Boom, shu-lock lock. You “gotta lock ’em down” in college football. In all football, really, unless you want to be consistently whipped by number-one receivers every week. Any college squad worth its salt has a dangerous primary receiver. It’s best to identify that guy and get your best cornerback on him as much possible throughout any contest, the way I see it.
Force the ball away from the lead target, because he is the lead target for a reason. At South Carolina (Deebo returns). At Missouri (their QB Lock set SEC TD passing seasonal mark). At the Cocktail Party (it’s IN Florida, after all). In Athens (where we host three rivalry games). Have to really mark their top guy!
The problem UGA’s very complete football team ultimately ran into in the postseason, last season facing Tua and Baker, was playing off of the lead cover guy. You have to cover both sides of the field well, the whole game.
Deandre Baker is a stone cold shutdown corner, folks. The senior is super integral to the overall success of the year in Athens in 2018, as Georgia loses vast depth from a defensive backfield also returning all-SEC caliber safety J.R. Reed. Dom Sanders goes out as the school’s all-time starts and interceptions guy. Aaron Davis was versatile and solid, and Malkom Parrish, self-victimized late in his career, played a ton of quality football for Georgia.
Baker is from south Florida – Miami specifically – which has been a fertile recruiting ground for Georgia, netting amongst others, Sony Michel and “Joystick” from the same high school one year. New this year, runner James Cook, the younger brother of Dalvin Cook, FSU stalwart and one of the stars of “A Season With” (Showtime), a show I know a producer of and watched. If kid bro James has any of that type of competitive fire and sheer athletic juice, as his brother did at the college level…I mean, he’ll definitely have to be played a whole lot. Dalvin was the man at FSU.
The talent uptick, speaking of recruiting, is generally trending favorably under Kirby Smart as Mark Richt’s best annual player rating (average stars) was a 3.67. Even Kirby’s worst one-year average was 3.69, and then he really got it rolling in his second year of recruits, his first full cycle. With the last number one class nationally, Smart cemented his status atop the recruiting pyramid, which is narrow at the top and widens out down over the lesser programs.
Much of the fresh top-tier talent is in the defensive backfield, where Georgia should have a very bright future and has a chance to be good this season. Excited to see Richard LeCounte III playmaking and some bigger DBs on the opposite corner from Baker and also guarding the slot physically.
Roquan won’t be around to form an unbreachable, dangerous middle of the football field. Sanders won’t be there to ballhawk, as he did so amazingly well over the years for the program. Great Bulldog who has not been given enough credit for the team’s success at the end of his college career. Special shoutout to his stepdad, who I partied with at the Rose Bowl. Good times.
It’s Reed, Baker, as known commodities, and whoever else the coaching staff chooses to trust enough to cobble together in coverage and support, this season. Baker’s Boyz better be ready when toe meets leather, in September.
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