It’s hard to believe we’re 19 days away, gentlemen. The chatter is picking up. It’s interesting to me to hear pundits, radio and TV guys. In college football (and the NFL for that matter), one of the biggest mistakes is thinking things are static. Players get soooooo much better as they mature. See: Matt Ryan. However, the keen football eye can look at a player very early and see something, good or bad. Every single one of us watched Jay Cutler a lot in college and could have absolutely predicted what his career what be like. Same for Cam Newton. And I’d say the same for Matt Ryan. I was mesmerized with him his senior year at BC. You could see that was a leader with a very high football IQ.
I think we all knew Richard Samuel was not going to get better. I think we all knew Crowell was special if he could get his head on straight. Just watching the Georgia in 60 made me realize a few things. Holy smokes we played a lot of babies last year. I mean, we were counting on Nauta, Eason, Ridley, Godwin. And a baby coach. There is kind of an insane assumption about a first year head coach, that he will learn nothing. They learn A LOT. Mark Richt learned a lot. Kirby Smart works too hard to not learn a lot.
This is the million dollar question I’ve asked myself as I get older: Would you trade our guys for their guys? What team on our schedule would you trade teams with to play against us and feel like you have a better chance to win? I think the answer is none, and that really comes down to a few players: Chubb, Michel, and most of all, Eason. There are no running backs you’d trade for our guys. And, chances are, there’s not a defense you’d trade for ours. But, most of all, which opposing QB would you take to play against that tall #10 and that arm.
And that begs the ultimate question pointing toward . If this team progresses, would you rather play against UGA and Eason or Bama and Hurts? I’m all in on Eason. What the kid did as a true freshman was pretty dynamic. We were asking him to do what almost no one does or has ever done. We’ve had to play 4 true freshman at UGA: Zeier, Quincy, Stafford and Eason. Zeier mananged to lose 10-0 in Tuscaloosa and we lost to Vandy. Quincy wasn’t even a real true freshman (because he was, like 21), and we still went 8-3 on a team that had Champ Bailey, Chris Terry, Matt Stinchcomb, Marcus Stroud, and Richard Seymour. We beat one of Auburn’s worst teams in the last 25 years with a lame-duck coach. With Stafford we lost to a bad UK team and to Vandy (when he only played about the ½ the time). Life lesson: if we start an 18 year-old QB, we’re going to lose to Vandy. We’ve lost to Vandy 5 times since ’90. Three of those times have been with an 18 yr old QB. Interestingly, the other two were with senior QBs, Zeier and Murray. Zeier’s team quit on him. Murray had no team. It was him vs. 11, thanks to the Knoxville turf.
Zeier’s sophomore year we went 10-2 and won the Citrus Bowl. Stafford’s sophomore year we went 11-2 and won the Sugar Bowl. Greene and Murray’s 2nd years were some for the record books, including 13-1 SEC champs and 10 straight wins, including beating UT, Florida, Auburn and Tech in the same season for the first time since ’82. It’s a foolish assumption to think we’ll have to ‘overcome’ Eason’s deficiencies to win. The kid will be the reason we win a bunch of them.
Speaking of QBs…everyone is so high on Jared Stidham. Since 2010, here are the completion percentages of Baylor QBs for the year, from best to worst:
· 2011: 72.4
· 2012: 70.0
· 2015: 68.8
· 2010: 67.0
· 2014: 63.1
· 2013: 62.00
2015 was Jared Stidham. That’s middle of the road for a Baylor Offense. That’s against Big 12 defenses. Until I see it with my own 2 eyes, I refuse to believe that Auburn offense works without a kid that can run a 4.4.