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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mailbag: Murray's development, Thompkins and Leslie's future, and so much more

No fancy intro, no hilarious set-up, no advance apologies. Well okay, maybe an advance apology: In an attempt to get to as many questions as possible, my answers were a bit shorter than normal.

Although I would prefer to say the answers are "to the point."

Here you are:

Noticed you have someone who comments on your site with anti-Aaron Murray stuff. Maybe you can play devil's advocate and do a piece on the negatives of Murray. I support Murray and think he is the right guy for the job, but thinking back on the season he had some poor games at Fla, Aub., and a mediocre Tech game. Just thought it would be interesting to take a hard look at all his stats, good or bad.
- Alex Greene

I’ll file that away as a possibility. Frankly I think Murray’s development last year was covered ad nauseum. Everyone commented on how well he progressed, and how pleasant a surprise he was. At the same time Mark Richt and Mike Bobo also pointed to the areas that needed some improvement, such as small mechanical issues or decision-making, which is common in a freshman. Murray’s sophomore year will be a better indicator, but his freshman year certainly put him on the right track.

Any idea what numbers the incoming freshmen will be wearing this fall?
- Anonymous

The only ones we know are the early enrollees: Christian LeMay (16) and Chris Conley (31). In other number news, center Ben Jones just tweeted that he’s switching from 61 to 60 to honor his father.

If Travis Leslie comes back, we'll have Ware, Robinson, and Caldwell-Pope. Not a bad perimeter but clearly the big boys down low will be an issue. Can you address the prospects of John Florveus and Tim Dixon being able to contribute in an impactful way next year? Or are we just looking to run and gun? Florveus sounds like he could have an immediate impact but at 7 foot, 215 pounds, that's rail thin. He's going to get pushed around some.
- Bulldog Ben

Unless Thompkins comes back, which is a longshot, the Bulldogs are going to be very thin in the post. None of the impact recruits are as good as Thompkins or Jeremy Price. Florveus is tall, but raw. Nemanja Djurisic, who just committed, isn’t much of a banger. The returning post guys – Marcus Thornton and Donte Williams – will need to show improvement. So basically, yes, it’s likely to be more of a run-and-gun team, whether or not Leslie returns.

Your prediction on the likelihood that Trey and/or Travis go pro?
- Robert K. Burnham

Thompkins I would put at about 80 percent, with the uncertainty having more to do with the potential NBA lockout. Leslie I would put at 55 percent to leave. Leaving aside whether either SHOULD go, I just think it’s hard, after someone already contemplates it once, to make the decision to come back twice. Then again, neither even tested the waters last year. At a minimum, I expect each to at least do that. Then it becomes a matter of whether they hire an agent.

What is your take on the Tennessee fiasco? Will UT's AD lose his job over this? And who do you think will end up taking that job? I can't see this being anything but good for the Dawgs, unless Tennessee somehow lands somebody really big, by giving Coach K 100 million dollars to go to Knoxville. Even then, he would probably turn it down.
- Jonah B.

I liked Bruce Pearl, at least in my personal dealings with him, and the SEC will be a more boring place without him. But given what he’s already admitted, you can’t blame Tennessee for letting him go. And as I said last week, athletics director Mike Hamilton should be held accountable too. We’ll have to see who the Vols hire and whether that impacts Scotty Hopson and Tobias Harris’ decisions. Given the uncertainty of the program’s future – it goes before the NCAA in June – the next coach will have to take a leap of faith.

Seth was is your favorite away SEC stadium to go to for a game?
- Anonymous

I’ve always kind of liked Tennessee. It’s so big, but doesn’t feel that way, given the shape. It always kind of makes me feel like I’m in the Roman coliseum.

Why is Donkey Kong not a Donkey?
- Anonymous

To research this answer, I went to Wikipedia and learned way more about the history of Donkey Kong than I ever imagined. Such as the lawsuit brought by a movie studio that said it was a rip-off of King Kong. (Donkey Kong’s makers won.) In any event – it’s an ape, named after a donkey. That’s all I got.

With Belin gone, how nervous should we be that we regress again in special teams?
- AtlantaDawg

Belin only coached one unit, kickoff coverage. His replacement, Kirk Olividatti, has experience coaching special teams at the pro level, and I’m sure that figured into his hiring, at least partly.

Has there been any conversation recently about expanding Sanford Stadium? I know that ideas were drawn up few years ago, but I haven't heard anything since.
Also, are their any mock-ups for how the new scoreboard will look?
- Matt B.

I’m told there have been no expansion discussions lately. UGA was trying to send me a picture of the new scoreboard and when I get it I’ll post it on the blog.

Marshall Morgan has already committed to Georgia as part of the class of 2012 to replace Blair Walsh. Has there been any talk about who may replace Drew Butler after this year? Also, last year we saw Washuan Ealey run the ball out of the wildcat. Has there been any talk of other players, such as Branden Smith, being used in the formation?
- Streit

Morgan may be given a shot at the punting duties too. The only other punter on the spring roster (besides Butler) is Adam Erickson, a redshirt freshman from Athens.

What in your opinion was the reason for the hoops team's repeated blowing of leads in so many games? My impression may be lack of a bench but I defer to someone who might actually know something about roundball.
- CoonDawg

As I’ve written before, I think it had more to do with a lack of quality scoring off the bench. They had zero bench points against Washington, which granted wasn’t a blown-lead loss, but it still illustrated perhaps the team’s biggest deficiency this year.

The football schedule looks easy enough. What are reasonable expectations for high end and low end for the season?
- Anonymous

High end: Don’t laugh, because Auburn did it last year, but given that Georgia plays in the SEC, how can you rule out a league title and BCS berth? But that’s very high end; South Carolina will start out as the division favorite, and Georgia should be in the mix there with Florida. The low end is another six- or seven-win season.

Two questions:
In my opinion, our lack of depth at the guard position really doomed our team this year. Why did Vincent Williams get very little playing time this year? In spotty playing time, he has shown that he is an adequate defender and scorer, and his ball-handling could have been helpful against opponents like Alabama and Washington who pressed us for a majority of the game. Why does Sherrard Brantley consistently get to play over him when Brantley is not a confident ball-handler and not a good defender?

I didn’t see enough of Williams to grade him above Brantley, but I think Brantley got every minute of action because of his 3-point shooting ability. The team needed that lift off the bench, and Brantley was really the only impact reserve player – but that’s not saying much.

Second, does Coach Fox have no idea how to use timeouts? I can think of countless times this season when he called timeout at inopportune times (ask Dustin Ware about that), or neglected to call timeout when it seemed necessary. For instance, I remember one point in the second half of the NCAA tournament game against Washington when Coach Fox called timeout at approximately the 8:15 mark of the second half, just before the 8-minute TV timeout. We came out of the timeout and looked terribly confused, turned the ball over, and went directly into a TV timeout. Why can't Coach Fox learn to wait for the TV timeouts and use them to his advantage?
- Jordan Floyd

I noticed as the season wore on that Fox was very quick with his timeouts, and that was illustrated in the NCAA game. I’ve never spoken to him about it, but my educated guess is that with a team not used to winning – as he often pointed out – he felt he had to end other team’s momentum, rather than let his team play it out on the court. Roy Williams and Coach K are renowned for letting their players do that, but they’re dealing with players who have learned to deal with runs and get through them.

Has anyone from the NFL been showing any interest in Kris Durham?
He seems to have the height and speed(see B. Finneran)but after the issues with QB yesterday I don't think he got a fair deal. Most of the scouts left and the ESPN3 feed was focused on A.J. anyway. I will give David Pollack credit for at least talking him up.I think he deserves a camp invite at the least.
- CoopDawg

I think the Finneran comparison is good, and made it myself yesterday. Yes, it’s probably because they’re both white. So be it. Frankly I think if Finneran can have that long a career – not spectacular, but long – there’s a place in the NFL for Durham, who is tall, fast and can catch. But whether he gets the chance depends mostly on timing, and whether a team out there believes in him.

As part of the new nutrition program, our players were having to take pictures of their food to get it approved before eating it. How is that going? Did it last?
- Eric

As far as I know. I’d suggest that a few coaches may need to be getting their meals approved in advance too … but I won’t, in case a few of them read this blog.

Four-star Kevin Ware is expected to get his release from Tenn., and he has indicated UGA would be on his short list. However, AJC has reported that UGA is full unless both Thompkins and Leslie move on. Any chance of Ware coming to Georgia? I expect he'll want to make a decision before the NBA opt-out deadline.
- NCDawg

If they can get Ware, they’ll make room for him, definitely. If push comes to shove, Connor Nolte could always return to walk-on status. Ware’s destination remains unclear; Tennessee hasn’t released him yet, so Georgia can’t officially contact him. Although, obviously, there are ways around that.

What have you heard about the progression of Jarvis Jones and Richard Samuel? The move of Tree to ILB makes me wonder if Richard may be struggling? Do you think Jones can be a leader on our D next year and how much playing time do you think Samuel will get? Is he a possible mid season starter?

Samuel didn't get a lot of scouts other than scout team last fall in practice, because of his injury. I'm sure he's going to get a look, and I plan on asking Grantham and Olividatti about Samuel. But at the moment, with Christian Robinson being given that defensive captain role, and Ogletree moved to the other spot, it does seem like Samuel has a lot of ground to make up.

What type of QB is Christian LeMay? Scrambler or Pro style pocket QB. Do you think the Defense will actually make up some real ground this year and settle into our new Defense scheme and show some progress, dare I saw actually show some dominance.
- Anonymous

LeMay is a pro style quarterback who can scramble, or at least that’s probably the best way to put it. As for the defense, yes it should improve, just by having a more classic nose tackle, and by having a second year to learn the system. Then again, someone has to replace Justin Houston and his 10 sacks and Akeem Dent and his 126 tackles.

What has been decided about Uga? Is Russ to open the season? Have they been working on a new blood line?
- CalifDawg

No word on the new Uga as of press time. Once there is, it’ll be posted and reported.

What is the world is going on with the baseball team? Some nights it appears to be pitching, and then the very next night is appears to be the bats. I know that it is early and the Dawgs are 2-2 in conference, but is there anything Perno can do to get this team playing consistent ball?
- DoomsDayDawg

They’re pretty much performing as expected. Perno said not to expect a huge turnaround, just improvement, and right now they’re on track for that. But that does leave it up to debate whether that’s acceptable.

At a movie theater how do you tell which arm rest is yours?
- Anonymous

When the person next to me is a stranger, I always defer. I tend not to want accidental, awkward, touching. When you’re next to someone you know, it then depends on how well you know the person.

Why doesn't McDonald's sell hot dogs?
- Anonymous

Because, hopefully, there is a God. Can you imagine just how much fatter America would be if they added hot dogs to the menu? Let’s leave that to Sonic, shall we?

From the looks of some photos of spring practice on some football players look like they havent made to much headway in strength and or conditioning. Seth have you noticed any differences close up?
- Anonymous

You can really that just by looking at photos? No offense, but I find that a reach. Richt was asked Tuesday about whether the players are bigger and stronger, and he basically said, “Yeah, probably, but who knows.” And at this point – less than three months into the new strength program – I think that’s a fair response. The change wasn’t made to make them look better in spring, but to play better in the fall.

Will coach Richt ever consider going back yo the real silver britches instead of the dull gray pants?
- Anonymous

I honestly don’t know. I guess I’m a bit surprised that so many people notice this – I know gray and silver are different, but they’re not THAT far away on the color hue chart.

Odds that Murray & Crowell & Jenkins start against Boise?
- Anonymous

Respectively, barring injury: 100 percent, 75 percent, 95 percent.

There is fight between Chuck Norris and Herschel Walker who wins and why.
- Anonymous

Herschel follows me on Twitter. Chuck does not. Therefore: Herschel.

1) Many experts are raving about Aaron Murray and expect a huge season from him next year. I don't. Here's why: Other than Orson Charles, who is a dynamic, big play receiver that can make downfield plays now that Durham and Green are gone? AM can't do it all himself.
2) What is your favorite William Shatner moment/movie/phrase, etc?

1) They’re hoping Tavarres King can fill that role now with his speed. Marlon Brown will also get a shot, and Malcolm Mitchell heads the list of freshmen who will be given that chance. But obviously no one replaces A.J. Green. Keep in mind, however, Murray wasn’t too shabby during Green’s suspension.
2) I’ll pretend not to be a geek and will stay away from the best moments in the Star Trek movies. So I’ll go with Shatner’s underrated performance near the end of “Airplane Two.”

Do you think Ealey stays or transfers?
- Anonymous

He’s still here, and seemed to be having fun at practice on Tuesday. Strangely, though, his name was scratched from the media request list after practice. That’s not totally unusual, bus his suspension was listed a couple weeks ago. Perhaps the staff is just shielding him from scrutiny for the time being.

Are you single? I have the perfect girl for you.
- Leslie

Um … I am not married, let’s leave it at that.

What is your favorite Katy Perry song and why?
- Anonymous

“Teenage Dream.” It makes for a good running song. Feel free to make fun of me all you want for it. But at least I didn’t pick “I kissed a girl.” That song title still belongs to Jill Sobule, in my opinion.

What are your thoughts on Alec Ogletree moving to LB? His size would seem to make him a pretty good Safety but not sure if he'd be the same calibre at LB.
- Eric

Yeah, I guess you could say the move took me by surprise. Todd Grantham knows 10 times more about football than me, but I did see Ogletree as a potential star at safety, while he may not have as high a ceiling at inside linebacker. Then again, like I said, Todd Grantham knows five times as much football as me. … Wait, did I just downgrade that?

What's up with Malcome? I thought he'd be starting last year, now with Crowell, Thomas, King & Ealey, will he ever start for Georgia?
- Anonymous

Malcome is definitely not out of the mix.

Any word on how Christian LeMay is looking? I am very curious to see how good this kid is. Do you think he will be more of a D.J. Shockley dual threat QB or will he be more of a Matt Stafford pocket passer minus the howlitzer? Also, could you discuss the consolidation of democracy in post-soviet Russia?
- Trae

There have only been two spring practices, but I’m sure we’ll take a closer look at LeMay as the days go on. As for Russian democracy, on the one hand you hear a lot of discouraging things, but you also have to remember that it can’t happen overnight, and what’s really important here is that the Russians continue sending us hot women like Maria Sharapova and Anna Kournikova. Let’s not lose sight of that.

How many players do you think uga will sign this year in basketball? And what's the max of scholarship players allowed?
- Anonymous

They’ve already signed three, and just got a commitment from a fourth. They can have 13 on scholarship. Right now they’re committed to nine players from this year’s team, but that includes Thompkins and Leslie, so if either leaves that opens room.

What's your take on the secondary? With the move of Ogleltree to LB, you lose a physical presence that the safety position was lacking last year. I know there are some young guys who were redshirted but don't really know their potential. How about the idea of trying Commings at safety? He has the ideal size of a safety and cornerback speed. Would this in turn leave the cornerback spots too thin? Many thanks for all that you do.
- Stevo

The Commings-to-safety thing has been thrown around, but I asked him about it a couple weeks ago and he said he hasn’t been told he’s moving. But he wouldn’t be opposed to it. I think it’ll come down to how the incoming freshmen look. Corey Moore could play right away at safety, Nick Marshall and Damian Swann could do the same at cornerback.

Seth - speculation on who might be the source for Peter King's column about AJ Green on Tuesday? Obviously you have to take with a grain of salt, but comments about his practice habits seem to indicate that it would be a current or former coach/player.
- Anonymous

I assume you’re talking about this story. Not to sound too high and mighty, but starting out a sentence with asking someone to speculate, especially about a source, isn’t going to draw much of an answer. I have no way of knowing who King’s source would be, and to speculate would be highly irresponsible. Plus I’m not sure that line is really a shot at Green. All I can say is, in my year covering the team, I’ve never heard any whispers about Green’s practice habits. I’ve written before that injuries could be a factor if scouts look over Green’s career. But that would be nit-picking; Green looks every bit like a future All-Pro.

Any noise going on about Jay Clark? Most of us don't know enough about actual gymnastics to know whether or not they've really underperformed or if they've been unlucky the past 2 years. Any scuttlebut about making a change?
- Allen

Sadly, my sources within the gymnastics program are not very strong. I’m not ruling anything out, but my short answer is no, I have not heard any scuttlebutt about it.

Has ESPN contacted the university yet regarding a 30 for 30 special on Richt's Dream Team?
- Anonymous


Do you laugh or cry when you read these questions?
- Randy

Are you trying to get me in trouble?


gatorhater27 said...

I'd say the first poster is being pretty cynical saying Murray had a bad game against Auburn; since when is 15-28 for 273 and 3 TDs a bad game? He was 15-19 for 271 and 3 TDs against Tech, so that's surely not a "bad" game, right?

Also, he was only bad in the first half against FLA.

Now, if you want to say he had a bad game in the bowl game, I won't argue there.

Anonymous said...

There is a sizeable difference imo between the current grays and the old silver britches! Bring back the silver!!

TomReagan said...

Will coach Richt ever consider going back yo the real silver britches instead of the dull gray pants?
- Anonymous

I'm in the minority, but I'm more interested in us going back to the grey facemasks.