Two reactions to the Michel injury… first, from CFN, which has been high on the Dawgs all offseason:
– What Does This Really Mean?
Alright, Brendan Douglas. The floor’s yours.
The 5-11, 215-pound senior only ran for 140 yards last season and is coming off an arm injury of his own, but he’ll be the first option. Fall camp will be used to try to find someone more dynamic.
If there’s one area Georgia couldn’t afford to get hit with a big injury, this was it. Chubb – from all indications – isn’t going to be ready to roll for a while, and the hope is to start out the season with true freshman Jacob Eason at quarterback. That’s a problem if there isn’t a reliable back to carry the load.
Depth was already an issue, and now the options are paper thin needing freshmen Elijah Holyfield – Evander’s extremely talented son – and 6-3, 220-pound thumper Tae Crowder to step up and shine.
Getting through North Carolina shouldn’t be too much of an issue, and getting Nicholls right after is a break, but the running game had better be working with road games at Missouri and Ole Miss to close out September.
Georgia’s top three backs will all be returning from injuries this season. Nice. And this is coming from someone who thinks “North Carolina shouldn’t be too much of an issue”. Kirby’s got an interesting balancing act to weigh early on, that’s for sure. Considering that Nicholls State is the second game, how much does Smart feel the need to risk the recovery of his stud backs in the opener? And if he takes a chance on holding them out until the third week, what does that mean for Eason’s development? Beats me.
Much more gloomy and doomy is Chip Towers.
The timing is rotten, for sure. The Bulldogs haven’t yet said what the timetable is for Michel’s actual return beyond he’s expected to make “a full recovery.” But the number that is being circulated among folks with some knowledge of the situation is six to eight weeks.
That just happens to be about exactly how much time the Bulldogs have to get ready for the start 2016 season. They play North Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff on Sept. 3 in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome.
Leave it to Georgia to build a little preseason drama. I mean, they were already heading into the first game of coach Kirby Smart’s first season with a rather notable question mark next to Nick Chubb’s name. Chubb, the starter before Michel, is also negotiating a rehabilitation timeline that looks like it might end right about time to kickoff against the Tar Heels. When the Dogs visit the Dome, it will have been 316 days — or roughly 10 months — since Chubb’s surgery last October to repair three non-ACL ligaments in his left knee.
Generally, nobody has been sweating Chubb’s full return for the opener because, well, everybody was sure the Bulldogs had Michel to carry the load. Now they don’t, or at least they don’t know if they will.
That being said, as Towers goes on to note, this wouldn’t be Michel’s first rodeo with an arm problem.
All indications or that Michel likely could play in that game. As one reader wrote to me in an email Monday, “it’s his arm, not his legs; he’ll be fine.” And I imagine there is something to that. It would seem that 60 days would be enough time for Michel to heal enough to play with a cast if the need be. He actually played most of the last third of the season last year with a removable cast on his right wrist, which he broke in the first quarter of the Florida game.
One other thing to factor into the equation, which Towers also points out, and which I’ve noted before, is the weakness of North Carolina’s run defense. Perhaps that gives Chaney and Smart a greater margin of error to work with in deciding which backs get the ball in the opener.
Has anyone’s over/under on Chubb’s carries against NC changed in light of the news?