Yesterday saw a flurry of announcements about the depth chart:
- Darryl Gamble gets the nod to start ahead of Cornelius Washington at the OLB slot opposite Justin Houston.
- Akeem Dent, despite missing all of fall practice due to a toe injury, is still in line to start the opener.
- Caleb King is likely to start ahead of Washaun Ealey (although overall playing time will be shared equally).
- For the opener, the starting three-receiver sets will consist of A.J. Green, Kris Durham and Marlon Brown. (Tavarres King is suspended for the opener.)
- Bobo declared Hutson Mason to be the No. 2 quarterback behind Murray: “If there’s an injury, he’d be in the game.”
There’s a lot to break down there.
First of all, on the receivers, it’s good to see that Brown has come on. That’s a lot of height Georgia will put out on the field with that trio, as Green is the shortest at 6’4″. Throw in the tight ends, and… well, let’s just hope that Aaron Murray has mastered the art of throwing the fade in the end zone. He sure won’t lack for big targets.
The best thing about the defensive moves is the indication that there’s more depth in the linebacking corps that we originally feared there was. There are at least six players the coaches feel good enough to rotate in and out of the ILB and OLB spots.
And I can’t let this pass without at least a couple of Grantham observations. Here’s what he had to say about Gamble starting ahead of Cornelius Washington, something few of us would have predicted coming out of the spring:
“The guy’s playing well, he really is,” Grantham said of Gamble, who moved from inside to outside linebacker near the end of spring practice. “He’s making plays. He’s very relentless in his approach to the ball. … I’m expecting the guy to come on and really be a good player for us.”
Washington will also be used extensively in the outside linebacker rotation.
“To be fair to everybody, when guys make plays and produce you’ve got to reward them,” Grantham said. “I think it’s more of a sense of production rather than not doing what you’re supposed to do.”
Must… not… think… of… Martinez… Evans… Rambo… argh!
And here’s what he said about the other two in the mix with Dent at inside linebacker:
“Christian Robinson has really been the quarterback since Dent has not been out there,” Grantham said. “He’s done a good job as far as getting guys lined up and making the call. He’s played his position well. I think Dowtin has continued to progress. He shows flashes of being a really good player. I think with those guys right there we’re still going to mix and match and keep those guys fresh.”
Sounds like a man who’s feeling better about having enough chess pieces to deploy on the board.
Bobo’s declaration about Mason makes sense, given Logan Gray’s status, but it’s also a sign of the job that Mason has done in fall camp to generate a degree of comfort with the coaches. Along those lines, I don’t see how Richt can try to redshirt Mason. On this, Buck Belue’s right: get a good lead in the opener and get your backup some snaps. Any real game experience Mason gets is valuable, even if there never is an emergency.
Seth Emerson’s gone to the trouble of assembling a list of those expected to play. It’s still somewhat speculative, of course, but looks pretty accurate in most places, based on what we’ve all heard in the last week or so.
QB: Aaron Murray …….. Hutson Mason, Logan Gray
TB: Caleb King ………… Washaun Ealey, Carlton Thomas
FB: Shaun Chappas …… Fred Munzenmaier
Starting WR (in three-set): A.J. Green, Marlon Brown, Kris Durham, Tavarres King (suspended)
Backup WRs: Rantavious Wooten, Logan Gray, Israel Troupe
TE: Orson Charles …… Aron White, Bruce Figgins, Arthur Lynch
LT: Clint Boling …….. Trinton Sturdivant
LG: Cordy Glenn …….. Dallas Lee
C: Ben Jones ………….. Chris Burnette
RG: Chris Davis ………. Tanner Strickland
RT: Josh Davis ……….. A.J. Harmon
DE: Demarcus Dobbs … T.J. Stripling
NT: Justin Anderson …. Kwame Geathers … (DeAngelo Tyson)
DE: DeAngelo Tyson … Brandon Wood, Abry Jones
OLB: Justin Houston
ILB: Akeem Dent ……. Mike Gilliard, Akeem Hebron
ILB: Christian Robinson .. Marcus Dowtin
OLB: Darryl Gamble …. Cornelius Washington
CB: Brandon Boykin …. Sanders Commings, Jordan Love
CB: Vance Cuff ……….. Branden Smith, Derek Owens
FS: Bacarri Rambo ……. Jakar Hamilton
SS: Nick Williams ……. Shawn Williams, Alec Ogletree
K: Blair Walsh
P: Drew Butler
KR: Brandon Boykin
PR: Branden Smith, Brandon Boykin, A.J. Green, Logan Gray
Biggest surprise I see there is the true freshman Stripling ahead of Kiante Tripp. If that’s how things play out, I feel bad for Tripp, who’s gotten lost in a shuffle of his coaches’ making.