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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?


Anonymous said...

Ogletree would be a beast at OLB and we sure could use him there. Coaches know what they're doing though...but think of the confusing defensive packages having him lined up there would create.

I want to say this again...I'm so proud of CMR and the way he's handled the off season. This has been the best off season in terms of head coach decision making. The latest off field issues and his response is evidence to the fact that he's committed to fixing those problems and being agressive in handing out the punishments.

Paul said...

It's a tough call on Trinton Sturdivant. Tough. Because the OL chemistry is vital to our success (duh), but especially so since with a RS FR QB, one assumes we'll be run-heavy (as opposed to artificially balanced).

I'll consider Marlon Brown a bust as a soph. only if he is arrested for armed robbery or transfers back home to Memphis. (Ha ha vols: Nu'keese and Bryce...)

Seriously, I am flabbergasted that some people watch a lot of CFB and can't figure out that Matthew Staffords and AJ Greens are exceptional players. Players can be damn good but not be productive until they are juniors. Stafford and Green are just out-of-this-world good and we don't get those players all the time. We just need to temper our expectations for first and second year players a little bit so that it's more in tune with reality.

AppleDawg said...

I want to get back to throwing to the TE and getting important yards from them

We have fallen off the face of the earth with this due to Bobo's more open style attack.

It is KILLING US near the goalline

JasonC said...

I would leave Boling at starting LT and put Sturdivant at backup LT or RT. Boling is great and even though he has played everywhere, I don't think it is good to have to do another OL shuffle if Sturdivant can't go.

Also, while I agree the 2 TE sets look great, that also takes Chapas off the field and he is a pretty darn good player too.