No silver lining

The one good thing I thought we could take from the Richard Samuel move in the short term was that Grantham felt comfortable enough about linebacker depth to give his blessing to giving up one – specifically, that there was nothing to worry about with regard to Jarvis Jones’ eligibility.

So much for that.

… Grantham is treating the Jarvis Jones situation the way he would an injured player. Georgia and the NCAA are looking into Jones’ connection to a former AAU coach, and his status for the start of the season could be in question.

Jones is the first-teamer at the “Sam” outside linebacker spot.

“We’re gonna prepare at every position as if the guy that’s the first team player is the guy, and then if he goes down then he’s the next guy. We’re always gonna have guys in place,” Grantham said. “(If Jones can’t play) we could move a guy around, it could be a guy who’s here now, it could be a freshmen.”

That Dream Team had better be one loaded bunch.

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UPDATE:  Ben Dukes sees things differently.

… And as for those who see the situation with Samuel being akin to those of Brandon Miller and Kiante Tripp, I have to say – coaches must always do what is best for the team. If Kiante Tripp had been an incredible Defensive Lineman or Offensive Lineman, he wouldn’t have been moved around so much. Had Brandon Miller boasted an amazing skill set at either DE or OLB, he would have lived at one position for 4 or 5 years instead of bouncing around. As a RB two years ago, Samuel was not the best on the roster. He was younger, more immature than those around him. He was moved to LB to shore up numbers there… but other roster moves (additions of transfers, moving players, signing new LBs) have increased the depth at that position greatly. So, the coaches have to do what is best for the team. At LB, Samuel could easily get lost in the shuffle. At RB, he may once again have a chance to be a real difference maker.

I like Ben’s blog a lot, but I’ll be honest with you – I don’t find that convincing.  No question that coaches have to do what’s best for the team and that shoring up depth goes with the territory, but so does talent evaluation.  It’s not position movement per se that’s troublesome here; it’s the repeated bouncing around from spot to spot that does.  (That’s what makes his Brandon Miller example different from Tripp and Samuel.  It’s also why Tripp’s name became a Lexicon entry.)

I hope the Samuel moves works out for all parties concerned.  And I know Samuel says this time it’s permanent.  But if Crowell fully lives up to expectations and there’s a rash of injuries at linebacker, is anyone going to be surprised if there’s speculation about moving Samuel again?

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50 Comments

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50 responses to “No silver lining

  1. Lrgk9

    Well, the Broncos better come to be physical. We’ll see in the 4th quarter.

  2. Spence

    Sometimes im not sure coach richt has anything resembling a plan

    Thank God we are putting our faith in the NCAAs benevolence and fairness to our program.

    Also I have heard Richt is thinking of cross training Murray at safety given depth issues. He explained “I don’t care about past performance at a position of need or potential at a new position. We just need bodies there. “

  3. vincent

    U can go ahead and pencil in that jarvis will be suspended at least for the first two games, it’s the ncaa and we’re georgia

    • Cousin Eddie

      can we make his suspension retro active to last year, when he sat out anyway? Just play it oposite of tosu?

      • DawgWalker07

        Why don’t we just pull an Auburn and somehow get him suspended and reinstated in the same day.

        • Ausdawg85

          Or tOSU and declaire him ineligible for “select non-conference” games in 2018?

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            Look, you guys are joking about this but if it is a rules violation howcome Jarvis is at fault? His AAU coaches did it. Why can’t he just say that these authority figures told him it was OK (which they did or he never would have accepted the tickets)? That’s a whole lot more compelling than Cammie saying he “didn’t know” that his ole man was shopping him around for $180K. Suspend those guys not an 18 year old kid who was relying on them for advice about what was OK and not OK.

            • Go Dawgs!

              I hear you, but the NCAA can’t do anything to the Columbus Parks and Rec, nor to any booster for any school, beyond forcing the school to sever ties. That is why the burden falls to the student athlete. And athletes know from an early age what they can and can’t accept. Jarvis knew better than to take free flights to LA.

              • Mayor of Dawgtown

                Let me make myself clear. Jarvis was playing for USC at the time. If any school should be penalized it should be USC. Take away another couple of schollies from them but leave UGA alone.

                • Go Dawgs!

                  You’re clear, Mayor, but how is that fair? USC did nothing wrong, the people in Columbus did wrong and Jarvis did wrong by accepting what the NCAA calls an impermissible benefit. You want USC to be punished for that while the player experiences no penalty? How would that be fair? No punishment is coming to UGA. It is coming for the player.

                  • Mayor of Dawgtown

                    Its fair because Lane Kiffin is the HC at USC. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  4. mwo

    I thought the AAU Jones connection was basketball related and should not affect his football status. Logic and reasoning don’t apply very well to the NCAA line of thinking, so he will probably be suspended for the year, UGA will lose 30 scholarships, and Coach Richt will be taken out behind Butts-Mehre and shot. All for something Jones did at USC.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      +1. Since this happened while he was at USC why isn’t this a USC problem?

      • Go Dawgs!

        It’s neither a USC problem nor a UGA problem. It’s a Jarvis Jones problem. That’s who will be punished. Unfortunately, Georgia will also suffer.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          How’s Jarvis Jones punished if he sits out 2 games? He still has his schollie. The AAU assholes still have their Parks and Recreation jobs. The NCAA gets its pound of flesh from its favorite whipping boy school while making itself appear relevant to the public. The only folks to get hurt are, you guessed it, the UGA team, coaches and fans. Don’t hold the guy out voluntarily. Wait until the NCAA rules.

          • Go Dawgs!

            Missing playing time is a big punishment for a football player. When you spend an entire year waiting to play 12 times, any impact on your PT is a negative event. When you consider that Jarvis didn’t get to play at all last year? Missing games hurts. Is it a crushing blow? No. But I personally hope the NCAA doesn’t want to deal a crushing blow. As for playing him when we know there could be an issue, I don’t like the idea, and I think Georgia Tech may be able to tell you how the NCAA is handling teams who aren’t playing ball with them.

  5. Biggus Rickus

    I don’t know what you expect them to do. They have two freshmen running backs and an undersized scatback, along with any walk-ons at the position. I’m not going to blame them for hedging their bets, especially when they seem to have at least decent depth at linebacker.

    • simpl_matter

      Exactly right. We can all wish it wasn’t necessary but, it is (and that IS what it is).

  6. Macallanlover

    I think we should roll the dice on Jones and play him. The violations involve basketball, and it was at USC, not UGA. If he were a professional basketball player he would be eligible for collegiate football anyway by NCAA rules! State that case to the NCAA and make them get off their butts, this isn’t a situation they weren’t aware of. For Christ sakes, they knew Cammy was in direct violation of their rule when a family member solicited/extorted money from a school last year, how can they expect schools to understand what they enforce, or not?

    As to Samuel at running back, I know there are many critics here about his running style from 2 years ago but this is a bigger, stronger, more mature athlete these days. Let’s not forget he hit the campus at 16 years of age and was playing at 17. I don’t know if his best utilization over time would be at LB or RB, but I respect the coach’s decision to know what is best for the team given our current circumstances. I appreciate Samuel’s attitude of going with what is best for the team.

    • Zdawg

      Mac, I just remember Samuel for all his size and speed, getting tripped up pretty easily. I don’t know if that is something that gets worked out over time. Lets hope so.

      • Macallanlover

        I recall the same. It seemed a combination of vision, balance, and an inexperienced, youthful temptation to take on walls rather than run around them. One would hope all have improved. My point is we assume he has gotten smarter and stronger over the past two years and not expect the same level of performance. There is a reason the staff asked him to make that change, don’t know if it is confidence on the defensive side of the equation, or a concern the offensive attack needs shoring up. As many have noted, we have done without a great running game for some time and still had pretty decent offensive attack, he doesn’t have to be great.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          I saw a replay of the 2009 USCe-UGA game last night and Samuel actually ran pretty well in that game. 2 years of growth and physical/mental maturity may make this work out after all.

      • NRBQ

        When he last played offense, Samuel showed none of the squirm of a good tailback ( “hips,” “moves,” “cuts” or whatever).

        Maybe they’ll run plays for him at fullback in front of Big John, the ball carrier.

  7. Normaltown Mike

    I think the position flopping is the last vestige of CMR’s FSU days. Back then he could move people all over the field and still win 10 games b/c the ACC sucks (remember Outzen playing QB?)

    If CMR were still calling plays, the stretch would still account for 50% of our running plays.

  8. ChicagoDawg

    Not to absolve the coaching staff of poor personnel decisions over the years, but the bouncing around of Tripp, Miller and Samuel does in fact speak to their respective inability to assert themselves at any one position and it is not for lack of opportunity. It has never been considered to try Ben Jones NG (although there was no real NG on the team last year) nor has been considered that Christian Robinson be moved to TB, etc., Why is this? Because these players are productive and make themselves indispensible at their respective positions.

    The moves of the players cited are more about desperately trying to make use of physical gifts that are not translating into football production at a high level. If Samuel lights it up at RB, then it shuts down the position thrashing.

    • Normaltown Mike

      So you’re saying you DON’T want Walsh at Nose Guard?

    • Don’t forget the position switches by Bean (multiple) and AJ Harmon between DL and OL.

      It’s just getting strange, iyam.

      Simple fact on Samuel though is we need a body back there especially now with CT suspended and he knows the plays.

    • W Cobb Dawg

      +1 ChicagoDawg. Your summary is the best I’ve seen. We just have to accept that Samuel isn’t that good – another one of those 5 star ‘can’t miss’ recruits who just don’t have what it takes when he hits the field. Perhaps CMR should’ve redshirted him or brought him along differently. But in the end the kid’s got to produce or ride the bench. Samuel’s had opportunities and hasn’t capitalized on them.

  9. Irishdawg

    I’m with Chicago here. Samuel never could seize the tailback spot, despite his physical gifts. I would rather him stay at LB, because he’s fast, likes to hit, and is built like a bull, but Ealey and Kings’ boneheadery have made this move necessary.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      I wonder if Ealey knew that King was going to flunk out would he still have left? Bad timing. Very bad timing.

  10. Chuck

    I didn’t like the idea of a move here unless it was basically Samuel’s idea. It doesn’t look like it was his idea exactly, but it does seem as though he has thought about it and has bought in. He’s not just taking one for the team; he likes the idea.

    One thing I had forgotten was how young he was when he came here. I think he is a pretty smart kid, and never had a problem learning blocking schemes. He’s bigger and stronger, but still very fast. This could work for him and the team.

  11. Athens Townie

    Desperate times call for desperate measures.

    Some other commenter (SPQ15 or something?) called me out for saying that C King’s departure was bad for the team and for doubting that Boo would be a solution after he ended up at the bottom of the post-Spring depth chart.

    Look, we have a desperate situation at RB with two huge games out of the gate. We have two immature and obviously unproven freshman RBs and an ineffective scatback as depth.

    When Caleb left, we had no choice but to do something desperate. I’m really pulling for something to click for Samuel this time around — no doubt he’s a team player for us.

    Even if it does work out for #22 at RB this time, you can’t sugarcoat the problems created by King’s departure, which is why the “No silver lining” title of this post is sadly fitting.

    • HamDawg11

      Totally agree, Townie. We all feel that Samuel is better suited for LB, but he’s our best option to help out at RB right now. He is an absolute stud of an athlete and needs to be on the field. He will contribute more right now on offense. He’s not likely to go out there and average 100 yds / game, but maybe he can give us some tough yards when we need them.

      Anybody who knows the kid knows how great a person he is. He was running the ball as a 17-18 year old, now he’s a full-grown 20 year old man. He will punish defenses and provide solid pass blocking. He’ll be the work horse, Crowell will be the show horse. I would much rather see Samuel carrying the ball than Malcome, there’s more potential upside to Richard.

      Now the radio is reporting that Carlton Thomas will likely be suspended for the Boise game. Who wants to see Samuel moved back to LB now?

  12. Krautdawg

    I enjoy Dukes’ blog as well, but there seems to be a contradiction in his post. His premise — that the coaches’ decisions reflect what’s best for the team — doesn’t gel with his facts: “[a]s a RB two years ago, Samuel was not the best on the roster. He was younger, more immature than those around him.”

    If memory serves, the coaches still decided to start Samuel that year. So either they missed on Samuel not being the team’s best option, or they started him in spite of it. Neither possibility offers a reason to put faith in their most recent call.

    • Krautdawg

      That said, I wouldn”t argue with anyone who said Samuel’s our best option to keep Murray from getting sawed in half. He is the only RB with experience in our blocking schemes. Let’s just keep his presence in formations from telegraphing our passing plays.

  13. 2011-dawgtrain

    Did keeping king and ealey too long cost UGA chances at other rbs ? I hope it works with samuel, he is a not a natural rb. Twice in 4 yrs UGA has no line depth, once is an oddity twice is a flaw.

  14. Cojones

    Does 3 QBs injured and Hines Ward saving the day strike a bell? Numerous moves have been made in the past. Let’s stop the second guessing and hope for the best along with our coaches. Everyone is doing what they have to do in order to have a semblance of a team out of the gate. We have been forced in the recent past to move players and cross-train when we had a horrific number of preseason and beginning season injuries. Don’t forget that.

    I support fully what our coaches and players decide when it’s the best option we have. Samuel and Brown will be of immense help to Crowell as well.

    There may be things you like or dislike about Samuel, but if he embraces the move, then we all should. I thought the move back to linebacker was worth seeing at the season’s start. That’s what he played in HS and I really wanted to see him tee off on an offense. There was more to the running back position plays he is familiar with and therein lies something I saw a couple of years ago that I really haven’t made up my mind about. Samuel went for a halfback pass down the sideline about 15 yds and at the left corner. The TV film at ground level showed the football almost hitting the pylon in front of him. It appeared that he pulled up instead of leaping forward for the reception (I think it was 3rd down and we needed it badly). The announcers were strangely silent right after the play, almost as if they expected him to try and to catch the ball. Never saw the replay from another angle and never knew whether it was beyond trying , but I got the distinct impression of an attitude problem. Don’t get me wrong. I like Samuel and was glad for him that he was going to play linebacker. But that question was never answered in my mind. Did anyone else see it and form an opinion of that play?

  15. Brandon Miller wasn’t moved until the Bowl game his senior year. Isn’t that a completely different issue?

    I’m not sure what that has to do with Kiante Tripp. BTW — If Tripp could play dead in a western at any position, he would’ve found a home.

    I think personnel utilization in general has been a big flaw. If that’s the issue we’re all talking about. Ok fine. But moving guys around. I’m all for it a time or two as long as it works.

    Not knowing where to play a guy will cost you your job. Go back and watch that 94 Bama game. Hines Ward is at RB, Robert Edwards is at CB and Terrell Davis is on the bench.

    That gets you fired an a loss at home to Vandy.