We’ve been down this road before, with Mike Bobo teasing us in seasons past about possible scenarios for the “Wild Dawg,” only to see it rarely used by Georgia and even more rarely used effectively.
Two years ago it was Logan Gray who was supposed to be a threat in Georgia’s version of the single-wing formation and all that ever produced was a few highly predictable QB option runs. Last season Washaun Ealey occasionally took the direct snap, again without much success.
But, like most college football fans, I’m a sucker for a coach touting some possible new wrinkle in the offseason, so I could’t resist getting a little pumped up about Mark Richt telling UGA fans in Greenville the other night that we might see incoming freshman quarterback-turned-cornerback Nick Marshall taking snaps in the Wild Dawg formation.
As Richt himself put it, having Marshall run the formation would add a new dimension to what Georgia has tried in the past. “We’d stick Washaun back there or Caleb [King] back there. It’s nothing like having a Nick Marshall back there,” the head coach said.
That’s because Marshall has, up to now, primarily been a quarterback and quite a successful one at that, completing about 55 percent of his passes for 2,728 yards and 41 touchdowns as a senior at Wilcox County. So while it might be pretty obvious what’s going to happen when an Ealey or King takes a direct snap in Georgia’s offense, defenders would have to be thinking pass, run or handoff with Marshall back there, creating confusion — which is actually supposed to be the whole point of the “wildcat” offense.
I’ve no idea how serious Richt is about using Marshall this way, though back when Marshall signed with the Dogs in February his high school coach said Georgia’s staff had told him they planned to have packages on offense at quarterback for him. So it sounds like it’s been part of the plan all along.
I’m not really a fan of offenses that shuttle different quarterbacks in and out, depending on the situation (like Florida last season), but Marshall is a special athlete and I’m glad Richt is thinking about using his talents on ofense as well as defense. Same for G-Day star Branden Smith, whose speed gives Georgia a breakaway threat, and Brandon Boykin, who probably will see some time as a kick returner and, who knows, might be able to boost the depleted receiver corps.
With A.J. Green gone, the Dogs are going to need all the offensive juice they can muster this year.
I’m on board with more two-way players. How about you?
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg