Herschel and Boss bark about Jake Fromm's departure, the addition of Jamie Newman, and what it all means for the Georgia Bulldogs football team.
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Welcome to the inaugural edition of The Blawg The Dawgs Podcast. I'm Herschel Gurley. I'm here with my co-host, Boss Dawg - Boss, say hello to the people.
Hello and welcome to the inaugural edition and hope you'll will stay with us for this fun journey.
Yeah, me as well. So we're glad to be here. Just to kind of set this up. We just want this to be a forum where we can talk about topics that are relevant to UGA football, and all things Dawgs and kind of keep this conversation going, Not only during the season but in the off season. So, I guess it's smart to start with how we came to be fans of the Dawgs or follow the Dawgs. So, Boss, why don't you start with your Georgia genesis story and we'll go from there.
So for me, not a UGA alum, just a fan, But, uh, started in the '04 season, you were visiting me at at my alma mater for a clash of our two schools. And after that game was over, we just happened to be watching a Georgia game. We come from smaller college football schools. So, needed a big time college football fix, got interested in it from there and then really took off in Shockley's senior year and really got into it in the '05 season and then kind of went on from there. Been a Dawgs fan ever since. And I bleed red and black.
Highs and lows in that journey.
Yes, very much so.
I think everybody can appreciate that. So for me, similar, we both went to I-AA football program schools. So you kind of need a main attraction on Saturdays. I went to visit some friends in Athens and strictly went to party. Just happened to be the Auburn-Georgia game. Auburn team that had Jason Campbell and Cadillac and that whole crew. And it was the game Odell Thurman took one like 101 yards to the house, interception return right into the Georgia student section where we were sitting and I've been hooked ever since, man. So, maybe I need to get an Odell Thurman jersey. I feel like I'm selling that short by not rocking that. But that's kind of where it started for me. So yeah, well, we're gonna do what we can to give you the best insight we can from from our point of view. And hopefully everybody enjoys it. We look forward to hearing what you all think as well, So let's start at the top here. Obviously, the big story is Jake decided that he's going to forego his final year of eligibility and head to the NFL. I know from some of our conversations that was not a surprise to you, Boss. Why don't you elaborate on that a little
Just from following the story all year and from listening to everything, talking to other people on forums, and reading everything. I feel like from the beginning of the season, his plan seemed to be that he was gonna go before the season. And I know that a lot of people seem to think that his struggles towards the end of the season were going to lead to him coming back. Unfortunately, his struggles during the season were kind of a genesis of the struggles of the whole offense. The entite offense struggled this season. All Dawgs can admit to that. I don't really feel like anything was going to change with Jake coming back. Could he improve his draft stock? Maybe. But Jake is not going to all of a sudden become a running quarterback. He's not gonna all of a sudden become super athletic. He's not gonna run a 4.4 40. Jake is who he is. He's a super intelligent, accurate passer. Most of the time when he has, you know, his number one available. As you and I have talked about for the person that I can most compare him to for the type of leader, the type of person, the type of quarterback he is, he reminds me the most of Troy Aikman. I know that the Troy Aikman-type quarterback doesn't really fit today's NFL, but that's the type of quarterback that he reminds me of. He throws to a spot, not to a person. He expects his receivers to be in in a certain spot. And that's how Aikman was. Aikman was also notorious for being terrible in bad weather because he had smaller hands. Also had great offensive line, great running game. So that's the type of quarterback he reminds me of.
To that point, I would just say, maybe Aikman is remembered differently if he played during the modern offenses of today, right? You know, maybe he looks different in a Sean Payton offense. Or maybe he looks different in a Josh McDaniels offense. Different times, different games.
Exactly, exactly, Aikman wasn't, you know, asked to throw the ball, 35 times a game. I don't think Aikman ever threw for more than 22 or 23 touchdowns because he wasn't asked to. He didn't need to for them to win and Jake's not gonna be a day one starter in the NFL, I don't think he's going to be asked to. Nor do I think he should be asked to. I think he needs to go to a place like the Saints, like the Patriots, to develop, but we're getting off topic. Sorry, rambling, but I feel that, you know, it wasn't a big surprise to me. I feel like his plan all along was to go to the league. And I don't feel like his struggles deterred him very much. Because of the things that I said, I don't think he's gonna be able to improve on them by coming back to UGA for a season. I think we would see the same things, his numbers may improve, but I don't think that you're gonna see his big changes. His strengths are still going to be his strengths and his weaknesses are still gonna be his weaknesses.
Yeah, and I think as we talked about a lot over the course of season, I was the exact opposite of you. I was shocked when the news came out. Obviously, it dropped the same day as the Cade Mays stuff. So that was the first news story that kind of popped up on my Twitter feed. But then I saw Jakes announcement and I 'bout fell off my chair. I just, he always struck me as a four-year guy. And maybe I was just being idealistic about that. I just thought based on his trajectory, he just reminded me, in so many ways, of Aaron with wanting to come back, wanting to finish. But I do think there were some things that happened near the end of the year that gave me a little bit of pause. It hasn't really been talked about officially, anything about it. But you just can't convince me that that injury scare during the SEC Championship didn't kind of cloud his mind a little bit and get him thinking, it could happen that quick. And if that does happen, what is the future moving forward? I mean, I certainly agree with you that he's not gonna change his profile any. He's gonna be who he is, which I certainly think he's an NFL quarterback, and I think he will get drafted. Absolutely. But, he obviously got the draft grade he felt comfortable with, the grade he had told himself that was gonna be acceptable for him to leave, and he rolled with it, and I don't think anybody faults him for that. And I think everybody will remember him for what he is and what he was. And that's a Damn Good Dawg. So, obviously we wish Jake the best and he'll be great and we'll keep rooting for him, whatever jersey he ends up being in. But obviously, with him leaving it left a big hole in that quarterback room. And the smoke had been pretty much since the SEC Championship that the coaching staff had been talking with different transfers. And finally, it comes through that Jamie Newman has has signed with the Dawgs, which, if you follow college football at large, you know he played at Wake Forest, in Dave Clawson's offense. They did some big things this year. What are your thoughts on that transfer, Boss? How do you think he's gonna look in a Georgia offense next year?
Well, I think he's going to fit what the transition of the offense is going to look like. I think that bringing in this type of quarterback really shows that Kirby is hopefully going to take his imprint off the offense and just let the offense be and, you know, let it evolve into the modern college style. But, boy, as much as I love the '17 team, I feel like for Kirby, the worst thing that happened was maybe getting so close to the title and not winning. And honestly, I think that the worst thing would have been for the evolution of the program would have been if Kirby and the Dawgs would have won the '17 title because the game has moved past that style of football. There's no longer games where you can win throwing for 41 yards a game or throwing a limited amount of passes, such as when Georgia throttled Tennessee in '17 41-0. There just isn't games like that anymore, unless you're playing a lesser opponent. College simply doesn't work that way anymore. You have to be able to throw the ball and you have to go throw the ball downfield. Newman's biggest strength, everybody talks about his legs and how he's gonna bring a running element, Jake could run the ball. Jake, for whatever reason, this year they chose not to run the football, and I think the biggest reason that no one ever talks about. look who was behind Jake this year. As much as everybody talked and raved about Stetson Bennett - I don't think that the coaching staff trusted Stetson enough to let Jake run the football and risk injury. That's just my opinion.
The transfer shows that, right? I think their pursuit of transfer options from the portal showed that because if if they had felt confident with Stetson Bennett, then they would have said this is gonna be Stetson's show. We're gonna let him roll and go with it. And I do think it is very telling, 'cause I know folks have talked a lot about, well, what about, you know, D'wan Mathis, which, obviously, with this health situation, I think it's too soon to even consider him for that role. Now, I think maybe he could evolve into that one day. But, they know they don't have a Jake Fromm on that roster who could walk in as a freshman and capably lead that team. And I think it also shows they have urgency with the defense that's gonna come back. And I think that's why they went and got Jamie Newman. I mean, I think Jamie Newman allows them some things that even though he could move, I don't know that Jake was a play extender like Jamie Newman has the opportunity to be. And with all the edge talent they have coming back, whether it be George Pickens or Demetris Robertson or hopefully, you know, a healthy Dominic Blaylock and then all the freshmen that are coming in. You hope that there are some unplanned successes, right, where he moves a little bit, breaks the pocket, and these guys can kind of improvise, and we bust some more plays. It just felt like to me, the offense this year was very stagnant. Not a lot of big explosive plays. And I think that's part of the allure of Jamie Newman is that that could happen. I did see a stat that was really interesting. He had the second best tight window percentage in all of college football behind Joe Burrow, which, I think all Georgia fans are familiar with tight windows for receivers this year. So that was interesting to me, I was I was happy to see that.
Another thing that I go back to with the the legs aspect of it is the one thing that does excite me is the fact that the zone read this year was pretty much non-existent for Georgia, mainly because everyone knew that Jake was not gonna tuck it and run. He just wasn't gonna do it, whether it be because of the risk of injury or what have you. Everyone knew he was not going to run the ball. So everyone teed off on the running back every single time. The end crashed every single time. Because next season there will be the threat of the run, I think that this year Georgia will be more confident with the quarterback room. Now you'll still have Stetson Bennett. Hopefully, you'll have a healthy D'wan Mathis. You'll also have the incoming freshman Carson Beck. It'll be a much more competitive quarterback room behind Jamie Newman, as opposed to behind Jake from this past year.
Absolutely. I think I think there's some validity to that. I think obviously the hope is that Jamie stays healthy all year and kind of takes the mantle of the starter and runs with it. Obviously, that's what's best for the team and they get some rhythm and they roll, man. So I'm looking forward to seeing it. It makes the spring game, I think, a lot more intriguing because you kind of get to see a new guy. It sort of reminds me of the two spring games with Jake in '17 and then Justin in '18, their first spring games. Kind of getting to see what the new guy looks like and and where all that sits. So that'll be fun. Come mid-April, I'm seeing they're projecting like April 18th for G-Day, even though currently unannounced. But that's the projections, so that'll be great. Hopefully they'll be on ESPN or the SEC Network, everybody can check that out. One final note on Jamie Newman. Boss and I are big fans of this company in Nashville called Seven Six Apparel. Seven Six released a shirt shortly after Jamie's announcement that he was going to be a Dawg that was just the word "Newman" across the front in the Seinfeld TV show font, which I thought was fantastic. And, just a postscript to that, I was listening to Seth Emerson a couple days after that, and he dropped this nugget about Wayne Knight, the guy who played Newman on Seinfeld, is actually a UGA grad. So, love that. He went to Cartersville High School, the same high school that Trevor Lawrence went to and played football there, actually. I think the the marketing department, sports marketing department, with UGA Athletics is really dropping the ball if, for homecoming, they don't have Wayne Knight come on campus and do the coin flip or something like that. That would be an epic picture of Jamie and Seinfeld's Newman standing beside each other holding the game ball, or something like that, would just crack me up.
I think that would be a great chance for the fans this year to get a you know, a Newman chant going or something like half the stadium do "New" the other half do "Men." I think that'd be a great chant this year.
Yeah, I'm here for that, I'm here for that. All right, we'll transition away from the quarterback. Let's talk about an area that maybe folks don't really highlight, an area that's maybe not as sexy, but certainly there's a couple of big holes there, with Charlie Warner and Eli Wolf leaving after graduation, news came out that the Dawgs added Tre' McKitty from the transfer portal, was the tight end at FSU, which is obviously great, especially with the news of Darnell Washington coming. And they kind of get two big guys that can catch the football out there. What do you think there, well, let's let's just stay with Tre', what do you think Tre's addition could mean to the offense and to the team?
Well, Tre's edition also signifies the change in offensive philosophy because he is more of your pass-catching tight end. You know, bring in an Eli Wolf last year, you know, signified more of your status quo. He was more of your run blocking tight end, and Eli Wolf when he came in last year, was PFF's third highest rated run blocking tight end the year before in 2018, of I remember correctly, something like that, he was really high up there. So as tight ends go, when he was at Tennessee, bringing him in meant more of you know he's been brought in as a run blocker. Now, he really contributed as a pass catcher in certain games as well. But I feel that bringing in McKitty really shows that the transition to the different style of offense that Georgia is going to run. McKitty is most famously known for that weird play for Florida State last year, where he would happen to be the unfortunate person that was standing backwards in the formation. Watch this guy's film guys. He is a very, very athletic, tight end. He's like 6'4, 245, can run. He is a mismatch for most linebackers. Unfortunately for Florida State, he just didn't have anyone to throw him the ball. I feel like, you put him with Darnell, and if nothing else, it gives us a veteran player that you know, has played in college football and knows the ropes. That kid, if nothing else, gives Darnell Washington a leader for a year, has another guy there for a year to at least help him in some way. Show him the ropes because Washington is gonna be several thousand miles away from home. You know, learning not only learning in the college game, but learning the college life so that could be a big transition for a kid, especially that far away from home.
Yeah, I'm glad you brought up the point about the transition in the offense to more of a pass catching offense. I noticed multiple people say, which is funny - Coach Richt said it when they interviewed him about Tre' McKitty - but the buzz word that tells you that he's not a run blocker, people keep saying he's a "willing run blocker", meaning he's a team guy and will do it if asked to, but that ain't why he's on the roster. Just cause he's a "willing blocker", that doesn't always mean that he's able. So I thought that buzzword's been funny. Willing blocker? Um, yeah, he'll get in your way. He'll take up some space. But he's not gonna be having a lot of pancakes on the stat sheet. I do think your point is, is relevant about the fact that he can catch the football, that he will be a target. I do think one of the undersold stories in the regression of the offense this year was the absence of Isaac Nauta. You know you say what you want about Isaac, but he he was somebody the defense at least had to gameplan for from a vertical perspective, so he could occupy the safety, keep them away from, you know, doubling up on the outside receiver. That is just not something that was there this year. Charlie and Eli did just fine, but I wouldn't call either one of them a vertical threat or somebody you had to really, really game plan for up the seam. And I think that Tre' and Darnell will both provide that. So it may create some windows for open receivers that weren't there, just based on the level of athlete that's gonna be at the position. I think the other thing it does, is it really makes for some intriguing options offensively to try and scheme some guys open because you're gonna have two guys that are, from a roster perspective, tight ends, but may be able to move around and do some things, whether it be crossing routes or quick digs that you just wouldn't otherwise see from a traditional tight end, especially in that SEC build. So, I think it's exciting. It's always good to see guys that have one final bite at the apple, that last transfer year, choose to come play for Georgia. So I'm excited to see what Tre' does, and, uh, you know, hopefully he puts up video game numbers and gets drafted and rolls on. So I'm excited to see that.
There's also one other thing about Tre' before we move on. You know, we really have no idea what Georgia has in Fitzpatrick and Goede at this point. And it has come out that Goede is going to play baseball in the spring.
I saw that.
So with that happening, he's gonna miss, you know, probably the majority of spring practice, the majority of spring meetings. I mean, that takes out that's what, four months, depending on how far Georgia goes. Hopefully they go to the College World Series. But that takes out another four or five months that he's gonna be away from football. And you know, that's time away that he could be, bulking up and developing as a tight end for Georgia. So that makes this McKinney transfer all the more important for the beginning of the season.
Yeah, I will say, postscript on that, I did see a note, some further depth on that. Apparently, he will be with the baseball team until spring practice officially begins, and then he will stay with the football team through the G-Day game, and then he'll go back to the baseball team. But I still think your point is valid because even not being in that regular football mode, whether it be in the lead up to spring practice or post spring practice, you know, I think it matters. I think also to there were some durability concerns with both of them last year. So just the fact that the the tight end room is buttoned up with two guys, and two bigger guys, I think will be great for the composition of the offense and the things that it will allow them to do schematically. So, yeah, that's a great point. So let's finish up with, I just want to talk about the defensive returns because obviously, the lack of success we had keeping people on the offensive side, the inverse occurred on the defensive side with big names that came back. Rat Trap Richie, Richard LeCounte Eric Stokes, Malik Herring and Monty Rice - all big gets to come back, and I feel like it's almost like getting four extra recruits in your class. And guys, you already know what you're getting from them. So, uh, how excited does that make you about the 2020 defense and kind of how things will look on that side of the ball?
Well, this defense was going to be stellar without these guys. I mean, just with the talent that was coming back without these four, then you throw in these four and it has a chance to be the best in the country again, points per game. It has a chance to be even better, as Kirby likes to say, havoc plays, you throw in LeCounte coming back, he's now gonna go back, and he's gonna go back into his spot. But he's gonna go into the J. R. Reed role as the leader of the defense. Stokes has really been, since he took over the starting role last year from Tyson, been the best defensive back on the field, and then this gives you three legitimate cornerbacks to just rotate as needed between him, Campbell, and Daniels. Then you throw in Tyrique Stevenson, who is gonna be really hard to keep off the field because any time he's on the field, he's all over the ball.
He's a grown man.
:ike I really don't know how you keep Tyrique - oh, yeah, he's freak. Monty's gonna be one of your starting inside linebackers, probably with Dean. And if anyone who's not excited about Dean, I don't know what's wrong with you. Like, honestly, I know he didn't flash his freshman year, but I keep going back to Roquan. Roquan wasn't Roquan his freshman year either? I mean, you saw flashes his sophomore year of what that player he could be. I feel like Dean has the instincts that every time he was on the field, you saw them. But he just wasn't physically there because he got hurt the beginning of the year with a high ankle sprain and just wasn't ready. He didn't really fully recover from that until the end of the season, and by that point, Tae, you couldn't take Tae off the field because he was all over the place and he just earned it. And you're not gonna take Monty off the field because he's really your best linebacker. Malik. Every year you keep saying this is the year for Malik and realistically, I mean, this is his last year, so this has to be it. I feel like Malik could have the type of year that Tyler Clark did last year. Tyler Clark was expected his junior year to really have that big year and didn't. But then his senior year, he comes back and he does have a much more productive year. Still not as good a year as everyone expected his junior to be, but a much more productive year. And you fit more into the team mold of what you know he was expected to do. And he had a huge year, boosted his draft stock. I expect the same thing with Malik Herring next year. Another guy that's not on this list that wasn't mentioned, that kinna just goes by the wayside 'cause he got redshirted and kind of got lost in the shuffle, Julian Rochester. I mean, he's our, you know, he really is the only other guy because we have so many new guys. We lost, I think, five guys graduated this year from the defensive line. Him and Malik and Jordan Davis are now the leaders of that defensive line group, and everybody else is pretty much a pup, even though Jordan Davis might be the largest pup I have ever seen. I still feel that, you know, Julian, if even if it's not his play on the field, shows it his leadership and you know hey, this is the right way to do it is gonna be invaluable for the defense.
I thought that was a big time chess move by Kirby to I mean, you could tell that was deliberate. I know they kept saying it's because of the ACL, hee's not quite there, and blah blah blah. But come on, man. He looked at the depth chart. He knew that the way things were going what the tea leaves read. So I thought that was, he played that beautifully because the games he did play in were all big games. And then, hey, gets to come in and fill some spots there in the middle and I mean, you know, we say that Julian may just be kind of a contributor type, but we don't know that. e may come out and have a monster year. And to your point about Malik. I do think that's true. I do love me some Malik Herring. I think he could be such a stud. I wonder if, within that defensive scheme, you know, I think so much of Kirby's defense, and I thought this was so interesting about how they were all termed the "No Name Defense" this year. I do think there's something to that. I think Kirby's defense, and I've always thought this, is an assignment defense, It requires guys to play their assignment. I think it's why he has such a a love-hate relationship with Richard LeCounte. It's because he can see the tantalizing talent that Richard has. But he also knows that Richard has to play within the scheme, and I think you saw Richard do that over the back half of the season. And, boy, was it exciting to see. And it's exciting to think about what he'll do next year, and I agree with you. I think he does step into that leadership role that kind of goes out the door with J. R. And while we're talking about J.R., let's just also say, Damn Good Dog. Love me some J. R. Reed. What an addition from the transfer portal. I think he'll be one of those guys that gets remembered more fondly as the years go on. I think Richard has that opportunity. I think his narrative is great, too, because he kind of started the good momentum for Kirby's regime, right? I mean, he was the first recruit to say I believe in this guy and I'm coming and he's an in state guy, wearing the Santa outfit, promising all the Florida wins with Jake. I mean, Richard has the opportunity, if they have a special year next year, I think to really cement himself in Dawgs lore when it comes to a legacy conversation. So that's exciting and yeah, I agree with you. I think these are just additions, right? I think that defense was gonna be a monster next year, regardless, just because it played so many guys last year and was so deep, which I think was was valuable. And I think that'll show in spades next year when they come back, rocking and ready to go. Yeah, So I mean, I'm excited, I think with the additions in the transfer portal with what they've got coming back on defense, I think there's a lot to be optic optimistic about if you're Georgia fan for 2020. There's just, the schedule is tough because it's always tough in the SEC, but it's not that bad. I mean, I told you this last week, if you go through that schedule, outside of having to go to Tuscaloosa, do any of those teams really scare you? Is there a quarterback on that list that you really go, oh, boy, I feel like he might hurt our defense? I mean, I just I don't see it, man. If they can stay healthy, they're gonna be in a really, really good spot moving forward.
I agree, I just wish the season wasn't so far away.
I know it's terrible. And it's the worst time of the year. I was telling my wife this, and she's like, I don't care. But my baseball team is really bad right now. So it just makes the gap between the end of college football and the start of college football excruciatingly long. So I am just counting down the days until September 7th in the Benz for them to put that whippin' on UVA. So, yeah, I don't know. You got any closing thoughts today?
I do want to make one comment on the Cade Mays transfer. Honestly, you and I have talked about it. Cade Mays for me, both of us really, you know, I'm not upset about him transferring. I'm upset, kind of the same way I was upset about when Fields transferred. Wasn't upset about Fields leaving, just, if you're gonna leave, just leave. Don't drag the university through the mud with it. This whole suit thing with his dad and you know I understand, if you're gonna file suit you have to do it within the two-year statute of limitations. I get that. But you know, this pinky obviously isn't hindering you, but so much, you know, you're able to go hunt and be able to post all these pictures on social media, talking about Kevin, his father, not talking about Cade. Talking about his dad doing all this stuff. You know, obviously losing the tip of your pinky finger is not hindering you but so bad. You really don't need to drag the university through the mud with a public suit. And it is public knowledge for those people out there who think that you know, the university or people are digging for information. It's not hard to find if you're typing Kevin Mays. It pops up on Google, just saying, so that's the only thing I'll say about it. I wish Cade the best in Tennessee. I hope that when the time comes, I hope he does well every other game, except when he plays Georgia. That's really my only opinion on Cade Mays, have nothing against him for wanting to go home and play with his brother.
Yeah, I'm right there with you on that. I mean, I think I think you know my thoughts on Cade. I think people that were acting like the sky was falling when it's announced that Cade Mays is leaving, I just kind of think, man, that they've recruited so well at that position, it's just that is not a loss where I feel some deep angst about not having him next year. And you know how him and his family choose to deal with that, that's their business. You know, I certainly have my opinion on it. I would have done it differently, but, you know, to each their own. I'm with you. I hope he has a great career at Tennessee. I hope he goes on and has a great NFL career. I just hope that they get their butt stomped in when the Dawgs come to town. So that's kind of where I stand on it, yeah, I agree with you. Well, I just wanna say thanks to everybody for listening. Come back and listen with us next week, we're gonna release every Tuesday, give us a follow on the social media accounts. It's just @BlawgTheDawgs. That's Twitter, Instagram, @BlawgTheDawgs. That's A-W-G on Blawg and Dawgs. We will look forward to spending the weeks of the offseason with you and get everybody ready for the 2020 season. Like we'll say every week. Go Dawgs, Sic 'Em.