Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Countdown 2010 Preview: Honorable Mention

114 Days to go. In just two weeks, we begin the 100 day countdown to the start of the 2010 football season. As I mentioned last week, this year we will be counting down the 100 greatest players in Georgia history. Myself and the other guys here at B 'n E have been working on the list, and let me say it has not been an easy task. Trying to find the right balance between positions and players from different eras and then comparing them to each other is really tough.

Today, I'd like to offer a sneak peek at what is to come over the next few months. There have been a lot players that we originally had on the list that we have since removed. Names like Quinton Lumpkin, Boss Bailey, and Thomas Brown, just to name a few. But one player that has sparked quite a bit of debate has been Verron Haynes. During the final 6 games of the 2001 season, Haynes was easily one of the best players at Georgia in a long time. But does half a season combined with a legendary play make a player a great? Here is our pick for the Honorable Mention slot of the 100 Greatest Players in Georgia History, Verron Haynes.

Verron Haynes, Running Back #35 (1999-2001)

All it takes is one great moment to turn a mediocre career into something great. For Verron Haynes, that moment came in Knoxville in 2001. Haynes was born in Trinidad and spent his early years in New York, before moving to Atlanta, Georgia where he played football at North Springs High School. He began his collegiate career at Western Kentucky, but transferred to Georgia in 1999. His first two years in Athens were nothing to write home about, as Haynes played sparingly as a blocking back under Coach Jim Donnan. A senior on Coach Mark Richt’s first team at Georgia, Haynes demanded that Coach Richt get him the ball as Georgia took on top 5 ranked Tennessee. Haynes had already caught three passes when Georgia came flying down the field trailing 24-20 with just seconds remaining. Verron Haynes would soon have his moment that would change his career and go down as one of the greatest plays in Georgia history:

Haynes was later quoted as saying, “By the grace of God I caught the ball. That was the longest five seconds, but the ball finally got there.” Starting tailback Musa Smith soon suffered a season-ending injury and Haynes jumped at the chance to take over at tailback. Against Kentucky, Haynes accounted for 159 total yards and three touchdowns. Over the final four games of the season, Haynes turned in one of the finest half-season in Georgia history. He would average 29 carries and 163 yards rushing while scoring 5 touchdowns. This included a 207 yard performance against Georgia Tech, one of only 8 200+ yard performances in Georgia history.

Haynes finished the 2001 season as Georgia’s leading rusher with 823 yards. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers where he spent part of 6 seasons. He played for the Atlanta Falcons during the 2009 season. While his career in Athens may not have been as decorated as others, for the final half of the 2001, there were few better than #35.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Senior Leadership

When Georgia takes the field this fall, the team will be filled with young players at a number of key positions. This definitely pertains to the offensive "skill" positions (QB, TB, WR, TE), where not a single senior is found at the top of the depth chart. However, there are a number of key seniors that will play big parts in the success of the Georgia Bulldogs this fall. Here is a quick look at this year's senior class and what to expect from them this fall.


- Clint Boling, OT - After being an "everyman" on the offensive line the last few years, Boling really came into his own at left tackle last fall. He will be a pre-season All-SEC team member and is expected to be the anchor of an experienced Georgia O-line.

- Shaun Chapas, FB - With Georgia expected to rely heavily on the running game this fall, Chapas will need to continue to improve his blocking. He has on occasion been known to break off a long run or screen as well. I expect this element of surprise will be an important part of the offensive game plan this fall.

- Chris Davis, RG - Another important cog in the Georgia line this fall. Davis is a three starter with a total of 38 career starts under his belt.

- Josh Davis, RT - Made 6 starts down the stretch last fall and really helped solidify the right side of the line.

- Kris Durham, WR - The sure-handed Durham returns after missing the 2009 season with injury. Durham will provide a key target for Aaron Murray from the slot receiver spot. Michael Moore had 5 touchdowns in 2009, I expect at least that many from Durham this fall.

- Fred Munzenmaier, FB - Another key blocker, he has also taken up Brannen Southerland's former role as the short yardage back.


- Darryl Gamble, LB - Gamble has had his share of big games (LSU in '08) and will be expected to play at all different LB positions in the 3-4 scheme this fall.

- Vance Cuff, CB - Touted as the most improved player during Spring, Cuff will compete with Branden Smith for the starting corner spot opposite Brandon Boykin.

- Demarcus Dobbs, DE - Dobbs will earn the starting nod at DE in the 3-4. His game saving play against Kentucy in '08 still remains the most important play he has made at Georgia.

- Akeem Hebron, LB - He came to Athens as a 5 star recruit but has never lived up to the billing. This is final chance to prove they type of player we thought he would be.

- Kiante Tripp, DE - The coaches have never been able to find a true position for Tripp, moving him from defense to offense line to tight end and back to defense. Hopefully, he finds a home and makes an impact on defense this fall.

- Brandon Wood, DE - Wood will start the year as a back up at the DE position.

Special Teams
- Chad Gloer - A walk-on who seems to be everywhere on special teams. Georgia has always had a special teams player who makes an impact (Burt Jones, Chris Gaunder, Zach Renner), now it is Gloer's turn.