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Post What’s happened to the Georgia fullback?

Friday December 16, 2011

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.

2 Responses to 'What’s happened to the Georgia fullback?'

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  • Quayvon Hicks – currently committed fullback recruit.

    The FB usage went down when we lost all of our legit fullbacks. Ogletree is getting there, but I think you are right about Figgins. I think Hicks can be another Sutherland/Chapas/Munzemeier type of player that we can rely on to get the short yardage.

  • In the past I believe we over-utilized the fullback particularly Sutherland in the run game. It became predictible in short yard and goal line situation. I agree a better mix is needed and definitely more use of the fullback in the pass game.
    As you said if we go into next year with Crowell, Thomas, Marshall & Davis, there are not too many carries left. Where does Samuel’s fit in. Unformtunatley RS3 was not appreciated until his injury and the physical run game was a shell of itself. There is something to be said for getting the tough 3 yard.