Kyle has a good question this afternoon:
Is the fullback simply an anachronism who has no place in the revamped up-tempo Bulldog offense of 2011? Does the play-calling simply reflect the personnel present in the Classic City in the current day, given the talents of Aaron Murray and the multitude of pass-catching weapons (including Bruce Figgins) at Mike Bobo’s disposal? Is the need to use the fullback as a blocker rather than a ballcarrier reflective of the thinness of the offensive line and the inexperience of the tailback rotation, or is a potentially worthwhile element of the arsenal going unused?
I admit to wondering the same thing. It was a surprise (and a pleasant one at that) to see Ogletree rumble for over 20 yards at Tech. And of course Figgins has been almost a sure thing on the 344-Fullback pass play. But there’s no question that the productivity from the position in the running game has declined, and Kyle has all of the data behind that conclusion.
Why is that? In addition to the possible reasons Kyle offers, we also have to consider that they might just not be the best carriers of the ball. Ogletree’s long run was nice, but the ball popped out. Admittedly, that’s a small sample size from which to draw any kind of conclusions about his ability to hold on to the ball. Likewise, Figgins is a converted tight end. As you’d expect, he can catch the ball. But the exchange on a running play is an entirely new operation for Figgins, and it’s possible that the coaches just didn’t trust his lack of experience there. Figgins is a senior, but Ogletree will return in 2012 with a great deal of experience. Of course a backfield that could feature Crowell, Marshall, and Mike Davis won’t leave many carries to spare, but there is an important role for a fullback that can move the pile in short-yardage situations. Given Georgia’s success against Florida, it’s also possible that the coaches will be content with Richard Samuel in that role.