Greetings again fellow GT fans and bloggers.
Although I was able to attend Sunday’s baseball game
between the Jackets and the Tar Heels (can’t beat a
good team with defensive errors like that!) I’ve been
unable to attend a football spring practice session.
I have, however, been avidly following the practice
reports here on the AJC.com site and places like The
Hive and Stingtalk. All provide great insight and info.
There seem to be a few things that everyone agrees on:
1. Josh Nesbitt is the #1 QB and looks more fluid and
competent in his decision making. His passing has
improved but he is still working on hitting his receivers
in their routes so that they have the optimal chance
to make plays.
2. Anthony Allen is going to be a big factor in the offense
in 2009. Not only will he be able to relieve Dwyer at B-back
but he’ll be able to play out of the A-back slot and bring
some attitude and power to that role. I’ve also read in
more than one report that Allen shows great hands and an
ability to catch passes out of the backfield. I think that
alot of people will be asking, “Who is #43?” when the season
starts but will quickly learn who the new face is.
3. Thomas continues to dominate in his WR position. I get
the impression that Tyler Melton is the next guy behind
Thomas and that Stephen Hill will have a chance to earn
playing time since the remainder of the depth chart looks
to be young guys and walk ons. This is especially the case
with Corey Earls having been moved over to defensive back.
4. The offensive line continues to be a work in progress
and hampered by injuries and different combinations of
players in the Spring. It will be essential for the line
starters to be solidified in the Fall, so that they can
work together and be ready for the 2009 campaign. This is
potentially the largest factor in any hope of an improved
and more threatening passing game…
5. Derrick Morgan and Morgan Burnett are going to be studs
this upcoming season on the defensive side of the ball. I
just read that Morgan was on the preseason Lott Trophy watch
list and Burnett is generally considered to be a favorite for
All ACC and potential All American candidacy if he continues
his trend from the past few seasons. I’ve even read where
some people expect this to be Burnett’s season to break out
and consider going pro early. I hope he plays well…but
maybe not THAT well. I want both of these guys back in 2010,
which I expect to be a huge season with Johnson’s system and
recruits in place and ready to go.
6. Cooper Taylor may be the most athletic guy on the team?
Could the skinny kid who seemed fearless last year and played
lights out as a true freshman actually have bulked up and
gotten bigger? Could he also have one of the fastest 40 times
and one of the best vertical leaps on the team? I keep reading
news about Taylor being used in a hybrid DB/LB role that has
been nicknamed the “Wolf”. It should be fun to watch. Taylor
just has “football player” written all over him when you watch
him play. He reminds me of a slightly smaller and slightly
faster Chris Reis. Fearless and willing to stick a helmet on
anyone…just ask Tyrod Taylor…
7. Sedric Griffin and Brad Jefferson are the top two linebackers
but that doesn’t mean that Kyle Jackson and Steven Sylvester
won’t be getting an awful lot of snaps. Our young linebackers
were a liability at times last year. They could potentially be
a strength this season and will be relied on to make plays behind
a defensive line that will miss Johnson, Walker, and Richard.
8. Jerrard Tarrant may make his big return / debut on the team
at punt returner before he works his way back into the defensive
back depth chart. With Johnson’s style of offense and ground
attack, field position could be a huge factor in games this
coming season. If Tarrant can add a real threat to the punt
return team it will be the first time we’ve been solid at that
position since Jonathan Smith and then Kelly Rhino were catching
and returning punts.
These are just the things that seem to be agreed upon across
various sources and from the usual suspects and pundits in the
media and online outlets.
What do you guys think? Have I missed anything that should be a
solid given going into the season? I know there are more than a
few questions and concerns…but that’s fodder for a later blog.