Here’s the thing, if Georgia is going to assert themselves in games this season, they are going to have to do a better job of covering punts and kickoffs.
Last year they gave up far too many big plays and way too much field position simply by allowing a guy to run it back 30-, 40-, or 50-yards on a punt or kickoff—that cannot happen this season.
I suspect, from what I’ve read and heard, the Bulldogs will return to the ways of Warren Belin (the inside linebackers coach who spent 2010 with the Dawgs before exiting to the NFL coaching ranks) where special teams is concerned.
Belin was a firm believer in using the best guys available for kick coverages and, despite the fear of injuring valuable starters, it was a gamble that paid off for the Dawgs in 2010 as their coverage units ranked near tops in the conference.
What a difference a year makes.
While there is no more Brandon Boykin, Blair Walsh, or Drew Butler, the talent is there to fill the holes in Marshall Morgan, Colin Barber, and—possibly—Jamie Lindley. None of the three are expected to come in and become instant all-americans, but they could provide the consistency needed to keep the kicking and punting respectable…but they will need help from the coverage units if they have any hope of being successful this season.
James Deloach, LB
If Olivadotti sounded non-committal about true freshman linebacker James DeLoach, it’s because DeLoach doesn’t have a “natural” position yet—per se. He’s a big kid with an ability to play on the outside or the inside, depending on how he develops, and fits the mold of Todd Grantham’s m.o. where his front seven is concerned: tons of versatility.
As of now, the plan appears to be just to see where he plays most comfortably, see what he can handle, and take it from there. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him on special teams most of the season with a little reserve work thrown in here and there—a la Ramik Wilson in 2011.