Wednesday, October 13, 2010

And if he does...

If the coaches decide that our best chance of beating Vanderbilt involves pulling the redshirt off Ken Malcome and letting the kid tote the rock a bit, there are some things we need to understand.

First, we're in trouble. This isn't Florida. This isn't Auburn or Alabama. This is Vanderbilt. This is a team that Georgia should not have trouble beating. Ever. It's not just because of Georgia's long history, it's not just because they're a higher "academic" institution. It's because those kids just flat-out shouldn't be able to play with Georgia. Most of their starters would not be 2nd string at Georgia or Alabama. Sure, some of them would...but most would not. I don't say the same about Mississippi State or Ole Miss or even Colorado, because those are large state institutions with access to higher-level recruits. Vanderbilt loses most of the best TN athletes to UT, and surrounding state high-level recruits go to their state institutions or those better known for football.

Simply put, if our BEST chance to defeat them is in the hands of a kid who has thus far been deemed as "too raw" to play ball this season, then we are in trouble.

Now, getting past that - do NOT expect this kid to be a barn-burner. He does not have a great deal of top-end speed. Malcome is a bruiser. He has a low center of gravity and he's thickly built. He's a great deal like the other two featured tailbacks in Georgia's rotation. So, if he's in the game, you're likely to not see much difference - except maybe in the specifics of his play. I don't know how well he picks up blockers. I don't know what his field vision is like. I don't know much about him at all. But, I do know that if he were a full-on stud tailback, he'd probably have been playing before a suspension during VANDY week forced him into it.

Don't get me wrong, the kid was a 4-star recruit, and I'm sure he's quite talented. Maybe he's even talented enough to provide a spark to an otherwise stagnant running game. I don't know. I just don't want people thinking he's likely to come in and take over the game. I'm fairly sure that if we're using him, we're using him to spell Ealy. Of course, if you ask me, that's a waste.

If you're gonna burn the kid's redshirt - do it with purpose. Give him enough of the load to make it worth him losing a year of eligibility. If he only knows 5 plays, then put him in the game for twenty plays, and let him block 10 times, and run those other plays a couple of times apiece. Who knows? Maybe he'll hit an off-tackle for 35 yards and a score. My point is, you don't burn a kid's redshirt just so Ealy can take six plays off over the course of a game. If Ealy needs six plays rest, you send in Chapas and Munzenmeier, and you run some kind of roll-out pass. Or, you go empty backfield shotgun.

Also, if Malcome does play, that has to be a good thing for the recruitment of Isiah Crowell. Why? Well, if Malcome plays, UGA has zero freshman on the depth chart next season. Add Crowell, and we have 1. What does that mean? Well, it means that the chance of Crowell himself redshirting is even lower. Whenever you have a top-tier recruit looking at your school, and he sees that you play true freshmen (7 so far this season, 8 if Malcome plays), he likes it. When he sees you play a true freshman at HIS position, he has to like it even more. Why? Because that means there is competition at his position, and most of these top-tier recruits believe they can win those positional battles. Simply put, if Malcome plays, we are telling Crowell that our RB position is not set in stone for this year, let alone next year, and that if he comes to UGA, he can compete for a starting spot. He sure ain't getting that at Bama.

Whatever the decision this week, I'm sure Richt and Co will be doing what's best for the team. You put the guys on the field who give you the best chance of winning the game. If that's Ken Malcome, bring on #24!

Go Dawgs.


D_Dot said...

Don't be shocked if Malcome is a diamond in the ruff. Richt is know for leaving great talent on the bench because the kid didn't necessarily look great in practice, see Knowshon. Moreno only got a shot when he did due to injury. Sometimes you gotta get that "raw" kid game experience and allow him to cut his teeth at full speed. Think about how things might look now had Murray started last season instead of Cox. Fear will bite you in the tucus every time. Young potential needs playing experience.

Ben Dukes said...

Moreno redshirted because he wasn't ready as a true freshman. He got his chance his redshirt freshman year and didn't amaze in his first few appearances. As the year went on, he got better and better.

Murray would not have looked good last year, as he was hurt most of the season and also would not have had a full year's worth of the system under his belt.

This is exactly the kind of backwards fan thinking that drives me crazy. People honestly believe that because Murray is doing well, he'd have done better than Cox last year, and would be remarkably better this year. They completely ignore the fact that he had a full year of development WITHOUT being constantly under duress. And Murray wasn't just a scout-teamer, either. He worked with the #1s. That means he was already getting quality reps, but never endured the setbacks that starting as a true freshman will get you.

If you think redshirting Moreno or Murray was a bad idea, then I'm glad you're not the one getting paid to lead this team. There are some kids who come in fully ready to contribute (AJ Green, Orson Charles) and there are also some positions which lend themselves more to doing that. Because of the blocking assignments in our offense, RB can be very difficult to pick up quickly. I think it goes without saying that QB is even more so.

Remember Stafford's Freshman year? Not great.