Two weeks to go until Clemson arrives Between the Hedges, and excitement is building. So let’s get to some of this week’s Junkyard Mail …
Howard Terry writes: Bill, we all know what Malcolm Mitchell can do (if he can ever stay healthy) and likewise Chris Conley and Michael Bennett. But what other wide receiver are we likely to be talking about this season? Who do you see maybe coming up big?
Howard, I realize some folks have cooled on last year’s hot topic at receiver, Jonathon Rumph, since he didn’t show much last year (except against Appalachian State) or in the G-Day game, but I still think Rumph has the size and ability to make some big catches. And the junior college transfer is a senior, so he knows it’s now or never. But I also wouldn’t be surprised to see one of the lesser-known players make a move. Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Kenneth Towns, a walk-on, led all receivers in Friday night’s scrimmage with 10 catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns. And let’s not forget former defensive back Brendan Langley, who had four catches for 71 yards and a touchdown in the scrimmage.
KeeKee Brown writes: Hey Bill, it’s that time of year again where we try and pick out which freshmen are going to have a breakout season for the Dawgs. This year, everyone is excited about our new “Gurshall” in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, but aside from them what frosh do you think will likely have breakout years?
KeeKee, besides the obvious pick of Isaiah McKenzie, who’s expected to give Georgia a kicking return game for the first time in a few years, I’d say defensive end Lorenzo Carter, who’s attracted a lot of attention in preseason camp and has been talked up by upper classmen on the team, probably has the best shot at the early limelight among the true freshmen. But wide receiver-turned-defensive back Rico Johnson also has folks at UGA excited and snagged an interception in Friday night’s scrimmage. As Mark Richt described it, “ Rico had a beautiful interception on a ball that Brice [Ramsey] was trying to throw away and just didn’t throw it away enough. Rico leaped up and made a great catch to keep his feet in bounds.” Sounds promising. Another freshman DB, Dominick Sanders, is making some preseason noise, too. He had a pick-6 off Hutson Mason on a busted play in Friday’s scrimmage, returning the ball 54 yards. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see freshman tight end Jeb Blazevich, a highly sought prospect who chose Georgia over Alabama and Auburn, getting considerable playing time, too, since Georgia is a bit thin at tight end and Jay Rome is coming back from foot surgery. Blazevich, who also is working at H-back with Quayvon Hicks, caught five balls for 112 yards in Friday’s scrimmage.
Crashdawg writes: Mr. King, I know you don’t really cover recruiting, but I just wondered what you thought about Trenton Thompson committing to the Dawgs. For me, that’s one of the most important recruiting coups for Georgia in years. What do you think?
As I’ve said before, Crash, when Thompson signs on the dotted line, I’ll celebrate. Sure, I’m happy Georgia has a verbal commitment from the state’s top prospect, a five-star player rated as the nation’s top-ranked defensive tackle, but as we’ve seen in recent years big-name recruits sometimes change their minds. Speaking of which, I had to roll my eyes at the reports that Rico McGraw switched his commitment to Alabama because he suddenly realized the facilities there were better than in Athens. Something tells me there’s more to that decision than UGA’s lack of an indoor practice facility.
And on that subject, J. Johnson in Charlotte writes: Hey Bill, love the Blawg! Got a question for ya: I see that the topic of an indoor practice facility has new life because of [Greg] McGarity [announcing UGA plans to build one]. These are, of course, prohibitively expensive for all but the wealthiest athletic departments (money and land wise, the latter UGA’s biggest problem). But my question is, has the idea of one of those inflatable domes ever been floated (pun intended)? And would you be able to blow one of those up in short notice making this a viable second option without building anything new, going off campus or acquiring more land?
I’ll resist any hot air jokes, J., and just say that I don’t think it would be very practical to get one of those inflatable domes set up in time when bad weather blows in, or even advisable. Although UGA is going to press supporters to make donations to pay for part of the estimated $15 million cost of an indoor practice facility, I don’t think paying for one is a problem for Georgia. And while the likely location on South Milledge will require putting the team on buses, that still won’t take as long as a trip to the Falcons’ facility, which is the current fall-back procedure. While I think the hubbub over an indoor facility has been much overblown, I have no doubts UGA will have one before too long.
Ham Watson writes: Bill, I like Mike Bobo’s balanced approach to offense and the way he adds new little twists each season (no-huddle, spread, pistol). So I’m hopeful we’re going to see something interesting involving the new H-back position. But, in general, I think Georgia needs to throw to its backs more. Do you think we’ll see more screen passes to the tailbacks?
Ham, I do. Bobo already had the quarterbacks throwing more to Todd Gurley (and Keith Marshall before he got hurt) last year, and that’s likely to continue. Also, I think that might be a great way to get freshman Sony Michel some playing time. I love to see a quick player like him get the ball out in open space. And I’m also very interested in seeing what transpires with the H-back.
Lamar Westbrook writes: Hey Bill, I know Jacob Coker came from Florida State and signed with Alabama but explain this please. Is he attending classes at Alabama or is he out of college completely? If he is not going to classes at Alabama, then you have a ex-college QB still playing college ball! At Alabama you better watch them, old Satan likes to win real bad and sure goes border line in cheating! By the way, how many years can Coker play at Alabama? Thanks buddy and GO DAWGS!!
Hold up, Lamar. Nick Saban may be known for fully exploiting the space between the lines of the rule book, but he does not have a reputation for cheating. As for Coker, the rising redshirt junior graduated early from FSU this spring and enrolled early at Alabama with the ability to play immediately (since he’s a grad student). He has two seasons of eligibility remaining, which means if he does become the Tide’s starting QB as expected, the Dogs probably will see him when Bama visits Athens in 2015.
I answered this one in the comments of the last Blawg entry, but for those who missed it: HotDawg writes: Bill, is this [preseason] camp different from other camps in being less accessible to reporters? Seems to be a lot of hearsay reporting of practices. Or very limited actual viewing of practices? Not a very good feel of who’s consistently shining or not. Added to that, there is the new policy of limiting information on injuries. Which is silly, in most cases, because it is neither an advantage nor disadvantage to anyone. Of course fans want to know everything. But are we getting less information this year?
Hot, it’s the same access for reporters as usual, generally 15 minutes or so per day. But Richt has discontinued the past practice of providing the media with an injury update list every day. And, in fact, he isn’t even commenting on injuries. So, yes, we’re getting less information, but only concerning injuries.
In response to the recent Blawg on game day changes at Sanford Stadium and the new sound system, Lee Eidson writes via Facebook: Bill you are right about the awful sound system at G-Day! The music was deafening and prohibited conversation if you sat under the overhang. I’ll not comment on the choice of music for fear of being labeled as old beyond my time! But it was not a good experience.
And Lindsey Kee Portmann writes: Reading this is getting me more excited about the start of football season! Happy to hear about cellphone improvement, cooling stations, and Lee Greenwood I wish they would let us keep the caps on our water bottles, as a fan who sits on the end row, my drink always gets hit then spills on the fans purse in front of me😦
Lee, your description of the situation under the overhang at G-Day is right on the money, and since I sit under the overhang for all home games, I’m hoping there’s some adjustment in the volume. And, as I’ve said before, I’m fine with prerecorded music being used as long as it doesn’t diminish the role of the Redcoat Band. Lindsey, sorry to say I don’t think you’ll see them allowing caps to be left on bottles because of insurance liability issues (the danger of a full, capped bottle being dropped or tossed from the upper level). But you can always do what one of my brothers does: bring a cap with you and screw it on the bottle after you get to your seat!
Got something you want to discuss concerning the upcoming football season? Or a question about UGA athletics in general for the Junkyard Blawg? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg