This is the first of the new every TUE and THU posts of BIG HAIRY BLAWG by Han Vance for Bulldawg Illustrated.
While receivers, as the name indicates, will receive the lion share of targets in almost any offense, the 2017 UGA roster is uniquely loaded with gifted receiving options at positions other than wide receivers.
True sophomore Isaac Nauta is quarterback Jacob Eason’s closest classmate peer on the team and expected by most to have a breakout season. He showed some flashes of greatness as a freshman but did not get an unusually high number of attempts thrown his way for a tight end. I anticipate Nauta’s numbers swelling as the offensive line holds up better and this dynamic duo matures together.
Watching Stanford play in their opener, I marveled at their use of multiple tight ends and called for UGA to do much of the same. Senior Jeb Blazevich is a high-character leader of the team and has soft hands when looked upon to do more than block. Solid Jackson Harris will also see some game action.
A secret weapon is legacy tweener Charlie Woerner, actually fast enough to flair out as a wide receiver but with huge size. He has some of the best hands in the program and should see the ball in space.
Power backs Nick Chubb (from tailback) and Christian Payne (at fullback) could leak out of the backfield for some sneaky plays where they start off appearing as decoys or blockers and then go wheel route or to the flat. While true freshman DeAndre Swift has the type of athleticism that may necessitate screen passes going his way this year.
And, the most versatile guy on the team is senior running back Sony Michel. Georgia badly underused this key weapon until late in the season, when he exploded as called upon with huge performances. Get Sony “PLAYSTATION” the ball. Many of the plays that went to his high school teammate “Joystick” should go his way this season. Expecting him running pass routes this year, something he did as a freshman. If he and Chubb are in the same backfield at times, I would love to see him float behind the defensive front for open passes.
With a deep receiving corps perhaps lacking a clear leader in production and the line allowing more time for a variety of plays to develop, Eason going multiple will only increase his chances of having a great year. Keep in mind that a player generally improves the most entering his sophomore year. Time to shine, gunner.
Han Vance is a regular contributor to Bulldawg Illustrated, writing on football itself and football culture. We will be publishing his fabled BIG HAIRY BLAWG every Tuesday & Thursday this college football season.
You can follow Han Vance on Twitter at: @hanvance
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