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 (12:03 PM)
Hi everyone. Seems like the season just ended, but we're only about 10 days from G-Day. Time's flying. Let's get to the questioning.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who will be Playing on Special Teams for Georgia in 2013?
David Ching (12:05 PM)
If you're talking about kick return, I think that's going to be an interesting thing to watch moving forward. I think a name to watch there might be J.J. Green. Malcolm Mitchell is still the incumbent, but Green has impressed in spring camp and they might like to find a way to get the ball in his hands. Otherwise, they've still got Morgan and Barber at kicker and punter, so that's not going to change for a while.
David When can we expect Bobo and Grantham take another position somewhere else?
David Ching (12:09 PM)
Well both of them want to be head coaches, but I don't think they're going to take the first opportunity that comes along. My assumption is that it'll be another year or two before the next opportunity to become an NFL DC or head coach comes along for Grantham and maybe another year or two on top of that for Bobo. But that of course assumes that they continue to perform at the level that they have in recent years, and who knows whether they will.
Hey David, is there any reason Bauta didn't have any reps yesterday during the scrimmage? I think he would be an effective wilddawg QB.
David Ching (12:11 PM)
I discussed that with some of the other writers after the scrimmage yesterday, but nobody asked Richt about that. So I'm not sure why he wasn't listed in the passing stats. For all we know, he did throw a pass, though. Those stats they gave out were highly unofficial.
Arthur (Jackson, WY)
Has there been any news on Sony's preference for school choice?
David Ching (12:14 PM)
I don't think anything concrete. Just from what I've heard in discussion with Kipp Adams, I think Georgia sits very high on his list and that he'll announce a decision sometime fairly soon. I don't think that will be one that goes on for a long time.
Is Shai McKenzie actually seriously considering Georgia? Being from Pennsylvania, it seems like UGA would be too far from home to have the same impact as school such as Pitt, Ohio State, etc.
David Ching (12:17 PM)
Every kid is different. It sounds like he was really psyched to get a UGA offer, but he's been stockpiling those things from just about any big school you want to mention lately. The thing that works for and against Georgia is that Hartsfield-Jackson can get you just about anywhere you need to be in relatively quick fashion. There are a bunch of kids from Georgia who are looking at Ohio State. I don't see why it should be any different for kids from that region looking at Georgia, either.
Ben (Ponte Vedra, FL)
Do you think the defense can be as good as Jordan Jenkins and some of the guys are saying ? And if so how good can this group be ?
David Ching (12:20 PM)
Eventually, sure. I think the big question is can they be as good as Jordan and those guys are predicting in September. Because that's the key to the season. Clemson's a pretty tough opponent for Game 1 considering it's on the road and it brings back some pretty tough skill talent. I think they're going to wind up being very good as the season moves along. There's a ton of undeveloped talent for Grantham to turn into another good defense.
Frank (New Orleans)
Tray Matthews is strong against the run and has solid skills in zone coverage. Can he exit the spring as the starter at safety?
David Ching (12:21 PM)
He started yesterday. Every player I talked to -- like seven kids from both defense and offense -- mentioned his name. At this point, I'd be surprised if he's not starting either in Week 1 or very early next fall.
David Ching (12:22 PM)
Or I should say a total of seven kids, some from offense and some from defense. All of them were raving about Tray's play this spring.
James (Athens, Ga)
Did anyone in particular stand out in yesterday's scrimmage?
David Ching (12:24 PM)
Aside from Tray Matthews, there were a few on both sides. Chris Conley made a couple of big catches including a long touchdown and a big one on third-and-long. Sheldon Dawson got beat for the Conley TD, but he also picked off two passes and took one back for a touchdown. Ray Drew got credit for two sacks, but said he actually had three or four. Jordan Jenkins and T.J. Stripling both got credit for two sacks, as well. By and large, it sounded like the defense had the better day, but the wind was apparently really bad in the stadium.
Let's say some of the underclassmen decides to enter the draft after next season, do UGA still sign a small recruiting class?
David Ching (12:28 PM)
I'd imagine that's going to determine just how small the 2014 class will be. Right now it looks like it's going to be really small. Like around a dozen or so. But we don't know how many kids will fail to qualify academically from the 2013 class, we don't know how many kids will get kicked off the team or transfer and we don't know who might leave early for the NFL (Swann? Mitchell? Someone else?). Generally you might expect another three or four spots to open up that way. Maybe more. I'd think it would be reasonable to expect the class to be around 15 and maybe a little bigger, but there are too many variables in play right now.
any other freshmen or jucos stand out yesterday besides Tray?
David Ching (12:30 PM)
Reggie Carter and Reggie Wilkerson both made interceptions yesterday, I think. John Atkins got credit for a sack. Richt said Jonathon Rumph was in the process of making a big play after a catch when a referee blew the play dead for a sack. Those are things that immediately come to mind.
Tyler (Monroe, Ga)
How's Michael Bennett looking coming off his injury?
David Ching (12:35 PM)
Well he's on the practice field, but he's still in the rehab phase. Usually when we're on the field during practice, Bennett is working on the side with a trainer doing agility-type drills. But I think he's progressing just fine with rehab and is apparently still on schedule to be completely cleared this summer.
Does it look like Malcom is going to be playing both sides of the ball or just 1 and if just 1 which side?
David Ching (12:37 PM)
Richt says he's a receiver only now. He made a comment like he thinks Malcolm can be one of the best receivers in the nation and they want to give him the opportunity to focus on that one position -- which is the one he wants to play -- and see just how good he can be.
Will Malcolm Mitchell play in the NFL? If so, what position do you think? Also, where was JHC playing yesterday? Did he play well?
David Ching (12:39 PM)
I think he will. The kid is so explosive with the ball in his hands. So I'm going with WR. But Grantham insists he could be a top-tier corner if he played that, too. On Harvey-Clemons, he started at strong safety I believe. I think he played some in that nickel role, too. Not sure about how much OLB.
Frank (New Orleans)
Looking at his performance yesterday is Hutson Mason capable of running this offense?
David Ching (12:41 PM)
Absolutely. I think he actually had a pretty good day yesterday. Take into account that A) it was the first scrimmage, B) it was his first scrimmage to practice with the first-team offense, including several guys that he doesn't get to throw passes to very often and C) apparently the wind made it tough for them to put the ball in the air. I think they're very confident in Hutson Mason whenever he gets the chance to play.
What 2014 recruit is on the top of UGA's wishlist?
David Ching (12:47 PM)
That one's tough to say. Because RB is a position of need, you'd think they want to land at least one great one (Sony Michel would be a great start, but there are some other great options) to prepare for the eventual departure of Gurley and Marshall. And then there are some great in-state defensive players that they're really going to have to work for. I don't know who they rank highest among them.
So do you take Huts on Mason over Joe Cox? Remember a lot of people saying some of the same stuff about Cox.
David Ching (12:53 PM)
I was probably one of the ones saying that kind of stuff about Joe Cox, truthfully. The answer is that you never know how a kid's going to handle the job until he has it. I think Cox was a very good leader for the 2009 team. He was just erratic in some bad spots. I think Mason will be a good leader next year and he might have a little bit better arm. Plus the kid is a hurry-up offense pro who can spin it. I'd think the ceiling is higher for him, but I can't say that with any certainty because we just don't know.
Harris (Albany, GA)
What do you make of Raekwon McMillian's tweet about the Dawgs?
Frank (New Orleans)
Do you agree or disagree with Raekwon McMillan comment on twitter, "if they were able to keep more big time recruits in state, they would be a no brainer"?
David Ching (12:57 PM)
Since you asked the same question, I figured I'd just post both and then answer. Where do you guys think that seed got planted in his head? Do you think he just came up with that out of the blue in his own mind? I don't. Georgia gets negative recruited that way and it stinks for Georgia, but I don't know what they're supposed to do about it. There are a ton of great players in the state and Georgia's probably only going to get about 15 of them most years. He's one they'd really like to get, but he's got no shortage of good options.
David Ching (12:59 PM)
The recruiting process is nothing short of bizarre. We're adults seriously discussing what a 17-year-old said on Twitter about your favorite football program and whether what some negative recruiter told him is a serious issue. If they listen, yeah, it's a serious issue.
Joe (Columbus, Ga)
Do you see South Carolina beating UGA AGAIN this year?
David Ching (1:03 PM)
That's a long time from now. I won't have any strong feeling on either team until we see them play in Week 1. Particularly whether Georgia's defense is functional against Clemson. But I can't say I'm blown away by South Carolina's skill talent without Lattimore and Sanders. Plus their defense lost about as many starters as Georgia's. Clowney is ridiculous, but they've got a lot of questions to answer, too. So on paper, you'd think Georgia will have a pretty good chance since it's at home.
David Ching (1:10 PM)
All right everybody. Thanks for dropping by over the last hour. I'll be back on the Wednesday after G-Day. Come visit and let's discuss what we saw.