Good day, UGA. Welcome to your one-stop shop for UGA football news and takes every Monday through Friday morning. Today, we look at the potential benefits of recent position changes:
Change it up
Kirby Smart announced some position changes on Tuesday. And it was some minor reshuffling of the offensive line or a shakeup at linebacker. Three players will be switching from one side of the ball to the other.
Redshirt freshman Tae Crowder moved from tailback to inside linebacker, junior Shakenneth Williams switched from receiver to defensive back, and the aforementioned Barnett made the jump from defensive to offensive line. Smart said the changes are for this week, so they may not be permanent.
A change of position makes sense in each of these cases. Georgia is never lacking for depth at tailback, so if Crowder isn’t going to be played there he might as well put his 6-foot-3, 230-pound frame to good use and try to make himself a head-busting, prototype linebacker. Likewise with Williams, who has no catches this season in a weak receiving corps. It seems unlikely he’s ever going to break through at receiver, so trying defense makes sense if he wants to contribute during his final college seasons. Barnett was buried deep on the defensive line depth chart by guys his age and younger. He was never going to get much playing time with so much talent in front of him. Offensive line coach Sam Pittman wants as many big bodies as he can get his hands on to turn the line into the troop of hulking behemoths he dreams about, and at 6-4 and nearly 300 pounds, Barnett fits that bill.
These are all low-risk, high-reward moves. They were all so far down the depth chart that you lose nothing from not having them in their spots, and the coaches have found spots of need where they can try their hands. If they are successful in their new spots, Smart will have made something out of nothing, a thing every good coach can do. And if they’re unsuccessful, no harm, no foul.
We still don’t know if these changes will stick, though. And even if they do, it’s highly unlikely Crowder, Williams or Barnett contribute in their new spots this season. But it’s good to see so many players who haven’t been playing willing to switch positions to make the team, and themselves, better, and it’s good to see the coaches push so many players to make those decisions. Smart’s mentor, Nick Saban, is one of the best in the business at shifting around players and getting the most out of their talent, and maybe Smart picked up that trait. Hopefully, we’ll see these three guys succeeding in their new spots one day in the future.
- Smart plans to keep his “hands-on” approach to coaching the defense.
- The early missteps of the Smart era don’t spell doom and gloom for his time in Athens, writes Chip Towers.
- Graduate transfer Tyler Catalina appears to be mentoring offensive line transplant Michael Barnett in his transition to offensive line. More on position changes in a moment.
- Natrez Patrick and Roquan Smith were investigated by police over alleged marijuana use in the hours after the Vanderbilt game Saturday, but neither player was arrested.
- Sports Illustrated has Georgia guard J.J. Frazier tabbed as the leading scorer in the SEC this season.
- UGA Sports has some interesting numbers regarding “hidden yardage” losses.
- FanSided asks what needs to be worked on in the off week in order to improve ahead of Florida.
Former Georgia defensive tackle and WCW champion Bill Goldberg made his return to pro wrestling Monday night on Raw. The 49-year-old is slated to wrestle Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series in November. Here’s his first WWE entrance in over a decade:
You can still find Goldberg’s name in the UGA football record books. He led the 1989 team in tackles with 121 and ranks ninth in career tackles by a Bulldog with 348.
SEC basketball media days
SEC basketball media days begin on Wednesday. First up is the men. UGA coach Mark Fox is scheduled to speak a roughly 1 p.m. If you find the time, you can tune in on the SEC Network or the WatchESPN app. And check in at DawgNation for quotes and news from Fox’s press conference.
… And now I believe in miracles
Fans of the late, great Lewis Grizzard will enjoy this video, brought to you by our friends at the AJC, of Grizzard impersonator Bill Oberst Jr. reading one of the legendary Dawg fans’ columns.
Since it’s hump day I have a very special treat for everyone: three good dogs! First is this black lab whose job it is to retrieve the tee after kickoffs at Boise State games.
Boise St is using a tee retrieving dog and it's a very good dog pic.twitter.com/nqPDPvHtmC
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) October 16, 2016
The second and third belong to Cleveland Cavaliers’ J.R. Smith. This is Dallas (big) and Cowboy (little) celebrating Dallas’ first birthday by munchin’ on some cake at The Secret Life of Pets party.