It’s a fairly common practice right now to do the whole preseason prediction thing. Never mind that there’s a whole class of potential contributors who haven’t shown up on campus yet – it’s a slow time in college football, and you’ve got to expand that energy on something.
In Georgia’s case right now, the speculation about this season is even idler, if that’s possible, because of the injury situation. I thought Herbstreit and Nessler had it right in the G-Day broadcast when they said that the Dawgs didn’t look like an elite SEC team because so many starters and key backups weren’t available to play. Yet pundits everywhere will tell you right now that Georgia is something like the thirteenth to sixteenth best team in the nation.
That’s kind of a crazy assessment at this moment when you ponder all the unknowns. Here’s my breakdown of the question marks on who first trots out on the field in Stillwater, Oklahoma, based solely on the here and now:
- Offensive line. We know who the starting center is, and we know that Clint Boling will start somewhere. But until Sturdivant and Vance are cleared to play, nobody has a clue who’s going to line up where. Except maybe for Stacy Searels, and he ain’t telling.
- Tight end. Aron White, by default. No idea who’s number two, or who takes on the role of blocking TE.
- Wide receiver. A. J., of course. (Thank God.) Michael Moore should play, but in Massaquoi’s vacated position, or in the slot as the number three receiver? Everybody else is as green as they get.
- Quarterback. Outside of Green, Cox is the biggest lock on offense right now, but if he were to get hurt…
- Tailback. You tell me.
- Fullback. The position is in good hands with Chapas and Munzenmaier.
- Defensive line. There’s plenty of depth at tackle, but they can’t set the rotations in stone until Owens is back. Defensive end? There’s the Swiss Army Knife of the team, Kiante Tripp, who’s inexperienced, and a cast of question marks. Easily the biggest challenge the coaching staff has to face when fall practice starts, if contributors (as in plural) can’t be found there, I’m afraid Okie State is going to be the start of a long season.
- Linebackers. Hooray! The one every down position on the team with clear stability and depth.
- Defensive backs. The starters at safety seem to be set with Jones and Evans. Miller has one of the cornerback slots locked down. The other side is completely up for grabs right now.
- Special teams. Butler is the punter by default, but has shown little to date. We have no idea who will be kicking off, or attempting field goals right now. There are some returners with experience, but there’s no clear indication that they will be the ones given the jobs this season.
This isn’t a “woe is us” post. There’s plenty of talent on that team and I believe Richt is serious about getting it properly deployed this year. I just find it impossible at present to assess the quality of the team that will open the season. Your thoughts?