Your humble blogger is mystified by this.

It doesn’t happen often, but I am totally blown away by this quote from Richard Samuel:

On being back at linebacker, which he played in high school: “I missed it a lot. Being able to play free and not have to worry about certain fundamentals. ..I didn’t feel comfortable with the blocking. We didn’t block in high school.”

This is the kid, mind you, who wound up starting in an offense that we’ve been told ad nauseum places a very high premium on running backs who can block.  Now that’s not Samuel’s fault, but what in the hell were the coaches thinking?  What were they seeing in practice?  And what justified keeping Ealey on the bench until the middle of the LSU game?

31 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

31 responses to “Your humble blogger is mystified by this.

  1. I think the coaches liked his skillset and athleticism so they thought he could learn to block. There’s some guys who just don’t want to block and in Richt’s scheme they cannot work.

    That being said Samuels was a bear at LB in high school he adds some depth to the spot I’ll be interesting to see how quick he can pick it up. There’s a huge difference between HS and BCS linebacker.

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  2. Todd

    All the problems did not leave with Willie Martinez.

    Remember the opener last year, when our WR coach and OC did not know who got in the game?

    Marlon Brown wasted a redshirt. Logan Gray has been at QB, although everyone knows he is not going to play there.

    The Kiante Tripp experiment.

    Israel Troupe looked pretty productive…when he got to play….which was never.

    Every UGA fan in Georgia could see that Samuel was not cut out at RB, and now the kid admits that he did not even like it…but he remained there? And, he remained there despite being an 18 year-old Soph with a redshirt unused.

    We will be playing a totally inexperienced QB this year, despite the fact that we went through the program’s worst season in over a decade and allowed a 5th year senior to take every snap. So, not only do you have a deficiency behind center, but you impede the chances for the 2010 team’s success.

    Yes, it was nice that CMR sacked up and canned Willie, but he also needs to take a look in the mirror and see that many, many of our failings have involved the mismanagement of offensive personnel and the inability of our coaches to ably communicate to the players.

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    • Left to Right

      Good summary of our personnel mismanagement this past year.

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    • Hackerdog

      In case you forgot, our main problem last year was not offense.

      Faulting the coaches for not playing a true freshman, who was injured, during a down year is downright stupid. Wins count for something, and suggesting that if you’re not going to win 10 games, you might as well settle for 5 wins instead of trying for 8 is equally stupid. Recruits pay attention to things like wins.

      I say that a healthy, redshirt freshman without any confidence issues is superior to a true sophomore who is coming off a miserable season and is battling confidence issues because he threw 100 interceptions after being thrown to the wolves.

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      • JoeE

        Whoah, you’re assuming that the only alternative to Joe Cox getting every snap would’ve been completely substituting him with a true frosh. I don’t think the above poster was suggesting that at all, just that the coaches could have given at least one of our guys some meaningful in-game experience for next year once it was clear Logan Gray wasn’t going to cut it. As much as I’m concerned about how good the team is going to be in 2013, which is when we might benefit from redshirting two freshmen QBs in a year where we lost five games, I’m far more concerned about 2010 at the moment.

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  3. baltimore dawg

    i wouldn’t take samuels’ comments too seriously (or literally). most of what made samuel an ineffective back had nothing to do with his blocking, from what i noticed. ealey and king simply surpassed him. it’s easier for a physical prodigy to rationalize that some more nuanced part of the game eluded him than to admit that he wasn’t able to just run the damn ball.

    but i’m surprised that you’re still capable of being mystified by our coaches’ mismanagement of personnel.

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    • As a general principle, I’m not. I’ve watched Bryan Evans as much as anyone else has. 😉

      But what perplexes me about Samuel’s particular situation is that he acknowledged he couldn’t handle blocking and yet was still awarded the starter’s slot. The only way that makes any sense is if none of the backs could block, but then I’m left with the puzzle of why Ealey sat and Samuel played.

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      • Barstool

        Remember that coming out of fall camp, Caleb was dinged with a hamstring, and Ealey had been slowed all camp with a bum elbow. Hence, Samuel got the vast majority of reps in camp. It was just him and Carlos Thomas (remember him? – same reason he played early and not late) for a bit, there.

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      • Barstool

        Even with that situation, though, I am still mystified. Not mystified with Samuel starting off last year at TB, but instead that they put him there two years ago as a 17 year old. Made no damn sense. Last year was out of necessity and due to the dumba** decision from the year before.

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      • baltimore dawg

        right, but like i said, i think what we’re hearing is a little ex post facto rationalization of why he lost his job: whatever he says now, blocking wasn’t his biggest deficiency. advancing the ball (and holding onto it) was (were), and that only became apparent in game play.

        that makes me wonder if having to practice against our defense the last couple of years hasn’t warped our offensive coaches’ evaluation of players a bit.

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      • Hogbody Spradlin

        To split hairs, Samuel said he didn’t feel comfortable with the blocking. That’s different from acknowledging couldn’t handle it. Maybe he blocks better than he gave himself credit for, and did it for the team. He certainly didn’t mind contact when running even though he went down easy.

        Like Blutarsky said: what did the coaches see in practice? Does anybody remember if he was a hole in pass protection? Samuel is bigger than Ealey or King, thus looks more imposing in blocking.

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        • King Jericho

          This made me a little curious, so I thought I would look at the game where we, most notably, throw the ball A LOT. It’s a UGA highlight reel of the Arkansas game.

          Of course, this doesn’t show every down, but he doesn’t do a terrible job blocking.

          His best block was at the 4:00 mark. Looks like he picked up a corner blitz and really overpowered the guy.

          What appeared to be his worst block was the last play to AJ Green. Just looks like he didn’t want to hit. In his defense, it was a bigger DE that was doing some pretty good moves, but he should have cut him.

          Overall, I’d say his blocking fundamentals were more of a lineman than a running back. He looked like it would rather hit someone than try and take out the legs like he should.

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  4. sUGArdaddy

    Not that our coaches haven’t made some poor personnel decisions over the years, but we got stuck in a bugaboo last year. Ealey was banged up for most of camp and simply not ready, mentally or physically, to play in the opener. King got hurt in camp and couldn’t go. Same thing w/ Murray, and you read from his comments yesterday that it put him down 4-5 weeks at the start of the season. We were stuck. Samual was the only available back over 120 lbs. that knew what he was doing in the first 2 games, and Murray wasn’t really available for any games early on. It was clearn once King and Ealey were healthy, that the coaches figured it out. The Murray situation was just a mess. Hard to waste a kids redshirt on 4-5 games, and by his own admission, missing that practice time really set him back preparation wise, so he might not have even been ready.

    We also got in a depth issue last year. We had to have someone backing up Knowshon, and King and Samuel were the guys. We simply needed him at RB the last 2 years more than LB. But, I’m happy to watch him roaming the field and knocking heads now.

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  5. I think Ealey’s biggest problem was the elbow injury during fall camp that held him out right when the team was installing the offense. Those preseason injuries can really set a guy behind – especially a true freshman.

    As for Samuel, I hope he doesn’t see the move to linebacker as a chance to “play free” (whatever that means) without worrying about “certain fundamentals”. Every position has its fundamentals and dirty work, and Grantham doesn’t strike me as a guy who will let lax fundamentals slide. Especially at a position so key to the 3-4. If he thinks it’s just going to be “go out there and hit someone” (odd for someone so averse to blocking) he’s going to be very disappointed.

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    • Todd

      Demarcus Ware’s position on defense was “find the ball carrier and hit them.”

      I think that will be Justin Houston’s job this year, but Samuel could potentially grow into that, AFTER A REDSHIRT YEAR, that he should have taken as a 17 year old.

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      • Will Q

        I don’t disagree with anything you said in your earlier post, but as for a redshirt year for Samuels hindsight is 20-20. Everyone looks back and says Moreno should never have red-shirted. I don’t care if Samuels was 17 or 7, the kid was a beast when he enrolled. In my opinion, Richt was probably afraid of wasting a year like he did (and admits he did) with Moreno. In other words, he learned a lesson from a previous failure and adjusted his thinking the next season; it just so happens that it didn’t pan out for him with this player.

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        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Like it or not we are in a new era in college football. When I was in college you could not play as a freshman and were not eligible for the NFL draft until your class graduated. Now freshmen can play and can leave after their junior years. If you redshirt a kid and he is really good you probably will only get 2 years of play from him as he will opt for the NFL draft as soon as he is eligible (i.e. Moreno). You had better play them while you can.

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    • HVL Dawg

      I don’t think Samuel likes to hit.

      As a running back he goes down after first contact.

      He doesn’t like to block. He doesn’t break tackles. Hmmmmm. Dawg has some work to do between the ears.

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  6. King Jericho

    Was this post some sort of Thomas Brown signal into the sky?

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  7. sUGArdaddy

    Richard’s going to be fine at LB. Not liking blocking is totally different from hitting. He was looking for a collision every time he carried the ball.

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  8. Daniel

    Why are we reading this as though it were a scientific theorem? This is a kid who is distilling his reason for switching to a single sentence. There are so many degrees of freedom here, the answer to “What were the coaches thinking?” is likely “Something reasonable”.

    The alternative, of course, is Richard Samuel was so bad at blocking it made us more likely to lose, and the coaches thought it was just dandy to play him anyway.

    It’s fantastic to look for valid criticisms of the coaches, but valid criticisms do not presume that the coaches are absolute incompetents.

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  9. Will Q

    I would interpret this as a clumsy attempt to simply say, “I feel more comfortable at linebacker than at running back.”

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  10. Can Samuel beat out Dent, Gamble, Dowtin, Hebron, and others at LB ? LB is not a weak area for the Dawgs. DB & Dl may be. Still the talent is there, everywhere. Go Dawgs.

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    • Macallanlover

      Not likely this year, but I think he makes contributions at this position. Who is to say all our current LB’s make the transition to the new defensive alignment? And we do tend to have a couple of guys out at LB from time to time. I think your point is valid, we do have talent there already, but I feel RS has more value at LB than at RB on this team so I like this move.

      I also think Will Q’s comment is correct. RS just made an awkward attempt to explain why such a drastic move is being made 2 years into his career. He seems to a good kid, I really hope he does well with this move. Given his young age, a redshirt year wouldn’t be a bad idea for this transition.

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  11. I agree. RS s/b a LB. We need someone to learn to be a fullback also;but, the FB has to be a blocker.

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  12. dawgfan17

    Not sure what exactly he meant by his full statement but here is what I hope he meant, LB is a more natural position for me and so I will have to “think” less about the fundamentals as a LB since they come more as instinct than pass blocking did for me as a RB. Or at least something to that affect.

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