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 (12:01 PM)
All right y'all, let's get going. Hope everyone is doing well.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who do you think is the Best Georgia Bulldog that is Right Now Playing in the NFL?
David Ching (12:04 PM)
It's probably A.J. Green, right? Second in the NFL in receiving yards. Stafford has got to be up there. And Geno Atkins is another guy to keep an eye on. He had a pretty good year last year.
David Ching (12:05 PM)
While we're on the subject, Blair Walsh is 7-for-7 on field goals in Minnesota and is the first rookie in NFL history to hit a FG from 50+ in each of his first three games. He's a nice kid, so that was cool to see him get it turned around like that.
David What kind of discipline will Mike Bobo get for the recruiting violation he committed recently? Hopefully he will get fired.
David Ching (12:08 PM)
I actually was just talking to Greg McGarity about that. No big deal. Usually UGA tennis matches have free admission, but NCAA Championships matches have an admission fee. Honest mistake, although Bobo can't recruit off campus for a month.
Jeff (Villa Rica)
Is Malcolm Mitchells transition back to offense a product of his defensive play, or because the UGA defense is back to full strength with all starters now off suspension?
David Ching (12:09 PM)
He's still going to play defense. Just not as an every-down player like before. Has nothing to do with performance, I don't think. He's too good on offense to keep doing it like they've been doing it now that the secondary depth is back to normal.
How rusty do you think Ogletree & Rambo will be starting out against Tyler Bray
David Ching (12:11 PM)
I'm sure there will be some rust. That would be natural. I'd be worried more about that with Rambo than with Ogletree since Rambo plays center field and a mistake at the back end of the defense can result in a long TD pass. But he's a senior. I think he'll be OK despite missing some time.
The East is poised for the Alabama challenge, which team do think would take them out ?
David Ching (12:12 PM)
They're probably all capable of taking them out on their best day. I'm not sure that any of them would win five out of 10 against them. Georgia probably has the best mix of experience and talent at the skill positions that might make things tough on Bama.
Tom Luginbill (Bristol, CT)
Color me totally unimpressed by this Georgia team. When is the last time they defeated an opponent that finished the season ranked? My money is still on Florida to win the East. No way the Dawgs can go into Jacksonville & knock Muschamp's squad off two years in a row. Is there?
David Ching (12:15 PM)
Good point "Tom." I thought before the season that Florida was a huge game -- second only to South Carolina -- and that's still true. Florida might wind up being better than SC. And all the wins in the world against Vandy and Buffalo won't remove questions about how Georgia will fare against the ranked teams of the league until they actually start beating them. I think they will, but we've still got to see them do that.
Why/how are teams running so well on the Dawgs? Confusing with so much NFL type talent up front.
David Ching (12:18 PM)
Against teams like Buffalo and FAU, I think it was disinterest. Missouri didn't run the ball well at all. And Vandy averaged 2.9 yards per carry, so I don't know that that qualifies as running the ball well, either.
Cathan Renahan (Montgomery, AL.)
How likely is it that Georgia will run the table and compete for the National Title?
David Ching (12:20 PM)
Honestly I'm not sure at this point. We'll get a small idea of how good Georgia is this week and a much better idea next Saturday in Columbia. If Georgia is 6-0 at that point, I'd say they have a really good chance of being undefeated by the time December arrives. But let's not get carried away just yet. South Carolina and Florida are both going to be tough.
Why not move Mitchell back to offense full time? Seems like the corners over there will be fine. I don't see the use of bringing him in a couple of plays on defense. How much of a difference would he reall make? Any example of a player being mainly on offense with a few snaps on defense?
David Ching (12:23 PM)
Off the top of my head, I can't think of someone who predominantly played offense and just a few snaps on defense. Was there a receiver at Ohio State who did that? Chris Gamble maybe? I can think of others who did it the other way around. Anyway, I think A) he's a good option in case anyone is injured B) Georgia plays a lot of nickel and some dime and he'll still be one of their better CB options when they're playing that many DBs at one time.
Jackson Harris (Nashville, TN )
Other than Florida, What Game do you think the Dawgs could possibly lose in the Regular Season this year?
David Ching (12:24 PM)
South Carolina has played Georgia well for several seasons in a row -- and won the last two -- so that visit to Columbia is a big one.
I am a die hard Dawg fan and cannot almost agree with Tom Luginbill. After watching UGA for many years, something is different this year. There appears to be actual enthusiasm and emotion. Can they start fast and play 60 minutes the rest of the way?
David Ching (12:25 PM)
I'd say the odds are against it for every game the rest of the way. They've only done that once in four games in my opinion. But if they figure out a way to start out well like they did against Vandy every week, they're going to be awfully tough to beat. That was a very unique showing in my experience watching Georgia, though.
The worst facet of our game so far seems to be punt returns. Will Richt stick with Malcolm Mitchell back there or will we the more accomplished Branden Smith against tougher SEC-E teams?
David Ching (12:27 PM)
I think Malcolm is probably still your guy for now, but I'm not certain what the thinking is on what they might do moving forward. I really don't know what the deal is with Smith, but he hasn't returned a kick at all. I would have expected him to be back there by now if they were planning to use him.
Sally Johnson (Roswell)
Didn't Jarvis Jones have 2 sacks Saturday? I opened the AJC Sunday and they showed only one, but they are OFTEN wrong. Thanks.
David Ching (12:29 PM)
He tackled the QB in the backfield in the first quarter and I would have thought that was a sack, but it was ruled as a tackle for loss. So one sack is correct, officially.
JW (Atlanta GA)
Have you heard anything regarding Aaron Murray leaving for the NFL after this year?
David Ching (12:31 PM)
That's not something anyone will address in great detail anytime soon. I know the kid is interested. He submitted his name for evaluation after last season. My guess is if he has the kind of season he expects, he'll give it a hard look. He looks like an NFL player right now to me, but his height will always be an issue and that's not something he can fix.
Just want to say I have been impressed this season by the play of Marlon Brown & Chase Vasser, those guys have really stepped up their games.
David Ching (12:32 PM)
Marlon's emergence in particular has been a big deal. It was to the point where I wondered whether he was ever going to make an impact, but he looks phenomenal. He's got all the tools you'd want and he looks great right now.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Are you as speechless as I am about the debacle in Fayetteville? There were rumors about Petrino replacing Phillips in Lexington. Do you see that happening in Fayetteville or anywhere else after the CFB has viewed the implosion of the Razorback program due to his actions?
David Ching (12:34 PM)
I thought Arkansas was a little overrated last year. The West had two good teams and they both stomped Arkansas. But I didn't see it falling apart the way it has this year. I don't know whether Petrino will come back to the SEC, but it wouldn't shock me. The guy is a great college football coach, regardless of what he does in his personal life.
I still feel the DB's play to far off the ball afraid of getting beat deep. Especially Branden Smith. That could be a problem this week. Your thoughts?
David Ching (12:37 PM)
When they do, they're not playing there by their own choice. I think they'd much rather deal with Hunter and Patterson on underneath routes than have to worry about them 20 yards down the field. But I haven't asked Grantham about the philosophy on that.
Keenan (Atlanta, GA)
Can John L. Smith get out of his was long enough to get Arkansas into a bowl game? I knew the Razorbacks would struggle somewhat, but did not anticpate them having losing record after the first month of the season. Are both he and Petrino done coaching at the major college football level?
David Ching (12:38 PM)
Smith might be done as a major college head coach, but I doubt he's done period. I bet we'll still see Petrino again. Too good not to be somewhere. And I don't know about Arkansas making a bowl. They'll have to beat the Auburns and Texas A&Ms of the world, which is not out of the question, but doesn't look like a sure thing, either. I'd probably lean toward no bowl for them at this point.
What would you say is the weakest aspect of the team? Strongest?
David Ching (12:40 PM)
I'm not sure the secondary has been phenomenal, although that's understandable. PAT kicking has been pretty subpar, as has the punt return game. I think the receivers have been even better than expected, as has Aaron Murray, and the OL continues to improve and might be the most pleasant surprise to this point.
Eric B. (Smarr, Ga)
with so many boo birds on coach Richts and Bobos backs the last few years do you think the two coaches have turned the corner and now have the support of all of Dawgnation and not just the loyal few?
David Ching (12:42 PM)
I think they both understand that fans are fickle. As soon as they have a bad game, a lot of those people will be wanting to stab them in the back again. That's why they don't pay any attention to all of that nonsense. Good life skill. Probably the only way to do the job, too.
Andy Woods (GA)
How do you think Theus will hang with the front 7 of South Carolina and Florida?
David Ching (12:43 PM)
That might be the biggest question mark going into the SC game in particular. I'd be surprised if they don't try to help him out some against their edge rushers. He's done OK thus far, but he's got a long way to go before you'd consider him to be a really good player.
David I must say I am impressed by the improved strength & conditioning program. This Sherman guys has some of these players blazing down the field and some of that mixed martial-arts work seems to be paying big dividends.
David Ching (12:45 PM)
They've done a good job, no doubt. I don't think we'll know how good, though, until they get into a fourth-quarter game against a team that's about as good as they are (or better). That's when they wilted last season. They were significantly better than all four teams they've played thus far.
Keenan (Atlanta, GA)
What concerns you most about the Tennessee game this week?
David Ching (12:46 PM)
If I were a Georgia fan, I'd be worried about matching up with their two WRs. Those guys are both going to play in the NFL and Bray can sling it. The secondary has been a bit prone to allowing big plays so far. As long as they keep that kind of thing to a minimum against UT, Georgia will win comfortably. But that's easier said than done.
Can Murray sneak into the heisman race with a big game this weekend
David Ching (12:48 PM)
I think he's already in the Heisman race, but he's got to get it done against the best teams. Particularly SC and Florida. And no game is more important than the conference championship game. Guys often win and lose the award on that last weekend before ballots are due.
Expect the Vols to try go deep early and often, probably even first play to try quiet the crowd. Do you think our secondary is ready for what Bray is going to throw at them?
David Ching (12:49 PM)
Good question. Probably the biggest question. Tennessee didn't do much against them last year, but I think the Vols are better this season. Wouldn't be surprised to see them work the middle with the tight end, either. He's a good player.
David, in your opinion, what is the major difference in this year's team, and last year's? The Dags are playing with a new level of conviction it seems. Could it be the emergence of a running game is providing the balance for the passing attack?
David Ching (12:50 PM)
Thus far, it's definitely the running backs. I think the OL is actually a little better, too, but I don't want to go overboard just yet. Let's see how they fare against the better teams they'll face. They haven't really proven anything yet.
Allan (Austin Texas)
How are the Dawgs looking in recruiting? Are they still in play for any of the 5 star recruits?
David Ching (12:52 PM)
This class is going to be huge. I think there are probably only about 6-8 spots left to fill and a lot of those are going to go down to signing day -- and they're still in the running for a few big-time kids that will decide late. So I don't think there is going to be a ton of news on that front for a while because they've already filled up so much of this class.
Harvey Updyke (Dadeville, AL)
I read on ESPN that this year's Auburn team is their worst since 1892 and first ever to start 0-3 in the SEC. Do you think Brain Van Gorder & Willie Martinez have much of a chance of shutting down Aaron Murray when the Dawgs come to The Plains in November?
David Ching (12:53 PM)
I don't think they have a very good chance of that. Auburn's not very good, although I expect them to get better as the season progresses.
I have seen Jay Rome get a few snaps. what have you heard about his progress and the possibility of more playing time for him?
David Ching (12:54 PM)
Jay's playing a good bit already. He only has one catch, but he's in the game a lot. I still expect him to become an extremely effective tight end at Georgia. He's only four games into his career.
Allan (Austin Texas)
Who is the most likely successor to Aaron Murray at QB?
David Ching (12:54 PM)
My money's on Hutson Mason. Has been for a while. The coaches are really high on him.
Texas A&M was the worst thing the SEC did, just wait....
David Ching (12:55 PM)
How so? As in they're going to take over or as in they're going to drag the conference into the gutter? I think they'll fit in fine, but I don't think Nick Saban or Les Miles are losing any sleep over A&M.
Settle a debate once and for all as to who's better - Gurley or Marshall?
David Ching (12:57 PM)
Hard to argue with Gurley's production. That's who I'd prefer if I had to pick one. I think Marshall's a talented kid, too, but he might have more limitations than Gurley. I think that kid might win a Heisman one day if he stays healthy.
Paul G (Cumming GA)
What are your thoughts on the use of TE's so far this year. Will we see that increase or is it a function of us using more 3-4 WR sets.
David Ching (12:58 PM)
They're definitely not going to the TEs as much as I would have expected before the season, but the passing game is working just fine so far. Lynch should have had a 100-yard game two weeks ago, so it's not like they're absent, either. I think you'll see their opportunities increase a bit as the season wears on, but some of those catches that might have gone to Charles last year are going to other WRs for now.
Rambo Back? (Winder)
What does this tweet just now from Bacardi Rambo mean? "This is the last game then the Return of RAMBO!! So excited"
David Ching (1:01 PM)
Hard to say. It's not like Richt is confirming anything. My understanding is that he was out four games.
JW (Atlanta GA)
How concerned do you think that Gene Chizik should be with his job at this point?
David Ching (1:02 PM)
If they don't make a bowl, I doubt they keep him. Particularly if they get blown out by Georgia and Alabama at the end of the year again. But it's not like I'm privy to some kind of inside knowledge on what they're thinking behind closed doors over there.
Steve Spurrier (Columbia, SC)
You boys started out strong when I first arrived at South Carolina, but now I've taken two straight from ya. Will I be in your heads up here in Columbia, like I was in Gainesville, if we make it three in a row? They sound a little nervous down there in Athens Dave.
David Ching (1:03 PM)
I know this is not Steve Spurrier since he's not speaking to the media these days. Otherwise, I might have been fooled.
Adam Woods (GA)
We all know Georgia has great talent on Defense and that Todd Grantham is outstanding, but do you think they have what it takes to hang with Oregon or Florida State if the time comes?
David Ching (1:04 PM)
Sure. But I'd be more worried about hanging with Alabama. UGA against either of those teams would be highly entertaining games.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you think Mark Richt & Co will turn the corner this year and take the program to that next level similar to what his former employer, Florida State, and Jimbo Fisher appear to have done in Tallahassee?
David Ching (1:06 PM)
I've been preaching patience on here related to Georgia. I'd really say that for people talking about FSU. What have they really done so far? They beat a Clemson team that last season took one of the worst BCS bowl beatings in history. I think FSU is good, but I don't think they're as good as they're being portrayed right now. Mark Richt has more than a decade of mostly great success at Georgia. Fisher has been highly mediocre before this year, so I'm not sure Richt is aspiring to be like Fisher right now. I think it's the other way around.
Peter (Charleston, SC)
What's your gut feeling about the game in Columbia next weekend against my Gamecocks? Seems both teams are playing At another level this year!
David Ching (1:08 PM)
If South Carolina can't throw the ball, they're going to lose. Shaw threw it great against Missouri. If he can do that against UGA and they get that read option stuff working, too, I think it will be a great game.
David, I think you are correct on the DB's. I believe TN will throw underneath and move the ball.
David Ching (1:09 PM)
I'm wrong all the time, but they used the TE Rivera to great success last season. I think their running game is better and they'll try to be just balanced enough to where they can pick their spots to throw deep. If they're going to have a chance to win, they're going to have to hit some vertical throws at some point, though.
As the running backs continue to attract attention do you think teams will load the box(SC&UF) to stop the run? If so can we beat teams with our TE's and Wideouts? Why do we not use the TE's as much is it because of the youth on the O-line?
David Ching (1:12 PM)
That's the key to making this offense work. They didn't have that dimension last year -- particularly late in the season, when they absolutely couldn't run the ball against LSU and Michigan State -- and it forced them to live and die by the pass. If Georgia can run the ball effectively against good teams, their WRs are more than good enough to keep them in it against anybody. I've been very impressed with the receivers thus far, but the running game is what opens everything up.
Shannon (Murfreesboro TN)
This game with the Vols and Dawgs seem a little sneaky, the Vols are better that what people think, GA better bring there A game, both of these teams are pretty even across the board.
David Ching (1:13 PM)
I don't think they're even across the board, but I agree with your premise. Georgia can't sleepwalk through this game and expect to win by any means. Tennessee is much improved.
This may be a bold statement, but looking at our roster from top to bottom, I think this may be the most talented team Georgia has ever had. I'm not saying we won't lose a game, but we're loaded! What say you?
David Ching (1:14 PM)
I'm not educated enough on the program's history to go that far, but it might be the most talented team they've had since I started covering them in 2006. Richt said the other day that his 2002 team was loaded. I'd imagine the early 1980s teams were pretty talented. But I'd agree this roster is loaded. Should be a fun group to watch down the stretch this year.
I think that Michael Bennett is the most underrated receiver in college football. He has shown toughness and will to grab the ball even when he is in a tight space. Since he is leading the receiver corp this year so far, I would have expected more exposure for him nationally. Why do you think he still behind the current so to speak?
David Ching (1:16 PM)
Because his big game came against Florida Atlantic. He's still got plenty of time to garner some attention. If he has a big game against a big-time team, he'll get plenty of love. I think he's a very solid player and people will take notice eventually.
Is it possible that Georgia could go undefeated and still be left out of the National Championship game if FSU and Oregon go undefeated?
David Ching (1:17 PM)
I don't think so. Because of the way the SEC has run the show over the last decade, I'd imagine an undefeated SEC team would get the benefit of the doubt -- particularly if that meant beating an undefeated Alabama or LSU in Atlanta in December.
Can CMR and CG keep the team as amped as they are now all season? It seems like 04 that they seem to hit a platou then fell flat.
David Ching (1:18 PM)
And they did it against Tennessee. Good timing. That's the big question. This team has the same expectations as that 04 team did. Richt has developed the reputation for not getting over the hump at the biggest moments. So we'll see. They've got the pieces to do it this year.
David Ching (1:19 PM)
All right y'all. Another fun hour-plus. Thanks everyone for asking your questions. I'll be back in two weeks and we'll do it again. And if you have any other questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @ESPNChing. Have a great rest of the day.