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Monday, May 11, 2009

Plenty of Questions on Georgia's Offense

With Tony Wilson gone and Bruce Figgins out for six games to start the 2009 season, things could get pretty ugly for Georgia's passing game.

How ugly?

Take away A.J. Green and Michael Moore and Georgia's offense this coming season has a career total of 27 receptions... combined!

That's not just the receiving corps either. That's everyone on the offense -- tailbacks, fullbacks, tight ends and receivers. Twenty-seven catches. And you know who the the proud owner of the plurality of those catches is? That would be fullback Shaun Chapas, who has 12 receptions in his career, not counting the time he fell down in the end zone on a wide-open TD pass from Matthew Stafford last season.

Beyond that, Moore had just five career catches coming into last season, and neither he nor Green has proven they can be viable threats without Mohamed Massaquoi, Knowshon Moreno and Stafford to help keep defenses honest. That's certainly not to say they can't be -- but it also is a bit troubling that Green will be Georgia's only offensive weapon likely to put much fear into a defense to start the season.

Even with true freshmen Marlon Brown and Rontavious Wooten coming in, Georgia will still have just six scholarship receivers on its roster in 2009 -- and while both Brown and Wooten could be impact players, neither is a sure thing. Wooten is a Carlton Thomas clone in terms of his physical presence and he still has to show he can get off the line of scrimmage against physical SEC corners. Brown looks the part of A.J. Green version 2.0, but his success in high school came against drastically inferior competition.

Figgins' loss hurts beyond just the passing game, too. There's a real chance that Orson Charles and/or Aron White can make an impact as receivers this season, but neither are prototypical blockers. Mark Richt has even noted that Charles is likely to be flexed out wide regularly and White will be primarily used in passing situations. So who does that leave to handle blocking duties? Freshman Arthur Lynch -- and that's about it.

And maybe all of this wouldn't be too troublesome if Stafford and Moreno were still spending time in Georgia's backfield, but they aren't. The tailback situation remains up for grabs -- and none of the likely contributors have shown they can handle blocking duties consistently either. Meanwhile Joe Cox is the proud owner of just one career start.

Georgia averaged 426 yards of total offense last season. The Bulldogs will be hard pressed to come anywhere near that number this year. Yes, a healthy and experienced offensive line will be a nice change of pace -- but we're also assuming that it will be healthy and experienced. Five starters -- Josh Davis, Chris Davis, Trinton Sturdivant, Ben Jones and Vince Vance -- have undergone some type of surgery in the past nine months, and until they get back into game conditions, it's hard to say for certain how they'll respond. And right now, an awful lot is riding on the assumption that Georgia's offensive line will not only be good in 2009, but great.


Ben Rockwell said...

I just doubled over at my desk with the inevitable sickness at the thought of what could go wrong in 2009. We're so accustomed to winning in Athens that a 3 loss season is cause for a five-alarm panic. What would a 4 or 5 loss season do to us all, esp. if UF repeats and one of the five is to (nothing sucks like) the big orange?


Anonymous said...

Someone is jonesing for an AJC job offer this morning. Ha. The sky, it be falling.

David Hale said...

Ha! As if the AJC would hire anyone at this point (that sky really is falling!).

Not trying to paint a doomsday scenario here, just pointing out that the margin of error is particularly thin this season.

austintwo said...

What about Bryce Ros?