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Friday, April 23, 2010

Fleeting Thoughts: Depth Chart Edition

A few of my thoughts on yesterday's depth chart....

-- I've read -- and been told, though not confirmed -- that Logan Gray was indeed No. 2 on the depth chart at the end of spring, before Zach Mettenberger was dismissed. Again, can't say that it was true for certain, although Dean Legge's sources are usually pretty solid. That said, what we don't know is whether Mettenberger's place on that depth chart might have been determined, in part, because he was to be suspended for at least one game or because Mark Richt knew there was a good chance of a longer suspension.

-- Bottom line: It's good to know that, no matter what happened, Aaron Murray did enough this spring to warrant being No. 1. Beyond that, I'm not sure it matters where Mett would have been. He's not on the team now, so the rest is a moot point.

-- Interesting that some players were considered "injured" on offense and not placed on the depth chart, but guys like Richard Samuel, who finished the spring injured, were on the depth chart. Not sure if there's anything to make of that other than that the offensive and defensive coaches seem to have had a different philosophy on how to handle that.

-- Richt didn't offer much in the way of specifics when asked what Murray had shown during the spring that we might not have seen on G-Day, and I'd love to hear more from Mike Bobo. Where Richt did offer specifics, however, was in his faith that Murray would be a strong leader for the offense this offseason. I have no doubt that played into where Murray fits on the depth chart.

-- I know Richt won't close the door on Gray moving to receiver, but I just don't see how it can happen. It would just be awfully dangerous for Georgia to open the season with only two QBs on the depth chart that have a combined 18 months of experience in Athens and neither of whom have thrown a pass in a game. The only way I can see it happening is if Richt and Bobo decide Gray is never going to play QB for them, regardless. And while he hasn't exactly wowed anyone to this point, I just can't see that happening.

-- The O line depth looks awfully thin at first glance, but then you see the FOUR offensive linemen listed on the injured roster, and things have the potential to be a lot different in the fall. But I'm curious -- what do fans want to see happen with Trinton Sturdivant? On one hand, he's obviously very talented and deserves to be on the field when healthy. On the other hand, he hasn't shown he can stay healthy and Georgia's line really seemed to mesh by the end of last year. Is it worth changing up that chemistry -- moving Clint Boling back to the right side and sending Josh Davis to the bench?

-- My guess is we'll see quite a few two tight end sets, so there should be enough playing time to go around. Still, it says a lot about Orson Charles hard work, dedication and talent that he's at the top spot on a very, very crowded depth chart at the position -- ahead of two guys with a lot more experience. I expect big things from Orson this season.

-- I heard a few folks debating whether Marlon Brown might be a bust because he's still third on the WR depth chart. I wouldn't read too much into that. First off, he was hurt for so much of the spring, it wouldn't have made sense to move him ahead of Tavarres King, the incumbent starter, or Kris Durham, a fifth-year senior. Brown made a lot of progress this spring, and Bobo had nothing but praise for his work ethic and progress, so I wouldn't worry too much. Besides, the depth chart only includes a flanker and a split end, but in many formations, there will also be at least one slot receiver on the field, which moves guys around and offers a lot more opportunity for someone like Brown.

-- Interesting thought by one of our readers: There's a lot of depth at fullback -- if you're including all the walk-ons. So why not move Charles White back to linebacker, where Georgia is clearly a bit thin? Good question, and I don't know the answer, but my best guess is that, with Shaun Chapas and Fred Munzenmaier both seniors, White's role this year is more about preparing for 2011 than it is about using him in 2010.

-- Aside from quarterback, the defensive line is really the biggest question mark on the team this year, I think. I'm on record as predicting big things for Abry Jones, so I'm confident he turns in a very good season. Demarcus Dobbs is a senior, and while he showed good progress last year, I wonder how much of that was benefiting from teams being particularly wary of Geno Atkins and Justin Houston. The nose position will need two inexperienced guys to step up, and finding depth at end will be all about two guys -- Kiante Tripp and Brandon Wood -- who have yet to blossom to find their niche late in their careers.

-- Again, Samuel didn't participate in the final week of spring practice, and he was very raw even before. So it shouldn't be any surprise that he's third on the depth chart at ILB. The other thing to remember is that one of the ILBs is always going to be the quarterback of the defense -- getting his teammates in position and helping read the offensive sets. Samuel is definitely nowhere close to being that guy, so if he's going to be on the field, he needs to be lined up next to someone like Akeem Dent or Darryl Gamble at all times. It's much like on the O line where the freshmen tend to be lined up next to a veteran. That could limit how much Georgia can use Samuel this year -- if he gets used at all. I'd still say a redshirt is probably a 50/50 proposition.

-- I'll be interested to see how Gamble is used. I'm guessing he'll float between ILB and OLB and still be on the field for about 60 to 70 percent of the defensive snaps, but at this point, that's nothing more than a guess.

-- People seem surprised by Christian Robinson's position on the depth chart. They shouldn't be. The kid's got a lot of talent and has been extremely consistent. He lacks some of the physicality of Marcus Dowtin at the moment, but I think this move shows that Warren Belin values consistency and accountability well ahead of physical intimidation.

-- Don't read too much into Jakar Hamilton being behind Bacarri Rambo at free safety. Rambo knows both safety positions, and there's a good chance those guys will be crosstraining throughout. It's much like flanker and split end on offense. They're different positions that require different things, but most players know a good bit of both.

-- Vance Cuff deserves plenty of kudos for his strong spring, and his spot atop the depth chart at corner is warranted. That said, Georgia will be running a lot of nickel, so even if nothing changes on the depth chart between now and Game 1, there will still be a ton of playing time for Sanders Commings and Branden Smith.

-- I'll echo a comment I've read a few times from the readers: There may not be a ton of experience in the secondary, but boy is there a lot of talent. If the starting four ended up being Hamilton-Rambo-Brandon Boykin-Smith, is there a single one of those guys you would be surprised to see playing on Sundays in a few years? And there's plenty more talent down the depth chart, too, with some impressive freshmen set to arrive shortly. Scott Lakatos has a lot to work with.

-- Right now, the freshmen I'd say have the best chance of earning playing time would be T.J. Stripling, Garrison Smith, Jalen Fields and Dexter Morant. Michael Bennett certain could see some time, particularly if there are any injuries at receiver. Mike Thornton has a chance to play, too, but a lot will depend on how Bean Anderson fits in at nose. And Alec Ogletree will be the big mystery. He might be the most talented of Georgia's incoming freshmen, but I'm not sure where he fits best. Georgia is relatively deep at safety, but that's where Lakatos says Ogletree will play. I wonder if he might not see the field faster at linebacker though. That'll be one story to follow this fall.

So what else stood out to you guys?


Kathleen said...

I really, really hope Trinton Sturdivant stays healthy and contributes as much as possible to the team.

That being said... it took so long to find the right mix for the OL last year. We saw vs. A&M what happened and happened and happened to the RBs with Josh Davis out and Vince Vance in. No way should Josh be on the bench!

Anonymous said...

I think that Sturdivant should compete at right tackle with Josh Davis. Both players have been injury prone and one or the other going out with an injury only disrupts one position on the line instead of an entire reshuffling like the last couple of years.

Anonymous said...

RE: SS & FS:
Someone posed this question on a previous comments page and I had the same question. What is the difference between these two positions? What did Blue and Davis play and what makes that position better for hard hitters? I apologize for my ignorance on this issue and appreciate any feedback. Thanks.


Ginny said...

I really like the chemistry of our OL right now and would hate to screw that up, especially with a QB who's never taken a snap in a college game. However, we need the best players at each position. If that's Josh Davis, so be it, but if Trinton Sturdivant turns out to be the better option, let him play.

Will said...

With regards to Sturdivant, I feel that the most talented player should play. If, god forbid, he's hurt again, we've got a proven lineup behind him that can takeover. However, give the guy his shot! He was a dominant LT as a FRESHMAN, give him some credit.

Kathleen said...

If Sturdivant replaces Clint Boling, then just keep it between the two of them and leave Josh alone is what I'm saying... Clint Boling at right tackle didn't have the same run game as Clint left and Josh right.

Anonymous said...

Nice post. I find Ogletree to be one of the more interesting questions of fall practice. His body size and style reminds me of (gulp) Eric Berry. I cant wait to see what he ends up doing on the college level.

Carter said...

As I said months ago when Bobo labeled Sturdivant a "luxury", I think he should start out at guard. The guard positions don't require as much movement, thus there is less chance for the knee to be re-injured. ACLs actually take two years to completely "recover", and we saw what happens when returns are rushed. On the bright side, if Frank Gore can come back from the knee injuries he suffered at The U, anything is possible.

As for SS vs FS, their roles differ somewhat from scheme to scheme. However, typically the SS lines up on the same side of the field as the SLB (SAM), and the FS lines up on the weak-side. The SS also lines up a little closer to the line of scrimmage than the FS. The SS is counted on more for run support and typically doesn't cover quite as well as the FS. When you think SS, think Thomas Davis and Greg Blue. When you think FS, think Sean Jones.

David Hale said...

Good synopsis of the FS/SS question, Carter. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I still want to know what McLovinBerger did to get kicked off. It obviously wasn't "got drunk at bar". I'm claiming as fans we have a right to know; I don't think we do. However, everyone is still super curious.

Red Blackman said...

I think it's really nice to be discussing all these what-if's as they relate to offensive lineman.

AJ Harmon will be back from injury and might just have a say so in who backs up Boling. By all accounts he was performing pretty well. I think before this dude leaves UGa he will make a name for himself as an elite lineman.

Tanner Strickland seemed to be on the verge of making a play for some quality minutes and is a pretty impressive guy to get back as well.

As for Trinton....dude was an absolute beast as a freshman and should have the luxury of taking all the time he needs to come back this time.

Chris Burnette seems like he has caught the eye of Searles. He should be getting bigger, stronger and faster as the year progresses and could get some playing time.

I can't help but wonder how Benedict's rehab is coming...heard anything David?

I can't wait to see how Florida's "speedy" and inexperienced front 7 deal with Georgia's strong and experienced big uglies...should be a good one.

Problems, problems, problems....

Riley said...

I know Sturdivant was a monster as a freshmen, but he's barely played for the last 2 years. Hoping or expecting him to come back as he was, or even close, might just be wishful thinking. I think Bobo labelling him as a luxury is entirely accurate.

Woolly Butts said...

Brandon Wood has been injured since he got here, and is now healthy. I don't think it's a case of blossoming late for him, but rather that he's finally healthy after 4 years of shoulder injuries. He'll be an important guy in the rotation, and I hope that Tripp will finally find a home at DE in the 3-4 and contribute in a big way. People make a lot of starters, but the DL goes 2-3 deep at each position and needs to have every one of these guys ready to go. Let's pull for all of them to have great seasons and make it hard for the coaches to keep them off the field.

Dr. Merkwurdigliebe said...

The biggest surprise on the depth chart for me was Lynch at TE. I was surprised he was behind White and Figgins. By the end of the season I expect it will be Charles and Lynch.

I'm pulling for Sturdivant, but watching his knee buckle without anyone touching him doesn't give me a lot of room for confidence that he can return to SEC road grading form. I agree that he should be training at RT and not LT.

dawgjammin said...

Boiling is our best OL on the team followed by Glenn and Ben Jones.

If Sturdivant would have been healthy the last 2 years, based on his performance his freshman year, he would have been a very rich man by 11pm last night.

I think his best shot and the teams safest bet is to leave Boling at LT (he shut down GT's Morgan).

Sturdivant should be eased back into the OL lineup. I'd like to see him at OG. It'd be less likely of a knee injury. OG's generally move in a straight line and have less lateral movement than OT's. Play him at OG and if J.Davis or Boling go down mid year, we've eased him back into it.

Boling, Glenn, B. Jones, Sturdivant, Davis....that would be a hell of a starting line with C.Davis, T Strickland D.Lee and C. Burnette spelling those guys.

Anonymous said...

When both are healthy, Josh Davis is not in the same universe with Trinton Sturdivant.

Dawgfan17 said...

I think with TS they should start him out as a backup and work him back in. If he proves that the knee is healthy and returns to form then I would like to see him start at LT, Boling at RT and Davis spelling them both. Boling has showed the abilty to move back and forth between the two so when Davis comes in Boling could switch sides to LT. I forget who the three were that we did that with before but I think it might have been 2005 where we did it and it worked out great. With TS being hurt he could start out playing about half the snaps with the other two playing 3/4 of them to keep them all fresh. It would be great for 4th quarter to have them all still going strong. As TS gets 100% then could play them each closer to 2/3 which would keep them fresh for the game but also healthy for the season. Of course if TS isn't what he once was then I feel pretty good about Davis and Boling if Davis is healthy all year.

Anonymous said...

most of the commenters must have never played OL or not know much about the OL. OL is about being 1 coheisive unit, one machine moving in the same direction. this doesn't just happen it takes time... its almost like OU always having Bradford look to the side line before the snap to get the signal on the play and the defense. doing that disrupts rythm, just like subbing on the OL. the best OL's in the country don't sub unless someone is hurt. UGA has done a poor job of recruiting and building quality depth on the OL. Depth that coincides with QB or RB or WR depth and recruits. Every OL should be redshirted their first year so they can get bigger/faster/stronger and do it as a single untit. the OL should be a revolving door of juniors and seniors, not rFR So and Jr's. you cant just plug and sub those guys in. if TS is one of our best 5 OL's then I say plug him in, most likely thats at OG.

look at Richt's best team's...mature OL, OL that doesn't make penaties, OL that is can have the best QB/RB/WR and no OL and you will not get squat...see Stafford and Moreno.

Richt needs to do a better job of recruiting these guys. In the past, 9 of the 22 guys in the first team depth chart are Lineman. That means we should be recruiting about 5 Dl and 4 Ol a year.

Our best years have been years where we had Jon Stichcom or Nick Jones or Max Jean Giles anchoring the line... solid leadership that is rock solid performance.

this year can be special...use TS but not at OT

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