Tag Archives: Georgia Bulldogs

Alabama’s Locksmith

Perhaps the receiver with the most expectations this season on the Alabama football roster is junior All-American Jerry Jeudy. However, the one player who continues to prove capable of ascending his game through the season’s first three weeks is fellow junior DeVonta Smith.

When he first came out of Amite High School (La.), Smith weighed in the 157-pound range. While he has put on some pounds to add to his slender frame, he still hovers around the 175-pound mark. Surprisingly, it is his penchant for going across the middle of the field that draws high marks. But when asked about whether or not his heart starts to beat a little bit faster when going across the middle with linebackers and safeties coming across at him prior to the team’s 2018 contest versus Ole Miss by AL.com, Smith had the perfect response.

“No. Not at all,” Smith responded matter of factly.

The greatest thrill of his career up until this point may be his game-winning touchdown catch in the 2018 College Football Playoff national championship game against Georgia. In an offense that often utilizes four or five wide receivers/tight ends, the opportunities are limited. It is a fact not lost upon Smith.

“No matter who it is, which one of us gets it we can all make the same play,” Smith told AL.com back in 2018. “When a play is called, you never know whether you’re going to get it or not. You just wait for the quarterback to throw it.”

Smith vs. South Carolina, 9-13-19: In-game report

Most locksmiths specialize in rekeying, repairing, opening and modifying. Some numbers have meaning in the process, while others do not. It fits perfectly with what Smith communicated to AL.com when asked about whether he had accumulated the most receptions on the squad through Week 2 of the 2018 campaign.

Smith’s response?

“I don’t keep up with stats.”

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akD2oUl51rg

Georgia vs. LSU, 10-13-18: In-game report

In a SEC contest featuring several NFL Draft prospects, fundamentals were more of a factor than talent. LSU took advantage of Georgia’s poor special teams play, pass blocking and missed tackles, en route to a 36-16 victory.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his thoughts on a few of the teams’ prospects in this in-game report: 

29 Greedy Williams (6’3 184) LSU CB- Sophomore

Williams has the size and elite length that scouts will covet in the NFL Draft. The burning question with players of his size at the cornerback position is their ability to twist their hips and get out of breaks cleanly to mirror receivers. Williams showed no problem with this, see his coverage on Georgia junior wide receiver Riley Ridley (6’2, 200) in the second quarter on 3rd and 9, where he kept up with the receiver stride-for-stride on a comeback route to break up the play.  Williams is also a contributor on special teams as he is tasked with blocking the gunners. The LSU cornerback figures to be a top draft pick and probably will not have to contribute on special teams to make an NFL roster but the more you can do, the better. On the season, Williams has two interceptions. 

40 Devin White (6’1 240) LSU LB-Junior

White’s aggressiveness and willingness to fly to the football is apparent.  So often during Saturday’s game, White could be seen trailing the play to assist a fellow defensive player in finishing it. He finished with a season-high 12 assisted tackles against Georgia. White has the tendency to run himself out of plays and versus play action because of his aggressiveness.  However, his ability to tackle, drop in coverage and matchup with tight ends occasionally, will make him a contributor at the next level. 

18 Isaac Nauta (6’4 240) Georgia TE-Junior 

The tight end position is so much about size in the NFL and Nauta has NFL size. The Georgia tight end showed his athleticism and reflexes when he twisted and contorted his body to catch a back shoulder pass while being blanketed by Devin White.  Nauta can also serve as a hand in the ground blocker and is physically mature enough to take on outside linebackers in run blocking schemes. Nauta will have to show scouts that he can match his production with his size. The junior tight end currently has 13 catches for 176 yards and one touchdown this season.

 

18 Deandre Baker (5’11 185) Georgia CB-Senior 

The Miami native may not be as tall as Greedy Williams. but is the same type of blanket cover corner and has just as much length.  Baker also has two interceptions on the season. LSU didn’t test him much on the outside because they had far greater success running the ball between the tackles.  Baker is consistent as they come at the cornerback position and is near the top of his class at the position. 

2018 Preview: Kentucky Wildcats

Season outlook

Head coach Mark Stoops’ defense got a boost when it found out senior safety Mike Edwards and senior linebacker Josh Allen (6’5, 230) would forgo the NFL Draft and return for another season in Lexington.  The defense should be in solid hands behind the two stalwarts.  On offense, junior running back Benny Snell, Jr. (5’11, 223) was productive, finishing the 2017 campaign with 1,333 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. The key for the Wildcats will be who is under center.  Sophomores Gunnar Hoak (6’4, 206) and Terry Wilson (6’3, 205) will battle it out in camp to decide the starter.  No matter who wins, Stoops will look for ball security. The Wildcats enjoyed a bowl- eligible season behind Stephen Johnson, who completed 60 percent of his passes and threw just seven interceptions. If Kentucky can get the same type of smart quarterback play in 2018, look for them to compete in the SEC East.

Troy’s player to watch

7 Mike Edwards 6’0 201 S-Senior

Edwards has contributed 196 tackles, nine and a half tackles for losses, seven interceptions and 15 pass break-ups the last two seasons.

Edwards has led SEC defensive backs in tackles for consecutive seasons.  The senior safety likes to crowd the line of scrimmage and is a force in run support.  He also has a knack for picking off opposing quarterbacks.  Last season, Edwards had four interceptions. Look for the Cincinnati native to continue to fine tune his craft this season and make the jump to the NFL in the spring.

Game of the season

September 8th at Florida
Kentucky went toe-to-toe with Florida last season before ultimately falling 28-27.  This year, the Wildcats will have to travel to Gainesville during the second week of the season. Stoops’ team could establish themselves as a legitimate power in the SEC East if they can secure a statement win against the Gators.

DraftNasty’s Prospect Watch

8 Derrick Baity 6’3 186 CB-Senior

Kentucky senior cornerback Derrick Baity (No. 8 pictured) posted 11 passes defensed in 2017.

Although Baity has been beaten down the field on occasion (see Hall, Missouri ’17), he exhibits good feet in off-man for a taller cornerback.  In addition, he contains the necessary short memory to continue to battle after giving up plays.  While capable of reading the action instinctively to tackle on plays in front of him, there is some body-block tackling in his game.  The Wildcats have three pro prospects at the cornerback position (Chris Westry, Lonnie Johnson) entering 2018 and Baity is arguably the most fluid of the trio.  For him to carve out early-round consideration, he has to clean up the occasional concentration lapses that show up week-to-week.

Prediction: 7-5

According to DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson, Kentucky will fall to Florida and Tennessee on the road and Mississippi State, Georgia and South Carolina at home. The Wildcats will still win enough games to qualify for a third consecutive bowl game. 

2018 Season Preview: Florida Gators

Season outlook

The Florida Gators poached new head coach, Dan Mullen, from conference foe, Mississippi State, during the offseason. The Gators hope Mullen, who amassed a 69-46 overall record and 33-39 conference record, can bring a level of consistently to Gainesville. Mullen previously served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coached during Florida’s heyday between 2005-2008. The Gators head coach will have to choose between three underclassmen to take  the command at quarterback.  Sophomores Feleipe Franks (6’5, 227) and Kyle Trask (6’5, 239) will battle freshman Emory Jones (6’2, 192) for the starting role. Whoever is under center, will have junior wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland (6’2, 205)to depend on. Cleveland finished last season with 410 receiving yards and two touchdowns.  Cleveland should be able to stretch defenses with the deep ball.  Defensively, the Gators project to be further ahead of the curve than the offense.  The Gators have playmakers at each level on defense.  Senior defensive end Cece Jefferson (6’1, 242) has totaled 28.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks over his three years in Gainesville. Jefferson, pictured left,  plays with strong leverage and can set the edge.  In the middle, junior inside linebacker David Reese leads the defensive huddle and junior defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (6’0, 207) patrols the back end, playing on the outside and in the nickel. Gardner-Johnson has five career interceptions. The Gators aren’t expected to contend for a national championship like they were during Mullen’s first stint at Florida, but defensively look for marked improvement.

Troy’s player to watch

33 David Reese 6’1 248 LB- Junior
After missing the entire 2017 offseason recovering from wrist surgery, Reese came back with a vengeance, leading the Gators in tackles with 102 and finishing second on the team with 10 tackles for loss. The junior linebacker also totaled 1.5 sacks and an interception. The Farmington, Michigan native will be tasked with leading the defense from his middle linebacker position. Reese, a solid tackler, is as dependable as they come in the middle of a defense.

Game of the season

September 29th against Mississippi State
Head coach Dan Mullen will return to Starkville to face his former team during the fifth week of the season. The Bulldogs finished 9-4 last season in Mullen’s ninth and final season as Mississippi State’s head coach. The storylines will be plentiful and the two teams should be evenly matched. The Gators are looking to get back to a bowl game and beating a conference foe will be crucial.

 

Prediction: 7-5

Draftnasty’s Troy Jefferson is predicting a 7-5 record and a bowl game appearance for the Florida Gators. Mullen’s crew will fall to some of the upper echeloncompetition in the SEC including LSU, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina. The Gators will also fall to in-state rival Florida State but will win enough games to inspire confidence in the new head coach. 

2018 CFP National Championship preview: Georgia vs Alabama, 1-08-18

This year’s championship game in Atlanta will feature two SEC teams and  two coaches who are familiar with one another.

Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1 overall, 7-1 SEC) will face off against his former defensive coordinator Kirby Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs (13-1 overall, 7-1 SEC) on Monday night.

Both teams are led by stingy defenses.  Each unit ranks top five scoring defense.

Worth noting, Saban is 11-0 against former assistants.

Players to watch

Georgia

3 Roquan Smith LB- Junior

Smith, at 6’1 225 lbs., is a little smaller than a typical first round linebacker but he has typical high-round talent. Smith finished the College Football Playoff semifinal versus Oklahoma with 11 total tackles. For the season,  Smith has 124 tackles, 5.5 sacks and one forced fumble. Smith already has an SEC Championship game MVP under his belt,  and the Bulldogs will need a similar effort to handle the Crimson Tide.

1 Sony Michel RB- Senior

Michel is a threat to take it to the house  any time he touches the ball. In the semifinal against the Sooners, Michel scored the game-winning touchdown and finished with 181 yards and three touchdowns. This year, he is averaging eight yards a carry.

Alabama

94 Da’Ron Payne DT- Junior

Payne is poised to join the likes of Marcell Dareus and Jonathan Allen, former Crimson Tide defensive linemen who have become premier run stuffers at the next level. Payne, at 6’2, 308 lbs., is a space eater and does the dirty work in the trenches that allows the ‘Bama linebackers to roam free. He also intercepted a pass and caught a touchdown against Clemson in the College Football semifinal.

29 Minkah Fitzpatrick DB- Junior

Fitzpatrick patrols the back end for the Crimson Tide and his measurables (6’1, 203 lbs) could make him useful at the next level as a nickel corner and safety. Versatility is the name of the game for defensive backs in the NFL and Fitzpatrick possesses that ability. On the season, Fitzpatrick has eight pass deflections, one interception and one forced fumble.

Prediction: Georgia 13 Alabama 21

—Troy Jefferson, DN Staff Reports