Learning from last season: Fred Gibson

Fred Gibson: the most explosive player on Georgia's roster. How will he be used in 2002? Are SEC and ACC defenders ready and able to stop this freakish talent? How will Gibson repsond to the pressure of being "the man"?

Doubling as a basketball player, Fred Gibson saw a lot of action in his first year of college athletics. There is little doubt that right now he is a better football player than basketball player, but still Gibson plans on moving forward with both, at least for the time being.

Gibson burst onto the scene against Tennessee, catching a 15-yard touchdown pass from Georgia quarterback David Greene. It was Gibson's first catch ever and it was an important one. From that point on, little held Gibson back.

It seemed as if Gibson beat Kentucky by himself in late October. An argument could be made that Gibson's 9 catches for 201 yards and two touchdowns was the most dominate offensive performance of the season for Georgia.

Gibson led the team in receiving yards last season with 772. In 2002 Gibson will be looked at even more as the go to guy for Georgia. Can Fred Gibson become the full time star at wide out? Will Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt use Gibson in extra imaginative ways in order to get the ball into his hands more? Can Gibson handle the additional coverage that he will see in 2002?

We will have to wait until August to answer most of those questions. But we do know that Gibson will be depended on more in 2002 than he was in 2001.

What we learned:

We learned, perhaps a little too late, just how good Fred Gibson was. Now we know that Gibson is probably the best young wider receiver in the country hands down. We will learn this season if the word "young" can be removed from that statement.

There is only one ball and Georgia has several weapons, but Gibson is probably Georgia's best weapon on offense. Mark Richt is going to have to figure out different ways to get the ball to Fred Gibson in 2002. Coverage will be tighter on him; we have learned that as well.

We have also learned that if Gibson becomes the big play receiver, other teams will have to play Terrence Edwards and Damien Gary honest. This is because in order to avoid the big play, opponents will have to cover Gibson more heavily, leaving Edwards and Gary in favorable situations.

We also learned that you don't want to allow Fred Gibson to get into the open if you are a defensive coordinator. Gibson runs like a deer. We also learned that Gibson thinks touchdown every play.

What was said:

"Part of being him means to attack the endzone at every opportunity." – The Atlanta Journal and Constitution's Curtis Bunn

"I don't like to get hit, so I'm thinking touchdown every play, trying to get away from the defender." – Fred Gibson on himself.

Friday: a look at Terrence Edwards

Monday: a look at Michael Johnson

Dean Legge can be reached here: dean@dawgpost.com

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