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Arrival of freshman running backs add athleticism, potential to Georgia running back room

SystemSystem Posts: 10,728 admin
edited June 5 in Article commenting
imageArrival of freshman running backs add athleticism, potential to Georgia running back room

Georgia’s backfield is going to look different in 2024. Gone are long-time stalwarts Kendall Milton and Daijun Edwards. The duo combined for 1,670 yards and 27 rushing touchdowns in 2023.

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    UGADad20UGADad20 Posts: 1,795 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate
    edited June 5

    It would've been nice to identify the 3 RB's pictured. Isn't that Journalism 101? Especially since the player roster on Dawgnation hasn't been updated in about a year.

    I'm guessing L-R Bowens, Frazier, Phillips.

    Phillips role will only be receiving out of the backfield and possibly punt returner until he gets bigger. At 170 lbs he is too light to carry the ball out of the backfield or be a kick off returner. James Cook only had 49 touches as a freshman at 180 lb.

    Roles for Bowens and Frazier are TBD. The adjustment from HS to the SEC will take time. Players are much bigger, stronger, faster. They hit harder. Job#1 of any RB is hold onto the ball. None of the 3 freshmen can play until they prove they can secure the ball.

    "Georgia will lean on Etienne and Robinson early in the 2024 season". Everybody seems to be conveniently forgetting that ETN is facing a 2 game suspension for DUI as mandated by the UGA student handbook disciplinary policy as it pertains to student athletes.

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    BigDawg888BigDawg888 Posts: 1,551 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    All valid points. You are right about holding onto the ball. It is hard to predict but Bowens looks like a solid back and I am projecting him 4 years from now as a 6th round pick. I believe Etienne will have a great year (1200 yards, 12 tds) and be a low 2nd or high 3rd round pick (NFL does not value running backs). I think Roderick Robinson will be have a decent year (300-400 yards and 5 tds). All of my predictions are barring injuries. Branson is a big question mark. I think next year he and Frazier will team up to be the 1-2 punch.

    Barring injury - have to say it because no one knows, Frazier will be 1B by the end of the year. If Etienne (goodness forbid) gets dinged up then Frazier will 1A. Frazier is just that good. He is everything you could ever want in a back. I'm hyping him, for sure but he reminds me of a Barry Sanders clone with his speed and lateral movement and explosiveness plus his contact balance.

    The coaches will run Etienne hard this year so a real possibility that he gets dinged up. If Etienne can stay healthy we win a NC, but if not we will see Frazier a lot later in the year.

    Next year look for the 3 headed monster of Frazier, Branson and Roderick. I think Phillips is 2 years away and don't expect him much except maybe on special teams. Bowens is a cleanup man unless someone gets injured. I predict Frazier will be a first round pick if he stays healthy and Branson will be a 3rd round pick if he comes back to prior form before the injury. Those 2 backs are our best and most talented.

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    BrooksieBrooksie Posts: 527 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate
    edited June 5

    don’t sleep on either of the Robinson’s. With time already in the system I can see both of them having an impact.

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    GtheGreekGtheGreek Posts: 1,000 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate
    edited June 5

    ARRESTS FOR FELONY CRIMES AND DUIS
    a) Student-Athlete is required to notify their head coach immediately.
    b) Immediate Suspension from athletic competition, pending review by the Comprehensive Action Plan Committee
    c) The Comprehensive Action Plan Committee consists of the Senior Woman Administrator, Deputy Athletic Director, Executive
    Associate Athletic Director, and the Faculty Athletics Representative, after an investigation and review of the facts, will
    forward a recommendation of penalties to the Athletic Director. These recommendations may include, but are not limited to,
    dismissal from the team, suspension from competition, reduction in aid, and/or cancellation of athletic aid.
    d) The Athletic Director will approve, modify, or return the matter to the Comprehensive Action Plan Committee for further
    consideration.
    I'm just wondering…..acknowledging that in today's "legal" landscape, there are no absolutes…..will TE be suspended from any games? I'm sure he's on a year long probation with the University and that he's satisfied Georgia/Athens/Clarke requirements resulting from a first DUI. I'm also sure he has endured the wrath from KS and his position coaches, et al… I'm thinking TE will not start one or more games…….GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY for every Georgia RB to demonstrate their ability, skill, resilience in TE's absence knowing that he'll return if and when injury occurs or they fail to uphold the standard. TE will "work" his way back into a prominent starting role.

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    ypcregypcreg Posts: 263 ✭✭✭✭ Senior

    The best RB group since we had the trio of Chubb, Michel and Swift.

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    reddawg1reddawg1 Posts: 3,675 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    Phillips is a ferrari. He will get 3-4 touches per game, yes in a pass catching role, along with punt returns/kickoffs . I don't believe he sits on the bench for 2 years biding his time. Unless he puts on another 15 pounds of muscle he's never going to be a run up the middle kind of guy.( Let's be honest, Cook never was either.) Probably not even if he does add weight. UGA will always have bigger more durable backs to run between the tackles.

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    UGADad20UGADad20 Posts: 1,795 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate
    edited June 5

    Good stuff. You may be right. I was recollecting from memory in another case. ETN will really be needed early in the year while BRob gets a clean bill of health and the freshmen prove they can be trusted. I still remember Cowboy's rookie FB Chris Gronkowski not picking up the blitz and Tony Romo exiting the game with a broken collarbone.

    For ETN to miss the Clemson game would be sad. Might be the only chance to play against his brother's school. Plus w/ no ETN, BRob or APaul suddenly the RB position looks pretty thin. And that's before any fall practice injuries. All of a sudden Game 1 is a street fight.

    I would not expect BRob to be rushed back and may not be a factor until November.

    @BigDawg888 On one hand UGA had to promise a lead role to ETN to gain his commitment. On the other hand he is not a big guy. He wants/needs a big role to enhance his draft position. At the same time he wants to enter the NFL injury free and relatively low miles. I don't think he will be overused unless there are injuries that deplete the position. So hard to make a call on his stats. 1200 yards seems high to me unless the depth of the room cannot be fully utilized.

    Frazier has a chance to be really good before he leaves. Is that this year? W/APaul leaving and BRob still recovering it really forces UGA's hand. Frazier has to have a role this season. It will be interesting to see how he develops.

    I am not sold on BRob. He was already a stiff runner that lacked speed. Knee injuries do not make you faster. Look what a few, less serious, knee injuries did to KMilton. BRob's ceiling at UGA is Elijah Holyfield. Holyfield had a nice Jr year at UGA.

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    CandlerParkCandlerPark Posts: 716 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    Great points, Dad — although are we certain that TE will be suspended for a full two games?

    I'm very eager to see Branson Robinson bounce back from his patellar tendon injury. In his freshman year, I thought he looked solid, if not spectacular, as the No. 4 guy. And, to your point about fumbles by freshmen, BR did hold onto the rock for each of his 69 touches.

    It's always concerning — and potentially tragic — when underclass RBs go down to serious knee injuries. Zeus sadly missed a couple of steps after his injuries (although the two combined were more serious). That's one of the reasons I'm rooting hard for Branson.

    The other reason is that he seems to have the physical attributes and the serious devotion to training that makes a great athlete. From the way he was talking earlier this spring, he certainly seemed driven by his work ethic toward a successful recovery.

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    UGADad20UGADad20 Posts: 1,795 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    I remember reading one of the MANY articles here about the disciplinary process at UGA that 1) had CKS quotes about the disciplinary process being a university process and not (exclusively) a football coaching process and 2) specifically laying out 1 and 2 game suspensions for certain specified infractions.

    Based on what @GtheGreek researched (looks official) there may be some wiggle room. I think ETN will be needed vs Clemson and early in the season as previously stated. I also think CKS has some internal discipline in the works for ETN. Not sure how you discipline a player's off season infraction and still allow him to play in the 1st game.

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    BigDawg888BigDawg888 Posts: 1,551 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    All good points. I think we agree on most points. ETN can be the first team SEC running back if he stays healthy. He needs a big year then off to the pros. CKS would like to ease Frazier in but it may be impossible once he shows what he can do. He's got the engine of Moreno but he accelerates faster. I believe it is going to become obvious in practice that he has to play and early due to his ability to make big plays out of what now are 3-4 yard gains for the other guys.

    However, should Roderick Robinson produce he and ETN may limit Frazier's touches. The college football world has changed also, you have to play some of these top 50 players or they will transfer out. I don't think that will be an issue with Frazier but may end up effecting a couple other guys.

    The Frazier Etienne/BRobinson situation reminds me a little bit of what Thurman Thomas and Barry Sanders went through. Barry got few touches while watching TT light it up and no one knew who the kid was. Then in his 2nd year he went wild after TT went pro. Could be a similar situation here.

    You also remember Gurley and Chubb and Michel. Michel had few touches that year. Gurley was having a Heisman season until the signing fiasco. Chubb stepped in and never missed a beat. We knew Michel had 'potential' but he was 3rd on the depth chart and was a non factor. This year the Etienne, Branson, Frazier situation reminds me of that just not sure who is 3rd at the end of the year. As far as Bowens and Phillips goes (and for that matter Cash). I love all the players who put on the G but some are 1A players and some 1B. Phillips for now, due to his size, most likely a 1B. Bowens will become an NFL worthy player but he is not there yet. RRobinson is a solid college back but he lacks explosive speed and moves. I don't see him going high for the next level. He's a truck but not fast enough in my book to be a 1A back (maybe back in the 90s). All great kids but barring injury Frazier is the best of the group, Branson and Etienne are probably in the 2nd tier, and looking back pretty sure this will be the case.

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