No stone unturned.

Moreno’s being looked at to return punts.  Richt is ready to clear the decks and play all of the freshman skill position players and defensive backs.

I think Paul’s spot on with what that indicates.  Richt thinks he’s very, very close to having THE team to do something special this season, and if that’s the case, you can’t worry about redshirting if you think a kid can help you on a given Saturday.

And that’s pretty damned exciting if you ask me.

While I’m in the amen chorus with Mr. Westerdawg, let me also say that he’s got the correct take on letting Moreno return punts.  You play your best, period.  Sure, there’s a risk, but that’s the case for every player that steps on a field – just ask Stewart Mandel.  It always irritated me when Georgia stopped letting Fred Gibson return kickoffs.  I know he was on the fragile side, but he was clearly better at the job than anyone else on the roster.

Do what you have to do.

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19 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, The Blogosphere

19 responses to “No stone unturned.

  1. peacedog

    I hate hate hate (triple word score hate) when people complain about starters playing special teams and then point to things like the Boss Bailey injury, I ran around for years talking until I was blue in the face trying to explain to various friends and associates that Georgia is not unique in sometimes using starters on special teams, pointing out numerous examples.

    If they’re good enough to play there, play them. If circumstances make this an undesireable scenario (e.g. you absolutely need them to play a high number of snaps at their normal position, and there isn’t a good backup around), don’t. Playing them just makes you like everyone else. Kids can get hurt anywhere.

    Also, it’s not like Moreno has the job yet. He appears to be #1 right now, but we’ve got two weeks of camp left and I’m sure the role will get heavy scrutiny.

    I think another reason Richt is playing as many freshman is possible is because we should be really good next year (and possibly the year after; in 2010 we project to be deep and talented everywhere on offense, and possibly breaking in a new QB), and many of them will play a bigger role then. Better to get some experience for these kids now.

  2. NebraskaDawg

    I second your motion good Senator.

  3. kckd

    Ok guys, let me play DA here. I think we all recall what happened to Mikey Henderson in the Sugar Bowl. I was very pissed because IMO the Hawaii player should have been thrown out of the game. It was obvious he was gonna hit Mikey no matter what and the fact that he celebrated the lick on the sidelines afterward was enough proof that it was very intentional. He should’ve been thrown out at that point.

    If the referees don’t call that what it is, intention to hurt another player, then what makes you think someone is not gonna try that on Knowshon. Punt returner, IMO, is the most vulnerable position to get a concussion on the football field as you have hardly anyway to protect yourself outside of the fair catch and sometimes that doesn’t work either. I’m not sure setting up our go to guy in that kind of fashion is a smart move.

    I’ve said my peace on this. Over and out.

  4. Scott

    Totally agree with kckd on this one…you think somebody won’t trade a 15 yard penalty for the chance to knock Knowshon out? Especially with him being as, shall we say, “fiery” as he is? I absolutely love his attitude, wouldn’t change it for the world, but I know if I was an opposing player his jumping around out there would certainly get under my skin. And if I saw him out there returning kicks, I would love the chance at a free shot.

    In my humble opinion, I think we have enough talented guys that we can put someone else out there and not risk the engine that makes our team go.

  5. peacedog

    Guys have 30-40+ plays a game where they can trade a 15 yard penalty to get a big hit on Knowshon. Guys had plenty of chances to take cheap shots on Mikey Henderson when he was returning punts all season.

    The cheap shot is rare. Can you think of any reasons why that might be? Here’s a hint: ignore the penalty aspect.

  6. IMO, if somebody wants to play dirty with Moreno, they’ll find a way to make it happen. Just ask Glenn Dorsey about how that works.

    I’m not saying that you stick KM out there at punt returner as a vanity move. But if he’s clearly the best on the team at it – if he gives you the best chance to win – you do what you have to do.

    Go read Westerdawg’s post on the subject. If Auburn was able to put Cadillac out there, I don’t see why Richt is being reckless in considering KM.

  7. AceG8tr

    But aren’t you afraid that if Moreno returns punts, he might get hit and have to sit out a few plays?
    :)

  8. Scott

    I guess you’re right, peace…just the thought of Knowshon lining up in what I feel is the most vulnerable position on the field makes me VERY nervous.

    Obviously, I haven’t seen any special teams scrimmages, but Knowshon would have to be LEAPS AND BOUNDS better than anybody else before I would risk him. We absolutely can not afford to lose him for any significant period of time. Not that I think CK is not a very good option as a backup, but Knowshon’s spirit and energy level can not be duplicated.

  9. If we had more returning experience at the RB position I might not have much of an issue with it, but I dunn0 – I’m not sure I like having Knowshon back there returning punts.

    It’s the experience issue that makes the Cadillac argument null and void. The Barners were using two experienced RB’s in Williams and Ronnie Brown. We don’t have a Ronnie Brown #2 yet.

  10. peacedog

    Scott, being nervous is *perfectly* understandeable – the idea of a major component to the team getting hurt is always scary. But the coaches are going to take all of this into account. I don’t think pun return is as dangerous as some make it out. We’ve seen two major cheapshots on our punt returners in the last 10 years (Gary against UT and of course Mikey in the Sugar Bowl). I think if you looked out over the entirety of college football, the actual cheap shots would be fewer and farther between than that. Most people aren’t going to cheap shot because most people aren’t assholes. Accidents can happen, but as has already been stated, they can happen anywhere.

    It’s important to remember that if they decide to use him, they probably gave all of this stuff considerable mental processing time. And it’s also important to remember that a bad result does not make it a bad decision. Bailey was placed on special teams because we had kick coverage problems and one of the steps (not the only one, mind!) taken to address it was to put more talented players out there to help.

    As for being leaps and bounds better, time (and two weeks of practice!) will tell if that proves to be the case for the opener . I’m still expecting Carlton Thomas to win the job personally, but we’ll see. I think it’s difficult to categorize this in a way we can quantify. Knowshon might not be 12 utils better than the next punt returner. OTOH, he might be the best and escaping the initial wave of punt coverage and once you do that all bets are off in the punt return game. It may not produce any TDs, but it could produce a ton of field position anyway.

    Though I think the biggest news here isn’t Knowledge Shon – who has good speed but great quickness, and I think quickness is more important for punt returns – getting a crack at it (it is somewhat surprising, to be sure) but Logan Gray. Gray’s a great athlete by all accounts, and wants to help out any way he can (also playing gunner, I think I read). I wonder – and it must be stressed that this is complete speculation – if the coaches see him possibly getting buried in the depth chart over time. Maybe he really will get moved to another position at some point. If he wants to do it, more power to him.

  11. Most people aren’t going to cheap shot because most people aren’t assholes.

    Or out of concern that there are just as many assholes on the other team. ;)

  12. scdawg

    I see both sides of this argument. It’s not a dumb move, it’s just a move that increases the risk your most dynamic offensive weapon can get hurt.

    This isn’t like giving the toss sweep to your best defensive end and watching him blow out his knee. Anybody remember that one?

  13. Brad

    I worry more about the fatigue factor. KM looked tired and a bit beat up towards the end of last season. Hopefully we won’t have to ride him so much (RB depth appears good) but he got dinged vs. Yech and never really looked the same after that. With a sore shoulder already in preseason, I just don’t know.

  14. thinkingbulldog

    I think this is a PsyOps move by CMR…”oops I shouldn’t have mentioned…” and I like it. It will churn the guts of every special teams coach on our schedule.

    I’d also like to hear that Rennie Curran is getting some reps at fullback. Or that we’re lining up Jeff Owens in the backfield in goal line situations, Refrigerator Perry style.

  15. dean

    The area I’m concerned with on this issue is the fatigue factor. Not in a single game but over the entire season. As PWD mentioned punt returners average about 3 a game and I seem to remember CMR saying Moreno will be getting about 20 carries a game or he would like for Moreno to get at least 20. So through a 12 game regular season we’re talking about 36 PR’s and approximately 240 RA’s. That’s a lot of wear-n-tear on one person. I’m all for Moreno returning punts as long as some of the PR’s are split with Thomas (NOT Gray).

  16. dean – I said it was unlikely that he’d get 36. That was the high estimate. It’s more like 20-25. Particularly if you don’t expose him in small games AND if he’s good at it, people don’t punt to him anyway.

    BTW — Reggie Bush returned punts. That seemed to work out ok for USC.

  17. dean

    PWD,
    FWIW – I don’t think it’s likely he’ll return 36 either I’m just sayin’ as a worse case scenario . Again I’m all for it as long as Moreno has enough time to catch his breath between punt returns and taking a hand-off. And there’s some substituting, as you mentioned, in small games or when a game is out of reach. I believe all our coaches are smart enough to realize this as well. All I’m saying is I would be concerned about fatigue just as CMR is w/ Allen.

    BTW – So did Desmond Howard & Charles Woodson. That seemed to work for Michigan as well.

  18. Will

    @AceG8tr

    If he does get injured, we can just blame any game we lose on that. ;)

  19. Atlchris

    Pleaseeee let Ramarcus Brown return kicks…