Thursday, August 5, 2010

Reading Into Fall Practice Reports and Comments

With the anticipation of a new season that's now just a month away, most every Georgia fan is gleaning every last bit of information he can on the 2010 Bulldog football team. Practice reports, player bios, and even the most trivial of anecdotes (I found the "story" of a young Ben Jones catching a snooze atop a potentially prize-winning pig to be particularly enthralling).

Every pre-season period has its story lines, and this year is no different, with a new quarterback, position changes, and the unfortunate off the field issue or seven. But, when it comes down to it, what we're really interested in is hearing about who's made the biggest strides since last season, and what the new recruits and redshirt freshman seem to be making waves. After all, with a champagne cork popped for every 5-star recruit signed, these are the kids that are going to determine the future of Georgia football.

Having said that, it can be easy to put a bit too much stock in what various reporters, coaches, and players are saying about what's going on at the 110 degree practice fields. If I sat down and thought about it, for every player that was going to be "the next big thing," I'm sure I could find at least 50% of those mentioned who ended up making little, if any significant impact when the lights were on.

Seemingly every summer during his time here, when asked who was going to be the impact receiver, quarterbacks unanimously named Bryan McClendon. Later, I can recall both Michael Moore and Mohamed Massaquoi arriving on campus, and though MoMass was the more highly touted recruit, "everyone" was saying how it was Moore that was looking better. That is not to say anything disparaging of McClendon or Moore, but neither was ever an All-American candidate.

Conversely, who really remembers hearing all that much about David Pollack during the fall practices leading up to the 2002 season? Obviously, he was the starter and had a monster game against Clemson right out of the gate, but there was little, if any, talk of "watch out for #47. We can't block him in practice."

In the end, we all like hearing how AJ Green made an impossible catch over three defenders, how Caleb King had two long runs during yesterdays scrimmage, and how Justin Houston and Cornelius Washington have been dominating off the edge. However, I wouldn't place my expectations on what kind of season Aaron Murray's going to have based on his scrimmage stats, and would automatically put a redshirt on Ken Malcome just because his name has not been mentioned yet.

It's still just practice.

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