We’re less than two weeks away from the opening kickoff, and there’s still plenty up in the air with regard to Georgia’s two-deep. I thought I’d take a moment and try to stumble through where things stand, by position group.
- Quarterback. We’ve known who the starter is, but as far as Mason’s back up goes, it’s still too close to call. It wouldn’t surprise me if that battle carries into the regular season. (As long as Mason stays healthy, that’s not too big a deal.)
- Tailback. There was never any doubt about Gurley being number one. And it looks like Marshall has recovered from last season’s injury, which makes him the obvious number two. The rotation behind them will be fun to watch.
- Fullback. It wasn’t a mess when fall practice started, but because of Hall’s forced retirement, it’s one now. I know the coaches are saying otherwise, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hicks line up some there in addition to H-back.
- Wide Receiver. Another area where injuries have made a hash of the rotation. What we know right now is that Bennett and Conley are starters; what we don’t know is when Mitchell and Scott-Wesley will see the field again. That means there is plenty of opportunity for others to jump into the rotation.
- Tight End/H-back. Jay Rome seems to be returning to health. He’ll start if he can. Hicks will start at H-back. Jordan Davis has had health issues of his own, but seems likely to play. Blazevich seems to be making something of an impression, but it’s unlikely he’ll do more as a true freshman than back up.
- Offensive Line. If we’re to believe the coaches, depth is not an issue, with eight or nine ready to play in a rotation. That being said, we still have no idea (1) where John Theus will line up; (2) who will play left guard; and (3) who will play opposite Theus. I would think it would be nice to settle on the five starters soon, to build cohesiveness, but, then again, I’m not Will Friend.
- Defensive Line. They’ve got eight guys who can play and there’s been stability in the scrimmages with the first-string line. Between the depth and Rocker, I’m not worried about the defensive front.
- Linebackers. Starting-wise, it’s the most stable position on the team. But Lorenzo Carter sounds like he’s certain to crack the rotation at outside linebacker. (The idea of having Carter, Floyd and Jenkins on the field together in obvious passing situations makes me drool a little.) Stability aside, there’s no way I expect Pruitt running these guys into the ground the way Grantham did. We’ll see more subbing in the opener than we did for the entirety of 2013, I suspect.
- Secondary. It’s Damian Swann and a cast of thousands right now. As J.J. Green put it about the Star position, “Pruitt don’t even know who it’s going to be…” The question is when’s he going to settle on the other starters.
- Placekicker. Marshall Morgan, bitchez.
- Punter. Collin Barber seems to have won the starting job back. Richt indicated that Erickson may still be called upon to pooch punt. So that looks like last season.
- Coverage Teams. Very little talk about who will man the coverage teams. And there are some stalwart special teamers who will have to be replaced this year.
- Returner. It’s obvious that they would like for McKenzie to grab the start. But it’s also obvious that Richt is nervous about handing the starting role to a true freshman. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s a decision that goes down very late in camp. What’s interesting beyond that is that we’ve heard very little about the mix of players who will make up the rest of the return teams.
So, to sum up, I feel good about the defensive front seven and Morgan. I’m optimistic about the offensive skill position slots, even with the injuries. I’m nervous about Mason’s health. I’m really nervous about the secondary. And the rest? Wait and see mode.
What do you guys see at this point in the preseason?