The incredible shrinking fullback

I touched on this a little the other day in discussing Quayvon Hicks’ redesigned role, but there’s an underlying question we ought to look at:  why is Bobo de-emphasizing the role of the fullback?  After all, going back to P-44 Haynes, there’s a rich tradition under Richt of the fullback being a key cog in Georgia’s offense.  But Bobo acknowledged that last season saw Georgia line up in the I less than 30% of the time.  And that’s not a trend that’s expected to change.

I can’t say I know all the answers to that, but here’s one thought:  if part of your sales pitch on the recruiting trail is that you run a pro-style offense and the NFL has devalued the fullback position to virtual insignificance, wouldn’t you eventually follow suit?

And the reason that question is worth asking is because Chase Stuart makes a pretty good case that it’s not just the fullback position that’s lessened in value on the next level.  Will that have an impact on Georgia’s recruiting and deployment of personnel down the road?  I don’t know yet, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

19 responses to “The incredible shrinking fullback

  1. uglydawg

    I have some thoughts on this. Tell me if I’m way off base..I may be..I often am. But here goes.
    If you have a sub-par offensive line…why would you run out of the I or any formation that runs right into the meat-pile of the defense? Spreading things out tends to neutralize the defensive line to a degree while allowing speed and athleticism to bypass it. This may be a trend towards smaller and quicker O linemen that can pull-out and block on the run. That could be a trend that would continue until defenses catch-up with quicker and more agile linemen on their side of the ball. When they catch up, innovative offensive coaches (CMB for instance) will see the opportunity to beef up the offense again and run right at the smaller D. Getting out ahead of that morphing curve is one thing that makes a coach successful. It’s called innovation.

    • Well, for one thing, you can always run out of twin TE sets if you want to give the o-line some extra blocking help.

      There’s always a time when you have to be able to run with power effectively, even if your o-line is mediocre.

      • Macallanlover

        But in the twin TE sets with no fullback, it is too late for them to pick up the sub-par offensive line’s missed block and save the RB’s arse. You need a FB for that. 🙂 I am with ugly on this, and in favor of actively using a FB in our offense.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      That reminds me of an Outback Bowl game against Wisconsin and the Great Dane. All the talking heads were yakking it up about the mismatch size wise and the serious whipping we were to experience up front. They were a big O line and Dane was no light weight. Just didn’t matter, our D manned up. And Bobo had a remarkable day too if I remember correctly.

      • Bobo was unstoppable, as was my mouth to any Wisc fan within earshot that day. Honestly, the big degree of respect I ended up showing the Badgers was after watching their band. It was kinda the opposite of what happened during the game. I left asking myself why the Redcoats couldn’t be a little more fun like those guys.

        • The B1G has some impressive bands. I don’t remember Purdue’s, they may have been good, I just can’t remember. But I’ve seen Ohio State and Michigan’s bands, and they’re both excellent, Ohio State especially. I got to go to one OSU-Michigan game in Columbus one time, the script Ohio with the dotting of the eye and all that really is pretty cool in person. They seem to take more pride in their bands up there………OSU fans routinely refer to theirs as the “The best damn band in the land”. Granted, they think everything they do is the best, LOL. But you never hear anybody in the southeast (ACC or SEC) gloating about their marching bands.

          • We take tradition seriously in the south, but this is one case where it wouldn’t help to break from tradition and do something a little less stiff and boring. And with that I’ll depart from talking about band camp on this fine football blog.

            • uglydawg

              Bah..I always laugh at High School programs with a great band and a bad team.
              But have you seen Gramblings band? Very entertaining.

              • Cojones

                Rice. They spelled out dirty words and marched naked. You have entertainment wherever you looked: “Hey check out the bassoons on that one!”.

  2. “Will that have an impact on Georgia’s recruiting and deployment of personnel down the road? I don’t know yet, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.”

    I think the other side of that same coin is “Will we see less stud RB’s coming up through the ranks to be recruited in the first place?”

    If I’m a kid in middle school right now, as I get older and move up into high school and see all these RB’s who are tossed onto the scrap heap like it’s nothing, I may decide I’d rather be a top LB or DB depending on my build, and focus more on that side of the ball. I mean, Knowshon had a pretty dang good year this past season, and could barely get anybody to talk to him in free agency. Meanwhile you’ve got guys at LB who are solid, though not spectacular, and they’re signing huge contracts.

    But yeah, whether it’s the schools like UGA deciding to put less emphasis on recruiting top RB’s, or the kids themselves migrating to other positions, or a combination of the two, it’s highly likely that RB’s will eventually be devalued at the college level too.

    Like uglydawg alluded to above though, it’s all cyclical, even if the stud RB does go away for awhile, they will eventually be back because then THAT will be the latest innovation.

    • I don’t think the stud RB will go away so much as look for situations where he’s not going to be asked to carry the load by himself. Less wear and tear in college means a longer pro shelf life.

      • Mayor

        Part of the cause of the de-emphasis of the FB at the college level and at Georgia in particular may be the de-emphasis of the RB in the NFL. If you don’t run the RB between the tackles as much you don’t need a FB as much.

      • Cojones

        Richt’s latest words on the matter has him swooning over Douglas as FB because he can use him as a RB as well. Richt sounds like he’s trying to fashion another Gurley out of him. Of course some of that is dished up for Douglas’s home town and family, but he’s serious about him as a pass receiver out of the backfield.

        Smile. Richt ain’t changing nothin’ with our FBs. He’s adding more plays to the position.

        • Where did you see that MR discussed BD as a fullback?

          • Cojones

            Apologies for not getting back right away. I just read your reply.

            You are aware of brain farts, but now we are getting into old brain farts. Before he replaced Gurley and Marshall in the RB position last year, I always have regarded BD as a converted FB and not aware he was recruited as RB. Honest. Whenever he ran in games I always regarded him like Sutherland. Whenever I read comments the image of converted FB was always there. Richt’s comments were read that way as well. In one article from Augusta’s meeting, Richt went into a little detail about BD’s past exploits. While reading conversion into his words, I thought he was schmoozing the local audience when he mention what future plans were for BD.

            Searched Dogbytes, Seth and the Augusta Chronicle and saw familiar articles, but not the one written specifically for Richt’s Douglas comments. Richt references to him were contained as part of several articles, but none were dedicated to Douglas alone like the one I read. This isn’t an excuse because I’m sure my old brain fart lead me down an erroneous statement path in interpreting that article as well. You will find past statements from me about Douglas that will verify my mistaken belief.

            It hurts to write something that confirms your brain’s ageing problems, but there it is. My apologies to all (specifically to the old farts) and thanks to you Senator for at least reading and trying to interpret mistaken information. It’s times like this that I regret having a lot of fun with ganja shock talk. Smokin’ is not a part of this old interpretation mistake.

  3. Irwin R Fletcher

    It’s an interesting issue surrounding the RB’s…part of it is that while like QB’s, it is seemingly difficult to separate the good from great backs in scouting evaluation…..RB’s don’t have the upside potential to carry your franchise anymore so they get drafted later. Simple Value*Risk problem which pushes RB’s back in the draft.

    Interesting that the author mentioned MJD, Ray Rice and Forte…who all had first round talent but didn’t have first round measurables in hight, etc.

    If Adrian Peterson was in the 2014 draft, he would have gone in the top 5…Lynch, Martin, Matthews, Peterson, Spiller, steven Jackson, Chris Johnson, DeAngelo Williams…the last 5 pro bowls are still filled with 1st round RBs…

    2015 is a banner year with RB’s…if Gurley is healthy, no way the kid doesn’t go in the top 15…watch the catch and run against Florida for 60+ yards or the long TD run against Tennessee to see why.

    Gurley, Yeldon, and Gordon all have the measurables to be 1st round running backs…Mike Davis will get some love, too. It’s going to be a big year toting the rock in the SEC.

  4. AthensHomerDawg

    I kinda miss watching the FB block. That kid who left Air Force to walk on at Georgia was not afraid to stick his nose in there and block. Nice story too.

  5. I Wanna Red Cup

    CMB is getting his best playmakers on the field and that usually means 3 wide outs instead of 2 and one FB.

  6. Cojones

    Size and position conversation again. Linemen headed for the best paying position (if we ever find a way to compensate for image/name sales)? The next thing you know we will have nearly 300lb QBs. Oh? The SEC already has one? Here and now? Groovy.

    We have already used FBs as RBs. They play best as RBs when a RB or another FB opens the hole a little. They have wt as well as athleticism and speed nowadays. These guys can prove themselves at several positions and it ain’t a new thang.