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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Impact Players: This Year and Next

OK, I'm moving today, so a little pressed for time. But, here's a topic for discussion... who were your MVPs this season for the Dawgs?

Here's my quick list...

Offensive MVP: A.J. Green. I almost had to pass on the star receiver since he was essentially a non-factor in four of the final five games of the season. But he won the Arizona State game by himself, and if Georgia had lost that one, it's hard to say just how much of a disaster this year might have become.

Runner up: Washaun Ealey. The math is pretty simple: Ealey was on the bench and the Dawgs couldn't run the ball. Ealey starts to play, and the running game improves. Of course, I couldn't simply give this award to Ealey because it belongs to several other players, too. Clint Boling's move to left tackle changed the dynamic of the offensive line for the second straight year; Josh Davis' return from injury made Boling's move possible, and Caleb King not only helped rejuvenate the running game, not only markedly improved his pass blocking, and not only played through a broken jaw for the better part of a month, but served as the key mentor for Ealey throughout the freshman's first season in action.

Defensive MVP: Rennie Curran. The kid gave it all he had yet again, but the bigger problem was the production from the rest of the linebackers this year.

Runner up: Geno Atkins. It was a slow start for the senior defensive tackles, but Atkins was a monster throughout the latter half of the season. Of course, some of that may also have had to do with the improvement made by the defensive ends, Justin Houston and Demarcus Dobbs.

Special Teams MVP: Drew Butler. This is easily the toughest choice on the board as there's a good case to be made for four candidates: Butler, the All-American punter who kept Georgia's offense afloat early by swinging field position; Blair Walsh, who gets my vote as the best kicker in the country; Brandon Boykin, who returned three kickoffs for TDs; Mark Richt, for ensuring Jon Fabris won't be coaching the kickoff team next year. And you can even give special kudos to Bacarri Rambo, DeAngelo Tyson and A.J. Green, each of whom made special teams plays this year that probably decided games.

Runner up: Walsh... with all due respect to the work Boykin did.

Special teams LVP: Marc Curles. As much as I wonder how bad things might have gotten if UGA had lost to Arizona State, it's also fair to wonder how much better they might have been without Curles dooming the Dawgs' final kickoff against LSU with a B.S. excessive celebration penalty.

But... picking the best of this year wasn't too hard. What about the best of next year?

Here's my (very) early guesses at who will take home these honors in 2010:

Offensive MVP: Washaun Ealey/Caleb King. Yes, Green will be great again, but if Georgia is going to win the SEC East next year with a freshman QB, it'll be because the running game played well all year long.

Defensive MVP: Justin Houston. Losing three seniors in the middle just means the beast on the outside needs to be even scarier. I think he will be.

Special teams MVP: Walsh. The Groza Trophy will be his next year... and he'll be booting touchbacks with regularity, too.

A few other break-out candidates: Orson Charles (another big step forward), Aaron Murray, Abry Jones (who will be huge next season, mark my words), Jakar Hamilton and Bacarri Rambo (who finally gets a full-time gig).

So... who are your picks?

24 comments:

BulldogBry said...

David, was it me or did Walsh hit the same mark on every single kick off on Monday? Right side on the 8 or 9 yard line. Aren't those actually the dreaded directional kicks that Fabris wanted? But with better KO coverage?

Anonymous said...

BulldogBry, it sure looked like it to me as well. I am all in favor of kicking it deep, but let's face it, that isn't going to happen on every kick (wind, rain, etc.). The coverage was outstanding on Monday so the short kicks didn't put the D in a bad position. How hard is that with all the speed we recruit? CMR needs to handle STs next year, it could be what gets the 2010 team to Atlanta....it can make the difference in a tight race.

opsomath said...

I also noticed the well-executed kickoffs to the right corner of the field. Also, Bryan and Prince covered their man on many occasions and our KO coverage team got down the field and converged on the return man. Addition by subtraction, indeed.

Anonymous said...

No problem with Atkins as your runner-up, but like you mentioned it could easily have gone to Houston. Once he came back, the whole line played so much better. Should have been 1st team All-SEC.

Next year's offense gives us many a reason to be excited. Can't wait to see what Murray can do. Hopefully he won't have to do much more than hand the ball off. Though our receiving corps is going to be ridiculously deep. (Green, Rodgers, A. White, Charles, T. King, Wooten, Troupe, M. Brown) Don't think Rennie or Reshad will come back but if they do, then I think this team should be the favorite in the East.

Anonymous said...

Agree the line play will be a key next year, and IF injuries don't devastate it, it should continue to improve. Maybe it will be what we thought it would be this year.

When BB ran the kickoff back I called my buddy and asked him if maybe Fabris had gone down to A&M to lend a hand with the kickoffs. I too look forward to deep kickoffs and much better coverage.

I think the real key will be how well the players accept, learn, and adapt to the new defensive coaches and the new system.
Jay

BigMuddyDawg said...

@ Anon 10:35 - I think we get Kris Durham back at receiver for next season as well. And don't forget about Logan Gray!

dawgjammin said...

I think Ealey/King are growing to be a great tandem for the next 2 years. You can tell they have fun together and feed off of each other. You could also see how important they are too each other. When Ealey was hurt on the field Monday night, King ran out to his side. I see these guys with Chapas/Munz paving the way next season. I bet Orson Charles puts about 20lb or more on his frame in the off season and becomes a total beast in the middle of the field.

When Sturdivant comes back, I think they should put him at guard next to Boiling on the Left side. Let hime block up the middle, drive blocking and taking on rushers straight on vs slide stepping to take on DE's. That would but our OL as Boiling, Sturdivant, Jones, Glenn, J.Davis with C.Davis, Burnette, Anderson and Harmon coming into spell the big boys. That should be a punishing line with a great 1-2 punch at tailback.

2010 Offensive MVP: Ealey/King
2010 Deffensive MVP: Houston
2010 Special Teams MVP: B. Boykin (He'll return Punts and Kicks and total 5 return td's)

Riley said...

B. Smith should get a lot more time at corner next year, and hopefully he'll step up. With him and Boykin, hopefully the secondary will be more formidable.

Offensively, Wooten showed a few flashes and it would be great if he and King could provide more breathing room for Green. Orson Charles should just get better with another year, and he could be unstoppable pretty soon.

Young Swole said...

2010 offensive breakout: Aaron Murray, Marlon Brown
2010 defensive breakout: Branden Smith, Marcus Dowtin
2010 Special Teams: Rantavious Wooten

I think DeAngelo Tyson is going to destroy next year also. If not for 3 NFL caliber DT's ahead of him, he'd already be one of the Dawgs top players on defense.

Rob said...

How many tackles did Dowtin have in the ball game? Even with that club on his hand, he was all over the field.

atlDAWG said...

Tough to argue with any of those pics. My question is where do you see players like Gwame Geathers and Marlon Brown fitting in? I understand Brown's HS didn't run quite the complex passing schemes that Georgia does but he's got to have raw talent, right? I think many of us were expecting AJ2 (which of course is exactly what we get for doing so). And was it really a fitness issue with Geathers. Or might we be looking at two more examples of Jasper Sanks?

BZ said...

David, what is the status of Chirs Durham?? Didn't he take a medical redshirt this year so that he could be back for 2010. If so he was pretty good for a white boy!! J/K

Doug said...

Texas A&M's special teams looked, well, special. This might explain our fantastic kick coverage.

Kathleen said...

Hey I can actually answer that question about Durham! I was waiting for the shuttle with his dad... He did take a medical redshirt and will be playing next year. He went up to Detroit after the bowl game to be with Matt Stafford for Stafford's surgery. It seems $40 million can't replace the support of your old teammates...

Anonymous said...

The forgotten man: Bruce Figgins. He got suspended for half the season, then took the rest as a redshirt. He's a pretty good kid who will have motivation to play hard next year. He and Lynch will serve as beastly blocking tight ends, with White and Charles catching passes deep. Go Dawgs!!!

Bourbon Dawgwalker said...

This thread needs some pessimism... unproven freshman QB, inconsistent and shallow o-line, fumbles and turnovers, poor tackling, top 3 d-tackles are gone, no proven lb when Rennie leaves, no consistent option other than AJ... that should do it.

Trey said...

Hey david, do you have any information on these John Chavis stories? Legit possibility?

Anonymous said...

david,

are you moving in with your girlfriend....

Anonymous said...

Bourbon, every season has some question marks in CFB, and you have brought up ours. Depends on who leaves unexpectedly, who is hurt prior to Septemeber, and who develops over the spring and summer. Nothing in that post that alarms me much, but it doesn't appear like such a steep hill to me (I may change my mind by October). The East looks to be UGA and SC as the best returning talent, with KY/UF/ and maybe UT a step behind. Cannot rule anyone in the East out, except Vandy, but the game in Columbia could be very crucial to making the trip to Atlanta.

I like our chances with what we have as a nucleus. It will require a few things to go our way, but our offense and STs look to be the class of the league, and while lacking experience on defense, we have a lot of talent for the new coach to work with. Not to mention a more favorable schedule. Might as well be optimistic, plenty of time to worry next fall.

meansonny said...

Biggest piece of pessimism for next season (biggest question mark) should be our defense.

1) We don't have a coordinator or scheme (yet).

2) Losing 3 hosses up front to the draft. If you can't stop the run... you have to be almost near perfect on offense(penalties/turnovers/converting 7's instead of FG's) to win.

3) More up the middle trouble if we lose Curran and Jones. This makes me nervous when we have to face GT next season.

4) Despite the talent at DB... we're still awfully young. We'll need quantum improvement at getting our heads on a swivel to stop the pass next season (if we played JPW or Crompton with high % completions... we'd have lost on Monday)

That said... everyone has question marks next year. If the kids can stay out of early suspensions and trouble this offseason, I expect a great year.

runnindawg said...

Josh Davis Honorable Mention!

Dawgfan17 said...

Meant to ask this, it seemed to me like we used more starters on special teams which led to better coverage. Was that the case or just a few guys mixed in that I happen to notice?

quaildawg said...

Cornelius Washington began to assert himself in the latter third of the season as well. Dowtin is ready to step up to the next level.

quaildawg said...

one other tha, due to injuries, has drifted into the shadows but expect him to step it up and push the TB starters. Dontavious Jackson. Don;t count him out...yet.