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March 18, 2009

Barnhart on the SEC East

Tony Barnhart is back blogging at, and it's good to have him back. Today, he posts a quick hitter regarding the SEC East.

As far as I'm concerned, Georgia's spring practice looks like it could be labeled the "Spring of Unanswered Questions." Our biggest problems going into next season are:
1. Defensive End - There aren't enough healthy DEs to get a feel for the talent level in the Spring.

2. Running Back - Samuel is out for Spring, and King will be going against the defense operating without elite DEs.

3. Defensive Back - We may know more here after the Spring.

4. Leadership - You never know until you face real adversity. Seriously, has there ever been a spring in which Van Halanger hasn't said, "The unity and chemistry is the best I've seen in years." (UPDATE: To clarify. This wasn't a shot at Coach Van. I think he's excellent at his job. However, his boundless public optimism clouds any ability to really judge where the team actually is heading. It's not a shot at him.)

5. Kickoff Coverage - Jon Fabris still appears to run the kickoff coverage unit so I'm not expecting any changes or improvements here. Once a hard headed, inflexible man unwilling to change his broken approach despite mountains of statistical evidence that it isn't working; always a hard headed, inflexible man, blah, blah, blah. If they fix Blair Walsh's kickoff stroke to mirror his field goal stroke, it would go a long way towards resolving some of our issues here. That and putting fast scholarship athletes with experience in delivering collisions on the field.

We're really not going to know if any of those issues are fixed until we hit Stillwater. Biggest thing we can hope for in the Spring is that Cox looks poised and confident like he did vs. Colorado in 2006 or early last season. That and NO INJURIES!



MikeInValdosta said...

Couldn't agree more with you regarding upgrading the talent on our kickoff coverage units.

Reggie Brown, Will Witherspoon, Tony Gilbert and Odell Thurman used to be on kickoff coverage for example, and the statistics were much better. I understand wanting to reward younger guys and walk ons for their effort and get them into the game, but there comes a time when you have to fix the leak.

ChicagoDawg said...

Good assessment of Van Halenger. I am sure he is a fine man, but his unbridled enthusiasm has made praise and comments almost useless. It is a statistical impossibility that every subsequent year is the best year ever -- so there is a huge credibility gap with any DVH quotes.

Anonymous said...

The Van Halenger comments remind me of yearly offseason Mike Vick story about how he was working harder than he ever had to become a great QB. The 100th time I read that story I decided that Vick must have been the laziest person on earth his rookie year to have improved so much. Hopefully our team doesn't mirror Vick in their other offseason activities.

Anonymous said...

Although the special teams issue is a Fabris fault, the ultimate responsibility falls on the shoulders of CMR. If someone shows him the stats and he is not willing to demand a change in philosophy in kickoff strategy, then what do you do?

Anonymous said...

yeah, reggie brown was on special teams and tore his acl on kick return. we need fast, strong guys on special teams, but not at the expense of our other two units. you suffer when you have linebackers that just got scored on on kick return or have to cover kickoffs and stay on the field for defense. if you really are recruiting consistently ranked top 10 classes, then you should have some fast athletic guys that are young and not on the two-deep.

Anonymous said...

"King will be going against the defense operating without elite DEs."


Elite DE's, that made me laugh. If we had everyone healthy, we would still be without an elite DE.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:30 - don't you mean Boss Bailey?

I still get your point, though (although I don't agree)

Unknown said...

Anons -- Both were injured on kick returns. As was Decory Bryant and Fred Gibson.

But our players get injured on LOTS of plays. It could happen at any time. That said, I agree with the guy that said our most exhausted players shouldn't be running down kicks. That's why it makes no sense to have Gamble out there covering kicks.

He's slow to start with. Having him slow and exhausted is double dumb.

But there's middle ground between having starting linebackers covering kicks and 4th team walkon fullbacks.

Last year, we typically had these guys covering kicks:
3 - walkons
1 - 3rd team QB that tackles like a kicker
1 - backup Fullback (SLOW)
2 - starting linebackers (who were exhausted)
1 - Kicker

That's 8 guys who are either tired, slow, or can't tackle covering kicks.

Guys who should be covering kicks are the umpteen DBs we've recruited the past few years like Bacardi Rambo. Why redshirt a guy that's going to get into the game a dozen plays per game on special teams.


Another guy who they took FOREVER to get on kick coverage was Richard Samuel. A fast as hell bad ass high school linebacker not in the game on kick coverage so we can have a 3rd team 180 lb dripping wet QB taking pony rides down the field vs. UK?


I'm a sunshine pumper, but our player utilization on kick coverage is idiotic.

Unknown said...


I didn't mean to imply we had elite DEs. That was dumb on my part. I meant lack of healthy DEs.

We don't know if we have any good DEs or not because they were all hurt last year.

Battle should get back to his '07 form when he has two working legs. And hopefully, Washington, Robinson, Longo or #92 who's name escapes me right now will grow into the gig.

But yeah. DE scares the hell out of me.

JasonC said...

It looks like we will have depth and experienced depth at LB this year, so having Nick Williams and some of the faster guys get in on special teams could help.
Last year, everyone (LB) was banged up except Curran.

Anonymous said...

Brewer wants you to update his status again.

AJC: Brewer asks for release on Wednesday.

Carolina Dawg said...

"4. Leadership - You never know until you face real adversity. Seriously, has there ever been a spring in which Van Halanger hasn't said, "The unity and chemistry is the best I've seen in years."

Actually yes... I do not beleive I saw that from Van Halanger last year, but I did see it 2007

MikeInValdosta said...

Pretty sure he has said it every year since 2002

Carolina Dawg said...

Not saying he didn't , I just don't remember him saying it last year.

Anonymous said...

I know y'all aren't really knocking DVH, but saying those things year after year is just really who he is. It's sort of his job to give that answer every year.

maybe he gets after their ass every once in a while behind closed doors, but anyone who knows about DVH is that he's a cheerful man and a positive man. he's not going to tell the media that his players aren't working hard.

i'm glad he says that every year. his type of outlook is always needed in all types of settings.

Dubbayoo said...

What happened with Dexter Moody? Sounds like he got in a fight at school and was released from his scholarship by Richt.

Anonymous said...

Chad Gloer is a walk-on, but he had more tackles than anyone on kickoff team.

Anonymous said...

That's a lot of serious concerns, particularly on the defense and the kickoff coverage. I'm sweating over the OK State game already.

MikeInValdosta said...

Anon @ 2:40am

Nothing at all against Chad Gloer.. But that is like saying the Falcons should have kept Brooking because he was a leading tackler, problem was - all of those tackles were 8 yards down field.

Obviously our kickoff coverage unit made several tackles last year, I do not recall a touchdown being returned on us. The issue is the tackles are being made past the 30 yard line, and often past the 40. Thus requiring a much shorter drive to get in scoring position for the opposition.

I can not recite it, but I have seen a wonderful stat that shows how much greater the probability/difficulty of scoring a touchdown gets with every ten yards of field position.

Again, nothing against GLoer, he may well be deserving of a place on coverage when all athletes are being considered

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