The Georgia Bulldogs held their final scrimmage last night and there were a few points worth noting here:
1. Aaron Murray is fine.
After a three interception performance, which made some fans wonder if Murray was truly prepared for his final season at the helm, he showed just how ready he truly is with a 194-yard, 3 TD, performance last night; and while it can be dangerous to take scrimmage stats and apply them too broadly to what the year will bring, it does show that Murray’s focus is indeed on point as the season approaches, and his completion percentage in said game (11 of 14) looks to be a harbinger of another year of increased efficiency.
2. Todd Gurley is ready.
As if this needed to be said; the fact that Richt saw fit to sit him during Georgia’s final scrimmage shows that Gurley has pretty well made his case for why he is No. 1 on the depth chart at running back. He’s bigger, stronger, and ready to continue his campaign to become the best running back in the SEC with, hopefully, another stellar performance this year—I don’t see a sophomore slump in his future.
That said, don’t sleep on Keith Marshall either; running back No. 1A caught two passes for 46 yards last night (23.0 ypc), with a touchdown; something tells me that both running backs will see an increase in their reception numbers this season.
3. The safeties are…
At the start of spring ball, the starting safety position seemed destined to land at the feet of one Tray Matthews, but Matthews has missed all of Georgia’s scrimmages and the rash of injuries that have attacked the secondary have to be making Georgia fans just a little bit uneasy as the Clemson game approaches.
That said, while Matthews has repeatedly (via his popular Twitter account) made it clear that he intends to play on August 31, you have to wonder how effective he will be when he does return; this many missed reps and that much missed time certainly has to do something to a player’s overall preparedness, right? If this were a player in his third season of Grantham’s system, I might be less inclined to worry, but Matthews (no matter how beastly his performance) is a true freshman so every rep counts.
Couple this with the fact that other guys have also missed time: Shaq Fluker, Corey Moore, Sheldon Dawson, and Devin Bowman, and you have to be wondering if a week of healing will be enough.
4. Quayvon Hicks as a goal line threat?
The theme for Hicks this spring and fall has seemingly been “No More Mr. Nice Guy”. The talented sophomore came into last season battling Merritt Hall for the fullback position, but missed out due to his timidity; not this off-season, though. This off-season he’s shown that he’s ready to dish it out as much as possible—and he’s ready to do so with pleasure.
“Last year I was coming in as a freshman trying to prove to the coaches instead of playing my game,” Hicks said. “I came out this spring and I told the coaches ‘I’m just going to hit.’ That’s what I did in high school … I stopped trying to be perfect and tried to master the game or fit the fullback position to how I play.” (Connor Smolensky, Red&Black)
With two top-tier running backs to block for, and a golden opportunity to make some noise as a goal-line offensive threat (Hicks scored two touchdowns in last night’s scrimmage), Hicks could be one of the deeper sleepers on offense this season.
5. Amarlo Herrera is primed for a huge season.
Last season, when former Georgia Bulldogs safety Shawn Williams made a plea for his teammates to show more heart, Amarlo Herrera’s name was mentioned as a potential spark plug to get guys going…even though Mike Gilliard was the guy at No. 1 on the depth chart. And while the plea didn’t get Gilliard off the field, it certainly placed Hererra’s name in the pot as a guy Georgia fans need to be taking a closer look at; he finished the year with 70 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 FF, and 1 INT returned for a touchdown.
This off-season Herrera hasn’t let off the gas—in the final two scrimmages, the junior has compiled 8 tackles, 2 PBU, and 1 TFL—and with him moving from contributor to bona fide starter this season, I expect him to do big things for the Dawgs this year.
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