Mark Richt wants you to know that if you think you’ve got a handle on Georgia’s starting lineup, you are sadly mistaken.
“If you’re working out this summer thinking you’ve got something nailed down, you better re-check your thinking,” Richt said. “We’re going to have 29 practices in the fall and probably about at least 20 of them before we nail down who’s going to start across the board. It’s going to be a lot of competition.”
There’s uncertainty everywhere you look (okay, not in the offensive backfield)!
“This is a year in particular … We still don’t know for sure who’s gonna play where, who’s gonna start,” Richt said. “We have a good idea of knowing who’s gonna play. But I can’t think of a year where I’ve had more uncertainty as far as who’s gonna start. But I feel like we have the right ingredients. I feel like we’ve got the right talent base. It’s just a matter of who’s gonna win it (the starting job), and are they gonna be mature enough to play well enough early enough, especially with how the season begins.”
When Richt was asked which positions are open: Richt’s first response was all the D-line positions.
“I think we’re gonna have … a lot of guys playing, but I’m not sure who’s gonna start. I think that’s up for grabs,” Richt said. “I think just about every one of those positions are up for grabs, as far as the D-line.”
Then Richt said the secondary remains up for grabs, other than cornerback Damian Swann.
“I’m not convinced we’re settled on who’s gonna play the middle linebacker positions for us. I’m not 100 percent certain who’s going to start on the perimeter, other than I can safely say Swann’s going to be one of them. There’s some guys that have earned the right to be No. 1 at the end of spring but we’ve gotta see if that’s where they end up. In the fall there’s gonna be more competition coming in. So we’ll see there.”
And don’t forget the offensive line.
Georgia’s overall offensive depth chart is largely settled entering the fall, but the offensive line could be the one area to watch in August. Friend has taken a close look at reserves Xzavier Ward, Mark Beard, Austin Long and Watts Dantzler this spring and said he is perfectly willing to reshuffle the starting lineup if one of them seizes a job.
“I guess if there is a time to mess with it, it’s right now,” Friend said. “So we just wanted to take a look at some things. That way there’s some guys that have played some different spots where if we need it in fall camp, it’s not the first time that they’ve done it. Those are some plusses.”
What to make of all this up-in-the-airity? Do I really think that the coaches are that far in the dark about who should be out on the field? Grantham’s comments in the spring make me doubt that’s the case. Do I think that after last season, Richt is concerned about a highly ranked team in the preseason being complacent at the season’s start? Hells yes, I do. You can get by a Buffalo without giving 100%. That won’t work against Clemson in a road game opener.