What Gilbert brings to the table

While Arik Gilbert may not fill a need in the same way Kendrick does, there’s no way you don’t chase and take a talent like him.  This kind of production from a true freshman in SEC play ($$) doesn’t walk up to your door every day:

In fact, Gilbert’s 53 targets at LSU last year (6.6 per game) would have tied Pickens for the most by a Georgia player in 2020. Gilbert was also very active on third down, reeling in 11 catches for 107 yards, seven for first downs and one for a touchdown. That’s more third-down receptions than Pitts had last year for Florida, and similar to the impact that Pickens has had on third downs and in the red zone.

One more eyebrow-raising nugget: Those 11 receptions that Gilbert had on third down last year were more than Georgia tight ends’ combined targets on third down (10).

Gilbert caught 35 passes in eight games, which was 11 more receptions than all Georgia tight ends combined in 2020.

So, yeah, Smart would have been insane not to go after Gilbert.

The opportunity he presents for Todd Monken is pretty crazy, too.  Imagine sets with Gilbert, Washington, Jackson, Burton and another receiver, or, to put even more pressure on an opposing defense, Cook out of the backfield… I, uh, will be back in a moment…

[Sounds of a cold shower running…]

Okay, where was I?  Oh, yes.  The debate that cropped up yesterday was about word from Gilbert himself that Smart had told him Georgia would use him as a wide receiver more than a tight end.  There were rumors out that that Gilbert had lost a significant amount of weight (30 or so lbs.) from last season’s 253 pounds; this note from former Georgia receiver Terrence Edwards undercuts that somewhat.

(More thoughts about Gilbert from Edwards here.)

I swapped some tweets with Max Toscano, who writes for And The Valley Shook! about this.  Max is convinced that Georgia, in choosing to use Gilbert as a wideout, will be squandering his physical advantage and talent.  (Max wrote a very good piece about Gilbert and the flex tight end last year that you might want to read.)  He watched a lot more of Gilbert last season than did I, so my first instinct was to defer to his call, but the more I think about it, the more I wonder how much of this is semantics.  I mean, what makes a flex tight end a flex tight end is the ability to scheme him at the receiver position, something that LSU did a fair amount last season, as Graham Coffey notes in this clip.

Which brings me to my second reason for not wholeheartedly buying into Max’ argument.  Am I really supposed to believe that Todd Monken can’t figure out what to do with Arik Gilbert?  Honestly, that’s a bridge too far for me.

In case you can’t tell, I’m pretty excited about this.  Gilbert doesn’t make up for the loss of George Pickens, but I’d rather have his skills in the toolbox than not, that’s for sure.  And imagine what Monken can dial up if Pickens does make it back this season.

I may need to take another quick shower.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics, Transfers Are For Coaches.

29 responses to “What Gilbert brings to the table

  1. Derek

    Gilbert probably DOES make up for Pickens.

    Arik is the better player.

    Arik may be the best player in the locker room on the day he walks in it.

    That kid is special.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ran A

    Watch out for Marcus Rosary-JackSaint. This is the kid that broke his ankle in the UF game. He is big, fast and has great hands. I think this guy is in for a big year and with teams now having to contend with Gilbert as well… Lord have Mercy!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tony BarnFart

      what’s his health status ?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Derek

      With JT out there diagnosing, you’d almost like them to find two complete OL’s and try to get to 90 plays. Go fast and get everyone as many touches as possible and try to force a third digit on the scoreboard. And also, fuck a punter….

      Liked by 5 people

      • ApalachDawg aux Bruxelles

        don’t forget about our aussie rules punter coming in ‘22.
        i can’t wait for him to kick it 70 yds and hit arian in stride as he gallops to the end zone.
        no stone unturned by Mr Smart.

        Liked by 1 person

        • 69Dawg

          As much as I would like to see that, it would not count. In College Football if the punting team catches it without it having hit a receiving team punter the ball is down at the spot of the catch. Now if you had him do what Saban did on the kick off kicking it to a man down the field, that would be sweet. I don’t believe you have to tee up the kickoff but I’m not sure.


          • Down Island Way

            Let him talk 69…hell, I’d like to see it happen with Mr. Smith on one side and Mr. Boling on the opposite side…fun times my friend…


  3. akascuba

    Useless you want an extra large dose of rat poison don’t listen to Graham Coffey. His final words are Georgia could be the best offense in the country next year.

    All I really want for this season is a fully healthy JT Daniels for an entire season. If that happens the rest takes care of itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t take seriously anything the LSU SB Nation guys say about UGA because they all have the lowest opinion of Kirby and it colors everything they do with regards to Georgia coverage/punditry.


    • originaluglydawg

      When rival team fans say “Kirby can’t coach”, they really mean, “I hope and pray Kirby can’t coach”.

      Liked by 4 people

    • godawgs1701

      In their defense, the only times they’ve seen Kirby work in person, the Dawgs turned in two of what I consider their three worst performances in his tenure, with the Ole Miss game in his first season being the other.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I can totally see Gilbert either out wide or in the slot with 0 at tight end and 2 or 3 receivers in the game. Defenses almost have to go 4-1-6 against those personnel groupings. If you roll a safety down to play the run and pass, that means you can only play cover 1 or cover 0. That leaves 5 in the box when we have a running back in the game.

    Should be fun to watch. Arik, keep yourself eligible.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dawg in Austin

      You can’t play a corner on Gilbert though. They have no chance to move him on the LOS and he boxes out on the catch. You’d have to have an elite LB or S with size, or pattern-match zone to fool the QB. There are literally none of those players currently on rosters in the SEC, and only one coach who can create a scheme to stop him. The problem for Saban now is that he has to do this while also stopping Burton, Rosemy, the running game and perhaps Pickens by the time UGA plays Bama.


      • That’s exactly my point. You have to have 2 of those kind of guys especially with 0 and Gilbert on the field at the same time. Pretty much the only thing you can do is to play 2 deep zone in a 4-2-5 set. At that point, you are hoping to stop the run. Good luck with that.

        Liked by 1 person

        • spot on…I think we will see a lot more of our RBs will be off to the races this season as a result of defenses not able to load the box and having to cover deep…this should be a pass dynamic offense with spurts of 10-20+ yd gains on the ground by White, Cook, Milton & McIntosh…Monken has all the tools to scheme anyway he wants, fun times ahead…GATA


  6. godawgs1701

    I’m glad to know that Seth Emerson is enjoying his vacation and apparently has no problem with the fact that his pre-filed story on the Gilbert transfer is exclusively about his impact on the tight ends room now that we have all been told that Gilbert doesn’t plan on being in the tight ends room much. As a subscriber, I would have appreciated Seth taking half an hour at the kitchen table in his beach condo and re-writing a few paragraphs.


  7. Greg

    Thinks we will see Bowers in the same role, kid has pretty dang good speed. Would not be surprised to see them both on the field at the same time.


  8. artistformerlyknownasbman

    I think the yardage will be coming in chunks this season. I hope Kirby lets Monken do his thing, and then lets the second unit keep doing it when they get put in.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. theotherdoug

    “The opportunity he presents for Todd Monken is pretty crazy, too. Imagine sets with Gilbert, Washington, Jackson, Burton and another receiver, or, to put even more pressure on an opposing defense, Cook out of the backfield…”

    I know we’ve all seen/talked about this type stuff coming to UGA in the past, but I’ve been drinking the Monken kool aid. That’s 4 guys that a DC better have the right defenders on or he’s going to give an easy first down. Add in motion, strong RBs, and Washington’s ability to be a lead blocker and the DC’s sphincter has to be tight.

    When that personnel is in the huddle the DC has no clue what formation the play will be from. As EE said above, the opposing team will have to go into something like a 4-1-6 and adjust pre snap.


    • If you’re 4-1-6, there’s nothing you can do pre-snap to stop the run. You either have a corner trying to play linebacker or a hybrid safety trying to match up with Gilbert or 0.


      • jcdawg83

        If the offense turns into even 75% of what it should be, opposing DCs will have no choice but to pick their poison and live with their choice. If they want to keep from being burned in the passing game they will have to play 4-1-6 and pray we don’t run the ball. If they want to load the box and stop the run they will have to hope Monken becomes as stubborn as Coley and keeps plowing into that stacked box (I don’t see that happening).


      • theotherdoug

        I meant adjust to coverage based on the formation after motion and pre snap. The DC has to be worried about a mismatch and an easy pitch and catch for a first down.

        Think about this, what does the DC do if UGA breaks the huddle with Zeus in the backfield, Washington at HB, Gilbert as a WR, and the WRs out wide. At this point the DC has to be worried about Washington as a lead blocker or what if he motions out?

        Next, what happens when after the defense gets their assignments, Washington and Gilbert move to 2 TE set and look to play power football?

        JT is smart enough to handle the audible based on what he gets.

        I’m gonna need that cold shower now…


    • SlobberKnocker

      One of my first thoughts was a 4 wide formation in the red zone comprised of Washington, Gilbert, Fitz, and Bowers plus any of the RB’s. Or swap Bowers for Carter at FB in front of said RB. How do you defend it?


  10. Scotty King

    Yes, effective throwing should really open up the run game. Ready for autumn!


  11. I tend to agree with Max Toscano. What makes the flex tight end so effective is to be able to get mismatches in either the run or pass games depending on what the defense does. That works less if the defense has less fear of your tight end as a blocker.


  12. bigjohnson1992

    Why would monken ever leave? I mean, all this talent makes his job fun and easy. I know, I know, he used to be a head coach and we’ve heard he has the itch to be one again. He (and quite frankly, no one can recruit like Kirby) could never assembly anything close to this talent level as a head coach. Until you’ve actually done it, going from driving a top end luxury car to a beater is quite a shock. He ought to stay for 10 years, make $1.5/2 mm per year, and call it a day. Livin’ on EZ street.