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Friday, February 26, 2010

Projecting UGA's 2010 Depth Chart

(Note: Updated 3/18/10)

We're less than a week from Day 1 of spring practice, and we were pretty much told that we shouldn't expect anything resembling a depth chart from the coaches any time soon. That's not a big surprise since so much is still yet to be determined, and we won't know how the pieces of Todd Grantham's new 3-4 fit together until we're at least a week or two into the spring.

But while the final depth chart is far from settled, Georgia's new defensive coaches have met with players individually and told them where they'll be working primarily this spring. And while we haven't confirmed each of those details, we can start to piece together a decent idea of how the roster will look this spring and into the fall.

So, while I caution you that this is in no way official, here's my best guesses as to how the Georgia depth chart will look when the season begins in September. I've noted where players have confirmed their positions.

# = will miss or be limited this spring.
* = incoming freshman, won't be on campus until June.

(Note: With perhaps one or two exceptions, I didn't include walk-ons on the depth charts.)

Quarterback

Starter: Aaron Murray
Reserves: Zach Mettenberger, Logan Gray, Hutson Mason*

Notes: The word from the coaching staff is that this is an open competition this spring, so it's hard to say who will win the job for sure. Still, the reports on Murray have all been glowing, and the common wisdom among pundits seems to be that Murray will land the job eventually -- perhaps as soon as the end of spring practice. If that happens, there's a chance that Gray could move to receiver.

Tailback

Starter(s): Caleb King and Washaun Ealey
Reserves: Ken Malcolme*, Dontavius Jackson, Carlton Thomas

Notes: There will likely be a starter named at some point, and that's likely to depend on how far Ealey has come in his blocking ability. But the nominal distinction of starter and backup doesn't mean much with these two. Both are likely to see a good bit of playing time, and Ealey said he'd like to see both end up with 1,000 yards on the ground in 2010.

Fullback

Starter: Shaun Chapas
Reserves: Fred Munzenmaier #, Charles White, Zander Ogletree*

Notes: Chapas has been a foundation of the Georgia offense for the past two seasons and has this job locked up. He's playing for a shot at being drafted this year, so expect him to be at his best. Munzenmaier should see a few touches, particularly in short-yardage situations, but will be limited this spring. White and Ogletree are the heir apparents at fullback, and could benefit from a bit of action this season, too, as neither has worked at the position in a college game-day situation before.

Offensive line

Left tackle: Clint Boling
Left guard: Cordy Glenn
Center: Ben Jones
Right guard: Chris Davis
Right tackle: Josh Davis
Reserves: Trinton Sturdivant #, Tanner Strickland #, Chris Burnette, Dallas Lee, Kolton Houston, Justin Anderson #, Brent Benedict*, Kenarious Gates, A.J. Harmon, Austin Long #, Ben Harden, Jonathan Owens

Notes: If Sturdivant returns healthy, that could shake things up a bit. Mike Bobo said he plans to view Sturdivant as a luxury, but if that luxury is ready to go in the fall, he'll be at left tackle. So, if Sturdivant moves to left tackle, then what happens? Boling would seem likely to move to the right tackle spot, spelling Josh Davis. But Davis performed well last year and was a big piece to the puzzle of Georgia's resurgent running game. Chris Davis, who has battled a painful hip injury for two seasons, might seem the more likely candidate to come off the bench, but Josh Davis probably doesn't have the size to play right guard as effectively. So does Boling move to right guard, where he played significantly in 2007? Or does Josh Davis go to the bench? And where does this leave Justin Anderson, who has fought for playing time and could be an asset at either guard or tackle? This could be a more interesting battle than most fans expect, but the real fireworks can't start until we see who's healthy come August.

Tight end

Starter: Aron White
Reserves: Orson Charles, Arthur Lynch and Bruce Figgins

Notes: White will likely be the starter in name only. He'll get plenty of playing time and plenty of throws his way, but Charles is too good to keep off the field. Expect to see a number of two tight end sets, often with Charles split out wide. Both Lynch and Figgins are excellent run blockers, and there's a good chance all four of these guys will get a decent amount of action this season.

Wide receiver

Starters: A.J. Green and Tavarres King
Reserves: Kris Durham, Marlon Brown, Rantavious Wooten, Michael Bennett*, Israel Troupe, Chad Gloer

Notes: Durham has experience at all three wide receiver positions -- split end, flanker and slot -- and will likely be used in a variety of roles. Brown needs to show he's matured since last year, but his physical skills are obvious. Troupe and Wooten each had their moments in the sun last year, and with a fairly shallow depth chart at the position, every one of the WRs is likely to see a fair number of balls thrown their way this year.

Nose Tackle

Starter: DeAngelo Tyson
Reserves: Mike Thornton*, Kwame Geathers, Derrick Lott

Notes: This one involves a fair bit of speculation, but Tyson was often cited as the best candidate for the job when Grantham was first hired, and Thornton, Geathers and Lott are probably the best fits at the position among the reserves in terms of body size. None of these positions are confirmed at this point.

UPDATE: Richt and Grantham confirmed Tyson and Geathers will be the primary NTs, but said all the D linemen will crosstrain. And even more intriguing, Claude Felton, Georgia's SID, confirms that the position will be called "nose" rather than nose tackle or nose guard.

UPDATE: As of 3/18 Rodney Garner confirms that Tyson is his projected starter at nose, but said that Tyson, Tripp, Wood and Jones have all cross-trained at both nose and end. Garner said Geathers is the only D lineman who has worked exclusively at nose.

Defensive end

Starters: Abry Jones, Demarcus Dobbs
Reserves: Brandon Wood, Kiante Tripp, Brandon Burrows*, Dexter Morant*, Garrison Smith*

Notes: Dobbs is pretty likely to end up at D end, and Jones expressed a desire to play the position -- which he did in high school, also running a 3-4 on occasion. Those two seem like the most likely candidates for the starting gig, although that's far from settled. Wood could move to NT and that's not out of the realm of possibilities for Tripp either, but neither of those two could secure significant playing time last year and will have to earn a job this season. Of the newcomers, Smith is the most likely to see immediate playing time. He was a defensive tackle in high school, but his 6-4, 250-pound frame makes him a better fit coming off the end.

UPDATE: Grantham says Dobbs and Abry Jones will be at D end, along with Brandon Wood, Derrick Lott and Kiante Tripp. Again though, all will crosstrain.

Inside linebacker

Starters: Darryl Gamble, Marcus Dowtin
Reserves: Mike Gilliard, Chase Vasser, Akeem Dent, Akeem Hebron, Christian Robinson, Richard Samuel

Notes: Gamble told us Thursday that he and Dent were both set to play inside linebacker, but he said he wouldn't mind playing outside, too. Those two will both work at the "Mike" position, which Gamble said will essentially be the QB of the defense. The heavy burden put on this position means that Dent and Gamble, the two seniors, are probably the best fits. Dowtin said he actually wanted to play outside, but that Grantham thinks he's a better fit at the "Mo" linebacker position. He said Robinson was likely to be at the "Mo" as well. Hebron remains a wild card, Vasser is probably a safe bet to be working here, and Gilliard could probably play inside or outside.

Starters: Justin Houston, Cornelius Washington
Reserves: Reuben Faloughi, Montez Robinson, Jeremy Longo #, Richard Samuel, Nick Williams , Demetre Baker*, Jalen Fields*, T.J. Stripling*

Notes: Gamble said Thursday that Houston, Washington and Robinson were all working at OLB along with "a few of the incoming guys." Of that group of incoming freshmen, the most likely to be at OLB -- and also the most likely to see immediate action -- is Stripling. Faloughi has also said he is being moved from DE to OLB, and it could be an exceptional fit for the walk-on with a frame similar to Quentin Moses. Richard Samuel remains the real wild card here. He's just transitioning from tailback, and Dowtin said he could play a little of both inside and outside linebacker. Or there also remains a real chance he could redshirt.

UPDATE: Grantham says Samuel will be at OLB for now, along with Montez, Houston and Washington. Richt confirms that Nick Williams has been moved from linebacker back to safety.

UPDATE: As of March 18, Samuel had been moved to inside linebacker, where head coach Mark Richt said his skill set would be a better fit due to the position's reliance on speed and cover skills.

Safety

Starters: Bacarri Rambo, Jakar Hamilton
Reserves: Marc Deas*, Alec Ogletree, Makiri Pugh, Quintin Banks, Shawn Williams, Nick Williams, Sanders Commings

Notes: Rambo is a virtual lock for the starting job, and Hamilton probably has a leg up because he enrolled early and is a bit farther on the learning curve having played in junior college at GMC. Williams is a nice player who had some good moments on special teams last year. He could be a surprise and push for a starting gig. Banks is the veteran of the group and a vocal leader that new DBs coach Scott Lakatos would probably like to have out on the field. The problem has always been staying healthy for Banks, and he'll need to show he can be a bit more durable before the Dawgs invest too much hope into him.

UPDATE: Richt confirms Nick Williams has been moved back from linebacker to safety, where he began his career. In nickel packages, Williams could still work some at linebacker. Richt also says Sanders Commings will begin spring at safety, although he could see action at corner, too.

UPDATE: Sanders Commings has spent virtually all of spring practice at corner, not safety. Shawn Williams has taken the majority of the first-team reps at safety during spring practice.

Cornerback

Starters: Brandon Boykin, Branden Smith
Reserves: Jordan Love, Vance Cuff, Sanders Commings, Derek Owens*, Sanders Commings

Notes: Boykin is the secondary's lone returning starter, and if he can build on a solid freshman campaign, he has a chance to be an All-SEC performer. Smith appears to be the likely next in line to fill the vacancy left by Prince Miller's departure, but after splitting time between offense and defense a year ago, he still needs to show a bit more consistency before he has the starting job locked up. Cuff is the veteran of the group and has a ton of speed. Love missed much of last year with a toe injury, but his size makes him a good matchup. Both should see plenty of action in nickel situations. Commings has great height, too, and has bounced between corner and safety during his two years at UGA.

UPDATE: Richt says Sanders Commings will work some at corner still, but will open spring at safety. Richt also said that the new scheme will require the boundary corner to work less in run support, which could shake up how the starting jobs are set.

UPDATE: As of March 18, Sanders Commings is back to working mostly at corner. Brandon Boykin said that's been virtually all of Commings snaps so far, and said new DBs coach Scott Lakatos' desire to use taller corners makes Commings a valuable asset at the position.

Special teams

Kicker: Blair Walsh
Punter: Drew Butler
Snapper: Ty Frix
Kick returner: Brandon Boykin
Punt returner: Branden Smith/Carlton Thomas

Notes: Aside from the loss of Prince Miller and a tussle for the starting punt returner job, Georgia will bring back one of the best special teams units in the country. And if Smith, Thomas or another of Georgia's speedsters can handle the PR job, this area could be a huge strength for the Dawgs in 2010. And, who knows… maybe the directional kicking will improve, too.

22 comments:

BulldogBry said...

David, that's a pretty good run down. I know people will quibble about whether Ogletree or Hamilton will start, but I'm sure there will be some spelling (if Ogie is as good as advertised).
You really think T. King will start over Durham?

re: kick offs
we shan't utter the "d" word again :)

Anonymous said...

I think Ogletree will end up at LB.

Thomas Davis would have been an outside LB in this system, and Ogletree will likely do the same after a redshirt year.

I don't think it will be close between Ogletree and Hamilton right now. Hamilton is going to shock those who have not seen him.

It appears that Grantham's number one task in recruiting is getting some true ILB's for the 3-4. I am not sure that we have one on the roster right now, maybe Gamble.

The ideal 3-4 LB is Rolando McClain or Bradie James.

Cobia Quest said...

I noticed you left Jonathan Owens off the list of OL. Is he still around or did I miss an announcement to that regard?

Ginny said...

Our receiving and tight end corps are stacked. Wow. Honestly, if there is such a thing as good conditions to bring in an inexperienced QB, this is it. Whoever earns that job will really have it good. Why is it only February???

Elvis Skinner said...

Am I the only one perplexed by how exactly Ogletree ('tweener SS) could wind up an OLB in this system...and so can Houston ( a true DE on most teams) and Washington (same)...but Gamble is going to probably be ILB (weighs the same as the two aforementioned OLB's)

I assume some crosstrainging will be done for some ILB/OLB ( i.e. Gamble as mentioned) but what exactly is the prototype we are looking for at this position?

Does anyone other than Grantham know?

Anonymous said...

We are all excited about the new D. I am too, but what scares me looking at the projected depth chart is our DL. We knew we were thin at DT coming into this year after losing Atkins, Owens and Weston. With the exception of Dobbs, all of the DL is composed of defensive tackles who have very little game experience.

dawgjammin said...

i believe sturdivant should be a guard this year. the guard position doesn't require as much of the lateral movement that has gotten him injured the past two seasons.

let him move back to LT after Boling is gone. Boiling Sturdivant Jones Glenn Davis would be a heck of a OL with Davis, Anderson coming in as first subs at guard and tackle positions

Kathleen said...

Josh Davis made a HUGE difference last year - I hope he stays exactly where he was. You just have to watch the first quarter of the A&M game to see how much he's needed.

Anonymous said...

Elvis, there are essentially 3 different LB types needed for the 3-4.

Rush OLB-think Lawrence Taylor, Demarcus Ware, Shawn Merriman. This is ideally suited for Justin Houston. He will basically stand up at the end of the line and rush the QB 75% of the time.

Release OLB-this is the guy who plays opposite side. Needs to be able to cover in space, as well as run man-to-man vs. TE's and RB's out of the backfield. Usually a much less talked about player than the rush guy, because he does not get the sack stats, but must be a very intelligent and versatile guy. Has to have the size to take on OT's and the speed to cover.

Inside LB's-similar to 4-3 MLB's, but have to be more versatile. Typical 4-3 MLB reads and reacts, and that is similar to the 3-4. One ILB will typically blitz more often than the other, but they should be interchangeable.

If you look at the Cowboys' defense last year, Bradie James and Keith Brooking far and away had the most tackles on the team, but only had 5 sacks between them.

Anthony Spencer, an OLB was 4th on the team in tackles and had 6 sacks. Spencer is 6'3", 260 and was a very good DE in the 4-3 at Purdue.

Ware was only 7th in tackles, but had 11 sacks.

I don't think there will be much cross-training going on, because each position is pretty specialized. A lot of our poor LB play the last couple of years can be attributed to Jancek's insistence on "cross-training" every LB instead of putting them in a position and letting them become a craftsman there. I imagine that Grantham will bring the NFL style here, and push guys to become artists at their individual position.

Right now, I think most of our players want to be at OLB, because it is more sexy and gets the sack stats. However, as you can see, the ILB's will get plenty of stats.

Ogletree may be better suited as an ILB, but he may be a really good fit at OLB across from a rush guy like Houston.He is already 6'3, 220. He may well stay at safety, but I imagine Grantham and Lakatos will fight over him.

Rennie would have been an ideal ILB. I hate it for him and Geno Atkins that they will not get to play in this system.

IveyLeaguer said...

I, too, suspect we don't have an ideal ILB right now. We may have a Mo but not a Mike. What we need is a Tony Gilbert, but we don't have anything like him, which isn't surprising since, 3-4 or 4-3, we've been recruiting the wrong players on defense for the last 5 years (with a few exceptions).

I can't see Geathers as a 1-gap NT. Wrong body type. To me, he looks like a DE, and if David has the DL divided up about right, we need him there. If he doesn't have the feet and quickness for DL, he moves to OT.

I expect Ogletree to be a safety, if he has the speed. Right now, I would bet on Brandon Boykin and Sanders Commings as the starting corners. Smith is still too immature, IMO, and Commings may beat him out anyway on the field.

I've been a big Q. Banks fan since he's been in Athens, but by the time he could show he's durable enough to be counted on, his career will be over.

Is it me, or is A.J.Harmon starting to look like a bust?

~~~

Anonymous said...

IveyLeaguer,

I like Commings too, really played well on the 7-8 plays that CWM let him on the field last year, plus his size will be a great asset.

Another thing about that, is that if Commings is good enough to start, that may give the coaches enough flexibility to play Branden Smith on offense a lot more. I know he did not hold on to the ball well enough, but his explosiveness is unparalled by any player we have had since Champ. It would be interesting to see what he could do with 10 touches a game.

He is a guy that opposing defensive coaches will have to spend 15 minutes of practice on every day of gameweek. If nothing else, the threat of him, AJ and the running game will further help whoever is playing at QB.

Harmon will just be a RS Soph, no? For most elite programs, even bluechip OL don't have to play a major role until their 3rd year in the program. Unfortunately, we got "Calloway-ed" so badly that we have had to rely on freshan at an inordinately high rate. I would not give up on AJ just yet.

I agree with you somewhat on Kwame, however, it is best not to bet against those genes. While it is totally illogical to think a guy of that stature could be quick enough to play nose in Grantham's 3-4, just remember the name on the back of his jersey and what kind of athletes those guys are.

Anonymous said...

David, in my opinion, having one day of practice before a two week break seems like a wasted day. Why didn't they start after spring break ?

Kathleen said...

I would think one practice before spring break might be a good reminder to the kids if they have real work to do over the break. I bet that practice keeps a lot of kids in the gym during that week "off". Also, the coaches might get a look or two at some things they'll want time to think about during that week.

JMO

Anonymous said...

Thanks David. Any news on Justin Anderson being moved to NG? He seems such a natural fit physically and isn't challenging to start on offense.

IveyLeaguer said...

Anonymous, you're a good poster, you should come up with some kind of name.

About Kwame, I meant no disrespect to his ability or lineage. I know he can play, but since I haven't seen him I don't know for certain if he has the feet for defense. I suspect he does, and will end up at DE. But there was some talk out of Athens last year about whether he had the quicks for defense, although he was in such bad shape I don't know anybody could tell. We'll see shortly.

But I don't think, at 6'6", he is what we want at Nose, if I get what we're looking for in 1-gap NT. He does, however, look really pretty at DE.

Agree about Smith on offense, but he has to prove to me he can take care of the ball, like you said. On defense and ST, he has to prove he can think and keep a cool head. Some of those faux pas were really stupid. But he was just a freshman, and obviously not that well coached through the years, a player who was always the guy that did anything he wanted on the field.

But as soon as he matures, he can get on the fast-track to becoming great, IMHO.

~~~

Ben Dukes said...

A couple of things...

Trinton Sturdivant:

In my mind, he's not a starter coming out of the gate. His durability is a HUGE question mark, and I don't want our OL built on a shaky foundation. The lineup we closed the year with was solid, and if those guys are healthy, I think THEY are the front five. Sturdivant can bolster that line, and given less PT, he'll be less likely to be injured. You don't ever want to WORRY about your OL being fragile. Fragility has NO PLACE in your offensive front. Would you build a castle wall on a cracked foundation? Sturdivant was a stud as a freshman, but in the ultimate "What have you done for me lately" world of college football, he's not even in the discussion. He is a luxury, a good guy to have on the bench who can work his way BACK into a starting job for his senior year.


Kwame Geathers - As for his 6'6 height not being right for the middle of the line....

WHAT????

Do you remember a couple of guys named Marcus Stroud and Richard Seymour? These guys were both 6'6 and 320 in college. Kade Weston? 6'5 320. There is absolutely NOTHING that says a 6'6 320 guy can't have quicks...and if he doesn't have "quicks"...you think END is a better fit for him? NEGATIVE. His size and strength will give him an advantage in a bull-rush to the quarterback, which is something you want. If you collapse the pocket from the center, you force the QB to either throw the ball away, or roll out to your speed pursuit.

As for moving Kwame to OL, come on. Do you know what kind of position shift that is? Not only are the plays drastically different, but so are the fundamentals and even the mindset of the player. Kinda like putting Richard Samuel at RB, when he's a much more true LB. Yeah, he's fast enough to play RB...but we all saw that he didn't have a RB mentality. His best run? Straight up the gut, untouched. If a single defender had been in front of him, you can bet Richard Samuel would have lowered his head, run into the guy, and been tackled...bye-bye 80 yard score, but hey...nice hit.

Justin Anderson on Defense - there's a killer instinct required to be on defense. This instinct has been typified by players like Kendrell Bell, Thomas Davis, David Pollack, Greg Blue, Rennie Curran. Does Justin Anderson have it? I think you'll see that Richard Samuel does. But I don't know about Anderson.

Many times, fans look at players' measurables and think "why is this guy this position instead of that other one"? Look at the roster, and you'll see that the measurables on each side of the ball are relatively similar. But, there is an ATTITUDE factor that many people don't understand. I was watching some recruiting films with a young friend of mine this season, and he was going on and on about guys he was being recruited alongside, and why THEY were getting all the attention. I told him quite simply to compare his film with theirs...and honestly judge, not IF the job got done, but HOW it got done.

THIS is what is important. What it all boils down to, at this level, is that the majority of the players on the team CAN do what they're asked, but they're going to play based on HOW they do it. A turn-out block is a turn-out block. But, there's one guy who's gonna turn a guy out and release him...and there's another who's going to drive him to the sideline. A tackle is a tackle. But, there's one guy who's gonna drag a kid down by his belt, and another who's gonna knock him off his feet, wrap up, and drive him into the ground.

When you start talking about position changes and where a kid is suited to play, it's best not to look at his vital statistics, but his game of football. Jared Lorenzen was a 6'3 290 lb guy. Shoulda been a center, right? Nope. He played QB. In the NFL. That was his game.

Dawgfan17 said...

I can't remember what year it was but a few years back (2005?) we had 3 OT that were all really good so we played 2 of them only at one side or the other and had the third rotate between the two sides. Each of them played almost exactly 2/3 of the plays. This kept them all fresh and they did a great job. With Boling seeming to be able to flip/flop sides without really having any let down, it would see that if TS is healthy you start him at left, start Boling at right and then when you bring in Davis flip Boling over to left to spell TS. Maybe until TS has played a few games you rest him more than the other two. Seems to me this would be the best way to handle this situation, but again that is only once TS has shown he is fully healthy. For now Boling at left and Davis is right is the only way to prepare for the season.

SamoaDawg said...

Guys, I'm telling you, Kwame is not suit to play end. Too slow, feet are not nimble. I think he'll be a back up for the next 3-4 years at nose. He's better off at OG. But, he wants to play defense. Don't get me wrong, I hope he proves me wrong. He'll have to work his azz off to fend off other big guys.

If y'all haven't seen Ogletree play, omg, he's a Greg Blue caliber... faster and better ball skills. I like him at safety. I think he's comfortable at S. Gosh, with Rambo, the Hitman, Banks, Makiri, Sanders and Williams, goodnite! We'll be tearing up some friggin heads in the secondary. I can't wait.

IveyLeaguer said...

Well, that was my point all along. It's been rumored that Kwame is slow and his feet aren't that good. I don't know because I haven't seen him play. Even so, he was way overweight and in terrible shape last fall - that affects quickness and feet. We'll know shortly one way or the other.

I'll say again: if he has the feet and quickness for DE, he'll play there. If he doesn't, I don't see him playing NT either, at least being any good. He'd be better off at OT, and there's nothing wrong with that.

We'll see soon enough.

~~~

IveyLeaguer said...

It's still too early, but it looks like I was wrong about Geathers at DE, and some of you guys were right. They're starting him out at Nose.

It'll be interesting to watch however. I'm hoping he's got the feet to do it and will be a great player there. It's a critical position.

But if his feet aren't really good, I hope we don't waste him away on defense. I get the feeling that sort of thing won't be happening with this staff. Lord knows we've seen far too much of that in the last 4 or 5 years.

~~~

SamoaDawg said...

Kwame might do ok at the nose. Just hit and read.. responsible for the A gaps.

We need Ndamukong Suh type at the nose or DE. That guy is a freak.

Did Ricardo Crawford forego his senior year of eligibility? I think I read it somewhere that, Neland Ball transfered.

We looked stack at DE. Demarcus Dobbs, Abry Jones, Brandon Wood and Kiante Tripp should provide a lot of penetrations. Brandon Wood is a kid that might standout at his new position. He has great burst and 4.6 40 to go along with his nice frame, 6'2, 280.

David Hale said...

Crawford graduated and took a pass on his final year of eligibility. Ball left the team due to injuries.