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Post Putting a wrap on G-Day

Tuesday April 19, 2011

I came out of G-Day with three basic thoughts:

1) Thank goodness no one (else) got hurt.

2) It didn’t answer any of the questions most of us have about the team (except maybe for one big one on the DL).

3) It more or less affirmed what we thought to be the strengths and weaknesses of the team.

With the number of small injuries, the draft format jumbling up the cohesive units on offense and defense, and the anticipated contributions of freshmen and newcomers, there wasn’t much cause for getting too worked up over the highs and the lows of the game. So we’ll take up some more minor points.

I have to admit I expected to see more written about Derrick Lott. He had two sacks by my count, including the safety, and was in the backfield nearly as much as Geathers was. We focus a lot on what the nose can do in the 3-4, but opportunities for the ends can be a byproduct of an effective man in the middle. Lott’s G-Day came after a spring in which he impressed coaches and teammates. If Lott keeps it up, the Geathers/Jenkins battle won’t be the only competition for playing time on the DL worth watching this August.

LeMay ran an effective scoring drive, but what caught my eye were a couple of zone read runs. The zone read isn’t a new play at Georgia – even Stafford shocked us a few times when he kept the ball (including one glorious play at Tech in 2007). It was interesting though to see the way LeMay executed the play. Georgia’s quarterbacks haven’t eaxctly resembled Pat White on the play. LeMay looked different – he attacked the line before making the option decision. He made a good decision whenever he ran the play, and his keeper was a solid run up the middle. I don’t suggest this is something we’ll see much of any time soon; Lemay himself might even be redshirted. It’s just something to keep in the back of our minds if LeMay ever gets the reigns.

He’ll earn inevitable comparisons with Kris Durham, but Michael Bennett could have an impact larger and earlier than Durham. Bennett has good hands and speed, and he showed Saturday impressive blocking on the outside. That will get a young receiver on the field a lot sooner. After King, the receiver rotation is really still up in the air. We’re all waiting for Brown, Wooten, and Troupe to make their moves as veterans, but someone like Bennett could easily slide in there. None of this is news – we know what the depth situation is at receiver. It pretty much played out that way on Saturday. The same opportunities that are there for Bennett are also there for Malcolm Mitchell and other newcomers.

We didn’t see much from the downfield passing game. With the strength at TE and with guys like Smith (and even Boykin!) involved on offense, that might be a trend that continues through the season. King should remain a solid target when the Dawgs choose to go deep. That’s not to say that there weren’t a few shots – I can recall a nice pass to Bennett that was well-covered and another more promising pass that was just dropped by Chris Conley.

I have to be careful of letting what I had heard going into the game influence what I remember, but I was especially interested in watching Caleb King. He didn’t disappoint. His production and time was limited, but he had two nice runs to the outside that looked faster and smoother than anything else on the field (except maybe Branden Smith). Speaking of Smith, I’m glad to see people talking about the stiff-arm he used on his touchdown. Defensive coaches aren’t happy about the missed tackle, and that’s something we’d dwell on more if it were an opponent that scored on a play like that. The sight of Smith as something more than just a speed guy was about as promising of a development as there was from the offense.

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