Monday Mailbag

Dawg Post's Jonathan Branch tackles questions in another edition of the Dawg Post mailbag.

This week in the sack, we dive into a number of issues. What's the deal with Zander Ogletree? Who can recruit in the future? What football player do I really not want to fight?

All that and more.


Croatiadawg writes: Someone on the Dawgpost is saying that Brendon Douglas runs a 'legit' 4.4 and benches 400 and poops golden footballs. He will also be a tailback for us and not a fullback - can you give us more information on this underrated two star who evidently will be one of the fastest guys on the team? If this is true, he is certainly an intriguing prospect.

Douglas is a physical specimen, no doubt. He is a weight room beast, and as Dean puts it, may one of the strongest players on the team pound-for-pound. That evaluation may be accurate considering he is around 210 pounds and throws some staggering weight around on bench (400 pounds) and squat (500+).

He ran for close to 3,000 yards and 49 touchdowns in his final two seasons at Class A Aquinas. Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo insists that Douglas will not be limited to only fullback on campus, and that is likely true, at least in the short-term. Douglas will need to add weight regardless of whether he plays tailback or fullback and most likely will need time to adjust to the college game.

However, Georgia has an immediate need for depth at tailback, so Douglas may see a limited role at the position as a freshman. He could certainly contribute immediately on special teams.

If I had to predict, though, Douglas has a promising future at fullback, so long as he adds the necessary mass and picks up the blocking schemes. Judging from his work ethic in the weight room, he shouldn't have too much of a problem with either of those challenges.

As for his 40-time, I am skeptical of a sub-4.5 time, but on film, he does possess good speed—just not blazing speed.

Graydog25 brings a few questions to the party: Q1) ... Where do you see T.J. Stripling fitting in this season? Have you heard any noise about him? Is he 100% and where is his weight at this point? I know coming in before injury, he had the length, speed, and athleticism to be a very, very good player, just needed size. Obviously CTG thought enough of him to play him early, but just wondering where he is at post injury?

Stripling, or Predator as I call him, hasn't had a heavy impact so far in his career, but entering his senior season, there's a chance that could change. He is probably as big as he will ever be, weighing in between 235 and 245 pounds, and he is back to 100 percent after his devastating knee injury in 2010.

As of right now, he should be in the two-deep at outside linebacker, but with Chase Vasser returning from injury and Josh Harvey-Clemons and some newcomers like Leonard Floyd and Davin Bellamy entering the mix, Stripling will have to fight for playing time. He could be utilized in third down passing situations where he can simply rush the quarterback, but any time he gets in 2013 will be well-earned. If you don't see him on scrimmage downs, he will certainly be on special teams, where he's been an asset his entire career.

Q2) Who is the better TE this season? If Jay Rome knows the playbook equally with Arthur Lynch, which TE do you start? With that said if Rome and Lynch are healthy through the season, do you see Ty Flournoy-Smith fitting in and getting playing time?

I've felt for a long time Rome is a better receiving tight end than Lynch, while Lynch is the better blocker of the two. With playbook-knowledge equal, I would start Lynch, simply because he showed last season he can come up with some big catches, along with the grinding out blocks.

That said, if I were coaching this team, I wouldn't play the same tight end for an entire series. Both of these tight ends are SEC caliber, and both should play extensively. Georgia could play one or the other or both and still have success. If both remain healthy, Ty Flournoy-Smith may be relegated to special teams and mop-up duty like last season. Right now, Lynch and Rome are a clear notch above at this point and understandably so.

Q3) How good of a fullback can Quayvon Hicks be and will he play a lot this season?

I think he can be very good, and he should earn the starting job this season. The question of whether he plays a lot is difficult to answer, simply because Georgia's offense will likely be more spread out like 2012. That won't call for much fullback usage, but when one is used, I expect it to be Quayvon Hicks with some Merritt Hall sprinkled in.

Q4) Do you see CMB mixing in a lot of 4 and 5 WR sets with the traditional style run/play action offense? Will we use a full back a lot with a TE? Will we use two TE sets? What do you see being our primary, go-to offense assuming everyone healthy? It will be hard not to have Gurley and Marshall in the game, one of the two every play, but we do have the skill set to go no rb. What should we see from Bobo this season? Any wild dawg with Bauta as well? Goal Line would love to see two tight end set, FBauta at QB, TGurley, KMarshall, and either Douglas or Turman being the 4th back! It would be fun to see CMB orchestrate a few plays out of a formation with those guys at the 10 yd line and inside, first and goal.

As mentioned in the answer to Q3, I believe Georgia will continue its quick-paced offense with more spread looks than traditional power looks. The arsenal at wide receiver and tight end is lethal, and the running backs will be utilized similarly to last season, as well. I believe mostly there will be a three WR set of Malcolm Mitchell-Michael Bennett-Chris Conley, a TE, and RB. Georgia could use Artie Lynch in a slot role as well, like it did every now and then in 2012. I don't think you'll see a ton of fullback use, except in short yardage situations to get a first down.

I cannot see Bauta playing much this season, even in a ‘Wild Dawg' role, and I don't think Georgia will feature Turman or Douglas in any kind of goal-line formation. Quayvon Hicks or Merritt Hall would likely be the additional backs Bobo will use in power formations.

Q5[thru 11?])Throwing a change up! Did you watch our basketball game the other night vs Ole Miss? What did you think of the refs in the game? I have to say I am trying my best to not be bias, but that was the most horrific, absolutely worst called game I have ever seen in my entire life. Wanted to know if you have seen the game and what did you think? If I am not out of line, how can it get this bad, and what can be done about it? Are these refs graded and are they held accountable? I have never seen anything that blatant, or anything like it. It is so disgraceful and disheartening, and I could have literally bit a nail into. To make matters worse, CMF does not have a hair on his you know what, because there is no way a coach should have been able to keep their composure? I would have walked my team to the locker room the last play when DWilliams got knocked out of bounds on the alley oop, no way I would have let them go to over time when that was about the 6th or 7th blown call or no call in a row. This is a game I would personally love to have a Bobby Knight coaching.

I will say that initially I did not watch the game. After watching the first half of the season, I have trouble going out of my way to watch Georgia basketball games. They hurt my eyes. But to address the game in question, yes, it was a poorly officiated game in my opinion. Not because Georgia was on the bad end of a few questionable calls, but because of how quick the refs were to the whistle on both sides of the floor, especially late in the game. Most of the late-game foul calls were justifiable, and many fit the way refs had called all evening. However, KCP was whistled for a phantom offensive foul late. On the other hand, the final play of regulation, in which Donte Williams drew contact, warranted a foul based on the way refs had called the previous 39+ minutes.

Refs are graded and held accountable by league offices, just like football. In some defense of the stripes, they're having to call a different game because of the product on the floor. It's a chicken-egg discussion, but the quality of play and the physical style leads to more off-ball fouls and such that slow down the game.

Again, I can understand your frustration (though maybe not the degree of it) for the way Ole Miss-Georgia game was officiated. I, for one, like to see a little more contact in basketball and less nitpicky fouls defeating momentum and pace. The college game, especially this season, is slow enough as it is.

Lakelanddawg1 writes: Is it true that there are now no limits on the number of staff that can be hired to recruit? Am I interpreting the new deregulation rules correctly?

Based on what I've read, if the new rules are passed, you are correct. There will be no limit to the staff that can be hired to recruit on campus. That does not apply for off-campus recruiting, though. Sicemdawgs77 with the perfect follow-up: Do you see us hiring more people to help with recruiting similar to Bama?

Yes. Greg McGarity, along with many other D1 athletic directors, do not wish to see these new proposals passed, but if they are passed, Georgia better hire some new hands to help out. Auburn recently hired former Lassiter head coach Chip Lindsay and Carver-Columbus head coach Dell McGee to help in its recruiting efforts. Georgia should look at doing the same or else it will be at a severe disadvantage.

Willbeezy writes: What is the wildest recruiting tactic you have seen/heard of being used on a recruit?

I'll admit I don't have enough experience to answer this question. I may revisit this question in a future mailbag with an expert's opinion, but to answer your question now, I'll point to a few of the more recent recruiting tactics that have been brought to the public realm.

The first was Richt's visit to Valdosta to visit with Josh Harvey-Clemons in 2012, in which both took a trip to the Lowndes County Jail to bail out a customer of bondsman Woodrow Clemons, Josh's grandfather.

The other comes from Laremy Tunsil's recruitment. To hear that Ole Miss exchanged over 1200 Facebook messages with Laremy and his girlfriend is overwhelming. I consider myself an above average social media user, but I don't know if I have written over 1200 Facebook messages/chats in the last year.

Check out next week's mailbag. Hopefully I'll have something juicier.

Konehead writes: Do you know how different the bama strength and conditioning is to UGA's? It seems that bama players at every position are always bigger and stronger than ours.... Heck, everyone else also. I know they get a lot of "freak" athletes to begin with but it seems they develop them better than us when they get them on campus? I know Joe T just took over but do you see UGA changing the program to get our players stronger? Especially O-line.

I don't think the two programs are vastly different. There may be different drills or regimens, but that's the case with nearly every S&C staff in the country. Each coach and program has its own ideas and nuances. I think there's already been a noticeable improvement in S&C since Joe T took over.

An overlooked addition to the program is Sherman Armstrong; he has done a lot in terms of speed, conditioning and improving the overall quality you see on the field.

Alabama obviously has set the standard for football programs, but I don't think Georgia is miles behind (instead, maybe a couple meters) the Tide in the strength and conditioning aspect.

BLYTHEDAWG writes: Maybe I have missed something. Is Zander Ogletree on the team or not?

Technically, yes. He is still on the team. In fact, he's still listed on the roster, which has been updated to reflect the spring roster.

However, he is not participating with the team during mat drills, and I would not be surprised if he does not partake in spring practices.

Shawnyoungblood writes: Kolton Houston? What's going on with him? Is he ever going to wear the G on the field between the hedges?

What I know: He is not below the threshold that would allow him to play. He is not listed on the roster.

What I do not know: His absence from the roster is permanent.

A couple weeks ago in the sack, I produced an arbitrary chance of 20% that Houston would play before his career was over. Since his removal from the roster, I'm going to drop that to 10%. Yes, that's still arbitrary, but I wouldn't get my hopes up to seeing him on the field.

Jawjudawg writes: What were your feelings on Coach Garner?

He is a good guy and is still a good coach. Players liked playing for him. He was, at one time, one of the top recruiters in the southeast. I just don't think he gelled with the defensive staff after the overhaul in 2010. Toward the end of his tenure in Athens, he wasn't quite the difference-maker in recruiting he once was. When the opportunity came to move to Auburn, I think the writing was on the wall, and both parties were okay with that.

BigBandMan writes: Do you agree with me that Felton's last team and the team he left for Fox for the following season were both better than Fox's team this year and the one he expects for next year? If so, how does McGarity justify 4 years of regression (not counting next year) by retaining Fox? Viewing UGA BB is eerily similar to the Seinfeld episode of the "Ugly Baby"; you know you are supposed to love it, but you can't help but cringe when looking at it.

I do believe those teams were significantly better than this year's team. Not saying those teams were top-notch, but they were more prepared to win than this team. Fox has struggled to recruit. That much is obvious. The most success he had came with Felton's players, and ironically, part of what ran Felton out of town was his inability to grab a top recruit—Derrick Favors. I'm not sure McGarity can justify four years of regression, but he can try to put an end to it. That starts with some changes to the basketball program, and that could very likely mean a change at the top.

Right now, Georgia basketball is simply not good. It's not completely terrible, but it's somewhere between pretty bad and bad in my opinion. Stats don't tell the whole story, but just look at the assist-to-turnover ratio. The Bulldogs have turned the ball over 217 times compared to 153 assists. Even during the notable five game winning streak, Georgia's assist-to-turnover ratio was 55:71. Some ugly baby, huh? That's normally a recipe for losing. It helps Georgia that the SEC is experiencing a remarkably poor year across the board sans Florida.

Dunkaroos8 asks: Who's the guy on the team that you would least want to pick a fight with?

Honestly, all of them, but I'll pick one from each side of the ball. Linebacker Amarlo Herrera and tight end Artie Lynch. Both are really big and really strong. The whole "it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of fight in the dog" phrase doesn't count when you're talking about these guys. If you're smaller, you're losing. Honorable mention goes to John Taylor, who could just sit on me and I'd tap out.

Speaking of tapping out, there are no more questions, so I'm tapped out of answers.

Hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.

Remember readers, Monday is only four days ‘till the weekend, but (even better) only another week ‘till the next sack!

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