Georgia shuffles the deck.

Let me start by saying that if you are a Georgia football fan and you’re not reading David Ching’s blog every day right now, shame on you.

He’s got two posts up from late yesterday and today that are must reads.

There’s this interview with Rodney Garner in which RG lays out what’s going on with the defensive linemen right now (Jeff Owens isn’t exactly bringing a smile to RG’s face these days) and discusses JUCO recruiting, both past and present. It’s good stuff.

Then, there’s his late Tuesday night post which starts out with this info…

Lots of folks moving around these days. Kiante Tripp’s now an offensive lineman. Aron White’s working some with the tight ends in certain formations. The movement in the linebacker positioning sounds permanent — with Ellerbe in the middle, Dewberry at weakside and Miller at strongside. There are some others as well. (All right, I was gonna hold onto this till later, but since it’s already on the Dawgpost, Jarius Wynn is working at D-tackle, per Rod Battle and Rodney Garner, who said they’re “cross-training” him there. Battle made it sound like the move was a bit more permanent.)

… and goes on to a transcript of Mark Richt’s post practice comments, much of which were devoted to the state of flux the linebacking corps and the offensive line are in at present.

Actually, it sounds as if things are beginning to arrange themselves, for better or worse, with the linebackers. The decision seems to have been made that Brandon Miller looks better at strongside LB than in the middle and with that, the coaches are starting to settle the other LBs into their positions and on the depth chart.

Offensive line, though, is a completely different story. Just read what Richt had to say:

On how Tripp’s addition affects what might happen in the future with the OL:
I don’t know what’s gonna happen. It could free us up to have Chester at guard and always ready to go to tackle, which is probably what we’d like to do. But we had Clint Boling get a little right guard today too, just a little taste. Because we feel like Clint could play center, guard or tackle, he’s just that good of an athlete. So it just gave us a little breathing room. Some guys got some rest that don’t ever get rest in practice. When I walked Kiante in the offensive line room and introduced him, the linemen, they’re in there cheering. Linemen need help, they want help. If you said, ‘Hey, here’s a new tailback, some all-American from wherever,’ the tailbacks would probably be in there grumbling. But when a new lineman comes in the room, they get excited.

On line flexibility meaning Chester Adams could maybe move back inside to guard:
He could. I think it would make more sense for Chester to be on the right side, where he’s also right tackle, and then Haverkamp’s gonna crosstrain. We’ll crosstrain Haverkamp with both guards and then we’ll crosstrain Davis at guard and center, just to give us a little depth. I’m not saying we won’t have 10 ready, but I’m not sure we’ll have 10 ready. It might be seven or eight guys ready.

This late in the game and with his size, how long do you think till he can be ready?
He might be ready Game 1. I’m not saying he’s gonna win the starting job, but I would think…Just from what I saw today, I think he could hold up. It’s like if you take a tight end, some tight ends are big, strong, physical bruisers and they will block that way. Some guys are extremely athletic and quick tight ends that they can still be effective blockers, not devastating blockers, but effective in that they can get their hat in the right spot, their feet in the right spot, work your feet and keep a guy from getting to the play without mashing him. He’s gonna be in that category for right now. But I don’t know how hard he’s been trying to keep his weight down. If he just decides to eat a meal after dinner every night, he could go to 280 probably, 285 maybe in just a couple weeks, if he’s been fighting hard to keep it off.

Did he work at all with the ones today?
He got some ones and twos today. He probably got more reps than anybody on the front, just to try to catch him up. He held up pretty good.

What to take from that? Three of the five line positions are not settled. Adams makes a better guard than tackle. They’re “cross-training” (definitely the buzzword of the day) a true freshman at tackle and guard. And they’re thinking that a kid after one day’s practice at right tackle might be a contributor by the first game!

All I can figure is that some of the injuries on the o-line must be fairly worrisome to the staff and that Richt, just like he did midseason last year at QB, has decided to take his lumps with inexperienced talent early in the hope that the young linemen grow into their roles by season’s end. If that’s the case, it’ll be an interesting ride. You just hope Stafford survives it.

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UPDATE: Paul Westerdawg points out the medium-term silver lining in the short-term cloud here.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Georgia shuffles the deck.

  1. kckd

    Regarding the OL, there is not a lot of experience to throw out there. I mean we’re not talking about a JTIII whose been in our system four years on the OL sitting, and a true freshman taking his place. We’re talking true freshman vs. RS freshman or transfer juniors.

    Second, Richt didn’t decide to do that with the QBs until it became apparent we were not going to win the SEC. Stafford started only when JTIII was hurt and didn’t start again until after we lost the Vandy game and it became apparent we weren’t going to win anyway with JTIII.

    Funny how history gets rewritten. Richt said preseason “we’re not gonna ruin our seniors chances of winning a championship just to get a guy ready for next year.” So he had to let that situation play out before his senior players eyes to see that JTIII wasn’t the answer. IYAM, if we’d gone with Stafford from the beginning, got him the reps he needed in Spring and Fall, instead of sharing, the team would have been better. But that’s assuming the players would have bought into it and there would have been no riffs. But from hearing some off the record quotes from the players, it sounded like the seniors for the most part were clearly in JTIII’s corner and being in the system for four years, he was going to look better than Stafford in practice.

    Also, Tripp has ability you can’t teach. Richt said this and he’ll have about a quarter of the practice time those who came in the Spring have gotten by the time we hit the opener.

  2. No question that necessity is the mother of invention.

    It just seems that they’re willing to invest a lot – not just Tripp perhaps playing against OSU, but in shifting others like Adams – in a very short period of time with a kid that has virtually no practice experience at a position that’s very tough for a freshman to handle.

    At least MS had spring and fall practices under his belt when he got thrown into the fire.