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October 31, 2006

Roster News -- John Miller leaves the team


Wanted: Strong, fast, smart, healthy offensive linemen.

This Dawgs now have NINE non-senior wide receivers on the roster, and we have four non-senior tight ends on the roster. Next year, two more WRs and two more TEs on committed.

Unfortunately, the Dawgs have only 1 non-senior offensive tackle on the roster yesterday after true freshman John Miller walked away from football (Ugasports.com premium).

Miller's departure adds even greater frustration to the offensive line recruiting problems of Callaway's tenure. Ted Kian has a solid take on the situation. My thoughts below.

So where are the tackles? The answer...apparently we didn't recruit any.
-- Josh Davis, redshirting, is the kid whose high school coach commented after learning that he commited to UGA that he didn't see Davis contributing for 2-3 years.

-- Highly regarded offensive line prospect Kiante Tripp is redshirting this year as a defensive end.

-- Chris Davis, also redshirting, is practicing at Guard. Last I heard, he weighed about 270 lbs.

-- Alleged 5 Star OT prospect Clifton Geathers (Hargrave) looks to be more of a promising defensive end prospect for Georgia, and that's what he's playing in prep school.

-- Elite OL prospect Justin "Bean" Anderson (Hargrave) says Georgia wants him to play Guard.

-- That means we're banking on JUCOs (that haven't committed) or True Freshmen to play at least one offensive tackle spot next year. The other OT spot will likely be manned by Chester Adams (who can't possible be a downgrade from Inman).

Well surely we recruited OTs in the past few years right?
-- In 2005, we signed one offensive lineman. Center Ian Smith.

-- In 2004, we signed two offensive linemen. Chester Adams (OG/OT) and Seth Watts (OG)

-- In 2003, we signed several offensive linemen. But the only tackles we signed were Tommy Gainous, Ken Shackleford (who we promptly wasted his Redshirt year so he could protect on extra points), Trey Chandler and James Lee. Lee never visited Athens during the recruiting process. Is it any wonder that he got homesick or restless and left after 18 or so months? Gainous and Trey Chandler were ruled physically unable to perform within a year.

-- So...in the face of obvious and critical needs for offensive tackles that had existed for more than two years....we signed in 2006:
  • 3 offensive linemen with grades that would get them no where near Athens for at least a year (Anderson, Geathers and Ben Harden). Currently, it looks like none of those kids will be playing tackle. Hopefully, that will change.
  • A kid barely over 16 years old with a bad shoulder in John Miller.
  • A potential "project" in Josh Davis
  • 2 promising guard prospects that weighed around 260 lbs each.
  • A promising OT that is playing defensive end. A position where we do have depth.
It's maddening. Especially since we offered Inman (the son of one of Callaway's former players at ECU who's only other offer was ECU) instead of Marcus McNeil (4 year starter at Auburn). Especially since Paul Duncan wasn't good enough for Georgia to recruit despite being good enough for Michigan and Notre Dame. Especially since we signed Gainous instead of a 3 year starter at FSU in David Overmeyer. Especially since we apparently didn't pursue Duke Robinson very hard...a potential 4 year starter at Oklahoma.

We're not in the position we're in with offensive linemen because we're unlucky.

We're in it because some combination of Neil Callaway, Rodney Garner and Mark Richt have been doing a lousy job of evaluating talent, transcripts and health of Offensive Tackle prospects while doing a questionable job of managing scholarships allotment.

The good news
Callaway does a good job of coaching up what he gets CONSIDERING the quality of the talent that he has brought on. And, Richt/Garner and the rest of the staff do a very good job of recruiting at all other positions.

That said, you can't look at the allocation of scholarships across the wide receivers, tight ends and even fullbacks and say that our recruitment of offensive linemen -- particularly offensive tackles -- makes any sense whatsoever.

Recruiting does look promising for 2007. Particularly at offensive tackle. But you can't fix the mistakes of the past 3-4 years in one year. Next year's team looks really interesting...except at OT where it'll take a White Knight Juco to save us. If you're a high school offensive lineman, Georgia has an opening for you.

PWD

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good article.

In 6 years Callaway brought in 24 OL that made it to Campus. 6 never started a game before leaving the team Antonio Mercier ( diabetes), Randall Swoopes (?), Trey Chandler; Tommy Gainous; James Lee (shoulders/neck), John Miller (gave up football). Another (McKinzey - shoulder) probably never starts.
2 others Brock and Miller forced to quit football due to shoulders.
9 of 24 not completing eligibility gets you in the position we are in for 2006/7. Simply unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

Have only been reading this site for a couple of weeks. Found it by googling "Pyburn" + controversy.

Love your site.

Is nepotism at UGA any worse than it is at any other college football school?

paulwesterdawg said...

Everyone on God's earth owes people favors. Everyone repays them in different ways.

I've got no problem with Callaway offering his buddy's kid a scholarship. It's not like he was totally devoid of talent.

What I DO have a problem with is offering Inman INSTEAD of Marcus McNeil. (who wouldn't really factor into the 2007 discussion either way, but it's just something that pisses me off)

pwd

stick jackson said...

Totally agree. Richt has done a great job on a lot of things. In fact, until the bumps in the road this year, you could have said he hadn't done a bad job at anything, EXCEPT OT recruiting.

As you say, PWD, we can't definitively assign blame within the MR, NC, RG troika, but it sure as heck falls heavily somewhere, and ultimately, on the head coach.

There have been so many excellent jobs of evaluating talent (Jennings, Thurman, Davis) that the series of blunders -- quality starters passed over for long shot prospects who never come close to panning out -- is hard to explain. But it is impossible to deny.

Anonymous said...

Well, if there is a bright side to our OL debacle(s) perhaps it's that Richt is FINALLY starting to see the light, at least his halftime comments last Saturday hinted as much.

Dawg 05 said...

scratch that... John Miller has been kicked off the team per the AJC... he must have done something pretty big to get kicked off on the first go around, usually Richt lets a player make a few mistakes (D. Swain, D. White, O. Thurman).

dsoule said...

how bout putting milner at tackle. trez can't catch but the kid can sure block, and he's an athlete. he's got good size, why not give him a try i know he's a little light but what else do we have?

ductile dawg said...

I'm about half-way done reading "The Blind Side", which has focused on the development and recruitment of Michael Oher, a prototype left tackle who Tom Lemming puts up there with Orlando Pace and Johnathan Ogden. There is some interesting insight into the recruiting process that Nick Saban and Phil Fulmer used in their attempts to land Oher.

Evidently, Mark Richt placed a call, was told that Athens was too far away, and gracefully bowed out. From the details in the book, anyone would have had a hard time luring Oher to a school far from Memphis, but Nick Saban would have done it if he didn't leave for the Dolphins, and Phil Fulmer almost did it even though he is portrayed as a pretty big smuck in the book. I honestly think if we had given more time and effort, we could have recruited him away from Ole Miss, who was in the middle of a coaching change. How much different would our O-line look with a 6-5 320lb sophmore left tackle as our anchor?

Anonymous said...

I can go along with most everything in your article, but I don't think you can list David Overmeyer as a big miss. FSU is the only school you might find with as much problems at OL as UGA and he has started out of necessity since his freshman year.

KirkwoodDawg said...

Great blog Paul. Going in to this season I think the BullDawg nation knew it would take a miracle for our O line to make it thru the season unscathed and without controversy. I blame Callaway for our lack of depth. He's the position coach, we're not desperate for bodies at the other positions let alone depth. Callaway is the one that evaluates the O line recruits, he gives the yea or nay to recruit them. Either he doesn't take recruiting seriously or he is a bad evaluator of talent.

Also on scout.com they have Marcus McNeil receiving an offer from UGA, maybe we just didn't recruit him that hard.

_Pitbull said...

OL recruiting, developing on the field skills, developing off the field character and academic success, all matter.

Failing to avoid kids with shoulder issues may have been a bad luck thing for the first couple of years, but to have the same problem year after year with a third of our OL recruits, well, that shows we're missing something in both recruitment and in our strength and conditioning program.

The time has arrived for CMR to grow up, and to grow a pair.

Tell Mikey Adams and his double secret probation admissions committee to get the h*** out of micromanaging our football program, and demand that we recruit under the same rules as our ACC and SEC opponents, for JUCOs, incoming freshmen, and transfers.

Tell Callaway to coach the OL up or find another job.

If you don't fire Callaway, give the "OC" job to Bobo so Callaway can focus on developing a decent OL.

And stop telling folks that OLs have to redshirt.

If we don't play Bean, Harden and at least one OT as true freshmen, we may as well mail in a 4 and 8 season.

Yes, I'm mad. Our OL is weak, unfocused, gutless and sorry.

And our OL is probably the most penalized OL in the SEC.

I'm sick of losing to Vandy, Florida's Fag-U, and all the other sorry teams that our OL makes look like they're all world.

Pitbull

paulwesterdawg said...

LOL -- not redshirting OL?

Dude - if we had redshirted Shack and Adams instead of having them out there wasting a year blocking for extra points, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now.

As for not redshirting kids. Perez and Davis are 260 lbs dripping wet. Ray Gant said Perez is a fighter and tough. Perez said that's nice of Ray to say, but Ray's tossing me around like a rag doll.


Bean will play next year. It's a mortal lock. He's also the first OL that we've recruited since Max Jean-Gilles and Nick Jones that is good enough to actually contribute as a true freshman.

I think you're being harsh on the gutless comment.

paulwesterdawg said...

Bobo as OC?

Dude. What about his tenure as a player or coach says strategic genius? He's a good guy and a good recruiter, but if he worked out as an OC it would be blind luck.

Why should we constantly be doing On the Job training?

If we want Al Borges, David Cutcliff or Ralph Friedgen type results from our offensive coordinator, then we need to hire one with 10-20 years experience. Not a 32 year old kid learning his way on our nickle.

PWD

__Pitbull said...

Westerdawg:

Redshirting reference is to a statement made by CMR that we should always redshirt OL their first year on campus.

Exceptions have to be made when we have no depth and no OTs on the team.

And if I'm an 18 year old OL looking to play early, I don't want to hear that the HC at a school I'm signing with says all incoming freshmen OL will have to redshirt.

CMR may have made a mistake in playing some guys early in the past, but in 2007 we simply must play some incoming freshmen OL anyway, so why not use it to help recruit kids who want to play right away?

Pitbull

__Pitbull said...

Did the AJC make an error in reporting that a JUCO OL has 3 years of eligibility left?

I thought what CMR was after was JUCO guys who would have 3 years during which they could use their two years of eligibility.

I thought all graduates of JUCO had two years of eligibility left, some with only two years during which to play, and others who could choose which two of the next three years they would play.

Of course, the HC would be doing the choosing.

Pitbull

KirkwoodDawg said...

Pitbull, the AJC was correct. Vince Vance redhsirted his first year at GMC, so he is playing as a redshirt freshman this year. That leaves him with 3 years left to play.

SSB Charley said...

Paul,

Another nice article. I know he's listed as a DE, wants to play DE, and is currently playing DE, but I have to think that Clifton Geathers is going to wind up at tackle given that 6'7" frame of his, particularly if he has the footwork for it. This incoming class will do a lot to shore up our deficiencies, whether Geathers plays tackle or not, but I hope it doesn't lead us to problems we had recruiting OL after the 1998 class and the 2002 class.

IIRC, a couple of months ago Richt and Callaway discussed the probable need to obtain medical histories from kids before offering them scholarships due to the shoulder problems our kids have had over the last few years. Losing Miller, Brock and Chandler, all likely senior starters or solid contributors, really diminishes the program.

paulwesterdawg said...

Pitbull,

Richt has been really contradictory on the redshirt issue. He has said he would LIKE to redshirt every OL. He would PREFER to redshirt every OL.

Hell...every coach in America would like to do the same thing.

Richt has also said that he doesn't talk about redshirting very often on the recruiting trail b/c recruits don't want to hear it.

We redshirt to many of our OL b/c they are either:
A. 260-270 lbs and no where near ready to play like Chandler, Miller, Perez, Davis, Turner, Roland, etc.

B. Injured with shoddy shoulders, bad backs, bad knees and/or diabetes.

Have you seen ANY offensive lineman at UGA that we redshirted and said..."man, if only that kid were playing the OL would be so much better?"

I haven't.

We haven't recruited kids good enough to not redshirt them by in large along the Offensive Line.

It's not being pigheaded and stubborn as much just not recruiting good enough, physically ready enough kids.

pwd

peacedog said...

Couple of comments paul:

Overmeyer isn't even starting anymore, he lost his job. Both he and Danny Pilgrim started as youngsters for FSU and Clemson respectively, and there were plenty of people to bash staff for it. Neither has held their job - I'm not so sure we missed here (not that we don't need bodies).

2004 - we also got Randall Swoopes back. Little did we know, that wouldn't pan out in the least. That hurt, supposedly he had considerable talent. Not an OT, true, but we're think any way you slice it.

We've wiffed on some guys (both in terms of who we recruited, and who we didn't offer). There are legitimate questions to raise. The number of medical hardships we've had is something out of our control, though, and has exacerbated the situation IMO. We could probably really use a healthy, developing, Trey Chandler at OT right about now. Too bad.

Incidentally, had they not become hardships, and gotten to redshirt in an ideal situation, Miller and Brock would be SRs right now. I don't think a redshirt saves them from a freak series of injuries, but it's a good reminder how far reaching things can be.

Devildawger said...

Westerdawg -

excellent post and I am not just saying that since we are on the same page. This performance is unacceptable and it falls at the feet of Callaway and to a lesser extent CMR. The OL has been the most underperforming group for the CMR era at UGA. Year after year there are instances of the proper "homework" not being done on these recruits. How do you end up with grades problems of 2006 on the OL after we had such a problem with that on the entire 2005 recruiting class? In the terms of John Miller I have heard negative comments about his ability from more than one person who I trust their judgement - how did he ever get a scholie? Where are the tackles? I hope they have done their due diligence and checked out the grades issues on all scholarship OLs for 07 and if there are any past injuries say sorry the scholarship is no longer on the table. The OL cannot have the washout rate that we are currently experiencing....and this has been a problem since 2003!!!!! How do you solve a problem that keeps recurring for 4 yrs? Get a new OL evaluator and a new coach at that position. Finally, to bring something to the table that hasnt been mentioned yet - what about our "preferred walk on program" - why arent we getting some big guys from across GA that want to be Bulldogs to come to Athens as a preferred walkon - this should be an easy sell - scholies come open all the time - invite 5 scholastically acceptable, slightly underrecruited 300 lbers to enroll - tell these guys that you guarantee that at least one of them will be awarded a scholie at the end of the year. You have just increased your competition and have more bodies - some kids are just fighting for a chance and will blossom if developed.

paulwesterdawg said...

I heard that Nebraska's Walk-on program worked because every county in Nebraska had a scholarship available that could be slapped on a walk-on football player.

Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice.

__Pitbull said...

Bring on Vance!

Great news that he redshirted, will graduate in December and can come to Athens in January with three years of eligibility remaining.

I guess even Mikey Adams' double secret probation admissions committee won't be able to keep him out of Athens.

Guys, Vance is a MUST GET OL recruit.

Pitbull

__Pitbull said...

Westerdawg.

Finally back on.

After reading your responses and my posts, I guess we're saying the same thing:

If we ever do get a for real OL recruit who

is in shape,

without a lingering injury problem,

willing to show up for class and stay eligible,

and big and strong enough to give us some quality minutes,

we promise him a shot, only a shot, at playing his first year.

If an OL recruit is borderline,

but with good work habits,

willing to try to add some strength and size after signing,

a decent student,

with a good "upside" for the future,

and with no lingering injury issues that we don't know about,

well, we promise him a shot, only a shot, at playing his first year on campus.

If for no other reason, we just don't have the numbers to go without playing a few first year guys, and we want to give every OL recruit a chance.

If we had more than 6 or 7 OL ready for spring practice, then the odds would be against more than 1 or 2 playing as true freshmen, but with our current situation, we can offer even a borderline kid a much better shot at playing early.

CMR, like any other coach of course, hopes that, if we do have to play someone in his first year with the team, it's a JUCO kid, or a Max Jean type, and that the Perez, Davis & Davis types will have the time they need to develop, get bigger and stronger, and be ready to play after redshirting their first year.

If Anderson is the real deal, and Vance comes in ready to play, and at least one of the incoming OTs can make it to the two deep and contribute, we could actually have a chance with next year's OL.

Sure are a lot of ifs.

Pitbull

peacedog said...

Paul, I heard much the same re: Nebraska's walk on program. Essentially, there are a bunch of weird farming-based, state-based scholarships (for each county, I heard that as well) that kids can get to go to Nebraska, and they don't count as "insitutional" scholarships. Like Hope, in other words. But possibly much better.

Supposedly when active walkons were counter Nebraska rostes used to number in the 200s I think.

Something may have changed so that this is no longer true, I dunno.

Anonymous said...

I am a "LONNNNG TIME" Bulldog fan.Originally from Augusta I now live in Baton Rouge LA. It is certainly disheartening to see the Dawgs in a situation like this. However I pray that the coach and his staff can get it together as I know they can.I hate to see people badmouth the team like they do.Any given Saturday in The SEC you can get your tail whipped.It is very hard to go undefeated in this conference.THE Big XX, or XII or PAC just dont have what we have down here.Go Dawgs and Blessings on a better season next year.

 
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