Monday, October 7, 2013

The tailback spot, where the glass is half empty

While I won't feed into rumors and innuendo, at times I can enjoy being pessimistic have the ability to be hypothetical.

So what if Gurley has a setback, or worse, misses the rest of the season? Well, while the message boreds would likely enjoy unprecedented traffic and Richt's staff would not enjoy a fever pitch of fan furor, we'd be left with three freshmen and two walk-ons. Plain and simple.
  • JJ Green. Wasn't even recruited at tailback. Has a good burst and isn't afraid to take the hit. Still developing as a pass protector and in terms of letting blocks set up in front of him. Pass catching skills still a bit of a question mark out of the backfield, and certainly not at the level we were seeing from Marshall before the injury in Knoxville. Still, a lot of potential as a difference maker at this position.
  • Brendan Douglas. This time last year seemed to be cast into the role of blocking back for Coach Johnson on North Avenue. Bobo saves him and he quickly made a name for himself as a bruiser of a runner. Good speed to go along with willingness to give out punishing hits. Still developing as a blocking back and as a receiver out of the backfield.
  • AJ Turman. All we truly know is that he's behind Green and Douglas developmentally and that he's barely hanging on to his redshirt.
  • Brandon Harton and Kyle Karempelis. Walk-ons that know the system but aren't going to force linebackers to step forward in anticipation instead of backwards into passing routes.
Let's call a spade a spade, this would not be an enjoyable scenario. Until Marshall went down, defenses had to respect our ability to run the football at every down and distance. With this depth chart Murray would lose some room to work the secondary as every remaining team on the schedule breathed a sigh of relief at not having to face Todd Gurley.

Thank goodness we were able to recruit the running back position aggressively the last couple years. We've seen enough from Green and Douglas to know that they have the ability to get us into short yardage situations on second and third downs. Can they continue to do that consistently with two studs nursing injuries?

What's more, can they do more in the passing game, both as protectors and as receivers? Coach Bobo has gone from an embarrassment of riches to having to simplify the playbook on some level to keep up with unprecedented production, both in terms of Georgia and the SEC as a whole. Trusting that one of them isn't going to incidentally release a blitzing linebacker would go a long way to keeping things on par with expectations. Not to mention out of necessity.