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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

I've been interested to read the diverse comments on the running back situation from my post earlier today. Other than Dontavius Jackson, I've heard endorsements for every other running back -- including Kalvin Daniels.

That alone should come as a relief to Georgia fans, even the ones who are worried about one player or another. The fact is, there's enough talent in the backfield right now that it's a reasonably safe bet that one or two of them really develop.

And that's the key word, in my mind -- Develop.

One of my biggest pet peeves that you'll hear all the time from sports writers and commentators is the notion of "Who will be the next..." and they finish with things like George Mason or Michael Jordan or Knowshon Moreno.

The fact is, the reason George Mason's run to the Final Four was so amazing is because it so rarely happens. Michael Jordan is still selling $200 sneakers because there had never been anyone else quite like him. Knowshon Moreno earned the title "the best Georgia back since Herschel Walker" not because the Bulldogs employed a stable of second-tier players for the past three decades, but because he was one of a kind.

And yet, it seems like most fans are holding Moreno's replacement to that standard. They want to see a guy step out on the field and not only be able to run like Knowshon did, but also handle all the finer details of the job.

Hey, it could happen, but think back to the years before Moreno came to Athens. How many backs looked that good that early?

No, neither Caleb King nor Richard Samuel blew away the competition last season. But check out their stats again: King averaged 4 yards per carry. Samuel averaged 5.1. Each showed big-play potential at times. Those numbers might have seemed at least a bit impressive if they weren't stacked up against Moreno's 5.6 YPC.

The truth is, none of Georgia's backs have gotten an opportunity to get in a rhythm in a game situation. They haven't had a chance to immediately take what they learned in the film room and execute it on the field on Saturday. They haven't been able to make a mistake, shake it off, and get right back out to work.

In short, they haven't had the chance to develop.

I think there's a good chance that at least two or three of them really do develop into something special. The problem is, thanks to Knowshon, it's easy to forget how long that usually takes.

1 comment:

Brad said...

Definitely agree with you here. All that, plus a year of development and a better offensive line. Throw in the Grayhound (georgiasports blog name for UGA Wildcat with Logan Gray) and a few other offensive wrinkles possible with our newer playmakers and veteran offensive line and UGA ought to be able to move the ball fairly well.