Last week we looked back at the results on the preseason predictions. On August 17, I gave you 6 players who were under the radar that could make an impact. Let’s see how these 6 did.
1. Carlton Thomas, RB-Carlton Thomas was the speedy “change of pace back” never really materialized last season. Well, he never materialized this season, either. Thomas’ best game was against Vanderbilt, when Caleb King was suspended. Thomas ran the ball 4 times for 40 yards and 2 TDs. His two best games were in mop up duty against Idaho State and Louisiana.
Thomas has the potential to be a dynamic player, but is used incorrectly. A testament to this is his receiving numbers. He could be a dangerous threat with a screen pass; this could get him in the open space where he could use his speed. Running him out of the I is not the most effective way to use a 5’7”, 170 lb guy. Thomas had 2 receptions for 15 yards. I don’t think Mike Bobo is the problem in Athens. I can’t complain about the offense much, but if there was one complaint I have about Bobo (and the coaching staff in general) is the misuse of talent. Not taking advantage of Thomas’ obvious God given talent is dumb; a better way to say that is it is foolish to try and make a player something they are not.
2. Alec Ogletree, S- Alec Ogletree was the top rated prospect in Georgia by Scout last year, and the second rated safety in the country. Alec did not get off on the right foot this season. But by the end of the season, Ogletree was starting. A case could be made that he should have been starting earlier, but going into next year he should be atop the depth chart.
3. Kwame Gathers, DT- The “nose tackle” position is a question mark in the new 3-4 scheme. UGA’s typically strong defense line will be one of the biggest question marks in 2010. Can the 6’6”, 326 lbs. redshirt freshman make an impact? Well, I guess it depends on who you ask. If you ask Kwame Gathers or Rodney Garner, the answer is no. If you ask the SEC All Freshman team, then he did. I guess it was an off year for freshman defensive lineman in the SEC. In his (Rs) Freshman year, Gathers only mustered 8 tackles and didn’t even play in 4 games this season. Gathers will just a sophomore next season, so he still has time to develop into a monster NT. But if the defense is going to improve (and ergo the rest of the team), Gathers or someone is going to have to step into the NT position.
4. Marlon Brown, WR- Marlon had 8 receptions for the year and 1 TD…and didn’t play in 6 games. I would have liked to see Marlon get in the rotation some more, but I am not giving up hope on him yet. He has the physical tools, and made a few nice catches early in the season.
Here’s the thing, though: we didn’t need him. The South Carollina game in 2007…some of the details are fuzzy but hear me out. After two runs of 10 and 11 yards, UGA has it 1st and 10 on the South Carolina 11. We take three shots to the end zone, none of which are to Massaquoi, Henderson or Bailey (the three passes were to Tripp Chandler, Tony Wilson and Michael Moore). IF memory serves me correct, the best 3 receivers weren’t even on the field. Bobo had this thing about getting a receiver rotation in, trying to see what worked, when we knew all along Massaquoi, Bailey and Henderson were the guys. And eventually it all shook out.
I say all that to say this: When you have Orson Charles, A.J. Green, Kris Durham and Tavarres King, Marlon Brown and Wooten are the odd guys out. Sorry. I’ll put it this way, if they had been getting some more PT, I would have been pissed. With 2 of those guys ahead of him gone, I am confident Marlon Brown will make a name for himself in 2011.
5. Richard Samuel, ILB-Samuel, the 5-star recruit from Cartersville, never really materialized as running back. And so far, he hasn’t materialized as a linebacker. After some injuries and switching to defense, he decided to take his redshirt year. Probably a wise decision. The thoughts of Richard Samuel and Jarvis Jackson wreaking havoc together next year makes me excited. Samuel will be near the top of this list next year, as this year was a wash. He will be a major player in 2011.
6. Kiante Tripp, DE- Tripp had 11 tackles this season. We’ll keep this one simple…do you remember anything Tripp did this season that was good, bad or indifferent? Me either. Bust.
So all in all, these players didn’t do much. Maybe next year. But in a year when you went 6-6 and were relieved to go to the Liberty Bowl, I guess you can’t ask for too much.