Thursday, October 20, 2011

Looking to the future

With the week off from games I thought I would take a second to look at what the future holds. It doesn't take long to figure out that the only position of concern for next year is the offensive line. Here is a break down position by position of what the team loses and who are the young guys that will be added to the mix for next year.

Offensive line - lost are starters Glenn, Jones and Anderson. Starters back are Lee, Gates and Burnette. Yes I know that adds up to six starters but all three have started and are almost interchangable though Gates will probably be moved to one of the tackle positions during the off season. According to coaches Watts Danzler and David Andrews are the furthest along of any of the other linemen. Austin Long should be in the mix next year after some ghost eligibility issue is cleared up this season. Large group of freshmen that will be competing to add depth to the group. Overall the line should be less experienced but deeper next season.

Tight ends - for sure loss is Aaron White, backup. Possible loss is junior Orson Charles if he decides to go pro. If Charles goes pro Georgia will still have Lynch and redshirt freshman Jay Rome. Wild card could be Sturdivant who has dropped weight to get down to 250 and is wanting to try one last comeback but at tight end. I doubt he will push for a ton of playing time but could be a good fit for goal line situations. Bottom line is that if Charles comes back this group will again be one of the best and deepest in the country. Even if he does not come back they will still have plenty of depth and talent to be a major factor for the team.

Quarterbacks - No losses. Murray will return as the starter with Christian LeMay and Hudson Mason battling it out for the number 2 spot. Murray will be a 4th year junior and a 3 year starter. Georgia will have talent and depth as good as anywhere in the SEC and if the qb's, espeically Murray, take the next step they could be as good as any in the country.

wide receivers - Troupe who has played a very limited role is the only loss. Every major contributor will be back for next year. The group will have the experience it lacked this year and will be deeper as several talented freshmen come off of redshirt seasons. If this group continues to improve as it should they should help to take a lot of pressure off Murray and the running game.

fullbacks - Gone will be one year fullback Figgins to graduation. Back will be Zander Ogletree who has played a good number of snaps as the main backup to Figgins. Ogletree will be the starter and has the makings to be very good at the position. There are six FB's listed on the roster other than Ogletree but none that have received much playing time. Will one of them step up to offer depth? Will Samuel be moved again from TB if needed or possibly crosstrain at FB? Will Ken Malcome move to fullback? All of these are options and will be an over looked but important part of spring practice for next year.

running backs - No losses. Group should only be stronger next year with everyone returning. Crowell will need to pack on a few more pounds of muscle and get his endurance up but with a full year to work with the S&C coaches that shouldn't be a problem. Thomas is having his best year as a Bulldawg and Samuel while not playing great has played well in spots, blocks well and has been a threat in the passing game. Will Malcome step up and throw his hat into the mix?

Defensive line - Only loss is Tyson. Jenkins will be in his second year at the D-1 level. Geathers and Abry Jones return as starters. Lots of young talent that has been getting playing time will be ready to provide depth. Possible that Jenkins or Geathers could move to end a good bit next season and possible that both start. The line should be down right dominate.

Secondary - The only loss in the secondary will be a big one because of how much Boykin does in other areas. He is the top corner on the team but with Commings and Smith both back this loss in the secondary won't be felt as much as it will in the return game. Williams and Rambo both return at the safety position, though there is a chance Rambo will go pro after this season. There is a ton of young athletic talent that will make the secondary the deepest I can remember it being in years.

Linebackers - The linebackers do not lose anyone in the two deep. Jones, Washington, Drew and Vasser will all return on the outside while Robinson, Ogletree, Herrera and Gilliard will all return on the inside. If that is not enough guys like Bailey, Stripling, Falougi, and Burrows all will be back as well. The linebackers will be deep, experienced and talented. The tremendous depth at this position should allow for many of them, even the starters, to play on special teams to help the team as much as possible there.

Special teams - Losses Boykin, Walsh and Butler. This is the area that will be taking the biggest hit on the team. Of course Georgia usually does a good job of replacing these players and while they are some of the best in the business Georgia's special teams have not exactly been great this season, missing field goals and giving up big plays in the return game as well as on fakes.

Overall Georgia will lose 9 players who contributed this year. 2 starters on defense, 4 on offense, a backup tight end and 2 specialist. Having back 16 starters is great, having back all but one of the second string guys is even better. Georgia will be deeper and more experienced across the board next year. With so many players returning the success of the team will rest on three things. First, will the new specialist be able to hold their own? Second, will the offensive line hold back the talent around them on offense? Finally, will the team work as hard this off season after having taken a step in the right direction towards getting back to the top of the SEC or will complacency set back in?

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