“What does a fullback do?”

At Georgia, the short answer is that he doesn’t get a scholarship.

26 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

26 responses to ““What does a fullback do?”

  1. Go Dawgs!

    P-44 Haynes is one of the things a fullback can do for you.

    Over the past few decades, we’ve gotten some really great plays out of the position. I think de-emphasizing it is a bit of a mistake. Then again, the NFL already has de-emphasized the position so if we’re trying to be more pro-style, that’s where things appear to be heading.

  2. Bright Idea

    Having a fullback on too many plays is like putting the middle linebacker in your offensive huddle.

  3. Ginny

    Man, that kinda makes me sad. I miss guys like Brannan Southerland trucking people and making huge holes for our RBs.

    • Go Dawgs!

      JT Wall is one of my all-time favorite Bulldogs.

    • I loved Southerland opening / cleaning up holes for Moreno and Brown or catching a ball out of the backfield, but it probably would have been better for him to be used at inside linebacker where he may have had an opportunity at the next level. The blocks he would make on the toss sweep were beautiful to watch. Alas, that’s not the way the game is really played much anymore.

  4. Derek

    This may be a product of how ineffective the pro-style I was vs. his defenses at Alabama. Just because it didn’t work against them, doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable against teams that are more finesse oriented and/or less physical than you are. If there is a good reason to deprioritize the position, it’s because high schools are producing so few anyway these days that there will be not enough “scholarship worthy” ones out there. Even the last one we recruited was a high school d-lineman.

    • Will (The Other One)

      But how often did we have cross-training going (like using FBs at HB/TE)? This is just that, but a bit more formally stated. I don’t think Kirby’s against 6’2+, 230 lb+ dudes catching wheel routes. It’s just they have to be able to play as TEs if they want scholarships.

  5. He didn’t say he’s eliminating the fullback. He’s just going to be judicious about it. Brannan Southerland could have been a linebacker. Quayvon could have been a tight end. I like the conscious decision to find a fullback via the walk-on route.

    • charlottedawg

      This. Also considering full back is one of the few positions where walk ons can do just fine as evidenced by UGA starters like jt wall, Merritt hall, & Christian Payne, it’s not that hard to see why Kirby doesn’t want to use a scholarship on the position.

      • Totally agree, Charlotte. In today’s game, teams will go with more 1 back, 3 wide & 1 tight end (especially one that can flex to a slot) than with traditional personnel groupings. If you’re only going to use a fullback about 20% of the time in normal down/distance/field position situations and goal-line/short yardage, find a JT Wall who can bust some heads at the point of attack. Use the scholarship for that additional game breaker or another OL.

  6. AusDawg85

    We have, and should be able to continue to get, great TE talent. Putting more of them on the field and using them more is a positive direction IMHO. Isn’t this what we hoped for a year ago?

    Who is the NE Patriot’s FB? Do they have any great plays out of their TE position? Just saying…

  7. CannonDawg

    When I think of Georgia fullbacks, I think of the late, great Jimmy Womack from the ’80 team as he knocked a Notre Dame defender all the way onto the Ponchartrain Expressway to clear the path for Herschel in the Nat’l Championship game. Now there was a FB!

    • Derek

      For me, it’ll always be Andre “Pulpwood” Smith:

      Dial it up at 8:30 and again at 14:30.

  8. hailtogeorgia

    It seems like most people commenting didn’t actually read the article. It doesn’t sound like he’s doing away with the position, just that he’s not wasting a scholarship on a guy who is specializing in being a fullback. He’d rather recruit a guy as a linebacker or tight end or some other position and convert him; it seems reasonable enough to me.

    • Derek

      So if he said that he wasn’t going to offer scholarships to LT’s it would be meaningless if he was just going to plug in a walk on in there anyway?

      To me it may mean that he doesn’t think we’ll be doing a lot of I formation power football or at least not enough such that you make the FB a priority. This means something. The debate is how good of an idea it is and to what degree it’s a meaningful decision.

      It does seem to me that against good fronts you aren’t going to be playing with a fullback a lot, but against lesser teams and when situationally you want to salt a game away or when your QB isn’t having a good day and you just need to push someone around, having a good player at that position can be helpful. Now the margin between what a walk on can provide there and what a scholarship player can? I don’t know that. There are damn few high school fb’s that’s for sure.

      Point being, I’d like to know more about the thinking on this. Is it that they aren’t really available at the quality and quantity you need to recruit it OR is it because we aren’t going to see a lot of FB in 2016?

      • Scott

        I think it’s likely that most high school offenses are using the fullback less and less, which means there are fewer “pure” fullbacks to choose from.

        I also hear what he is saying about using the tight end more where we would normally use fullbacks. If we are going to see a lot of 2 or even 3 TE formations (fingers crossed…we have the personnel to do it), then utilizing one as an H-back to do the kick-out blocking and pass catching out of the backfield works for me.

        • Derek

          I tend to agree. I don’t see why Kirby can’t just say that it’s an availability issue rather than leaving us to wonder about whether it’s an offensive identity issue. About the only positive thing I can say about Saban is how open he is about talking football in detailed terms. If you listen to his live call in shows, he really likes talking football intricacies. I heard him one time describe in great detail why teams generally deploy one deep back on punts but a lot use two on kickoffs. He spent like five minutes going through it. In short, open up Kirby! Some of us are interested and can understand it.

          CMR never talked details either so I’m not picking on Kirby with this. I just wish coaches in general were a little more transparent when it comes to the X’s and O’s. This need to be on the line between superficial and arrogant about them is annoying.

          • rchris

            Another thing is that Kirby is emphasizing the walk-on program much more now so that it is more likely he will get satisfactory candidates for FB through that route, therefore being able to save schollys for harder to fulfill positions.

            • Gaskilldawg

              I don’t understand how Smart “is emphasizing the walk-on program much more now… .” The NCAA limits the total roster to what, 140, including walk-ons and every SEC team has the maximum on roster.

              UGA has acquired walk-ones who have performed well enough to earn scholarships for years, going back to the Dooley Days. I don’t see any radical changes into whatever the walk-on program is now. We asked kids to whom we were not offering scholarships to walk-on in the past and we are doing it now.

      • hailtogeorgia

        Re: the left tackle comparison: let’s not be ridiculous.

        I just think people are overreacting a little on what seems like more of a change in roster management strategy than the death knell of the fullback in the UGA offense.

        Think about the guys who have contributed at the position in the last few years: Christian Payne, Merritt Hall, Glenn Welch, Bruce Figgins, Zander Ogletree, Richard Samuel, Quayvon Hicks…of that list, three of them were walk-ons, three were recruited at positions other than fullback; Hicks was the only one actually recruited at fullback, and while I loved some aspects of his game, he continuously struggled to put it all together to be a mainstay on the field. Not since the days of Chapas and Munzenmaier in 2010 were our primary contributors at the position also scholarship players recruited as fullbacks.

        If close to half of the guys who have contributed at the position over the last half decade weren’t even recruited as such, I fail to see the issue with using the preferred walk-on route to find someone who sticks and save the scholarships for depth at other key positions like the lines.

    • Bama doesn’t run a lot of traditional I other than in short yardage/goal line. A lot of their power running game is from the pistol or an “ace” formation. They are much more likely to be in multiple TE personnel groupings than to have a FB in a traditional 2-back formation.

  9. JoshG

    Dang. I AM a fullback guy.