ATHENS –You might have noticed that Terry Godwin is not playing baseball. This is a good thing.
Well, it is for the Georgia football team at least. By the looks of it, the Diamond Dogs probably could use a little speed and pop in their lineup. But who knows how well Godwin would have adjusted to college baseball?
You might have noticed he transitioned pretty well in football.
Godwin did actually did work out with the baseball team a couple of times before the season started. But the Bulldogs’ leading returning receiver decided to put that spring sport on hold to concentrate on the sport of spring football.
And nobody is happier about that than Georgia’s new offensive coordinator. Jim Chaney, you see, has a few plans for young Mr. Godwin this fall. There’s a lot we still don’t know about Coach Chaney — he hasn’t been available even for a single interview — but what we do know is he has a few ideas about getting the ball into the hands of dynamic playmakers.
At Arkansas, Chaney did that by getting the ball into the hands of the Hogs’ tailbacks. At Tennessee, from 2009-2012, he did that by getting the ball into the hands of the Vols’ wideouts.
Remember Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter? SEC teams that played Tennessee in 2012 certainly do. Between them they touched the ball 119 times for 1,861 yards and 14 touchdowns — and that’s just via the pass. Patterson also had 25 carries for 308 yards and three more TDs that season.
The Vols actually had a more prolific offense in 2012 than did the SEC East champion Bulldogs at 476 yards per game to 468.
As for the here and now, as much as Georgia will lean on Sony Michel and Nick Chubb to move the football this coming season, Chaney’s M.O. is to be balanced and diversified. And Godwin is the most reliable offensive entity the Bulldogs have in hand outside those two backs. That’s why I think Godwin is poised for a huge season.
And it’s not like we haven’t seen anything out of him to date. The rising sophomore from Hogansville had three times the receptions (35) last season of Georgia’s next closest returning receiver. He also proved he can bring another dimension to the offense from behind the center. He ran for and passed for a TD out of the Bulldogs’ “Wild Dog” offensive formation.
With an MVP performance in the TaxSlayer Bowl and another year to bulk up through strength and conditioning, it’s clear Godwin is capable of much more.
Which is not to say Godwin should close the door on baseball. About this time last spring, Godwin was still having to do some serious contemplating regarding that game.
Not only had he signed with Georgia to much fanfare, but his baseball skills also were drawing a lot of attention then. The Atlanta Braves thought enough about his ability in that sport to invite him for some workouts. They eventually drafted him in the 33rd round, but that wasn’t high enough to divert Godwin’s path to the gridiron.
For that, Kirby Smart and Chaney are particularly thankful. But once Godwin gets his football cleats firmly on the ground and can master that thick section of the playbook devoted to number 5, he can turn his attention back to the diamond.
Maybe then he can help Scott Stricklin and the boys scratch across a few more runs.