Chat with David Ching
Welcome to DawgNation! On Wednesday, reporter David Ching stops by to chat about the state of Georgia football.
Ching joined ESPN.com in 2011 after six years covering Georgia for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer and Athens Banner-Herald. He lives in Athens, Ga.
Send your questions now and join Ching Wednesday at noon ET!
David Ching (12:00 PM)
Hi folks. Hope everyone is doing well today. Let's get started. First time as a chat moderator here, so bear with me.
Two Questions @ Georgia's tight-ends:1) How do you expect UGA to utilize their tight-ends this year (compared to last year)? 2) How is Jay Rome looking? Is he as strong as he could be and know the playbook well enough since he missed off-season workouts due to basketball? In other words, did his participation in basketball set him back as a FOOTBALL player?Thanks.
David Ching (12:02 PM)
I doubt you'll see the TEs running vertical routes down the field quite as much. Putting Orson Charles up against a linebacker was a mismatch for the defense. But I still think they'll throw the ball the TEs way quite a bit. And I think Jay is going to catch a lot of those passes. He still participated in spring practice and all of summer workouts, so I don't think he was behind. Kid looks like a player to me.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
How do you think that Georgia will do in College Football in 2012?
David Ching (12:03 PM)
Chris Low posted a best case/worst case video related to Georgia the other day and said best case was going 12-1 and winning the SEC title. Worst case was 8-4. I'd agree with that. Not a ton of perilous games on the schedule, but if they beat Mizzou in Week 2, I think this could be a special season.
Tyler (Athens, GA)
David What is the update on Derrick Henry? Is he now leaning more towards Bama than UGA?
David Ching (12:04 PM)
My buddy Kipp Adams -- our DawgNation recruiting guru -- would be the best person to answer that, but that is my understanding.
Has there ever been any talks between UGA officials and UT (Longhorns) about a home and home. I'd love for the DWWGS to come to Austin just once. I know they set these type of games up several years before beIng Played though dOnt know if it's ever even been discussed
David Ching (12:07 PM)
I think conference expansion will make those marquee non-conference games even more rare. I'd love to see Georgia play Michigan and Texas and USC, but we'll have to see how scheduling philosophies change if SEC teams start playing a nine-game schedule. I don't know whether they've talked with Texas. Not to my knowledge. It looks like they might still play Ohio State, though. I believe that's in 2020-21?
Please tell me Malcolm Mitchell Will be running routes this year and not defending them....he has great hands and abilty to break away from defenders. Why would we move him to CB?
David Ching (12:08 PM)
Pretty sure he's going to be doing both a good bit. I think cornerback depth was a concern and they were a little more confident about what they had at WR. My guess is that he'll play more offense than defense before too terribly long, but I've heard he's already one of their better corners. Might as well get all they can out of him, I guess.
Jeremy (North Carolina)
Will the Dawgs ever wear the black Jerseys again?
David Ching (12:11 PM)
Honestly...I hope so. I think the black jerseys are pretty cool. I'm sure there are some superstitious fans who don't want to see them ever again after the Alabama blackout, the Florida debacle in 2009 with the black helmets and the Boise game last year. But a uniform is just a uniform. They should break out the black for Auburn when they play at home or for the homecoming game. As long as they don't make uniform changes this mystical thing with some meaning other than that it's just a uniform, I think it would go over well.
Dan, dallas, ga [via mobile]
do u think our running back situation will b stong enough to make a run at the sec tital?
David Ching (12:13 PM)
I'll put it this way: I don't think the running back situation will be the obstacle that prevents Georgia from making a run at the SEC title. I'm not saying I think Georgia will be bad in either of these categories, but I'd say offensive line and the kicking game are the two areas to watch. If they fare well in those, I think they'll win the SEC East again.
Georgia has a lot of potential Early Enrollees. How does the 85 scholarship limit affect this? There are 76 on scholarship now I believe, so does that mean only 85 can be on ships come January?
David Ching (12:15 PM)
Right. It sounds like the magic number of early enrollees Georgia has in mind is nine. If they have 76 now, adding nine at the midyear would still put them on the right number. Then they could count those backward (since they only had 17 qualify from 2012 class) and still bring in a full boat of recruits in 2013. The math there makes my head hurt.
Max (Jesup, GA)
Any chance UGA gets some looks at Brandon Harton at PR?
David Ching (12:16 PM)
I haven't heard that as a possibility. My guess is that Branden Smith will be your guy there, although I've heard Malcolm Mitchell and a couple of other guys have practiced there. Maybe Rambo and Sheldon Dawson?
Chris (Beaufort, SC)
When will we find out on the possible suspensions and how long are we talking about?
David Ching (12:18 PM)
I'm really not sure there. I would be surprised if we heard anything before the first game. They aren't discussing it and it's really hard to tell how they view previous incidents under university policy, so I don't even feel comfortable predicting possible length of suspensions. I just don't know for sure.
Who do you see being the starting two (or three) at WR and how do they all look in practice?
David Ching (12:20 PM)
Rhett McGowan made a comment the other day that I thought makes sense about the WRs. He said WR coach Tony Ball says that when you're in the game, you're the starter. And that makes sense with this group. I think Tavarres King and Marlon Brown might be 1 and 2, but you're going to see a ton of Bennett, Conley, Scott-Wesley, Wooten. Maybe even Tibbs.
David, what % would you give Theus starting from game 1? I know Richt said he is working with the first team now.
David Ching (12:20 PM)
Probably about 95 if he doesn't get hurt. It looks pretty solid that they're planning on him starting the opener.
Does Richt giving these walk-ons scholarships impact the number of guys UGA can sign for the 2013 season?
David Ching (12:22 PM)
No. They're one-year renewable scholarships and they only give out enough to walk-ons that it won't affect what they're planning to do with the upcoming signing class. Otherwise more walk-ons would have received scholarships the other day.
If Ga does go 8-4 is Richt right back on the hot-seat?
David Ching (12:22 PM)
I'd say so. This is not an 8-4 schedule with the amount of talent this team brings back.
When are the DAWGS at LSU next?
David Ching (12:23 PM)
I don't think they've settled on a schedule rotation beyond this season. I think that will be coming this fall and we should get a better idea then.
David - when will CMR honestly go public with the details of the suspensions? Is he going to wait until the pre-game show of the Buffalo opener?
David Ching (12:24 PM)
This is just a guess, because he's not talking about it...We'll find out when somebody is not suspended when he's on the field playing and not before then. I could be wrong. I hope I'm wrong. But that's my guess.
Saw some comments from Nick Glass - alluded to the fact he was unhappy about all the safeties UGA is bringing in. Any issue there you think?
David Ching (12:25 PM)
Maybe. Kids look at depth charts when they decide where to sign. But he's not going anywhere until 2014. Georgia needs safeties now.
How many backs do you think U.G.A bring this class and what is the percentage U.G.A signs Crowder do you feel tge chances are over 60% for Crowder
David Ching (12:26 PM)
I think I've seen Kipp say that they could sign two in this class. He's our recruiting expert, though. I don't know which way the wind is blowing with recruits usually.
I'm a little worried about Hall being the starting FB this year. Last season Bobo underutilized Figgins and Tree - will we see that position continue to be ignored outside of blocking of course?
David Ching (12:28 PM)
I wouldn't say they were underutilized. Figgins still made some good things happen as a receiver, which is what he was comfortable doing. Their main role is blocking and they still did plenty of that. I wouldn't hand Bruce a handoff on third-and-1 either. He's a tight end. I expect them to run the ball with the fullback a little more starting again this fall.
Do you think Ty Flournoy Smith will have an immediate impact for us this year?
David Ching (12:29 PM)
I do. I think they like his receiving skills and they only have three scholarship tight ends. They probably want to play at least four over the course of the season if everyone stays healthy. I talked to him the other day and he's already gained about 10 pounds, up to the high 230s, and if he continues to improve as a blocker I think he'll play a decent amount this year.
I am worried about this special team unit, my Gawd, both freshman. Please instill some confidence that these whippersnappers Morgan and Barber can get the job done and save our whatchamacallits.
David Ching (12:31 PM)
I mentioned earlier that that area is a bit of concern and that's why. It's a lot to ask of a freshman. Both kids have big legs and Richt played a big role in recruiting them both. Morgan was his guy. I remember him telling a story about seeing Barber's punts from his office window and thinking it was Butler punting. Went down there and realized who it was and I think Barber left town with a scholarship offer. I guess you just have to believe that he knows what he's doing.
dawgontap (tucker-dawg incucator)
Talk to me about Austin Long, Dave. Seems to have disappeared, even thOugh they say he is healthy.
David Ching (12:32 PM)
Yeah, I don't know what the deal is there. Richt and Bobo both made comments late last week about how he still has work to do. He's been out of regular competition for a long time so maybe it's just part of the process of returning to competition.
Hey Dave....We appreciate all the hard work brother!!I know we had some OTFI that led to suspensions and dismissed players....but do you get the sense that there is some true leadership on this team and that this 2012 team has an edge... a focus that seems different than the past 2 years? I have not been too optmistic in the past and i am sort of afraid too....whats your opinion?
David Ching (12:34 PM)
I thought the team last year had pretty good leadership. Bouncing back from 0-2 was a really big deal. And I think this one does too. It seems like players rally around Jarvis Jones and Cornelius Washington and Aaron Murray. My guess is they'll be fine there.
Do you guys at DawgNation ever sleep? I noticed Kipp and Radi were up past 2:00AM last night, doin' work!
David Ching (12:34 PM)
Kipp and Radi are freaks. I don't know how they do what they do. I'm just along for the ride.
Sanders (Cannon AFB, NM)
You said you agreed with Chris Low's prediction of 12-1, what team do you think will give Georgia it's one loss and why?
David Ching (12:36 PM)
Just playing the odds, I'd go with the game at South Carolina. Gamecocks have had Georgia's number lately. I think Georgia could run the table, but I would never predict that. 11-1 or 10-2 would be a very good season, I think, and would probably get them back to Atlanta in December.
I see Bobo will coach from upstairs this year. Good or bad?
David Ching (12:37 PM)
Good. Murray doesn't need him in his face on the field. I always marvel at coaches who can call plays from the field. Your vantage point is so much better upstairs. I think guys like Petrino and Spurrier who can do it from field level -- and do it really well -- are pretty much geniuses.
Keith (East Hall)
Do you see my boy Sterling Bailey earning much playing time this fall? I know we are deep on the D-line. Hoping he has a full recovery, he tore it up for the Vikings.
David Ching (12:38 PM)
I think so eventually. He's added a bunch of size. Probably still needs to keep working on his new position at DE, but I think he'll play some this year and probably add more snaps as he goes. Grantham has complimented him several times when I've asked about him in the past.
Dave, great work my man. If you were a betting man, what % would you put right now on Murray coming back for his Senior season? I heard he is in the 2-year grad program now.
David Ching (12:40 PM)
Oh I don't know. I think he'd like to try the NFL if he has a really good season, but he's not the type to talk to reporters about that. He put his name in to get evaluated after last season, though. Unfortunately for Aaron, I don't know what his ceiling would be as a draft prospect because of his height. NFL teams get kind of judgmental about using a high pick on a guy who isn't 6-5. Still happens sometimes, but not that often.
Do you see JHC getting some playing time as a true fresh? Would love to see him get some goal-line chances on O as Richt said on signing day.
David Ching (12:43 PM)
Definitely. He's been working in a nickel role and this "star" position you might have read about. Also at safety a bit. The great thing about him is how many different things he can do on defense. You can line him up in that nickel spot and he has the ability to rush the passer or play in coverage. Grantham loves that kind of versatility. I've only spoken to him once this preseason and he said they hadn't worked with him on offense yet, but he's still hoping to do that some this year.
Keenan (Atlanta, GA)
Do you think the consistent suspensions and off the field distractions will prevent the Dawgs from seriously contending for the SEC/national title?
David Ching (12:44 PM)
Not like Georgia hasn't dealt with that stuff before. As long as it doesn't keep happening once the season starts, I think they'll be fine. Aside from Mizzou, early season schedule isn't that scary.
Keenan (Atlanta, GA)
Is CFB introduced to Jay Rome in a big way in 2012?
David Ching (12:46 PM)
I'll predict that he's introduced in a medium way in 2012 and that it becomes a big way before too terribly long. I think Jay Rome is going to be a big-time weapon for them, but the jury's still out I guess. Some writers disagree with my assessment.
Bdawg (Lagrange, Ga)
Are there anymore WRs on UGA"s recruiting board and if there is who and what are the chances of signing them.
David Ching (12:47 PM)
I asked Kipp that one. He says keep your eye on Marquez North and Jonathan Rumph. He thinks Georgia would take both if they can get them.
What is to keep the SEC from joining forces with a couple of other power confrences and telling the NCAA to take a hike.Why not split all that TV money amoung the top 48 teams and say sorry to the rest?
David Ching (12:50 PM)
Wouldn't that be interesting. As long as college presidents are the folks making the decisions around these places -- and they always will be -- I have a hard time seeing that happening. They get really touchy about the overemphasis of athletics over academics. That would be the doomsday scenario where they were finally just honest and admitted that college football is a business and they abandoned the charade that they're still running an academic enterprise with college sports.
Rod (Atlanta GA)
Who will lead the Dawgs in the backfield this year?
David Ching (12:51 PM)
We had a roundtable question about that last week. I think Ken Malcome is the starter in Week 1, but I predicted Todd Gurley would be the leading rusher. I think Malcome, Gurley and Marshall will all get a lot of carries. Still not sure how everything breaks down with Samuel, but I think he'll still be a tailback first and a fullback second.
Keenan (Atlanta, GA)
Who would you rate as the best defensive lineman upfront for the Dawgs, John Jenkins?
David Ching (12:52 PM)
I think he's the biggest difference maker. He was exactly what they needed last year and the line got a lot better because he was there. I think Abry Jones and Cornelius Washington are both going to be very good this fall, though. I'll still take Jenkins, but I think all three starters and some of the reserves will be pretty good.
If Murray does indeed stay for 2013, do you see Mason or Lemay transferring for more playing time?
David Ching (12:54 PM)
Pretty sure Mason's here for the long haul. As far as LeMay, I'm not sure. That meeting room is going to be pretty crowded over the next few years. If he shows out this fall and goes back to being a backup, I guess it's something he'd have to consider.
Andre (Roswell, GA)
Is Christian Lemay the #2 QB on the depth chart entering the season? How has he looked in spring and fall camp?
David Ching (12:55 PM)
As of right now, I'd say Hutson Mason is still the No. 2. I think as they get into the early season, they'll probably give LeMay more and more second-team reps. We don't watch competitive drills in practice very often, but I think they think he's doing all right. Not well enough to be ahead of Mason right now, but not too bad.
Bdawg (Lagrange, Ga)
Is it true that CMB took some OC classes this offseason to help him learn how to break down opposing defenses and just to be a better overall OC?
David Ching (12:57 PM)
I haven't heard that. Coaches often talk with other folks in the business to hear some outside ideas. Like UGA did this offseason to fix their special teams issues. I think Bobo's a little bit underrated as an assistant coach, though. I know most UGA fans don't want to hear that.
Hey Dave...you said early schedule is not scary but Vandy scares me....They will come in juiced, they will have motivation from the Franklin vs Grantham fued last year, and they were very close to handing us a big fat L last year....does that game scare you as a let down for the Dawgs?
David Ching (12:58 PM)
No. Not really. Vandy's OK. I'd say that's about the sixth or seventh most likely loss on the schedule.
We all know that Mitchell is going to be playing both ways at some point. Depending on suspensions, when do you think they will make that serious shift and do you think he can perform like we need him to at both?
David Ching (1:00 PM)
After the first two games, I think they'll do whatever they want with him. Will probably depend on injuries and whatnot. But Richt has said he could see it being even a 50-50 split. I think they'll play him where they think they need him most on a week-to-week basis.
Fever Dawg (Eustis, FL)
I have a pretty good feeling now going into the season. Is there any news on Kolton Houston and what about some of the the redshirt freshman. I never hear about Zach Debell, how is he progressing.
David Ching (1:01 PM)
Haven't heard anything new on Houston, but he is practicing with the team. Coaches have mentioned Xzavier Ward several times. Doesn't sound like he's completely healthy yet, but they like his potential. Not a lot of buzz about DeBell lately. He missed pretty much all of last season too, so I'm sure he still has a lot to learn.
Ryan (Macon, GA)
Are LSU and Alabama really that much better than the best in the East.
David Ching (1:02 PM)
I'd say they're both better, but I don't think they're light years better like they were a year ago. We'll see in December I guess.
Does CMR generally hold a team prayer at the start and/or end of practice? Proud to have him as our leader of men!
David Ching (1:02 PM)
Not sure. They had one before starting the scrimmage last week. I'd guess they might gather up and say a prayer at the end of practice, but I'm never out there then.
Expectations are high this year, reminds me of 2004 with the Pollack and Greene team. South Carolina and the Missouri games are the worry games in my book, is there any other games we should worry about in the SEC schedule?
David Ching (1:03 PM)
I'd put Florida, Tennessee and Auburn next on the list. I think all of those teams will be better this year.
Bobo UNDER-rated? Did Honey Badger let you light up some of his synthetic stash David?
David Ching (1:05 PM)
I figured somebody would take exception to that comment. When Georgia has a good offensive line, Bobo is exactly right for what Mark Richt wants. The problem is they haven't had a dominant O-line in years. This is my seventh year covering UGA and I don't remember them having a dominant O-line once. Kind of hamstrings the offensive coordinator when the most important part is inconsistent.
Fever Dawg (Eustis, FL)
Do you think Malcolm Mitchell is looking like he can be an all american at corner or do you think he goes back to offence full time when Sanders commings comes back. Because Mitchell without a doubt has all american talent on the offensive side of the ball. Or can he truly be a dominant player on both sides of the ball.
David Ching (1:06 PM)
I think he'll be a star wherever they play him. Eventually they're going to have to decide where he can help them most and I think he'll start getting more snaps there. He'll have to be pretty dang good at corner to be better there than he would have been at WR. That's where I'd put him the most, but it's obviously not my call.
The REAL question we all want answered - how long wiill Richt keep the goatee? Love it man!
David Ching (1:07 PM)
Sorry to disappoint you, but he already shaved it.
Brad (Richmond Hill,GA)
Do you think Tray Matthews will de commit with all the other safeties coming in?
David Ching (1:08 PM)
I wouldn't think the other safeties coming in would affect that too much. The cupboard is almost bare at safety after this season. They need all the help they can get and he'd have as good a chance as anybody. If not better.
Andre (Roswell, GA)
What do you think of the 27 secondary violations Alabama just reported? There not "major" violations, but that's a bit excessive, don't you think?
David Ching (1:10 PM)
It's pretty easy for that stuff to happen. That seems like a high number, but it's fairly insignificant stuff in the big picture.
Marlon Brown really stepped up last year in the Vandy victory. Will we see this senior challenge TK12 as one the leading WR's on this squad? Has the height and speed to make it happen!
David Ching (1:11 PM)
It seems like Marlon has never been healthy. I'm sure he'll be walking on eggshells between now and the first game to try to enter the season in good shape. I think he'll have a pretty good year as long as he doesn't get hurt. It's hard to predict, really, because he's never done much aside from that one game.
Why, oh why was Penn Wagers in Athens for a scrimmage? He has clearly shown the largest bias against UGA of any SEC official.
David Ching (1:12 PM)
You know, I never asked about that. I think referees work practice games just the same as players do, to get ready for the season that's about to start.
David Ching (1:13 PM)
All right folks, that was fun. That hour-plus flew by. I'll be back in two weeks and we'll do it again every other Wednesday throughout the season. Y'all have a great day.
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