Depth and Talent Won’t Be A Problem For Wide Recievers in 2010

There is a lot of talk about the lack of depth at the wide receiver position.  In 2010, this won’t be an issue. 

I think UGA’s receiving unit is the most talented AND deepest than most years in Coach Richt’s tenure.  Throw in two All-SEC tight ends and two very good running backs, and the eligible receivers on this 2010 team could stack up against any year’s personnel. 

How many talented receivers does a team need to be successful?  Think about it:  in 2004, who were the top receivers?

Player Yards Rec. TD POS
Reggie Brown 860 53 6 WR
Fred Gibson 801 49 7 WR
Leonard Pope 482 25 6 TE
Sean Bailey 224 14 3 WR
Thomas Brown 150 16 0 TB

Fred Gibson and Reggie Brown were the only two “receivers” that made a significant impact that season.  The great Leonard Pope was also a major contributor. 

In 2005, the great SEC Championship season, the top contributors in the receiving game were: 

Player Yards Rec. TD POS  
Leonard Pope 541 39 4 TE  
Bryan McClendon 529 35 6 WR  
Mohamed Massaquoi 505 38 2 WR  
Sean Bailey 364 16 4 WR  
Martrez Milner 291 14 2 TE  
Kenneth Harris 216 11 1 WR  

The top receivers that year were true freshman (and my personal favorite Bulldog in recent years) Massaquoi and Bryan McClendon.  Now no disrespect, but Bryan McClendon is not an elite top level WR.  The most Sean Bailey did in 2005 was in the SEC Championship Game, which accounted for 20% of his yardage for the season and half of his touchdown totals.  Take away those numbers from that one game, and his 2005 wasn’t spectacular.  Joe T. III had as many receiving touchdowns as Kenneth Harris in 2005.  In 2005, the receiving group was not strong, and was only made stronger by the exceptional play of D.J. Shockley. 

In 2006, Massaquoi went through a sophomore slump and Martrez Milner was the leading receiver.

The best offensive year recently was in 2008, with the emergence of A.J. Green and the rebound of Mohamed Massaquoi.  Knowshon and Stafford were fully developed.  Stafford threw for 3,459 yards and 25 TDs. 

Player Yards Rec. TD POS
A.J. Green 963 56 8 WR
Mohomed Massaquoi 920 58 8 WR
Michael Moore 451 29 2 WR
Knowshon Moreno 392 33 2 RB
Kris Durham 199 13 1 WR
Domiko Goodman 130 11 1 WR
Kenneth Harris 116 11 1 WR

In 2008 even when the passing game is at its best, only a few wide receivers have made a significant impact.  Around 1/3 of Mike Moore’s production in 2008 was from the Capital One Bowl.  Now there is A.J. Green and Massaquoi, two NFL players, but beyond that there was not much capable talent.  It should be noted that in 2008 has been the only year of Richt’s tenure where the tight end position didn’t figure much into the offense. 

This year the depth at receiver should look something like this:

A.J. Green
Tavarres King
Kris Durham
Rontavious Wooten
Israel Troupe
Marlon Brown
Any Freshman; TBD

We have six receivers that make up a unit that could be as talented as any group listed above.  The talent level is going to be an issue.  Add the tight ends and running backs into the mix, and there won’t be a lack of weapons for Aaron Murray.  As history as taught us, we only need a couple of receivers to make significant contributions.

Let’s compare our depth to that of 2005, not including Marlon Brown who should make an impact, and Israel Troupe, who showed last season that if given the opportunity to play, he will make the most of it.

     2010         2005 Advantage
A.J. Green Bryan McClendon 2010
Tavarres King Massaquoi 2005
Kris Durham Sean Bailey push
Rontavious Wooten Kenneth Harris 2010
Orson Charles Leonard Pope push
Aaron White Martrez Milner 2010

UGA’s offense was rolling the end of last season, and that was without A.J. Green.  A.J. and Washaun Ealy didn’t really play much together last season.  The fully healthy corps mixed with a fully healthy running game will be a lethal combination.  When A.J. went down with his shoulder injury, the offense didn’t skip a beat.  The receiving depth is not the reason the Dawgs lost to Kentucky.  If any unit, despite its depth, gets riddled with injury, there could be problems.   Remember in 2007, there was talk of using Shaun Chapas at tailback because injuries to Thomas Brown and Kregg Lumpkin left Knowshon as the only viable tailback?

With a solid ground game, and a powerful offensive line, and a the best top to bottom receiving unit in many years, the only people Aaron Murray and Mike Bobo should blame for not having great passing numbers in 2010 are themselves.

Go Dawgs!


All stats from ESPN’s Georgia page

6 Responses to “Depth and Talent Won’t Be A Problem For Wide Recievers in 2010”

  1. 1 Ben Dukes May 24, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    The only problem I have with this blog is the usage of the term “Great” to describe 2005. 2005 was not a “great” year. The Dawgs did well, but underachieved. The Sugar Bowl defeat was embarrassing. The loss to FL was doubly so. We had the tools in place to beat FL soundly…but then DJ went down, and Joe T was incapable of bouncing us back.

    If you want to compare 2010’s team to a real contender, compare it to the 2002 squad. In 2002, the UGA WR made up 82% of the air game, and caught 23 TDs. No other season has matched that production from the WRs. 2008 was closest, with 80% of aerial yardage and 21 TDs.

    In fact, for wideouts, the 2005 “great” season, ranks one up from the bottom in %age of receiving yards, and 2 up from last in TDs among all of Richt’s seasons. 2005 was a MONSTER season for tight-ends, though. Their 27.9% output hasn’t come close to being matched – until last season. In 2009, tight-ends made up 22.5% of the passing offense.

    Can UGA win without stellar play from the WRs? Yes. But don’t forget, in 2005, we had a fifth-year senior at QB who had plenty of game experience and a TON of athleticism to boot. He made plays with his feet that kept us in games, and that won games. The challenges UGA faces this season do not lie with the WRs…they lie with the quarterback. If he knows his playbook and can connect, it won’t matter much who he’s throwing to.

    • 2 Corbindawg May 24, 2010 at 9:16 pm

      The reciever play in 2005 was not good overall. That was the point I made; even when the talented depth isn’t all there, the team still won the SEC. There seems to be a lot of talk about the lack of depth at reciever this year; compared to years past, there is more depth across the board AND more talent.

      Kensingtondawg and I disagree on the 2005 season also. Yes, Georgia lost to its two biggest rivals, and the loss in the Sugar Bowl was embarrassing. The team just flat out didn’t show up-in every phase. But what gets lost is we did comeback and make it a winnable game.

      UGA lost 3 games by a combinded 8 points. That is solid.

      Going into the 2005 season, most prognosticators had UGA 3rd in the East (except our boy Phil Steele). Most UGA fans who stuck around past halftime during the cold, raining Tech game in 2004 and saw Shockley struggle was (unfairly, I might add) probably not optimistic about the 2005 season.

      The bottom line was UGA won the SEC Championship. They not only won the SEC, but took LSU out behind the woodshed. I can understand the disappointment to losing to your two biggest rivals, but I still think any season that has an SEC Championship and a trip to the Sugar Bowl is great, especially since going into a season when most people didn’t think much.

  2. 3 DawgDan May 24, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Excellent review of the stats. With CMR’s comments about running more two tight end sets and the depth of the TE group, I agree that the receiving corp should hold its end up just fine! Dark horse touchdown scorer for 2010 – Artie Lynch

  1. 1 Dawg Daily 25May: Leather Helmet Blog Trackback on May 25, 2010 at 4:04 am
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