Is Schottenheimer here to stay?

The Georgia Bulldogs have had a disappointing year thus far in the 2015 season. A season that has included a span of three out of four games of scoring 10 points or less, blowout losses to both Florida and Alabama, inconsistency at quarterback, and losing the best offensive threat in the conference when star tailback Nick Chubb went down for the season with a knee injury. This is also the same season the UGA beat the Steve Spurrier lead South Carolina Gamecocks 52-20 and had playoff aspirations. So where does this leave UGA? They can still finish the regular season with 9 wins and have the possibility of a bowl win to eclipse 10 wins, that classic Georgia season.

The question starts getting asked, can UGA win it all with Mark Richt at the helm? Will they be able to overcome the curse that seems to follow? My answer is yes, but I do not believe that it will be with Brian Schottenheimer as the offensive coordinator. At the conclusion of last season Mike Bobo, former offensive coordinator, was hired away as a head coach to Colorado State University. He led Georgia to record breaking offensive seasons in 2012, 2013, and 2014. He was handed the play-calling duties from head coach Mark Richt in the 2006 Chick-fil-a Bowl against Virginia Tech and never looked back. His development of quarterbacks was felt by the success of Aaron Murray becoming the first UGA QB to pass for 3,000 yards in three straight seasons, and the first SEC QB to do it in four straight. It also shows in how he made Hutson Mason a quality signal caller, you could see his fingerprints all over it. He finally got his running back he could rely on in Todd Gurley in 2012 and his offense could not be stopped after that.

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Schottenheimer, contrastly, has an NFL resume of being pretty average and seems to take a more business approach to coaching these young men. I believe that this has hurt the development of UGA’s quarterbacks as a unit. Understand that I am making this assessment after not even a full season with Schotty at the helm, but if you look at the offseason and how it was handled, you can’t help but wonder what could have been. There was a battle for the open QB spot in the spring and they had nothing definitive about who was leading, then bringing in a transfer QB and adding to the ambiguity of the position. It seems as though there has been no progression to the offense over the course of this season as well as at quarterback. The best that the offense has been since the Chubb injury has been when they have run the “Wild Dawg” formation with wide receiver Terry Godwin taking the snaps and deceiving the defense with the unconventional look. Is there really  no scholarship QB who can run the offense well enough to take the pressure off of the defense?

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I believe that there needs to be a change at the offensive coordinator position. I think a promotion from within would be the best outcome. They could promote current wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon, current running backs coach Thomas Brown, or current tight ends coach John Lilly to offensive coordinator. This would help recruiting since there would be continuity in the same offense and it would give Richt another opportunity to develop his next great assistant from the ground up while also finding a new QB coach to help develop the position and focus solely on that. All of those candidates I mentioned are qualified and have the resume to be considered for a position like this and if you look at last season’s bowl game in particular, John Lilly called the plays since Bobo had already left for Colorado State and the offense was explosive. This season just shows what a great loss Bobo was to the UGA program and offense.

UGA Fans should realize what they have in QB Aaron Murray

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Murray is the man, and he’s back for a final round.

This season should be a year for the record books as Fifth-Year Senior UGA QB Aaron Murray returns for another crack at an SEC Championship, and as it goes, a National Championship. He is on pace to break every school and SEC passing record by the end of October. Murray is beloved by some and taken for granted by others. He has been tagged as “the guy who can’t win the big one,” yet when he lost the biggest game of his career, the SEC Championship against Alabama for a trip to Miami, he was praised the most.

Murray has been  punching bag for the Bulldog faithful for the past few seasons to shoulder the blame in losses along with Head Coach Mark Richt and Offensive Coordinator and play caller Mike Bobo. He definitely deserves some of the blame, as any competant quarterback should, but he has been thrown around as the butt of many jokes that resemble the former GT QB great, Reggie Ball.

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That’s right…Reggie Ball, the dunce of so many jokes that when he finished his career UGA actually retired his jersey. He is famous for the throw-the-ball-away-on-fourth-down stunt that was the perfect ending to the 2004 UGA-GT game.

Murray is cut from that elite mold of quarterback, in which the failure is from not winning it all, not a silly incompletion or misread of the stadium scoreboard.

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Aaron Murray never says the wrong thing at the podium, he acknowledges his defeats, he does not gloat with his triumphs, and most of all, he never gives the other team bulletin-board material, as many others do. He is what Georgia needs for that next step and he’s coming back to do it for you Bulldog Nation, so how about hopping on and enjoying the ride this season as he gets his entire offensive line back for the first time in his career and the Dawgs return 10 starters on the offensive side alone.

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He is coming back to win a championship, and doing so he will become the son of Bulldog Nation that can be the best to play his position, and arguably the best Bulldog ever. He is the only one to have 3 seasons of passing for 3,000 yards, not only in school history, but in SEC history. He finished last season with the second highest QB rating in the country and was the most efficient in UGA history, he’ll break Danny Wuerfful’s touchdown record this season before September is over. He also has NEVER lost to Georgia Tech or Auburn and he actually has a winning record against Florida. So for his finale, don’t you think he NEEDS all of Bulldog nation behind him?

Spring Practice-Florida

Will Muschamp

Will Muschamp finally started to make his mark on the Florida Gators.

This spring the gators will be reloading the defense, as they lost several players, including DT Sharriff Floyd, SS Matt Elam, and MLB Johnathan Bostic. The best player returning on defense is Dominique Easley, the Senior defensive end, because the best returning defensive back, Loucheiz Purifoy, is moving to offense to bolster the talent at wide receiver, as they have lacked a playmaker ther since Percy Harvin. This week The Gators have moved him back to defense due to injuries, but I would still look for him to play offense this upcoming season. He needs to find out where he’s playing, but help the team as well as he can. This could end up like the Malcolm Mitchell saga from UGA where he is so talented that neither coordinator wants to give him up. The one thing making it easier during the season for the defense, to give Purifoy, up will be the arrival of  Under Armour All-American Vernon Hargreaves III to campus. This is a homerun at cornerback that will be a stud for the next few years in the SEC and help replenish the Florida secondary with NFL talent.

This will be almost the opposite of last season, where they had questions on offense, but the defense was stout. With returning quarterback Jeff Driskell at the helm and a stable of able-bodied playmakers, including Purifoy now, this unit looks like it will garner the attention of the conference. They will stall, due to Driskell’s streaky accuracy, but with his legs they will be running with the horses in the East division of the SEC.

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     The team seems to really be responding to Muschamp’s fiery personality and its paying off as these gators are getting back to this smash-mouth game that it has always been known for. This will help the gators maintain success so that they will not drop below the likes of UGA and South Carolina in the eastern race. They will conclude their spring with their annual scrimmage, Orange and Blue Debut game, on April 6th 2013 at 1pm.

A.J. Green VS Julio Jones

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These two studs are forever linked and will always be subject to comparison.

It all started in high school as these two highlight-reel receivers were being recruited by every SEC, ACC, and any other conference school who saw anything about them. A.J. Green committed to UGA and Julio Jones committed to Alabama. These two both arrived on campus as the focal points of their respective schools and their passing games.

Both of these young men exceeded expectations upon arrival, both sporting the same number in college, eight. These were both two very different offenses at the time. The Georgia Bulldogs had Junior gunslinger Matthew Stafford at quarterback and had a very complex passing system, whereas the Crimson Tide had more of a rushing attack as John Parker Wilson was more of a game manager and the offense was only balanced because of Jones’ deep threat ability.

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They both continued their careers in college and left as two of the most prolific receivers in SEC history. As their Junior seasons came to an end they both decided to forgo their Senior season to declare for the NFL Draft, together. As the draft approached, it quickly became evident that they were the top two and the best the draft had to offer since Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, formerly of Georgia Tech. The Cincinnati Bengals selected Green with the 4th overall pick and the Atlanta Falcons traded their 2011 first round, 2011 second round and their 2012 first round picks to move up to the 6th overall pick and selected Julio Jones.

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They, of course, lead both of their teams to a better offensive outcome, as Jones went to Atlanta and joined an offense that included Roddy White, Matt Ryan, and future Hall-of-Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez. Green joined an offense that was rebuilding and his quarterback, Andy Dalton, would actually be drafted the round behind him and both of them would go on to surprise everyone and be in contention for rookie of the year. Julio Jones has had two great years in his first two seasons in the NFL having 54 and 79 catches, respectively, 959 and 1,198 yards and 8 and 10 TDs for those years. Green has been even better his first two seasons with 65 and 97 catches, respectively, 1,057 and 1,350 yards and 7 and 11 TDs for his two seasons. So the question is simple, who would you rather have on the other end of your passing game? The answer is more complex, as both excel in different ways as receivers.

Who would you take? A.J. Green or Julio Jones? The choice is yours, well if you’re a fantasy football owner, because these guys are not going anywhere anytime soon.

Spring Practice-UGA

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Aaron Murray is coming back to UGA.

This season for the Bulldogs was one they haven’t experienced in a while. They were relevant on the national stage all the way to the 5 yard line of the Georgia Dome in the SEC championship against the Alabama Crimson Tide. This spring the Bulldogs will be sporting a new-look defense as they had 9 players from the defense recently in the NFL combine, as they move to the next level. This defense will have leaders returning at every level of the depth chart, but most of the new contributors will be inexperienced although very talented. This brings me to this spring and the all important spring practice which is concluded by the annual G-day spring game. The players helping to usher along this transition will be Senior DE Garrison Smith, Juniors ILB Amarlo Herrera and CB Damian Swann, and Sophomore OLB Jordan Jenkins, all of whom played significant roles on the 2012 defense and look to make a bigger impact in 2013 and the future. These players will be joined by several early enrolees as UGA signed 33 on signing day and 13 of them are in Athens for spring. Perhaps the most important offseason news, Fifth-year Senior QB Aaron Murray decided to forgo the NFL draft and return for his senior season. He brings a level of competency to the quarterback position that UGA has not seen before Murray, there are things that OC Mike Bobo has given him to do that former 1st overall pick Matthew Stafford never got to see, much less execute. This is big for incoming Freshman QB Brice Ramsey to be able to learn from an all-SEC caliber QB and watch him compete and prepare. It is an exciting time in Athens and to be a Georgia Bulldog; this season will be decided within the first month of the regular season as Clemson, South Carolina, and LSU are all on the slate.