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Post A closer look at talent

Thursday October 19, 2006

When a team struggles, there is often a chicken-or-the-egg questions that comes up about coaching vs. talent. Fans get incredulous whenever you bring talent into the discussion. "We’ve had top 10 recruiting classes forever – how can you talk about talent?!?!?" In the general sense, that’s true. The imperfections of recruiting rankings aside, Georgia has recruited very well.

But when you look at individual positions and the effects of attrition and player development on a more micro level, you see that certain positions can develop personnel issues even with recruiting going well at a macro level. The offensive line is most frequently mentioned in that context, and others have written about that. For another example, let’s look at the defensive back position and the signees since 2002. For the benefit of emphasis, I’ve crossed out the names of those unavailable to the team right now.

A pretty clear picture emerges – those with any experience are almost forced into starting roles, and all of the reserves are at best sophomores or redshirt freshmen. The good news seems to be that there are two strong talented classes coming up through the ranks, and that will help in future seasons. Attrition has taken its toll as several upperclassmen who might be in the mix this year are either no longer with the program or sidelined with long-term injuries.

2002 (Redshirt seniors – 0):

  • B.J. Fields: gone
  • Olaolu Sanni-Osomo: career-ending injury
  • Tim Jennings: graduated
  • Demario Minter: graduated

2003 (Seniors / redshirt juniors – 2):

  • Thomas Flowers: out for season
  • Paul Oliver: current starter
  • Tra Battle – originally a walk-on, multi-year starter

2004 (Juniors / redshirt sophomores – 2):

  • Kelin Johnson: current starter
  • Antonio Sims: gone
  • Ramarcus Brown: current starter

2005 (Sophomores / redshirt freshmen – 3):

  • Donovan Baldwin: hasn’t seen much action yet
  • Antavious Coates: out for season
  • Bryan Evans: CB reserve
  • C.J. Byrd: seeing more time at safety

The good news is that more help is on the way from the true freshmen in the 2006 class:

  • Asher Allen: getting lots of time at nickle back
  • Prince Miller: has played as a true freshman
  • Quintin Banks: redshirting
  • Reshad Jones: redshirting

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