A tale of two position groups

Boy, could the current state of Georgia’s receivers versus running backs be much different now?

RUNNING BACK

The first week of preseason basically confirmed what we already knew here, which is that Georgia is simply loaded at tailback. Todd Gurley, first of all, is reportedly ready to roll and in the best shape of his college career (that’s per Bryan McClendon). For now, there’s no reason to push Gurley’s workload in the preseason.

But the competition behind him could be a heating up a little, as each of the five-star freshmen have shown some strong signs already. There were behind-the-scenes rumbles of Sony Michel really impressing in practice last week. Nick Chubb evidently saw it and raised with a starring role in Saturday night’s scrimmage. Additionally, Keith Marshall has been full-speed ahead coming off knee surgery, and you’ve still got Brendan Douglas competing hard.

So it will be fascinating to see how the Bulldogs will choose to divide up carries when the games start. Again, that’s a very good problem for Georgia to have, but we’d advise you to not assume anything beyond Gurley being the No. 1 option if healthy.

At fullback, Quayvon Hicks‘ move to tight end (though he could still play fullback if needed) has left little question that the job of lead-blocking fullback is Merritt Hall‘s to lose this preseason. Walk-on Taylor Maxey has done some good things and could be pushing for a backup role in certain situations.

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WIDE RECEIVER

In what seems now a familiar trend for this unit, no other area of Georgia’s team right now looks tp be as banged-up as the wide receivers. Malcolm Mitchell remains out for now after minor knee surgery right before camp. Justin Scott-Wesley has been working in a limited capacity at practice, but he’s not all the way back from last fall’s major knee surgeries. Chris Conley has been limited at practice this past week. Charlie Hegedus has also been out with what is believed to be a minor ailment. Freshman Shakenneth Williams wasn’t practicing Friday, and Jonathon Rumph reportedly missed the scrimmage with an unknown issue too.

So … all these absences surely hurt the offense’s firepower during the scrimmage and have made evaluations difficult while already testing the depth at a position that needed to get deeper from last season and appeared to have done that. Blake Tibbs, Reggie Davis and Kenneth Towns look to be benefiting from extra reps at the moment, while freshman receiver Isaiah McKenzie‘ rapid emergence became one of the stories of the first week of practice.

The good thing, of course, is that the big names on the receiving corps should heal over the next few weeks.  But right now it’s easy to see how Bobo might be tempted to go with a heavy dose of the run early on.

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43 Comments

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43 responses to “A tale of two position groups

  1. JR

    http://www.ajc.com/news/sports/college/uga-practice-te-jordan-davis-back-but-many-others-/ngzCT/

    “It appears that freshman Detric Bing-Dukes has been moved to running back. At least that was the group he was working with Monday morning and he was dressed in the offense’s red jersey. Bing-Dukes signed with Georgia out of Tucker High as a linebacker and had been working with that group until now.”

    what’s up with that? the position group seems a little full at the moment.

    • Macallanlover

      With the depth at LB maybe he has a better chance of contributing at FB. I agree with Michael, I think I would move Douglas to FB/H-B now. Too much talent to sit and we are going to use that position until we change offensive schemes. Hall can use some help, especially if he has to fend off big rushers every game.

      I think we have got the talent at WR, although thin at the moment. We need JSW to help Davis stretch the field but I believe we will use a short passing game more this year. Just need a threat to keep the safeties honest but imagine the LB having to deal with a talented backfield that can run over you, past you, and can all catch…then add the H Back and TE. A lot to think about and not get caught guessing, each of those backs can run well in space if they get a couple of steps due to a misread or getting caught guessing. Understand how badly that reads but we have offensive talent to fill in the gaps. The real concern is keeping Mason upright for 13-14 games.

      • gatorhater27

        I think you mean 15 games. #augustoptimism

        • Macallanlover

          True, forgot about the “new math”. Thanks. Just get me to Atlanta, that is what it is about, if we are good enough to get there our questions will have been answered positively and everything is open to us.

    • Warden182

      Fullback, not running back per 247. Hall is injured and Hicks moved to HB/TE so the cupboard is pretty bare at that position.

    • what’s up with that? the position group seems a little full at the moment.

      Very likely, Bing-Dukes wasn’t what Pruitt wanted at LB. I wondered about it when we offered him last June, and then again when Pruitt took over. But we don’t back away from commitments, and that could be the story.
      ~~~

      • sUGArdaddy

        No, we were very thin at fullback. I think they’re really liking Q at the H/TE and are thinking we need another body there behind Merritt. Good move.

        • sUGArdaddy

          Oh, and he’ll have to change numbers if he sticks or Langley will. They’re both 33, which is another reason I hate the duplicate number thing…which is just a recruiting tool.

          • Dukes looks pretty good running his drills from H, so he may help us there down the road. Don’t know anything about his ball skills, we’ll see. I doubt he wouldn’t been moved, however, if he was exactly what we wanted at ILB.

            Which makes it an even better move. I like it too.
            ~~~

  2. The good thing, of course, is that the big names on the receiving corps should heal over the next few weeks.

    I’m not sure about that. I’d be surprised to see Mitchell on the field against Clemson.

  3. Michael

    Anybody else see Douglas moving to fullback?

  4. Joe Schmoe

    One critical name not mentioned at WR – Michael Bennett.

  5. ScoutDawg

    Dare you to doubt Conley. Force is Strong with him.

  6. DawgPhan

    I saw who needs WRs, just line up RBs everywhere and see what happens.

  7. baitstand

    “But right now it’s easy to see how Bobo might be tempted to go with a heavy dose of the run early on.”

    Especially on third and long.

  8. Jman781

    We only have RBs? Maybe we should run some sort of triple option or something…

    I’ll show myself out.

  9. But right now it’s easy to see how Bobo might be tempted to go with a heavy dose of the run early on.

    You’d think so. But the thing about it is, that pits our weakness (OL) against their strength (DL). Now maybe our OL is better than we think, but I don’t like that matchup. They’re supposed to have 5 or 6 NFL guys on that DL, i.e., an NFL front.

    I was talking to an old friend last night, and with MM & JSW out, and fragile at TE, we expect Clemson to load the box and play man-to-man, forcing us to beat them throwing. We have Reggie Davis and Isaiah McKenzie who can stretch the field, and we may need them early on. And we’ll need Conley, Bennett, et.al, to all be solid, along and maybe Hicks at the H.

    But I’m thinking we’ll have to pass to set up the run. Loosen them up with the pass, then run that sucker, then beat ‘em with the pass again. But I don’t think we’re good enough up front to just pound it straight at them. I think we’re going to need balance, and maybe for the whole game.
    ~~~

    • Mg4life0331

      I agree. We can’t just dare them to stop the run.

    • Ivey, it seems logical that until Mason proves that he is capable of beating teams with is arm opposing D’s will load the box to stop the run. That puts a ton of pressure on an awfully weak O-line. Time for CWF to earn his paycheck.

      • Yeah, I agree. It’s my #1 concern. We’ve been granted a lot of wishes this year, at least I have, but that top SEC OL still seems in the distance.

        And a good point about Mason. He will not get a free pass. I suspect teams will load the box and then come after him. He’ll have to prove himself by burning them.
        ~~~

  10. 69Dawg

    Balance has been and will be the Bobo watch word. Right now I’ll bet we go up tempo because Mason likes it like that. We may see UGA looking like Auburn. I think Bobo is beginning to like changing it up and showing that we can up-tempo is just his latest wrinkle.

    • I think Bobo is beginning to like changing it up and showing that we can up-tempo is just his latest wrinkle.

      I think so too. Bobo seems to have become a great believer in balance in recent years, moreso than he used to be. He’s less old school than he was, IMO.

      And we’ll be more up-tempo this year for sure, primarily because of Mason, as you pointed out. But we’ve been up-tempo, is some form or another, since Richt arrived. Even those years where we only used it in 1-2 minute drills, we were always good at it. It’s always been an integral part of Richt’s offense, and now Bobo’s.

      But good point about tempo. I think we’ll go fast against Clemson, but will still need to pass in order to set up the run.
      ~~~

  11. Not sure why most think we can simply move Douglas to FB. He is a tough sob, but FB at uga is a blocking position and nothing Douglas has done in his career shows he is capable of that.

    • I have to disagree. No, we haven’t seen it, but there’s nothing about Douglas that makes me think he couldn’t be a lead blocker.

      Further, if he were to play FB, we’d see more carries from that position. I’d expect him to get more carries than normal at FB, and expect us to run more snaps from 21 and 20 personnel packages.

      And the same in the pros, should he make it. He’d get his share of carries, because he has superior running skills for a FB. The thing is whether he’s a blocker, and whether his heart would be in it.

      IDK for sure. But I know one thing. He’s a dad-gum FOOTBALL PLAYER. I wouldn’t put it past him.
      ~~~

      • Once again what makes you think we would run more with the FB? What in the history of bobo makes you think the FB will get more than two carries a game. A true proven blocking FB is worth way more than the couple extra yards we would get with the loss in blocking ability. Playing FB and tb is not remotely similar. If being a blocking FB was so easy we would not have a new HB who is a lot closer to a FB than Douglas has ever played.

  12. Goat Balls

    I’d like to see Bobo throw a lot of short out passes to Gurley and Marshall. Spread Clempsons D out and if their man to man coverage is good, shoot it out to the TB and there goes Gurley running downhill or Marshall getting up to speed and flying if he still can. Much better odds of success than long downfield passes.

    Kind of a ” oh my god, Herschel is running over people” moment.

  13. W Cobb Dawg

    Meh. Ball & McClendon have proved to be good & dependable position coaches. They’ll have guys ready to step up.

  14. Bobby

    From the outside looking in I’m not sure I get the Trammel Terry move to safety. I don’t view the Dawgs as particularly deep with talent at WR.

    • Macallanlover

      Glad you brought that up, haven’t heard his name all summer. I was expecting him to make an appearance this fall and be another surprise.

  15. Keese

    I am ready for the season to start

  16. Juan

    Random question – how is Sony Michel pronounced? “Sonny Michelle”? Or “Sony (like the electronics company) Michael”?

    • Sanford222view

      Funny, the media guide only gives help with his last name. It seems to be Sony (like the TV) “Michelle” according to the 2014 Media Guide.