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Post Is the future now or later for Durham?

Tuesday April 10, 2007

Kris Durham made a name for himself as a true freshman with his size and hands. The lanky 6’5" receiver had a slight build, but his ability to make tough catches earned him a spot on the field as a true freshman.

In Saturday’s G-Day game, he did everything but complete a pass to his own team. His intercepted pass on a trick play was about the only hiccup in a solid performance. He showed the value of his length and hands on a diving touchdown catch, and he also showed a promising ability to break tackles on a second touchdown. With that performance and flashes of promise last year, you’d think that Durham was about to emerge as a key member of the receiving corps. I even said below that he "is going to be a ‘glue’ guy on this team for several years," and I believe that.

But we learned today that it had been an inconsistent spring of doubt for the rising sophomore. "Kris had a couple of times this spring where he had his head down a little bit and started to wonder if he could compete at this level, I think," said Coach Richt. Durham admitted, "I had an up-and-down spring. There were some days where I didn’t come out very focused. (Saturday) I seemed to be focused, and I just had a lot of fun. I think it’s paid off."

There’s no questioning Durham’s abilities, but it’s revealing to see behind the scenes and realize that G-Day performances, good and bad, didn’t necessarily tell the story of a month of spring ball.

I had heard some scuttlebutt that redshirting was a possibility this season for Durham. Looking just at his G-Day performance, that seems insane. But in the larger context of the spring, it makes more sense now. Durham probably would have redshirted last year if not for the injuries to Bailey and others. He’s done a lot in one year to increase his strength, and you have to wonder what kind of receiver he’d become with an additional year to develop physically.

The skills are there for him to become a very valuable receiver, but the depth makes you wonder from where the opportunities will come. Bailey is back. Henderson has vaulted into the picture with an outstanding spring. As Richt points out, there are now seven upperclassmen among the receivers, and they’re starting to play like it. Younger receivers like Michael Moore, Tony Wilson, and Durham are fighting for time on the field. Can Durham’s strong finish to the spring do enough to distinguish him from the rest of the receivers, or would a year of development move him into a much better position for his final three seasons?

Talking about redshirting your leading G-Day receiver might sound like crazy talk, but one has to wonder if the thought came into Coach Richt’s head as he watched the receiver position during the spring.

3 Responses to 'Is the future now or later for Durham?'

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  • I have no problem as long as we have another receiver that is a “glue receiver”. We know the history of dropped passes. We need a good receiver we can count on on third down and Durham seems to be that. If we have developed one by September I say go for it. But unless our coaches have one we can count on we need to keep that redshirt off Kris

  • Redshirting Durham may end up being a wise move. It’s hard to gauge how much PT he would get at a position that was deep even before Bailey’s return. A lot depends on how he would handle it, of course.

    There’s no question the ability is there (I think of the great fingertip leaping grab he made against VT), but I seriously doubt this season would hinge on him making plays. Can’t say that about 2010, though. We may need him more at that time.

  • Dave, that’s my thinking too. You have the seven upperclassmen and then the other younger guys like Moore and Wilson have already used their redshirt. As mboro says, you still need someone to fill that role and prove they can make consistent possession catches.

    The flip side is that the Stafford clock is running, and we aren’t certain what things will look like when he leaves in three seasons (or maybe even two). Do you deny Stafford any resource that might make the most of his time here?