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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Notes: Smith Will See Work on Offense

A year ago, Branden Smith had five more touches on offense than he had tackles on defense. But for the speedy cornerback, his sophomore campaign figures to include a lot more time in the defensive backfield – and perhaps a bit less time making plays for the offense.

While Smith is currently listed behind Vance Cuff at corner on Georgia’s depth chart, he still has a strong shot at winning the starting job in the fall, and he would almost certainly be the first defensive back off the bench in nickel situations. That could complicate things a tad when the Bulldogs’ offensive coaches want to give Smith a chance to get a few touches on that side of the ball this season.

“We want to use Branden offensively still because he was very effective,” Mark Richt said. “But he will probably be getting a lot more work on the defensive side of the ball, and he may very well be the starter by the time the season rolls around.”

That doesn’t mean the increased workload on defense will necessarily stifle Smith’s potential on offense. Richt said his goal is to make sure Georgia’s most explosive players get a chance to score as often as possible on offense, and that includes the speedy Smith. Just how much Smith sees action on offense, however, likely depends on the progress of Georgia’s other receivers and on Smith’s conditioning in the early part of the season.

“Those first three games are going to be high noon, and it’s going to be tremendously hot,” Richt said. “So we’re going to have to look in his eye and decide if he’s got enough juice to go run that reverse or whatever play and still have the energy he needs to cover guys throughout the ballgame. But I think as the weather cools down, that shouldn’t be a factor.”

BIGGER, STRONGER, FASTER

Marlon Brown’s slow start to his college career came as a surprise to many fans who expected the highly recruited wide receiver to blossom as a freshman the way A.J. Green had the year before. Richt knew better.

“Marlon played in a league (in high school) that didn’t challenge him much physically in my opinion,” Richt said. “He was kind of a man among boys in that league, and I really felt like it was going to take him a little time to get up to speed with SEC play.”

At Harding Academy in Memphis, the 6-foot-5 Brown had an easy go of things. At Georgia, however, growing pains were in store.

So none of Brown’s early struggles proved disappointing to Richt. Instead, the coach is thrilled to see just how much his young receiver has developed since catching just two passes his rookie year.

“He’s in tremendous condition, and he’s big, strong, physical,” Richt said. “He might be the best blocking receiver right now, and he’s only getting stronger.”

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENTS

After saying goodbye to five senior defensive tackles – including three who were taken in April’s NFL draft – Richt figured there would be some big transitions in store on the defensive line. On the plus side, however, the team’s move to a 3-4 defensive scheme – with just three down linemen used in a base set – there was one fewer hole to fill.

“Interior D line, we lost five seniors inside, and you’d think that would be a big issue,” Richt said. “And it probably will. That’s one of our concerns. Some guys might just mature fast enough to play that position. But just people learning in general, there’s a lot to learn out there.”

Still, there are some reasons for optimism, including the progress made by junior DeAngelo Tyson, sophomore Abry Jones and redshirt freshman Kwame Geathers – all who figure to play prominent roles on the line in 2010.

The wild card, however, might be Justin Anderson – a converted offensive lineman who has yet to practice with the defense, but whose 330-pound frame could make him a one-man wrecking crew at the nose position.

"It's going to be a challenge to see if these guys can really control the double teams that they need to inside,” Richt said of the nose position. “That's part of the reason we moved Justin Anderson in there is because he is a big, giant, powerful man and if he can take to it, I think he's going to be tough to block."

EXPANDING ISSUES

With the first dominoes of conference expansion beginning to fall, the questions about what will happen in the SEC continue to abound.

With Colorado and Nebraska appearing close to a move, the ripple effects of what could be the demise of the Big 12 could be huge. And with that in mind, even Richt, who had been skeptical that any big changes were in store, admits things are heating up everywhere.

“There’s some really serious stuff going on out there,” Richt said. “I don’t know about our league. I really feel like we have a great league, and a lot of people believe that. … I don’t think we’re in a rush to change much, but I do think Commissioner (Mike) Slive will make a good decision. I’m sure he’s thinking about what’s going on in the college football landscape and I think he’ll keep us on top.”

While teams like Texas, Virginia Tech or Miami have been discussed as potential SEC additions should expansion occur, the most prevalent rumors seem to surround Georgia’s neighbors on the recruiting trail, including Georgia Tech, Clemson and Florida State.

While the Bulldogs already go head to head with those schools for the top recruits, Richt’s coaches currently have the distinct advantage of being the only one among that group that can provide the prestige of a career in the SEC. And while that’s no doubt a luxury, Richt said, he doesn’t believe expansion would necessarily have a big impact on how the Bulldogs recruit.

"Some (recruits) really want to play in the Southeastern Conference, but there's a lot of them that are just trying to find the best fit for them," he said.

EVANS TAKES BLAME

Two weeks ago, Georgia athletics director Damon Evans told the school’s athletics association board of directors that he had a clear mission for the Bulldogs’ teams in 2010: “We must do better.”

While that means ratcheting up expectations for sports like football and baseball – both of which drastically underperformed expectations during the 2009-10 seasons – Evans isn’t taking any heat off himself for Georgia’s unusually lackluster athletics during the past year.

“I take full responsibility because at the end of the day the buck stops with me,” Evans said. “I’m not the guy doing the Xs and Os and recruiting and all of that, but I do believe that as the leader of an organization that I’ve got to provide them with the necessary resources to be successful – whether that’s from money to facilities or what have you – and at the same time, am I providing the leadership that’s going to allow us to rise and be where we should be. That’s why I have to take a look at myself as well. You can’t run away from things.”

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey! The G-Day game is on TV right now....

reggie said...

'big, giant, powerful man'. Can't wait. If we could just add 'mean as hell' to that quote.

Anonymous said...

If everything is just great being # 4 vs SEC teams at 20-12 the last 4 years and being # 3 vs SEC East teams the last 4 years at 10-10, why does Damon Evans continue to say that it is not acceptable, that it is his fault, that we are not recruiting as well as he wants, and that we don't have the facilities and coaches that we need in football ?

Try explaining that one

Anonymous said...

Here is what you are to blame for Damon Evans.

(1) Repeatedly with the most profit of any collegiate program, you have stated that you will only pay cash for Real Estate Development. We have needed an Indoor Practice Facility (and a real basketball gym with more than 10,000 seats) for since before you were given Vince Dooley's job by Michael F. Adam$ a couple of years before you were ready, according to Vince.

(2) You played football for Vince Dooley. You know you have spent $750,000 on the Defensive Coordinator and more than that on his Assistants, and have allowed Coach Richt to remain pat on the dead last worst Offensive Coaching Staff in the nation, all coaching positions they never played in the arena. There is no way that Damon Evans is satisfied with the recruiting of Offensive Players in this state last year 2010 and now again so far next year 2011. There is a reason for all this, and it is not just that we don't have an Indoor Practice Facility; it's also the Offensive Coaching Staff at UGA is an underpaid group of coaching positions, well underpaid than the rest of the market in The SEC.

(3) You have allowed the situation with our football players on the field and off the field to get to the point where even the DISNEYdawgs.com can no longer deny that David Hale states repeatedly that we must do something about the discipline issue.

(4) You have been wishy-washy and therefore ineffective in your indecisive vague statements that it is not acceptable, purposely not saying the word football, thus you are coddling all 3 of these issues, and are the problem yourself therefore Damon Evans.

Randall said...

OK, I'll bite. Anonymous really? Your diatribes are growing tiresome. I know DH has committed to allowing you to exercise your right to free speech but... Come on man. Move on to another blog. Go harass some jackass from the ajc.

Anonymous said...

BCS Titles : ZERO

Southern California talked of 3-Peat, but for there to be a 3-Peat Opportunity, you have to had won at least 1 and of course, Southern California NEVER DID.

LSU is National Champions for 2003.

2004 Southern California VACATED

2005 Southern California LOST

ZERO

What is this disassociation with Reggie Bush ?

Reggie Bush says he is going to continue to do all he can for Southern California.

Now, that we have this finally behind us, we can move on now to the IRS charges against Reggie Bush for taxes on these monies.

He is no different than Tee Martin.

Both, liars.

At least Tee Martin finally admitted that he LIED for all the years, and then spoke in the 3rd person that : "That was a different Tee Martin back then in Knoxville."

I would never do that now, never take those monies.

Give me a break.

Reggie Bush is thumbing his nose at The NCAA.

And to all of college and NFL football.

Reggie Bush needs to go down in the annuls as the worst cheat in college football of all time, and he REMAINS a LIAR.

Southern California had claimed 9 National Championship in Football, however, on closer study we find the last was 1978 when Alabama was declared National Champions.

ALABAMA 1978 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS

So, when was Southern California EVER National Champion ?

1974 Southern California claimed a N.C.

1974 Oklahoma was National Champion.

Southern California is WORSE than The Georgia Bulldogs.

I don't care about Auburn, as they played cupcake city. I do know that it was NOT Southern California in 2005 because they LOST, it was NOT 2004 because they VACATED ALL WINS in 2004, and I know it was NOT 2003 when LSU was declared National Champions on the field. And, I know Southern California has not won a National Championship in football the last 36 years.

I have viewed all claims to National Champions by Southern California for you here 36 years and find ZERO. This still leaves UGA Bulldogs’ Football Program 31 wins outside the Top 10 All-Time College Football Programs.

Doug said...

I like Damon Evans.

Our athletic department is in great shape. We run a pretty clean program. He had no problem spending the money to get a top DC. I could go on.

One disappointing year (2008) and one lousy year (2009) and folks want to forget all the good things.

Anonymous said...

Damon's going to talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so he will know whose ass to kick.

Anonymous, Not the Crazy Kind said...

When did this become the USC and Reggie Bush blog?

People do bring up other topics, but that post is like it's picking up in the middle of a conversation with someone.