Friday, May 7, 2010

This preview is OFFENSIVE!!

I don't know...maybe it's because I broke out my usual "Game Week Friday" shirt today. But I am seriously jonesin' for some football right now.

So much, in fact, that I am actually going to break the steady stream of TV-related posts and post my 2nd Annual See How Little Scott Actually Knows Post...yep, it's time for a little position-by-position breakdown.

We will start with the offense for today, and honestly...that may be all I do. I am afraid to even try the defense. How many different ways can I come up with to say "I have NO idea what is going to happen here, since we have seen barely even a hint as to what the defense is actually going to look like...and, no, G-Day doesn't count"?

Oh, and if you want to see how close I was to being right last year (yeah...not that close. In particular, check out the sections on QB, DT, and LB if you are feeling particularly masochistic), here are the links to my offense and defense previews from last spring.

Just like last year:

Bold = Projected starter
Italics = incoming freshman
* = Expected redshirt (my expectations, not necessarily the staff's)

Aaron Murray, Logan Gray, Hutson Mason*

Wow. What seemed to be a really deep, if deeply unproven, position 3-4 weeks ago now seems awfully shaky. If Logan Gray chooses to transfer, we are looking at a season of holding our breath, hoping Murray is A) healthy, and B) effective.

Having said that...doesn't EVERY team have to hope for that out of their starting quarterback?

Obviously, we only have to worry about the depth issue if Aaron gets hurt or plays his way out of the starting role. If Logan stays, I feel like we can maybe still compete with him, though I think it reduces the number of winnable games by 1-2 (no, there is absolutely no scientific backing to that theory...just a gut feeling). I do NOT feel comfortable that we can be competitive with Hutson Mason as our QB at this time.

So, it all comes down to Aaron Murray. We haven't seen much of him...only high school tape (which was pretty freaking amazing), and a couple of G-Day outings. Last year, I thought he was the most impressive of ALL the quarterbacks on G-Day...this year, not so much. But the coaches rave about him, and he does have a lot of the physical tools: a super-quick release, ability to throw on the run, and a strong and accurate arm.

The negatives are obvious: Number one, he is freshman. It takes a special freshman to perform consistently week after week in the SEC. A lot of people forget that even David Greene was benched at times early in his freshman particular, I remember leaving Sanford Stadium after the South Carolina game in '01 extremely concerned about our QB situation, having watched David Greene struggle mightily and Corey Phillips look utterly clueless when called upon for relief duty. So...expect growing pains. Expect some bad decisions.

The other concern that I have is his height. Anthony Dasher of assured listeners of their weekly podcast last week that Aaron is a legitimate 6'0 plus maybe a half inch or so. That's taller than I thought, but he still seems short out there. I saw enough batted balls last year to last me a lifetime, so I'm hoping that's not an issue again.

As for Logan...I share his concern that any talks of there being a "package of plays" for him is just lip service, based on what I saw last year. I would like for us to find a way to take advantage of his athleticism, but it doesn't appear that the coaching staff trusts him enough to make plays with his arm, so I don't know if that will happen or not.

Hutson Mason put up huge numbers in high school, but has faced criticisms that those numbers were a result of the system he played in rather than a reflection of his own potential as a legitimate SEC quarterback. He worked almost exclusively out of the shotgun in HS, so he would definitely have to adjust to being under center in Bobo's system. Again, all I've seen is HS tape...and to me, he looks like a project. Barring disaster, he will redshirt this year and work on getting bigger, stronger, and more accurate.

Incomplete. It's a cop out, I know, but we have yet to see any of these guys take meaningful snaps.

Caleb King, Washaun Ealy, Carlton Thomas, Dontavious Jackson, Ken Malcome*

Ahhh...this one feels better. I have Caleb listed as the starter, and he probably will be, but I expect that he and Ealy will see virtually equal playing time this year. Normally, I am all about finding the one feature back and giving him the ball 25 times, but you can't argue with the results from the second half of last year when these two were splitting time and Running the State. Along with the O-line, these two are the absolute key to the Dawgs offensive success next year.

Carlton Thomas is a guy who we hear about a lot in practice reports, but hasn't yet really put it together on the field. My belief is that can at least partly be attributed to how he is being used...he's just not a guy who can consistently run between the tackles. Hopefully, we can find ways to get him "in space", because his strength is definitely avoiding tackles, not breaking them.

D-Jax has had a hard time staying healthy, but I think he is a nice option off the bench...he ran hard in the G-Day game, and he certainly had the HS credentials.

Ken Malcome may just work his way onto the field, despite the numbers in front of him. His HS tape reminded me of a bigger version of excellent cut-back and run downhill type runner.


Shaun Chapas, Fred Munzenmaier, Charles White, Xander Ogletree*

Chapas and Munzenmaier return for their 17th year of eligibility, and we can expect more of the same from these guys. Chapas really came on at the end of the year as a blocker after struggling somewhat early on. Both of them are pretty good weapons in the passing games, and both are money in short yardage situations.

Charles White moved over from linebacker this past year, so I don't know much about his skills as a FB...he certainly has the body type for it. has Ogletree listed as a tailback, but I am almost certain he will be a fullback. He is not as athletic as his twin brother Alec, but I think he may grow into a pretty decent weapon over time.


Clint Boling, Cordy Glenn, Ben Jones, Chris Davis, Josh Davis, Trinton Sturdivant, Tanner Strickland, A.J. Harmon, Chris Burnette, Jonathan Owens, Dallas Lee, Kolton Houston, Austin Long, Ben Harden, Brent Benedict*, Kenarious Gates*

Man, that's a lot of folks....the staff has done a really good job at building depth here, although three of those five starters will be gone next year. I hope to see some underclassmen step up when given the opportunity to play this year, because we are going to be counting on them in a big way in 2011.

I said it last year, and I'll say it again...Clint Boling is one of the most criminally underrated players in the country. Some NFL team is going to be VERY lucky next year when they pick him up. He not only plays four different positions, he excels at all four. Look for him to anchor the line this year at the LT position.

If this group stays healthy (a big if over the last several years), there is absolutely no excuse for them not to be one of the more dominant units in the SEC. That starting group was absolutely beastly for much of the last half of '09, and there is definitely some quality depth behind them. Sturdivant, in's difficult to expect much from him after his second consecutive devastating knee injury, but man...if he is actually healthy, that's a HUGE plus, obviously.

As for the incoming freshmen...Brent Benedict was a BEAST in HS, but is recovering from a major knee injury of his own. Kenarious Gates was a late signee, and is the definition of "project". Both of these guys will redshirt.


Orson Charles, Aron White, Aaron Lynch, Bruce Figgins

It says a lot about the depth we have at this position that a guy like Bruce Figgins is 4th string.

Orson is a matchup nightmare, and I think he may be even more effective this season since he gets to play with his old QB from high school. I would say that 30-35 catches and 6-8 touchdowns are not unreasonable expectations, and that's a huge year for a TE (for comparison sake, he ended up with 23 catches and 3 TD as a true freshman last year).

Aron White has proven that he can be a weapon at times...he just needs to do a better job minimizing the drops. Interesting only 16 career catches, he has 6 touchdowns. Pretty good ratio there.

Arthur Lynch didn't have many balls thrown his way last year, but he did see the field in some jumbo sets and on special teams. His John Mackey-like touchdown in the G-Day game showed that he can do more than just block...although he blocks EXTREMELY well.

Figgins has had well documented troubles getting on the field the last couple of years, but the guy is a beast as a blocker and has decent hands. On most teams, he would be the surefire starter...on this team, he is just quality depth. Wow.


A.J. Green, Tavarres King, Kris Durham, Rantavious Wooten, Israel Troupe, Marlon Brown, Michael Bennett

Well, any group that includes the best in the country at his position is probably going to be pretty effective. That's what A.J. Green is, when healthy...the best wide receiver in the country. The issue is that we haven't seen him play "healthy" for very long stretches since he's been here...he was hampered by a nagging hamstring injury his freshman year, and then missed most of the end of last season with various ailments. If he can stay on the field and play close to 100% this year, he is a gamechanger even when we don't throw the ball his way...look for a LOT of open field for the previously mentioned tight ends to run around in when he is on the field due to the attention that opposing defenses absolutely have to give him.

The other thing I love about A.J. is his downfield blocking...not only is he surprisingly good at it, considering his thin frame, you can tell he really enjoys it. Gotta love that in your All-Universe wideout. I sincerely hope that we are able to take advantage of him this season, since he is obviously NFL bound in would be a real shame to go through a period of Matt Stafford, Knowshon Moreno, and A.J. Green on campus for extended periods without even a divisional title to show for it.

Tavarres King is a solid #2 guy...great speed, decent hands, can definitely stretch the field. I'm hoping that Kris Durham can step in and give us those tough catches and yards that the shamefully underrated Mike Moore was giving us the last couple of years. Wooten looks like the real deal, Troupe showed signs of life last year...hopefully Marlon Brown can build on what was supposedly a strong spring and start fulfilling some of his endless potential. If he does, look out...this team is really loaded with offensive weapons.

Michael Bennett will see the field in some capacity this season, I suspect...the numbers are too thin otherwise.

A- (with the potential for even better)

OVERALL:'s not hard to see, from looking at my position grades, what I think the real key is to the offense is in 2010. There are weapons EVERYWHERE, and the O-Line should be one of the best in the all boils down to quarterback play. If we can just get a season out of Aaron Murray where he doesn't shoot himself in the foot too often, I think this offense has tremendous potential.

Obviously, turnovers and penalties have been a problem the past couple of seasons...I have no way of knowing if that is going to change this year or not. The Ginger Assassin, God love him, was a turnover MACHINE...unfortunately, due to Aaron being a freshman, I don't necessarily see a big dropoff in interceptions this year. So, we need our running backs to hold on to the ball (moving Samuel to LB will help, in my opinion), and our O-Linemen need to act like the veterans they are (three seniors and two juniors on the starting 5) and stop making stupid mistakes.

Some pretty big IF's...but an awful lot of potential, too.



Anonymous said...

Caleb King is not and was not last year, in my opinion the Starter at Tailback. More than half the games the entire Caleb King career, he has rushed for 1 yard or less. He has an injured knee from high school that should have had surgery long ago. Ken Malcome is also injured.

Quarterback. What can you say about Quarterback when we did not prepare a QB for 2006 and lost 4 games, did not prepare a QB for 2009 and lost 5 games, and now once again for 2010 have no QB prepared. How can this keep on happening for a team who 4 years in a row now has averaged 14 interceptions all 4 years, 21 fumbles all 4 years and threw in for good measure # 96 average ranking in penalties against us all 4 last years in a row.

Little Aaron Murray is 4.7 in the 40-yard dash, a dangerous combination in The SEC for a little guy 198 lbs. and clearly the shortest QB in The SEC. SEC linemen are faster than 4.7. And, it wasn't just the G-Day Game, but in all 3 Scrimmages Aaron Murray threw the fewest TD passes and most interceptions.

Hard to imagine discussing Hutson Mason and how he has never played under center and fail to mention that Aaron Murray never has, either.

I have been hearing how great our OL is for years. Just as I have about Caleb King. The proof is in the pudding and neither has done the job in the big games.

10-10 vs SEC East the last 4 years now.

We don't know if the fullbacks can run the football because even before we ripped the redshirt off Washaun Ealey in the 3rd quarter of the 5th game, we never did hand the football to the fullbacks.

Surprising you didn't mention we threw the football only twice to Marlon Brown and only twice to Branden Smith all season long.

It took us until the 12th game to figure out the 23 catches by Orson Charles his freshman season clearly should have made him the starter over Aron White (who defends Zach Mettenberger) when Aron had only 3 catches his freshman year by direct comparison.

But, then again, we redshirted Knowshon Moreno so that we only got to see him 2 years, too.

With 14 seniors and 5 juniors all leaving after this season, we will not be able to throw that label out there of young nor that label of this is a rebuilding year, not with 11 returning starters on offense.

A discussion about the offense and leaving off that 2 weeks ago Coach Richt announced that he himself is taking over all the Offense, is more than fairly hard to comprehend.

Clearly, the great Running Back coaching wide receivers, the former wide receiver coaching running backs and the quarterback coaching tight ends, have done one sorry job.

And, Mike Bobo. Discuss the offense and fail to mention his play calls ?

The only position you did not give an A to was Fullback, and you assigned them a B+.

That is really hard to imagine, although you copped out at Quarterback where the coaching staff has a well-deserved F.

It is certain that we feature the 2 best kickers in the nation on one team, and having just fired the entire special teams’ coaches, we will be great on special teams. It is clear to me that we have our best Defense in 30 years this season too.

But, we are discussing the totally failed offense of the last 4 years, returning except for the Quarterback only, and although we ran the ball at the end of the season, those were against the nation’s worst run defenses.

I would give this offense a barely a passing grade.

Anonymous said...

I would give this offense a barely a passing grade.

C - at Quarterback, well-earned over the last 4 years by this coaching staff Coach Richt in essence demoted entirely with him taking over. 14 interceptions a year for 4 years in a row now. And, now, we have 1 Freshman QB who spent the entire year last year recovering from his high school injury only to miss 21 practices because our coaching staff had him throw his arm out. His deep route passes are just no good.

C - at running the football, and that only because of Washaun Ealey the 11th best Tailback recruit in the nation last year. How can we not put numbers to it at 21 fumbles per year every year the last 4 years. We cannot evaluate talent here.

B - at Offensive Line because we have failed to block for the pass or the run with all these guys too all these years. What they do accomplish is to get penalties. We are in this mode of having all these scholarships, yet we cannot for the life of them, put 5 out there and go.

B - at receiver because once again we what ? Taught AJ Green but cannot teach Marlon Brown or Branden Smith ? Now, this year we will ? I don’t think so. Sorry, you have 1 guy who will not be drafted 4th because he is injured half of the games. And, no one behind him.

B at Fullbacks because there we have 2 players, if the coaches would figure out to get them involved.

A+++ at Tight End because although it took us until the 12 game to figure out to start Orson Charles, he is the starter.

That is a B – for the offense, not counting the grade you must assign to the coaching staff as well. It is not just the players. It is their coaching and when the head coach says he no longer can count on the offensive coaching staff, then, well you have issues on offensive coaching, don’t you sir ?

We are an average football program in decline for the last 4 years. The reason is on offense and is the fault of the offensive coaching staff. They do not evaluate talent well, they play favorites. They do not call good plays. They do not any of them know the position they are coaching, having NEVER played the positions themselves, none of them.

And, our Offensive Coordinator we stole from Jacksonville State where he was the quarterbacks’ coach 1 year.

Yet we spend $750,000 a year on the Defensive Coordinator and he has to have 11 years NFL experience. And, we spend MORE THAN THAT on the rest of the Defensive Staff. What is wrong with this picture ? 9-4 or 10-3 in 14-game seasons nowadays.

Scott said...

Thanks for visiting.

We've averaged over 30 points a game since Bobo took over the offense, but you obviously know better than he does.

Hopefully, you have already turned your resume in to the athletic department...we could use a real forward thinker like you running things.

I guess we'll see who is right in about 119 days! Can't wait!


Scott said...

By the way...please show me the link where Coach Richt said he is taking back the offense from Coach Bobo. Haven't seen that anywhere.

Also, your second paragraph is pretty full of inaccuracies, too. Oh, and your "stats" on Caleb...are you counting the year he redshirted? Because that's the only way he's rushed for one yard or less in half the games of his career.

Anyway...thanks for visiting.


Anonymous said...

Well written post man...clearly these people leaving comments either have never played football, or have already made up their minds about Bobo and CMR and will ignore any and all facts.

You definitely need to do a D' version...just so that you have something to laugh about come this time next year.

Go dawgs!

Dawgfan17 said...

To the poster who bashed Bobo and the coaching on offense. Last year with a very young team and Joe Cox at qb the offense was tied for first in PPG in SEC games. Yes the turnovers hurt and put the defense in bad positions but the offense was also seldom helped out with short fields by the defense creating turnovers. While the intial post may be overly optimistic yours is overly critical. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.