you can't add: Georgia cloned and played the same player, albeit one of them was of lower quality due to NCAA rules, at two positions last year. Both safeties.

Johnson looks like the "centerfielder" they have been missing since Sean Jones' ill-faited exit-stage left as a junior in 2003 (and believe me, he was missed more than anyone last year). Is he as good as Jones? Not right now. Can he be? I doubt it (but then I can't say it's impossible). Jones was superb. Can he provide some sort of boost to the at times porous pass defense? If so, Georgia's corners will really appreciate it. Georgia is sure to feel the loss of David Pollock, and the pass rush may suffer accordingly. A good cover safety matters now more than ever.

Tra Battle isn't bad, but he is what he is (a hard working, modestly talented, former walk on). I have hopes Kelin can take a starting safety job by Boise St, and give us some solid play back there. His superb special teams play lends me hope that he can tackle decently, because Blue has been known to wiff on occasion.

Q: Which regular-season game that won’t feature your team would you pay the most money to see this season? Why?

A: Florida versus South Carolina. Urban Meyer is the second coming. Steve Spurrier started it all. Something has to give here - and while it will most likely be the Gamecock's relative lack of talent, it's kind of an interesting game anyway. Meyer will apparently start a second offensive revolution in the SEC with his "high tech" offense. Even if he doesn't reinvent sliced bread, he should be an interesting addition to the SEC for a school that is not fully recovered from the Ron Zook hangover, and it will be a neew offensive look courtesy of one of the brightest young minds in the sport. Spurrier put the SEC into the modern age with a firm kick in the ass. It's kind of an interesting subplot.

I'm not sure Spurrier's return to college football will be as rosy as many others seem to, and that could ruin the fun in this game (not as much as the talent gap, but what are you gonna do?). I don't envision Spurrier now enjoying the things he used to loathe about life in College Football. Perhaps one of the fine gentlemen at EDSBSD can elighten me further, but I was under the impression SOS did not like to get on the road an recruit (something that will probably be doubly important at SC). Not that he didn't do it, but that he delegated more than many coaches do perhaps. And SC has a fanatical fanbase, perhaps moreso than any other in the SEC (look, they've been tricking themselves into thinking a program breakthrough was looming for time out of mind - you want to huge them for staying positive and then slap them to bring them back to reality). Unrealistic expectations could be worse at SC.

Still, this one has to be tough for the Gator faithful. I can't imagine what it would be like to face a former institution (I'd love to get a shot at a Donnan coached team, as a side note). I futher can't imagine getting beat by one - something I don't think the Gator faithful have to be worried about. Will they mock the visor tossings? Pick on any of Spurrier's press conferences? This game is uncharted territory in the mondern day SEC - where everything is under a microscope and every fan of a team had to sign a contract saying that he or she hates every other team with a passion not understood by most normal people (For unfathomable reasons, Mississippi State fans are also forced to carry cowbells. To more than just MSU games - as I once observed at a Braves game. Odd decision, that).

Me, I want to be at this game. It should be a fun football game if Florida doesn't route SC.

Q: If your team were a rapper, who would it be and why?

A: My team would be bullet-riddled and lying in a gutter, ironically (in the Morisettian sense of the word) on the very evening it discovered a major record label would be producing it's album,and that it could finally leave this sorry existence behind. East Coast 4 ever and all that jazz.

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