Buck Blanz

Hawks Anchor

By: Buck Blanz

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

A year ago, the Atlanta Hawks were sitting in the 14th spot out of the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference, assuring themselves a lottery selection in the upcoming draft.

Even after making the sixth pick in last year’s draft, the trade the Hawks made prior to the trade deadline a season ago continues to prove to be a win for the future of the Hawks Franchise.

On February 5th, 2020, The Hawks acquired Clint Capela from the Houston Rockets in a four-team deal where Atlanta contributed a first round 2020 pick and second round pick in 2024 while also sending Evan Turner to Minnesota.

A full 14 months later this trade continues to look better and better for the Hawks with Capela’s consistent performances this season.

Capela has been an enormous part of the Hawks comeback season that began after the All-Star break, as well as after firing former head-coach Lloyd Pierce.

Those high-pressure decisions seemed to give the Hawks a much-needed breath of fresh air and are now finding themselves in the top half of the Eastern Conference.

With a little over a month left in the NBA season it isn’t crazy to think Clint Capela could be a serious Defensive Player of the Year candidate this season.

This season Clint Capela is averaging just over 15 PPG, as well as a career-best in rebounds (14.2 RPG) and Blocks (2.2 BPG).

When Atlanta decided to trade for Capela last February they only wished he would come with as much upside as he has.

Capela has been the defensive anchor in the middle of the paint and one of the best rim protectors throughout the entire NBA.

Playing Center in the NBA today is much more challenging for the centers of Clint Capela’s size and much more favorable for the undersized big men like Bam Adebayo and Draymond Green.

With the floor spread it makes centers, like Clint Capela, come out and guard on the perimeter, making them have to handle a high pick and roll action or maybe rotating out to the shooter open in the corner.

Throughout this season Clint Capela has been the difference-maker on the floor for the Hawks.

His ability to protect the rim allows the guards for Atlanta to guard the ball with intense pressure. Capela is currently leading the league in rebounds and third in blocks, hopefully his numbers begin to catch some eyes as Capela is posting numbers similar to the two-time DPOY in Rudy Gobert.

In January, Clint and the Hawks played against the Timberwolves and he was able to get a rare triple-double with 10-blocks in one game, the only issue is the Hawks defensive ability drastically decreases when he takes a seat.

In recent years, it has only been Trae Young’s offense that sold tickets to State Farm Arena, now the Hawks are beginning to look like a complete team again for the first time since 2017.

If Clint Capela is able to continue to post numbers like these, it won’t be long before Atlanta sees their first Defensive Player of the Year award winner since Dikembe Mutumbo went back-to-back in 96-97 and 97-98.

My only question is why aren’t people talking about this more?

Red Terrors’ Devlin

By: Buck Blanz

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The last few years the Glynn Academy Terrors have had successful seasons, but often ending just short of their goals in the GHSA Playoffs.

Rocky Hidalgo and his staff are hoping to continue the regular season success and make a deep playoff push. They will put their best foot forward heading into the 2021 season with a new name under center.

A season ago the Terrors were able to win a share of the region championship and are only looking to build on that success with rising Junior, Tyler Devlin at the helm of the Glynn Academy offense.

Rocky Hidalgo and his coaching staff are looking forward to seeing how exactly Tyler’s game can help propel the Terrors into a state title contender.

Devlin began his high school career at the GISA-AAA School, Frederica Academy, starting as a freshman before deciding to transfer out and attend the much larger Glynn Academy.

Devlin said “he just felt like it was the right time” when asked why he decided to transfer and has done considerably well with all of the different hats he’s had to wear since arriving last fall.

Outside of his baseball season, which he is currently in the middle of, Devlin played JV for Glynn Academy a season ago while also being the backup for the Terrors Varsity team at Quarterback.

Devlin split time with the JV and Varsity team, which had to be difficult while learning a new system but he never shied away from doing what was asked.

Devlin played both safety and wide receiver for the Terrors, while also learning a brand new playbook, further demonstrating to his teammates and coaches that no task is too big for the talented young athlete.

In just a few months, Devlin has created an outstanding reputation within his coaching staff labeling him as a ‘competitor’, as well as gaining the trust of each one of his teammates. This has earned him the opportunity to lead the Terrors out onto the field on Friday nights.

Hidalgo said “he reminds me a lot of Randon Jernigan with how he carries himself and is able to make his teammates around him better”.

Once again demonstrating Devlin’s will to win, but in the right way. Hidalgo also mentioned that while Tyler is not the most outspoken player, he is highly respected due to the fact that when he speaks his teammates listen.

With such high praise from his head coach, Tyler is hoping to make waves throughout the State with his innate leadership skills and how he demands the best from his teammates every day in practice.

In previous years under coach Hidalgo the Terrors have been known for their offensive attack through the speed option, but look for Glynn Academy to have a few new tricks up their sleeves in the upcoming season.

With an elusive man behind center like Devlin, who likes to think of himself as a Johnny Manziel-Esque’ style quarterback, it allows the play calling to be much more creative.

Fortunately for Tyler. these plays will allow him to get outside the pocket often and showcase his skills with his speed and elusive nature.

Although Devlin is a young quarterback, he has a considerable amount of experience in big games. From starting as a freshman at Frederica Academy to seeing some action late last season in the playoffs, Devlin is looking to put his best foot forward heading into his junior season.

Devlin and his coaches have already begun working on his footwork as well as taking the time to sit down and dissect some film to help slow the game down for a talented young man like Tyler.

After the Terrors finished 8-4 a season ago and lost to Langston Hughes in the second round of the Playoffs, Tyler Devlin still has a bad taste in his mouth and has his sights set on something much bigger for next season.

On The Block

By: Buck Blanz

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

To begin the Month of March, the Atlanta Hawks were sitting at a 14-20 overall record. That record would’ve left them out of the playoffs for the fourth straight season if the season ended at the All-Star break.

Atlanta had one of the most aggressive free agencies of the offseason throughout the NBA, by signing guys like Dalino Gallanari and Bogdan Bogdanovic. However, the Hawks have not seen all that much improvement from a statistical standpoint.

Atlanta Hawks General Manager Travis Schlenk has made it clear to the fans that the organization is craving a playoff push throughout the second half of the season.

Beginning with the firing of former Head Coach Lloyd Pierce, who had a record of 63-120 during his tenure in Atlanta.

The Hawks have now appointed an established coach throughout the league in Nate McMillan, who led the injury riddled Pacers to playoff appearances each of the past two seasons without their star players.

Since the Hawks have named McMillan the interim Head Coach of the Basketball club, he has posted a 6-0 record giving Atlanta their longest win streak since the 2016-17 season as well as catapulting them into the seventh spot in the East.

With the trade deadline quickly approaching, (March 25th at 3:00 ET) look for Atlanta to continue to be aggressive with trades as they try to solidify a much-needed playoff appearance for the organization.

The biggest name that has been floating around the rumor mill from Atlanta is the fourth year forward, John Collins out of Wake Forest.

This upcoming offseason Collins will be a restricted free agent due to the fact Collins rejected the $90 million contract extension from the Hawks last offseason.

However, by not signing that extension with the Hawks, Collins has put himself in a great position for a much larger contract opportunity this upcoming offseason with his production of the floor this season.

NBA experts currently have Minnesota and Boston as the frontrunners to land Collins, but the Hawks are hungry for more talent in return that will help them win now.

As much as the Hawks executives would love to be able to flip John Collins’ contract into more young talent, the $4.1 million contract that Collins currently has doesn’t make a lot of options for the Hawks to add another established player to their roster.

Also, I think it’s safe to say that Atlanta would not match offers exceeding $100 million for Collins this offseason with the pool of talented bigs they already have.

Another name that could be added to the trading block for Atlanta would be the young shooting guard, Kevin Huerter. Huerter is a proven shooter, while also a defensive liability for the Hawks. In today’s NBA there are a number of guys who can fill that role.

The Hawks, who are currently 10th in the league in offensive efficiency and 22nd in defensive, would like to be inside the top 15 in both of those areas to put themselves in the best position moving forward.

However, Kris Dunn who has yet to see action this season as well as Deandre Hunter returning from injury by the beginning of April, Atlanta will regain their defensive anchors on that end of the floor.

Although there is no clear picture of how the hawks will attack the trade deadline, it is sure to be an entertaining week as they will explore each and every option possible.

Fountain Of Youth

By: Buck Blanz

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

After three straight NL East Titles, The Atlanta Braves are looking to make it a fourth as long as they can keep a healthy lineup heading into the 2021 season.

A season ago the Braves were just one game away from a trip to the World Series and showing the world of baseball how good this young Atlanta team is, but Mookie Betts and company stood in the way.

Atlanta’s Bullpen fizzled out late in the NLCS against the Dodgers and ultimately turned out to be the breaking point for the Braves.

However, Atlanta was unable to showcase all of their talent last season due to injury. Mike Soroka was an All-Star for the Braves in the 2019 season going 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA, before tearing his achilles tendon just three starts into the 2020 season.

In the absence of Soroka, the Atlanta bullpen leaned on Max Fried, who had a record of 7-0 and a 2.25 ERA last season.

Alongside Fried was the Braves pitching standout throughout the playoffs and into October, Ian Anderson.

Anderson played great in his rookie season and even better throughout his first playoff appearances. Anderson won all three Game 2’s against the Reds, Marlins, and Dodgers before coming up short in Game 7 against the Dodgers.

Hoping these three starters stay healthy for Atlanta, the Braves returning pitchers are a force to be reckoned with.

Atlanta went out and signed Charlie Morton to add to the rotation. Morton is back where his MLB Career began 12 years ago. Morton signed a one-year deal with the Braves to add yet another strong arm to an already loaded starting staff. \

Much like Ian Anderson, the Braves had another young star show flashes of great potential throughout the NLCS against the Dodgers. Christian Pache did much more than what he needed to do when he was thrown onto the field in the NLCS after an Adam Duvall injury.

Since then, the 21-year-old hasn’t flinched and is drawing comparisons from teammates to Braves great, Andruw Jones.

Over this three to four year stint of Braves NL East titles it seems that they have a never ending pool of youth to pull from. It seems like yesterday that Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies had taken the Braves fan base by storm.

Yet, here we are again with another great addition to the team so early in his career. Not to mention, Atlanta is also returning the 2020 NL MVP in first baseman Freddie Freeman, who has been nothing but great for the Braves since he arrived in 2009.

As they should, Braves executives have awarded their Manager Brian Snitker to a contract through the 2023 season for his success since 2016.

Snitker knows the Braves organization inside and out, from the minors to the majors, being around for 45 years gives you that privilege.

However, still on Snitker’s agenda is to bring a World Series trophy back to Atlanta for the first time since 1995.

Tournament Time

By: Buck Blanz

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

For college basketball fans around the country, we are just under two weeks away from the tournament season that each of us felt robbed from a year ago.

Thankfully, the sports world has been able to work around those obstacles and resume play.

With that time of year rolling around again the spotlight appears to be on the SEC Tournament more than recent years due to the fact there is a new frontrunner.

The SEC Tournament beginning March 10th, is held at Bridgestone Arena, in Nashville Tennessee and with Alabama leading the with a 13-1 conference record it is shaping up to be a good one.

Let’s take a look and see how each contender is looking heading into the last week of regular season conference play.

Alabama 18-6 (13-2): Ranked 6th in the country, The Alabama Crimson Tide has dominated the SEC in conference play only giving up losses to 18th ranked Missouri and 24th ranked Oklahoma team in the BIG12 vs. SEC Challenge.

Nate Oats and The Crimson Tide have relied on the “Three and D” play style (often shooting over 40% from three) and it paid off pretty well most of the season with a couple of hiccups recently.

The Alabama squad should be well rested coming off of a double by and not playing until noon on March 12th.

Arkansas 18-5 (10-4): Ranked 20th in the country The Razorbacks are on an eight-game conference win-streak currently with a huge test against LSU on Saturday.

Adding to their win-streak with an impressive victory Wednesday night over Alabama, the Razorbacks appear to be playing their best basketball confidently at the right time.

LSU 14-7 (9-5): This is an LSU team that can flat out score with Guard Cameron Thomas (Averaging 22.7 ppg) who leads the league in scoring, putting up 104 on the Auburn Tigers.

After their statement across the league against Auburn I think they have put the SEC on notice.

Florida 12-6 (8-5): After the unfortunate loss of the Gators key player Keyontae Johnson (Preseason SEC Player of the Year) back in December, many people wrote Mike White’s squad off.

Against all odds Florida has played themselves into maybe a four seed in the SEC Tournament and maybe an eighth seed in the national tournament.

Tennessee 16-6 (9-6): Currently ranked 25th in the country, the Tennessee Volunteers have been famous for their defense these past few years. However, in recent games the Vols are giving up over one point per possession while also being inconsistent with their scoring.

Ole Miss 13-9 (8-7): Considered a bubble team with some work to do, according to Bracketology expert Joe Lunardi, but the Rebels have been on the move recently.

Winning five out of their last six games has allowed Ole Miss to have the opportunity to use the conference tournament to add to their resume for an at-large for the national tournament.

Missouri 14-7 (7-7): This 24th ranked Missouri team is a team that is trending in the wrong direction at the wrong time losing four out of their last five games.

Missouri is another team that will look to try and add to their resume in the SEC Tournament but with quite a bit of work to do it seems nearly impossible.

Kentucky 8-13 (7-7): Obviously Kentucky is considered one of college basketball’s “Blue Blood” programs but has had an unfortunate year nonetheless.

With their only hope at a national tournament appearance is through winning the SEC Tournament, it is fair to say that goal is out of reach.

Teams that are eliminated from an at-large NCAA Tournament bid. Better luck next year…

 

Georgia                  14-9 (7-9)

Mississippi State    12-11 (6-8)

Auburn                    11-13 (5-10)

South Carolina        5-11 (3-9)

Texas A&M              8-7 (2-6)

Vanderbilt                6-13 (2-11)

 

The SEC Tournament starts March 10th and although Alabama has seemingly run away with the regular season, the conference championship is up for grabs for anyone.

Only time will tell if we will get to see an SEC team appear in the FInal Four for the third time in four years.

Descending Hawks

By: Buck Blanz

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Hawk fans across the country seemed to be optimistic about this season with Atlanta looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2017 when they played the Washington Wizards.

In order to reach those goals, Atlanta needs to win games and losing to the Knicks like they did recently 123-112 isn’t going to cut it.

Almost exactly a year ago the Hawks traded for Houston center Clint Capela but fans had to wait until this season to see him in action due to a heel injury.

However, so far this season Capela has averaged 13.9 ppg, 14.0 rpg, and 2.2 blocks per game which, to a team that ranked 27th out of 30 teams in defensive efficiency, is a tremendous addition to a team with great shooting ability.

The Hawks appear to be a team stacked with a young talent, and with young talent in today’s NBA that usually suggests many jump shots.

Atlanta does fall into the stereotype but they do it quite well. Behind the fan favorites in Trae Young, Cam Reddish, and Kevin Huerter, the Hawks have no shortage of shooting.

Hawks General Manager, Travis Schlenk even added depth for the shooters with additions of Gallinari and Bogdanovic, while also bringing in veteran leadership.

The numerous offseason moves made Atlanta look like they were going to be able to compete with everyone this season. The Hawks had people buying what they were doing early on while they were able to hang with the Nets on back-to-back games.

Now, with Atlanta sitting at 12-16 and third in the division (11th in the East), they are just a few spots out of the playoffs and Hawks All-Star hopeful Trae Young wants nothing less.

There is no doubt that Trae Young and company can sell tickets, but in a world where nobody can buy those tickets these consecutive losses seem much larger to the fans at home.

The Hawks are currently on a four-game skid beginning with their first nationally televised game of the season a week ago against the Mavericks.

Since then, they have taken losses from the Spurs, Pacers, and Knicks, all of which by more than 10 points. So, I think it is fair to say that Atlanta is in a slump and giving up 120 points a game isn’t going to make it any easier.

Although Clint Capela is having a career year, he can’t do it all. The Hawks need to have the veteran leadership from Gallinari and Rondo (who just won a championship last season) begin to assert themselves for the young and inexperienced players.

The three best defenders for Atlanta are Capela, Hunter, and Collins, all of which are consistently in the starting five for Head Coach Lloyd pierce. So, while the Hawks added many shooters to try and keep scorers on the floor, they have not been able to add depth and strengthen the defensive side of the ball.

I am not saying it is abandon ship mode in Atlanta, however, I am saying it is gut wrenching time. With the All-Star break a month away, teams and players will be putting their best foot forward to try and set themselves up to be in contention for a top eight seed within the conference while others will look to distance themselves from the pack.

If Atlanta cannot begin to turn things around, Hawks fans will begin to point a finger at someone here soon.

Crean Of The Crop?

By: Buck Blanz

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

It has been three years since The University of Georgia moved on from former head basketball coach Mark Fox and hired Tom Crean, who seemed to be a perfect fit for what the Bulldogs were looking for at the time.

However, looking back at his past three seasons with the Bulldogs, things do not appear to be getting any better.

Before coming to Athens, Crean coached at two basketball powerhouses in Marquette and Indiana also coaching two of the NBA biggest stars to date in Dwyane Wade and Victor Oladipo.

The resume Crean had established seemed promising for Georgia fans and were hopeful to be able to return to the NCAA tournament in a few short years after his hire but so far, the only thing to show for it is a first overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft in Anthony Edwards.

Upon Crean’s hire the main focus of the Bulldog basketball program was to be competitive not only within the conference but also earning NCAA tournament bids and winning tournament games. After a 9-34 start in conference play, it is safe to say that Crean has definitely underachieved to this point.

Crean began his tenure at Georgia by talking about his recruiting successes at Indiana and Marquette with the idea that would be able to do something similar in Athens.

He was able to come through on his quest to sign the nation’s top guard in 2019 in Anthony Edwards.

Since the signing of Edwards, the Bulldogs have let some of the best recruits coming out of the state slip away. Other schools like Auburn, Alabama, LSU and even some mid major schools are poaching recruits from my home state.

However, heading into the 2021 season the Bulldogs had some solid pieces coming back from last year with Sahvir Wheeler and Toumani Camara.

They were also able to add some transfers as well to improve their roster. The Bulldogs began their season with an undefeated 7-0 non-conference record, but their biggest win was against an unranked Cincinnati team.

The Bulldogs dropped to 7-4 after going 0-4 in the first four SEC games of the season losing to Mississippi State, LSU, Arkansas (by 30), Auburn (by 18).

So, it is safe to say that although it was the best start since their 1982-83 season it wasn’t as good as some thought.

These losses triggered some “worrisome” emails in the newly appointed AD in Athens Josh Brooks’ inbox.

Patience is key for Brooks, if you look at head baseball coach in Athens Scott Strickland, who had four straight losing seasons in Athens before the Bulldogs appeared at number 8 in top 25 back in 2018.

Athletic Director Josh Brooks is adamant that if you want to build a successful program ‘the right way’ it takes some time.

Although Crean is just 39-43 overall in Athens, it seems that Tom Crean has the right people believing in his abilities to get the Bulldogs where they need to be.

Signing Day

By: Buck Blanz

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The most challenging year recruiters have ever faced is finally over as one of the most anticipated days for college football fans on National Signing Day came and went.

Alabama was once again able to grab the top ranked class followed by Ohio State, Georgia, Clemson, and Oregon to round out the top-5.

Once again, the legendary Nick Saban brings in the top ranked recruiting class of 2021. Alabama was able to land arguably the best class of offensive linemen Tuscaloosa has ever seen.

Scary to hear those words coming off of a National Championship season as well as landing the third best running back in Camar Wheaton out of Texas.

It feels like Alabama is always grabbing the number one spot in anything football related, and they don’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Saban’s protege, Kirby Smart, has modeled his program at Georgia to be much like the one he came from in Tuscaloosa back in 2016.

Since Kirby was hired, he has been nothing short of a great asset in recruiting for the Bulldogs and this year proves no different as they got their 11th top-10 recruiting class in a row.

The Bulldogs came in at number three this year with a lot of help from the late dual-threat QB commit Brock Vandagriff, who is the latest addition to the very talented UGA QB room.

The other name often mentioned along with Georgia in the SEC east are the Florida Gators.

However, I would say that Dan Mullen bringing in just the 10th best recruiting class this year is a little bit of a letdown.

The Gators had a phenomenal 2020 season through a tough schedule, earning the SEC east championship and a shot at Alabama in the SEC Championship game.

Many of those players have declared for the NFL draft bringing Dan Mullen and company back to the drawing board. However, with the 10th ranked class in this year’s recruiting race Mullen was able to reload in some key positions for the Gators.

Mullen Landed tight ends Gage Wilcox and Nick Elksins as well as bringing in Caros Del Rio and Jalen Kitna at quarterback replacing one of the most famous duos last year in Kyle Pitts and Kyle Trask.

As for the other national powerhouses, Clemson and Ohio State were able to make their presences felt once again by reloading what have been two great programs for the last five to seven seasons.

Lastly, many high school athletes dream of becoming a college athlete but few are able to achieve it. Each recruit signing on NSD is giving themselves an opportunity to make an impact at the next level, make your mark!

 

Congratulations to all of the 2021 signees on the Georgia Coast!

 

Brunswick High School

Amarion Whitefield – Georgia Military College

Tyrease Jones – Savannah State University

AJ Wilson – Georgia Military College

KJ Lee – Georgia Military College

Josiah Bess – Greensboro College

David Newbauer – Greensboro College

Keegan Carroll – Greensboro College

Kyle Rehberg – Rose Hulman Institute of Technology

Kaleb Hampton – Reinhardt University

 

Glynn Academy

Jordan Swain – Georgia Military College

Chase Gabriel – Florida International University

Marvin Dallas – Louisville University

Ryan Seay-Savannah State University

 

MCA

Trenton Johnson-Savannah State University

Ryan Burkhart-Savannah State University

Miles Wood-Washington and Lee University

Khay Loyd-Army

 

Camden

Darryl Williams-Georgia Military College

Deterias Glover-Austin Peay University

Spreading Their Wings?

By: Buck Blanz

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Looking around the NFL as the Super Bowl gets closer, teams that didn’t make the playoffs this season have begun making beneficial moves for their future.

The Atlanta Falcons, much like the Jacksonville Jaguars, had some soul searching to do while figuring out how to put their best foot forward.

Leaving the fans to speculate on what will happen throughout the crucial 2021 offseason for the Atlanta Falcons.

The Atlanta Falcons franchise has a clean slate, without a General Manager or a Head Coach, to make the 2021 offseason the most important in Franchise history.

First, the Falcons hired former Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, who throughout the past two seasons led one of the most balanced offenses in the NFL.

This past season Smith’s offense ranked second in defensive efficiency, fourth in points per game at 30.7 and third in yards per game at 396.4.

Looking at Smith’s numbers alone is encouraging for Falcon fans as they have seen their best offense turn into a stand still through the last four seasons.

Unfortunately for Smith, Falcons fans are not going to be easy to work with as the young offensive minded coaches before him (Sean Mcvay, Matt Lefleur, and Kyle Shannahan) have set the bar very high with little time to make their mark.

Arthur Smith will look to do something very similar in Atlanta as he hopes to turn around a franchise with a horrendous record of 4-12.

After the Falcons found their guy to lead them out of the locker room on Sundays, their next mission was to find the best fit for General Manager for the future of the Franchise.

The Falcons decided to hire 40-year-old Terry Fontenot, who has spent the last 18 years working with the New Orleans Saints in various positions.

Fontenot was most recently acting as the assistant general manager and began in the marketing intern before moving his way up through the ranks.

Fontenot attracted the Falcons attention considering the position by demonstrating tough decision making that resulted in championship contending teams year in and year out.

Where does this leave the Falcons?…

For starters… Anyone that is entering the 2021 offseason $37 Million over the salary cap after going 4-12 the season before is in a rough spot.

That is exactly where the Falcons are sitting, so Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith have their work cut out for them in their first season.

Fontenot’s New Orleans experience shows that he has been a part of an organization that has prioritized winning over money and finding ways to make it work. Given his background and the recent success in New Orleans, it seems like the Falcons franchise is in good hands.

The only question that remains is whether or not the Falcons are going to try and win now or begin to rebuild for the future.

From ownership down to newly hired head coach Arthur Smith the goal is to make it possible for the franchise to establish consistent success.

As far as Matt Ryan and Julio Jones’ future in Atlanta, Owner Arthur Blank says that those decisions are completely in the hands of Smith and Fontenot to be able to create their own clear path for success within the Franchise.

Changing Times

By: Buck Blanz

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Change is coming in Jacksonville and it’s coming fast.

After concluding the 2020 NFL season with a horrendous record of 1-15 (earning them the first overall pick) the Jaguars have quite a bit of soul searching to do.

The Jaguars are looking to hire a new General Manager as well as Head Coach, and with the number one pick most people are looking at this offseason as one of the most important offseasons in franchise history.

The first two items on the list for the Jaguars this offseason is to find a Head Coach and General Manager, but not in a rush.

Jacksonville has been given an extremely unique opportunity to gut the franchise and rebuild to a talented roster all in the same offseason.

While it is a unique opportunity for Jacksonville, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a tall task. Ideally, the Jaguars would like to look for candidates that will be able to engage with the young talent within the franchise getting them to buy in, in order to create a winning culture.

The Jaguars met with former Ohio State and University of Florida Head Coach Urban Meyer about the Head coaching position. Meyer has since begun to put together a coaching staff in case he is able to get the job.

If the Jaguars do decide to go with Meyer, the Jacksonville fans as well as Meyer are going to have to deal with a few changes.

Meyer would come out of college having won three National Championships and a record of 187-32 as a college coach, which is incredible. However, in the NFL a three loss season is terrific where at Ohio State he might’ve been fired after three losses in a season, so both the fans of Urban Meyer and Meyer himself will have to be ready to handle some tough losses.

Also, throughout Meyer’s coaching career he has been one of the best recruiters, but that won’t transfer to the NFL very well, Jaguars fans will quickly be able to see how Meyer is able to develop the talent given.

All-in-all, whoever is able to get the Head Coaching job for Jacksonville next year is faced with turning around the worst record in franchise history.

The Jaguars are looking for leadership throughout the offseason, the franchise needs a clear vision and a plan of action for the franchise to get back on track.

For many fans, getting back on track would mean executing with their first overall pick this year.

Having said that, the Jaguars don’t have a good track record in recent years with quarterbacks, Jacksonville has passed on two marquee picks in Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes.

With the Jaguars getting their first number one pick in franchise history this upcoming draft they are looking to capitalize on it, helping change the culture.

However, fans will get more insight as to how Jacksonville will use their first overall pick after they find a General Manager and Head Coach.

Jacksonville is looking to greatly improve their status heading into the 2021 season and hoping to compete in another AFC title game in the near future.