Tight ends: Led by Orson Charles, strong UGA legacy poised to continue

We’re about one month away from the start of preseason football practices in Athens, so it’s time to take a closer look at Georgia’s 2011 football team. This is the third in a series during which we will break down each of the Bulldogs’ position groups to give you an idea of who the projected starters are and what the expectations might be. Then as always, we’ll throw it open for your commentary and analysis. There are only 60 days until Georgia’s season opener against Boise State. Time to get busy. . . .

There aren't many tight ends that can match the speed and athleticism of Georgia's Orson Charles, who promises to be a primary target for the Bulldogs this season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

There aren't many tight ends that can match the speed and athleticism of Georgia's Orson Charles, who promises to be a primary target for the Bulldogs this season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

THE TIGHT ENDS:

  • Projected starters: Orson Charles (Jr., 6-3, 241), Aron White (Sr., 6-4, 239)
  • Others to watch: Sophomore Arthur Lynch (6-5, 272), who played as a true freshman, returns to action after a redshirt season and gives the Bulldogs some extra thump on running downs. True freshman Jay Rome will likely get some looks on offense and special teams.
  • Key losses: The Bulldogs moved senior Bruce Figgins, a former starter at tight end, to fullback in the spring to shore up depth in the backfield.
  • Key fact: Georgia has produced an enormous amount of tight end talent for the NFL, including Leonard Pope, Ben Watson, Randy McMichael, Jermaine Wiggins and several others. That legacy seems poised to continue.
  • Key fact II: White has already graduated and was actually selected to be a student speaker at graduation ceremonies in December. He’s a team leader and probably underrated as a football player.
  • Key question: Does Charles become the primary target for quarterback Aaron Murray? The two have played together since they were at Plant High in Tampa and the Bulldogs lost their go-to guy early to the NFL in wide receiver A.J. Green. It could argued that Charles, who has averaged 16.2 yards per catch the last two seasons, has been under-utilized with 49 receptions and 5 TDs in 26 games. He won’t be under-utilized this season.
  • Recent developments: Georgia’s problems on the offensive line could actually translate into more dependence on this position. In a pro-style offense, it’s never certain whether the tight end is going to block or run a pass route. The Bulldogs can move Murray around in the backfield and hit Charles and White on quick patterns and keep outside linebackers and defensive ends on their heels. Don’t forget about the 6-6, 250-pound Rome. The AJC Super 11 selection out of Valdosta was ranked the No. 1 prospect in the nation at his position by ESPN and is expected to be a huge pass-catching threat. He will also be given the opportunity to show his stuff.
  • Outlook: Excellent. This is unquestionably the strongest position on the team.
  • Your turn: Your thoughts on the tight ends?

PREVIOUS POSITION BREAKDOWNS:

July 2 — Wide receivers

July 1 — Offensive line

256 comments Add your comment

stafford

July 5th, 2011
6:07 am

Fan

July 5th, 2011
6:22 am

Richt better use everything he’s got this season. It may be his last.

why not

July 5th, 2011
6:26 am

Go Dawgs! TE left, TE right, TE down the middle. Whatever it takes. Murray will use them all a lot this year. Two of them will be gone after this season. So, let’s get this team back on track using this part of our offense for ball control and scoring touchdowns rather than field goals and help out the defense.
Did I say Go Dawgs!

VinnyD

July 5th, 2011
6:48 am

Glad figgins moved to FB because he had was not as talented as the other 4. I sure would like to see Artie get some playing time this year.

UK Dawg

July 5th, 2011
7:10 am

Georgia is poised to have a great bounce back year. Not too worried about the Boise St game but that next one will be the real test.

Destin Dawg

July 5th, 2011
7:26 am

Going Up Hill in Athens… favorable schedule.. New Improved S & C .. Junk Yard Dawg defense and special teams.. kicking game.. Great freshman class coming to push the starters… Play “em All.. play “em Early.. no seniority system.. go DAWGS !!

Paddy

July 5th, 2011
7:34 am

Rotate all these guys and throw them the ball. A serious wepon for our offense and it needs to be utilized to the max. Eventually some of these guys will warrent double coverage if used properly. Then look, out here come the touchdowns!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nub

July 5th, 2011
7:35 am

While I understand AJ was the go to receiver…. I would like to know why CMB underutilized the tight ends given the talent at that position…. Thanks

Joey

July 5th, 2011
7:37 am

If Rome is good enough to play, they should add a few lbs to Lynch and make him a tackle. Seems that would be better than keeping him at TE, where he will only get a couple of downs per game.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

July 5th, 2011
7:40 am

Charles defintely got to few targets last year. Especially when AJ was out. He probably needs 60 catches this year. The rest have about 40 catches to split amongst them, but Charles can stretch the field from the TE position to help the perimeter passing game and the running game.

FL dawg

July 5th, 2011
7:41 am

Say what you will, but you have to like UGA’s offensive scheme. ln Murray’s freshmen yr that offense was explosive. Using the TE has always been a “side show” with Georgia’s offense. This yr I think it might be a good thing we have some depth.

Destin Dawg

July 5th, 2011
7:44 am

Yes !!! More on the thin OL.. Lynch to Tackle.. and Mike Thornton from NT to Guard.. Go Dawgs !!

D-MAN

July 5th, 2011
7:45 am

Don’t we have a coach named Bobo folks,we were having this same conversation last year!

how2fish

July 5th, 2011
7:45 am

Use of this position will be pivotal to the offense, especially early in the season while the OL is getting some game experience as a unit. With the number of proven TE’s on the team I would think a few more double TE’s sets would be used, remember some on this list can catch and block.

SlCDawg

July 5th, 2011
7:47 am

Looks like we are going to need figgins and 2 tight ends every down

Bitter 4/5 star spoiled recruit

July 5th, 2011
8:01 am

it would be foolish not to play a 2 tight end set——————charles/white and rome are all

—————-wide reciver’s anyway’s———play 2 of these on ever down—then send mitchell and the

———wide outs deep!!!!!!!!!!!!!! time to use our strenght!!!!!!!!!!go dawgs

1eyedJack

July 5th, 2011
8:25 am

Paul N Destin

July 5th, 2011
8:27 am

UGA the best team in America year after year…from March to August

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

July 5th, 2011
8:28 am

“It could be argued that Charles, who has averaged 16.2 yards per catch the last two seasons, has been under-utilized with 49 receptions and 5 TDs in 26 games”.

50 sideline passes and
25 running plays straight up the middle must take place before the TE is even considered.

This offense isnt changing; the know it all from Thomasville has the keys to this car

Charles, take a seat and enjoy some of Kathryns kryptonite kool-aid we’ll get you in sometime this season

Jay Rome get out there on kick off’s and make sure you dont get hurt like another one of our high star recruits named Strippling.

Remarkable

July 5th, 2011
8:28 am

Sounds like we need to use a two tight end set. How would that drive the opposition crazy?

Spike

July 5th, 2011
8:36 am

Charles is a an athletic freak! Throw him the damn ball!

Shawn

July 5th, 2011
8:36 am

It’s crazy how good we are at tight end. The third string guy Lynch would start on most any team and may be an all SEC guy!

Shawn

July 5th, 2011
8:38 am

Rome needs to be red shirted so we can use him next year when Charles and White are gone. Lynch is a freak too. Lynch and Rome will be great together next year!

1953Dawg

July 5th, 2011
8:38 am

Feel sorry for Charles. A great talent that is not utilized by Bobo and Richt. What a SHOCKER!! Bobo is the biggest problem with UGA’s offense, not the talent or the players. This clown who was promoted for no reason from Q.B. coach by the wonder mind Richt, couldn’t win with first round talent Stafford, Moreno, Green, and MoMass, that is all you need to know about Bobo and RIcht’s offensive minds. It’s a shame to have wasted all of that talent, and what’s even more shameful is these two clowns still have jobs at one of the top programs in the SEC. Charles will turn pro after this year, and you certainly can’t blame him. As a matter of fact the reason all the top talent in the UGA program turn pro early is to get away from Bobo, Richt, and the terrible coaching they receive while at UGA.

DawginLex

July 5th, 2011
8:39 am

Bobo should go spend some time with the Falcons staff. Learn how to run multiple tight end sets for purposes other than to run for a yard up the middle.

Folks let’s face it, the offense is going to struggle, especially early on. The defense is going to HAVE to carry this team or we will have a new staff in Athens in 2012.

Tampa Gator

July 5th, 2011
8:42 am

Georgia is very talented and deep at TE……but you might have to use them a lot blocking instead of catching the ball downfield….except for Charles…who will mostly line up as a slot receiver, I would expect….due to Georgia’s lack of depth and proven talent at WR.

UK Dawg…..

Boise State will give the Dawgs a lot to handle….maybe a lot more to handle than you think. But SC is the game you HAVE to win this year. Lose that game, and you play for second in the East.

SEC EAST Prediction for this Year
1. South Carolina – undefeated against all East teams
2. Georgia – Loses a very close one to SC
3. Florida – Loses to South Carolina and Georgia (yep, I said it…but not sure I believe it yet…a lot depends on the play of Brantley…and I don’t hold out much hope in that area based on his spring game performance…or lack of one)
4. Kentucky – Loses to SC, Georgia, Florida
5. Tennessee – Loses to Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina
6. Vandy – Loses to everyone

claytondawg

July 5th, 2011
8:52 am

Destin Dawg said it right: “play them all; play them early; no seniority.” It doesn’t get any simpler and PLAINER than that. Put them ALL in the line of fire and see who responds with the winning attitude. Am I a coach? Hell, no. But a different mindset needs to be in place this season.

AltamahaDawg

July 5th, 2011
8:53 am

Count me as a big fan of the guy, and hoping as Murray develops, he can get him the ball more often. I know when asked last year specifically about Charles, the answer was they they had plays for him every time they took the field on offense, but for a variety of reasons, Murray couldn’t get him the ball.

I’m very confident that the TE has been a big part of the philosophy though. If you look at the TE poition, it has been the second leading receiver on the team. That was true last year, eclipsing Durham. Only AJ got more balls throw his way that the TE(s). 2 yrs ago Charles only trailed Moore by 2 reception to be the second leading receiver on the entire team as a freshman. If you combine the other TE, they were by far. I would venture to guess that’s not far from being the 10 year trend, so there is no reluctance from this staff to use them.

big john 360 lbs

July 5th, 2011
8:55 am

I say Orson is a team guy…he’ll be back for his senior year.
I said it when we signed Orson/Murray, the Dawgs will win a NC before their time is up at UGA. Big John still stands by that statement.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

July 5th, 2011
8:58 am

DawginLex

My sentiments exactly but Bobo is from Thomasville and everyone I know from Thomasville are know it all’s

He wouldnt go to a coaching clinic held by Belichek, Lombardi, or Bill Walsh if it was brought to Sanford stadium

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

July 5th, 2011
8:59 am

Tampa Gator

We will lose to FL, please watch the movie THE WATER BOY, play close attention to the coach played by The Fonz in the movie. Thats our coach when we play FL

DawginLex

July 5th, 2011
9:00 am

Tampa

Brantley won’t be playing at all by the Georgia game.

JDawg1785

July 5th, 2011
9:00 am

TE is definitely one of Georgia’s strengths on the offensive side of the ball. I like the idea of a 2-TE set, especially given the lack of depth on OL this sesaon. If Bobo finally figures this out, the Dawgs might be in better shape on offense than we think.

sandman053

July 5th, 2011
9:04 am

Bobo wouldn’t go to a coaching clinic if it was held in Heaven and hosted by the Bear..

Dawgs Tell

July 5th, 2011
9:08 am

Add 20 lbs to Lynch and move him to left tackle.What I hear from Athens is that Lynch is a blocking machine.Great feet and good hands.Plus one of the strongest players on the team.Could be ALL-SEC by JR. year.

hipdawg

July 5th, 2011
9:13 am

what about the o line? cmr never recruits them well.

sandman053

July 5th, 2011
9:14 am

I thought we picked up two good O-linemen this recruiting class. Any word from anyone how they are progressing in the weightroom with Coach T?

Michael T.

July 5th, 2011
9:15 am

CMR is one of the best. I love that he likes good TEs in his system.

http://coachesbythenumbers.com/coach-profile/?coach=Mark+Richt

JB

July 5th, 2011
9:16 am

If the starting 5 OL stay healthy and Crowell is 2/3 of what we think, we might surprise this year. Coaching is our biggest liability.

sandman053

July 5th, 2011
9:18 am

JB I’ve never been a Bobo fan, but I am torn between whether his incompetence is strictly his with CMR abdicating the play-calling in entireity to him or whether he is truly just a cog calling CMR’s offense. I wish he would become more creative with his play-calling!

dawg from a distance

July 5th, 2011
9:20 am

Great insight with Lynch…. sounds like Adam Meadows of years past.

Go DAWGS! Dream Season

DawginLex

July 5th, 2011
9:23 am

sandman and everyone else bashing Bobo,

We are running the same stuff we have run for 10 years.

The difference?

No Brian Van Gorder running the defense.

Drop the PPG allowed from 22 to 15 and no one will care about Bobo’s offense because we will be winning.

I’m not saying he is an offensive genius. I’m just saying it is what it is and it ain’t gonna change.

truedawg

July 5th, 2011
9:24 am

TE’s will be ready to play. Will CMB use them effectively? I don’t know. I think with the TE’s and the WR Murray will have lots of weapons to throw to. T. King has pretty good hands. It will all come down to the running game. The OL has to make holes and protect Murray. Same as last year. If Murray can’t have 3 sec’s to make a throw, then long year. Also can’t say it enough…OL has to be tougher this year, dig in and overcome. The rest of the team is fine…just running and OL. Get those clicking and going in the right direction and SEE ya at the Dome in DEC!! GO DAWGS!!

DawginLex

July 5th, 2011
9:25 am

None of the freshmen are ready. The closest physically is Andrews from Wesleyan but he really still needs another year in the weight room. Debell is getting stronger and bigger but he also would be a desperation fill in.

Key is no injuries. Keep the first 7 healthy and they are serviceable.

truedawg

July 5th, 2011
9:26 am

Right on Lex! I think the D will be lights out. Only weakness will be secondary, but I don’t think it’ll be as bad as some hink. and NO ONE will be able to run the ball well against the DAWGS this year. Go DAWGS!!

JB

July 5th, 2011
9:26 am

Richt/Bobo run a scripted offense UNLESS we get 2-4 TD’s behind. Too many people have commented on how easy it is to predict a play based on field position, down yards to go etc. I to wish they would seek help. I do know that when Richt has the players, he has been able to score points, But he kills me play calling NOT TO LOSE and lately being able to run the clock out with the ball late in the game with a small lead. He will go into a shell and we punt and hold our breath.

boots

July 5th, 2011
9:26 am

Aron White stands tall like a Linden tree in the backfield. He will be a difference maker through his leadership and skills. Watch out for him!

Some Sense

July 5th, 2011
9:29 am

Dogs have got to have two of these studs on the field at the same time…a lot.

CHDawg

July 5th, 2011
9:35 am

White is a great guy, but he has had a problem with dropping the ball here and there. I hope he catches everything this year. Charles is just phenomenal, but he is still a bit of a hybrid. (So is Alshon Jeffery). Lynch looks like he has unlimited potential. He is huge, but the guy has had incredible hands and running instincts in the last two GDays. To me, he looks like the best pure TE in the lot–great hands, runner, and blocker! Moving him to tackle would waste his great hands and running ability. Rome sounds like he could follow in Charles’ steps. An incredible group! I would love to see the two TE set where either Charles/Rome goes from a flex out to a true SE position to match them on a linebacker they can outrun, or a corner they can outsize (again like SC used Jeffery at SE). But, CMB has so much talent here he could use them in ten different ways to put pressure on the other teams. I would also like to see liberal use of the shovel, just like UF used Hernandez so effectively.

big john 360 lbs

July 5th, 2011
9:42 am

Agree w/ DawginLex…if we get back to the CVG days of giving up 15 points a game Bobo will produce enough offense to make everyone happy. I think it’s reasonable to give up 16-18 pts a game this year with Big John Jenkins in the middle eating up the likes of Lattimore.