Pushing the freshmen

Not that it’s any big surprise at this point, but it seems clear that the coaches expect some of the incoming freshmen to vie for starting roles, or at least be significant contributors, right off the bat.

Ben Jones at center, for one.   A. J. Green, who won’t be available until fall practice, is another.

He might not be on campus yet, but 6-4 incoming freshman wide receiver A.J. Green is already causing a lot of buzz, and Richt appears to be adding to it.

“We will give him every opportunity to [play],” Richt said. “My guess is he will make a contribution to the team. How big will depend on how well he does.

“We will give him a really good crack at it,” he said.

These aren’t dire situations as the offensive line was last year – when the coaches were talking about Sturdivant playing, they really had little choice.  The only kid coming into a similar void this season is Blair Walsh.

No, these guys are fighting for jobs where there is existing, valid talent and the fact that the coaches are talking up kids like Jones and Green should tell us something about the quality of these incoming freshmen.  I don’t recall Richt talking about Curran last year before the season started the way he’s mentioned Green, for example.

It’s enough to get me a little excited.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Pushing the freshmen

  1. dean

    What I hearing down here in lowly South Carolina is AJ still needs to put on some lbs. This shouldn’t be much of an issue when Coach Van gets a hold of him but the last I heard he was about 195lbs. That’s not much on a 6-4 frame. But he’s got until this fall to beef up so we’ll see.

  2. Greg

    Fred Gibson needed to put on some pounds throughout his UGA career, but that didn’t keep him from contributing immediately….and this guys is on another level up from Fred.

    Even though he’s thin, he’s not Fred or Tavarres King thin. In the video’s and all-star games I saw him play, he was able to absorb a hit pretty well and dish it out a little himself…which is good because he’s going to need to block well too! Folks in South Carolina are going to try to find any flaw because they are devastated that they didn’t get him.

  3. …which is good because he’s going to need to block well too!

    Yep – I think that’s the key to how much time he gets on the field this year. He’s certainly gonna play, but if he can contribute to the blocking game, he’s gonna play a lot.

  4. JG

    Um, Richt talked up Rennie all throughout the preseason. In typical Richt fashion, Green wont make any contributions until game 5-6…unfortunately.

  5. I know MR talked about Rennie before the season. I don’t recall him saying this kind of stuff before Rennie even got to Athens.

    If you recall, the big talk at linebacker from MR last preseason was over Brandon “Key to the Defense” Miller.

  6. kckd

    I tried to tell you about the quality of Sturdivant last year but you wouldn’t listen. (wink, wink)

    Seriously, I’m not saying Trinton was ready to take over at the start, but he was as good as we’ve had at that position by the end of last year in the Richt era.

    He’ll be an NFL draft pick, maybe even higher than that Bama guy you were fawning over.

  7. kckd

    As far as Green making contributions, a lot of that will depend on his blocking ability. And if you don’t think that’s important, you need to take a look at our long runs against multiple opponents and those screen passes in the Okie St. game.

  8. kckd, you’re preaching to the choir on that point. ;)

  9. kckd

    I will say this though, if none of our receivers step up to be consistent go to guys on a game by game basis, Green could work his way in there even if he can’t block. However, I think MoMass is gonna be hell next year and Green looks to be able to block a little better out of HS than other talented receivers we’ve gotten. Of course those highlights are against very undersized DBs, not the kinds he’ll face in the SEC.

  10. dean

    My point is he needs the lbs to be able to handle the jams and be able to block the corners. There’s a good article on todays AJ-C page about the physicalness (is that a word?) needed to handle the wide receiver job. However upon checking around this morning (after my comment) I found where he is listed at 210lbs on the Summerville basketball roster. So apparently he is already working on the weight issue. I hope he comes in ready to play and I hope the kid absolutely shows out.
    As far as the comparison to Fred Gibson I hope the weight is the only comparison between the two. I’ve seen AJ play in person several times myself and for the most part he’s a man among boys. He’s a stud don’t get me wrong. He can catch just about anything but I’ve seen him struggle against good, physical corners. He gets frustrated when they shut him down and it looks like, at times, he gives up. A lot of that has to do with maturity but it’s something I hope he’s taken care of by the time he gets to Athens. Nevertheless I’m looking forward to his arrival this summer. And yes I do think he plays as a true freshman.