Wednesday, August 31, 2011
What to expect from our boys
Mississippi St/Memphis and UNLV/Wisconsin whet our appetite tomorrow, with the main dish coming Saturday night. Been lost on the Dawgs right now (and with all our flip flopping, you might be), here's an idea of what to expect.
QB-Aaron Murray certainly has the look and feel of a future great. Whether Bobo can put him in a position to maximize his potential remains to be seen. Richt has gotten great stuff out of countless QBs in the past, and they've done well with a similarly-tooled player in DJ Shockley. Playaction passes on 3rd and long and up the middle dives with 155 pound backs on 2nd and 10 doesn't show his stuff. But QB should not be a problem this year.
RB-Thin, with Boo Malcolme showing the injury problems that kept him from completing high school seasons, so the SEC will need some luck. Richard Samuel is back after wasting a year at LB, and of course we return above mentioned 155 pound between the tackles specialist Carlton Thomas. But Thomas is suspended, and the other two have injury issues. Isaiah Crowell has started every game he's ever played, and Saturday won't be any different. What to expect is anyone's guess. He could be Knowshon Jr or Jasper Jr. He won't be the sequel to Herschel, but hopefully we've finally found our consistent horse to ride since Musa (Knowshon called for a breather too often in our opinion to be a "horse"). FB should be solid with Xander Ogletree and Bruce Figgins, although we use them far too often for our liking. But both should be strong blockers and have the athleticism to make a play or two in the passing game on dump downs.
WR/TE-I've mentioned this earlier this month. We lack a go to threat, but if we let Murray exploit the day's weakness and make teams respect multiple threats, that's not a problem. Whether our leading reciever is freshman Malcolm "Tampa" Mitchell, or Tavarres King, or Rantavious Wooten, or Orson Charles, or Aron White, or Marlon Brown, among others, is hard to say. For a former Donnan QB, Bobo is surprisingly ineffective using TEs. And our WRs are young, undersized, and to date have never had two good games back to back. Early reports suggest Tampa or Charles as Murray's #1 guy.
OL-Thin, and like RB, relying on a guy who wasted last year on the wrong side of the ball to be an impact contributor. Bean Anderson supposedly had problems understanding complex nature of OL schemes, so the year away could spell major trouble. But he's also big, and at times was an absolute steam roller as a FR All-American. Bookending him will be fellow 330+ pounder Cordy Glenn. Glenn has been a quality guard, and is projected among the best choices their in next springs NFL draft, but he'll be our LT. It's been a while since he dealt with the speed off the edge, so we may find out about Houston Mason or Christian Lemay before the season is up. Ben Jones returns at C, and we've got surprise freshman star Kenarious Gates back at one G spot, Chris Burnette steps in to the other, with little more than FR behind them (true frosh David Andrews at C and Watts Dantzler at RT, redshirt fr Dallas Lee at both G spots and rsfr Austin Long backing up LT). Thin, and even with the uncertainty at WR, the biggest question mark on offense going in to the year. Then again, it's a unit that's performed well when a question mark and was horrible last year when it was supposed to be a strength, so the suspect nature may be a good thing.
DL-We added Big Bad Jon, and Kwame's finally started to show out. The combined 700+ pounds should give us the NG we were said to be missing from the 3-4 last year. Abry Jones should improve at DE and Deangelo Tyson look much better not in the middle. So DL should go from weakness to strength. We say should because Rodney Garner's units have underperformed pretty much without fail for at least 3, if not 4 or 5 years now. Garrison Smith was a HS stud, so if any of the backups step up to make their name, he's the most likely one to do so.
LB-Jarvis Jones is cleared from his NCAA mess, and his neck injury. He's been hyped since emerging on to the scene at Carver Columbus, so we'll see if he's able to replace Justin Houston as he's reportedly gonna do. Cornelius Washington is looking like our own Mike Mamula, jaw dropping physical tools that disappear come game day. But then, his backups don't really seem capable of taking his job away either unless TJ Stripling is recovered from his knee injury last year. Inside, Christian Robinson is the group leader, and should be a smart place setter making the calls. Alex Ogletree is big, fast, and should be a force to be reckoned with as he's closer to the line of scrimmage.
DB-We've professed our love for Brandon Boykin, and if Branden Smith is thicker, stronger as reported, our CBs should be back to their old strength when we had great pairs of Thornton/Bryant or Jennings/Minter earlier this century. Jordan Love and Damien Swann back them up, with starting S Sanders Commings able to play on an island too. Commings partners with Shawn Williams over the top, with Bacarri Rambo maybe or maybe not being behind them (suspended?), and if not probably fr Corey Moore gets the call when Commings and Williams need a breather, and with as much as Boise slings it, our safeties will get lots and lots of work. While we need to own the line of scrimmage for these guys to have a chance, the talent is here to make a lot of big plays and create turnovers. Still, youth and lack of depth could be major issues here.
K/KR-Boykin is daring Boise to kick it to him, and we agree considering his ability to make a big play. Branden Smith has the same one touch for touchdown ability, so we're good here. We've got the two best kickers, both combined and individually, in the country, and a pair of scholarships committed to deep snappers so we should be strong there too. Never heard of Ty Frix before? That's as it should be friend, and hope you never hear his name again this year.