If you really want to grasp the roots of where things went south this season, Paul Westerdawg has a pretty solid place to start: the incredible shrinking class of 2010.
- Demetre Baker (LB) – left school
- Brent Benedict (OT) – left school
- Michael Bennett (WR) – contributor
- Brandon Burrows (LB) – injured
- Marc Deas (DB) – non-factor defensively
- Jalen Fields (DE) – never arrived
- Kenarious Gates (OT) – contributor
- Kolton Houston (OT) – contributor (finally)
- Jakar Hamilton (DB) – left school
- Ken Malcome (RB) – left school
- Hutson Mason (QB) – contributor
- Dextor Morant (DE) – left school
- Alec Ogletree (LB) – contributor / NFL
- Zander Ogletree (FB) – left school
- Lonnie Outlaw (WR) – never enrolled
- Derek Owens (DB) – left school
- Garrison Smith (DL) – contributor
- TJ Stripling (LB) – oft injured non-factor defensively
- Mike Thornton (DT) – struggling to find consistent playing time
As Paul goes on to note, add to that Richt’s inexplicable willingness to undersign through several of the last classes, “… and you have a season where approximately 40 scholarship players had never played a snap before the season started.” That’s how you get to the greenest secondary Georgia’s deployed in my memory, and, just as importantly, that’s how a team has trouble with injuries (granted, there were an obscene number of those this season) and in putting together competent special teams.
It seems to me that if you want to bitch about the coaching staff this offseason (and it’s a long offseason) the best place to begin is with roster management. Given the size of the last class, it may very well be that Richt has awakened to the problem he created, but the jury is still out on that, IMO. Especially because the next phase we’re seeing in the recruiting wars – building up advisory staff for the purpose of managing high school contacts – isn’t really under Richt’s control. At least not if B-M doesn’t want to play (i.e., spend money) that particular game.