Posted: 9:57 am Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Ten@10: Merritt Hall’s injury creates shake-up at fullback 

By Chip Towers

Merritt Hall (43) has proven to be an extremely effective lead blocker for the Bulldogs. He is currently sidelined with an undisclosed injury. (UGA photo by Ted Mayer)

Merritt Hall (43) has proven to be an extremely effective lead blocker for the Bulldogs. He is currently sidelined with an undisclosed injury. (UGA photo by Ted Mayer)

THE TEN AT 10:

1. Georgia’s fullback situation is starting to get real interesting.

Junior Merritt Hall is the undisputed starter at that position and his unique abilities there is what allowed the Bulldogs to develop an H-back/tight end role for Quayvon Hicks. A former walkon out of the Wesleyan School in Peachtree Corners, Hall has played in 25 games at Georgia with seven starts.

But Hall is suddenly sidelined, and while it may have seemed like small, insignificant injury news when it first appeared on Monday, there are indications Hall could be out for an extended period.

Georgia has not said what the nature of Hall’s injury is, but one can only hope it’s not another concussion. Hall has been out at least twice at UGA with concussions. Once a player suffers a certain number of those during his career, it raises the medical protocol. If it’s deemed a chronic situation, he could be asked to give up football.

Nobody’s saying that’s the scenario Hall is currently facing – UGA is not providing injury reports this season and limiting comments on the subject — but the Bulldogs made some big moves Monday at fullback.

2. First, Taylor Maxey, a 5-foot-10, 220-pound senior out of North Oconee High School, moved up to work with the No. 1 offense on Monday. To date, Maxey’s playing time has been to one game against Georgia Southern in 2012.

Secondly,  Detric Bing-Dukes was moved to fullback from linebacker on Monday. The 6-foot, 232-pound freshman signed with Georgia out of Tucker High as a 4-star defensive prospect. His UGA bio does not mention him having any experience in that position. But he was getting plenty of work on Monday, and lots of attention from the coaching staff.

Georgia has two other fullbacks on the roster in walkons Cameron Faulkner (5-11, 240, Sr.) and Dominic Bryan (6-0, 236, RSo.). Neither has played in a game.

3. Of course, the Bulldogs have other options as well. They could decide to convert others to the position. If freshman tailbacks Nick Chubb and Sony Michel continue to show promise and prove to be quick studies with the playbook, Georgia could consider moving Brendan Douglas to fullback. The 6-foot, 213-pound sophomore is currently running third-string behind Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall.

Then there is always the prospect of utilizing Hicks again at fullback. The 6-2, 257-pound junior has worked almost exclusively with the tight ends in camp, but always was intended to be cross-trained at the position.

Hicks started six games at fullback last season and proved very effective as a runner, averaging 7.2 yards on 10 carries and scoring a 37-yard touchdown against Clemson. But he struggled as a lead blocker, which is the primary role of the position.

Running backs coach Bryan McClendon (R) has liked what he's seen from freshman tailback Sony Michel. (UGA photo by Bryan McClendon).

Running backs coach Bryan McClendon (R) has liked what he’s seen from freshman tailback Sony Michel. (UGA photo by Steven Colquitt).

4. As for Chubb and Michel, the freshmen have made quite a splash during their short time on Georgia’s team. They’ve been impressive on the football field so far and, speaking to the media for the first time on Monday, they were saying all the right things as well.

Now comes the hard part. How do the Bulldogs blend in these tremendously talented individuals at a position in which they already are so bountifully blessed? Georgia seeks to get at least 20 touches a game for Gurley, which doesn’t leave a lot left over for Marshall and Douglas, never mind the newbies.

For what it’s worth, the two freshmen don’t seem too concerned about it.

“The relationship is great,” Michel, a 5-star recruit out of Fort Lauderdale, said of his running mates. “It’s one brotherhood. We’re all one family. I don’t think carries matter in that running back room. We’re all here to help the team.”

Said Chubb: “I guess we’ll just play behind them and play with them and keep them going and, you know, keep pushing them and make them better and them the same for us.”

Both players also said they’re getting work on special teams, so they figure to get onto the field somehow.

As for the move of Bing-Dukes to fullback, Chubb and Michel like it. The three have become close friends since arriving at UGA this summer.

“It was a fast change,” Chubb said of Bing-Dukes joining the running backs. “Me, him and Sony are real close, so bringing him in just made it better chemistry wise. We hang out, us three and some other boys. So it’s great to get him in the room with us.”

Chubb said Bing-Dukes “was switching in and out, offense and defense,” on Monday.

5. The positive developments at tight end for Georgia are helping keep the fullback situation flexible. At this point, the Bulldogs have to be pleased about what they’re getting out of starter Jay Rome at tight end. The 6-6, 250-pound junior’s availability was a concern coming off winter foot surgery. But Rome has been able to be on the field for most of Georgia’s practices in unlimited status, including this past Saturday’s scrimmage, in which he led the tight ends with three catches for 39 yards.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs like what they’ve been seeing from freshman Jeb Blazevich. The 4-star prospect from Charlotte is slowly starting to catch on in camp.

“The technique especially, the footwork, has been (difficult),” said the 6-5, 232-pound Blazevich, who had 32 catches five touchdowns as a senior at Charlotte Christian. “That’s something coming out of high school I’ve figured out I’m not very good at. And I’m thinking too much sometimes. That’s something Coach (John Lilly) has been telling me about. I just need to slow it down and do what I need to do.”

6. Blazevich is one of two tight ends the Bulldogs brought in this season. Junior Joseph Ledbetter is the other. Ledbetter transferred to Georgia to play football after playing basketball exclusively for the past four years, including the last two at Pfeiffer University and the two years before that at Oak Hill Academy and Tucker High.

Speaking to media for the first time on Monday, Ledbetter said he feels “kind of lost (as a football player) but I’m getting the hang of it slowly.” That’s understandable given the circumstances. He has three years to play two, so a redshirt year very likely.

In the meantime, everybody wants to know whether Ledbetter’s presence in Athens will dissuade his younger brother – highly-touted defensive line prospect Jonathan Ledbetter – from his commitment to Alabama.

“I would hope so,” Ledbetter said. “It’d be nice to play with him. But that’d be something you have to talk to him about.”

Of course, being brothers is certainly no guarantee they’ll want to play together. It was not enough to get Dillon Lee to come to UGA from Buford to play with his older brother Dallas Lee. Dillon Lee is now a junior linebacker at Alabama.

7. In case you missed it, there’s a lovely in-house video feature on Georgia flanker Malcom Mitchell posted on georgiadogs.com. It’s about how Mitchell met a middle-aged woman at a Barnes & Noble bookstore earlier this year and became a member of what until then was an all-ladies book club. CLICK HERE to watch it now.

UGA alum and ABC News correspondent Amy Robach will be the featured speaker at UGA's Suits & Sneakers Gala on Saturday.

UGA alum and ABC News correspondent Amy Robach will be the featured speaker at UGA’s Suits & Sneakers Gala on Saturday.

8. Tickets are still available through Friday for UGA’s fifth annual American Cancer Society Suits & Sneakers Gala. Hosted by basketball coach Mark Fox and his wife Cindy this Saturday night, the event has raised more than $500,000 since 2010 through live and silent auctions and tickets for the dinner and dancing event at Stegeman Coliseum.

For the second year in a row, ESPN’s Rece Davis will emcee the dinner and fellow sportscaster Brad Nessler and coach Mark Richt will be special guests. But most of the buzz is about this year’s featured speaker — ABC News anchor Amy Robach.

Robach is a UGA alumnae and who was very publicly diagnosed with breast cancer last fall and since has undergone a double mastectomy and completed chemotherapy treatments – all while continuing to fulfill her job responsibilities. You can read about her incredible journey HERE.

9. Five players with connections to the Georgia golf program are competing in the U.S. Amateur Championship this week at the Atlanta Athletic Club.

Senior Mookie DeMoss, junior Lee McCoy, incoming freshman Zach Healy and former Bulldogs Butler Melnyk and Keith Mitchell all qualified. The field of 312 players was playing 18 holes of stroke play on Monday and Tuesday before it gets cut to the low 64. Six rounds of match play begin on Wednesday and the championship concludes with a scheduled 36-hole championship match on Sunday.

Vinny Giles is the only Bulldog to win the U.S. Amateur (1972).

10. This & that:  I mentioned last week the recent graduations of former Bulldogs Brandon Boykin and Jarvis Hayes, who came back to UGA to finish their degrees. I failed to mention that five football players off this past year’s team also walked in the summer commencement ceremonies. They were Brandon Burrows, Marc Deas, Kenarious Gates, T.J. Stripling, and Parker Welch. … Congratulations to Georgia sophomore Lindsay Cheek, who won the limited non-professional division of the Dixie Reining Horse Show with a score of 72 this week. … For what it’s worth, college football prognosticator Phil Steele has projected Georgia will end up in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl this year, where it will face Michigan State. Steele makes picks for all the bowl games, including the college football playoff finalists.

74 comments
DawginLex
DawginLex

UGA fans are hoping the 1 year "trend" of Phil Steele accurately predicting his surprise contender for the national title continues

Last year-FSU

This year-UGA

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

@ARdawg 


Is this why Phil Steeele, once again for the 2013 season is ranked the # 1 Prognosticator of all Pre-Season magazines ?  And, why his pre-season magazine is the Best Seller with the most information and most accurate information, generally considered the one pre-season magazine to purchase every single year by everyone but you ARdawg ?


http://preseason.stassen.com/prediction-accuracy/2013.html



ARdawg      14 hours ago


"Steele loves to pick UGA. The problem is he never even comes close. Of course like most of his picks he's way out there and very few does he ever pick correctly. The difference in him and the ESPN talking heads is they gloss over the picks from the previous weeks but, Steele's  linger out there for all to see usually in writing. His and their records are awful. I can pick better than Steele"


ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

Phil Steele picks only 1-Alabama 72-9 with 3 NC of The SEC beating Ohio State January 1 in the CFP 4-team play-offs, meaning they and FSU would play 15 games.  2-Mark Richt 54-26 would play only 13 games playing in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl for the 3rd Bowl Game vs Michigan State recently 1-1 and 2-1 overall on December 31.  Clemson plays 3-Florida in something called the Belk Bowl the day before us December 30, the same day that 4-Mississippi  State plays in something called the Franklin American Music City Bowl in Nashville vs Virginia Tech.  5-Texas A&M plays Texas Tech in something called the Advocare Bowl the day before that December 29, which is the same day the Liberty Bowl in Memphis would host 6-Missouri Kansas State in the 1st SEC Bowl Game; while Georgie tek would play 2 days' prior to that on December 27 in the military bowl vs East Carolina - nice.  7-LSU plays January 2 vs Michigan, 8-vols play January 3, 9-Ole Miss January 1 vs Wisconsin in the CapitalOne Citrus Bowl.  And, The 10th SEC Bowl Team would be 10-South Carolina plays Iowa in the Outback January 1. Auburn, The SEC # 11 Bowl Team plays Marshall in the Orange Bowl which is NOT in the rotation for the Play-Offs, 11-Auburn.


11 SEC that sounds about right.  So, Arkansas, Kentucky and Vanderbilt would be the only 3 non Bowl teams for The SEC - which also sounds about right.


If you told me before the season started based upon what is allowed to be said in blogs, that UGA would end up in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bow in December here in Atlanta against Michigan State yet again having just played Michigan State Jan 1 2009 and Jan 2 2012, that this would be a huge downer disappointment all around for this program.


However, it is about what I'd expect given we only have 78 remaining of 119 signed to play here with redshirt this season, and given our 7-22 vs ranked teams with 9 we'd have to beat of the Coaches' Poll Top 27, and given our 54-26 to Alabama 72-9.


We have a lot of work to do, and it would seem that that would start with studying where we need to get better and have been working on that for some time now, but we have OL issues and have not settled on that yet to have them work together; we have issues at Fullback and at Tight End and have not settled those, either; we have issues in the secondary and continue to flip-flop players to and from those positions now only 2 weeks away from Game 1; we have all the issues of all the positions on all the Special Teams except for the Kicker and we've not even practice the Special Teams; and we have all the issues on and off the field with penalties, and well we've not been Arrested/Suspended in August; and we have the issues that we have 7 walk-ons we have to make Scholarship Players none of whom have played on Offense or Defense, nor will - so, more of the same 54-26.

RED DOG 77
RED DOG 77

Towers..........Yep it's me, 'Ol RED.........Fond of your skills my friend, always enjoy your work........But come on man! Let go of the "no injury report" victim routine..........Maybe it makes your job a bit more difficult, but you are good enough to overcome it...........So come on, whatdayasay?...........You can find something for us to chew on can't ya?..............Regards, RED

HotDawg
HotDawg

Great video story on Malcolm Mitchell.

Great kid.

Hope Hall recovers quickly and is back at full speed soon .

DawginCO
DawginCO

Looks like events are conspiring to push the H-back more heavily into our gameplans.  That will be interesting.

Christ-mas
Christ-mas

Ok Towers....we get it...UGA is not giving out injury information.

Geez.  You say it in every article.  Thats Enough!  Get over it!

You constantly look for ways to whine or moan and groan about

something that you think is your right.

Give it a dadgum rest and just do your job and leave the petty, inane,

and tiresome complaining.  Geez........

ARdawg
ARdawg

Merritt Hall is a warrior. He'll play

thebucket
thebucket

Chip tell CMR he has a preferred walk-on named Christian Payne on his roster who could be a beast @ fullback!!!

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

When did Hicks "Struggle" as a lead blocker?  He didn't look like he was struggling when he blew a hole open against Clemson that was so big you could drive a truck through that sprung Gurley's 75 yard touchdown run. Here it is: 


http://youtu.be/7DhkdDl41WU




Hicks is physically intimidating. Nobody wants to meet him in the hole with Gurley behind him. Why he was moved from FB, I have no idea.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

I love that Amy Robach, watch her every morning. She is a DGLD! .....L stands for" Looking" you pervs.

ARdawg
ARdawg

Really Chip, is Phil Steele's prognostications even worth a mention? Especially this time of year? He's like every other prognosticator and 50/50 at best

DawginCO
DawginCO

@ThomasBrownUGA  As usual you obsess and twist facts.  You are a sick person Thomas.  I noticed you didn't quote examples of how wrong Steele has been in the recent past.  Just another example of how you cherry pick to fit your twisted negative slants.

Get help.  No one wants you on these blogs except trolls.  They love all of your negativity.  

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

@Christ-mas  seems to be off his med's.  Ranting at the beat writer for giving us information is, well, rather funny.  He, RandyHall and Bubbatavious must be roommates.

dawginbama
dawginbama

@TravisBickle2014 probably the same thing everyone else is doing on here... wondering why anyone would actually take the time to put their picture on your handle for everyone to see.  really really creepy

dawginbama
dawginbama

@ARdawg if it was his choice he would play.  it's out of his hands

TampGator1
TampGator1

@thebucket 


I am sure Richt is completely dependent upon Chip for updates about the players on his roster. 

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

@thebucket  I wonder why CMR does not know Christian Payne's name?  I'm sure once he knows he has this 'beast' on his squad, our FB worries will be over!  lol

DawginLex
DawginLex

@DawgGoneIt He lost his job because of failed blocking assignments, your video not withstanding

FlatTire
FlatTire

@DawgGoneIt that was the first game; there were reasons he was benched if you happen to watch the rest of the season

thebucket
thebucket

@DawgGoneIt  I heard through the grapevine last year that Hicks was hurt and wasn't practicing well. I'm not sure what happened because he came out like a beast those first 2 games and then basically disappeared. I personally would love to see him back at fullback.

PoopDawg
PoopDawg

@gtcaryd " watch her every morning"  isn't that stalking? just kidding Cary

D-Sheets
D-Sheets

@ARdawg  The genius, Phil Steele, "whiffed" on both Auburn and Missouri as well. Neither made his 2013 pre-season top 40! But teams like #21 TCU (finished 4-8) and #12 Va Tech (finished 8-5) did.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@ARdawg That's nothing to be ashamed of AR. He is just spinning that big wheel in his basement anyhow.

D-Sheets
D-Sheets

@ARdawg 

Don't know if I'd even give Steele a 50/50 grade.  He had USC (finished 10-4) and Texas (finished 8-5) in his top-10 last season, and also had the Gators, who finished 4-8, at #18 . 

TravisBickle2014
TravisBickle2014

@dawginbama You don't know ME? I saved Jodie Foster from being a street walker and look how famous she is now.

Grant1296
Grant1296

@TampGator1 You would think Coach Richt is  smart enough to depend on

You for updates Lizard...

thebucket
thebucket

@TampGator1 @thebucket  Lighten up Nancy. It was just a way to throw Christian's name into the discussion. UGA has a history of discovering fullbacks who are already on the roster and seeing them develop into pretty good players, so that was why I did that. BTW, Christian got some reps @ FB today. He is a fine young man and as hard-nosed a football player as you will ever meet.

TampGator1
TampGator1

@thebucket 


I am sure Richt would put him back at FB if he and his TE coach thought he could consistently block well at the point of attack from that position.  Obviously, they don't think he can. 

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@PoopDawg @gtcaryd That's funny, I almost put that in my post instead of watch. You're freaking me out man.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@gtcaryd  I just spun the "Red Pants Society" wheel and its saying UGA wins it all this year

ARdawg
ARdawg

@gtcaryd 

Steele loves to pick UGA. The problem is he never even comes close. Of course like most of his picks he's way out there and very few does he ever pick correctly. The difference in him and the ESPN talking heads is they gloss over the picks from the previous weeks but, Steele's  linger out there for all to see usually in writing. His and their records are awful. I can pick better than Steele and I s**k

TampGator1
TampGator1

@D-Sheets 


I am sure he predicted the Gators at #18 because he knew they would lose 10 starters for the year.  Heck, knowing that, he should have picked them to win the NC.  

HotDawg
HotDawg

Yeah, Travis is definitely a psychotic whacko.

Yeah, I'm talking to you jackas troll.

ARdawg
ARdawg

@TravisBickle2014 

No only that, she'd likely require more accommodations than your mothers basement and WarCraft for entertainment

Terry1961
Terry1961

@ARdawg

I got this from Macon.com BY Seth Emerson

The news is a strong indication that returning starter Merritt Hall, a junior, will not be back anytime soon. Hall, who started seven games over the past two seasons, is dealing with a concussion, according to a source.

Detric Bing-Dukes, who signed this year and began the preseason as an inside linebacker, has moved to fullback for the duration of this season, he said Tuesday. Listed at 6-foot and 232 pounds, Bing-Dukes was a three-star prospect coming out of Tucker High School. He did play some fullback in high school, making the transition a bit easier. Bing-Dukes said he's been working with the first and second team at fullback. Quayvon Hicks, who played fullback the past two years, has apparently remained with the tight ends and H-backs.


Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

@thebucket @TampGator1  tryouts for this position will prove to be very interesting if Hall remains on the sidelines for any length of time.  The next depth chart will tell us where everyone shook out.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@ARdawg @gtcaryd Yea, i tried gambling on football back when i was a young man. It did not go well. Those teasers will make you abuse substances.

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

@TampGator1 ,


Is that why Florida did NOT beat a single team who ever made it to a Bowl Game the entire 2013-2014 season ?


Not Won a Bowl Game.


But, did not beat a single team who EVEN WENT to a Bowl Game, speaking of which - NEITHER did Will Mushchamp whom I hear had better get it going now or lose his job after the season.

TravisBickle2014
TravisBickle2014

@ARdawg Right again. She would rather be HOOKED-Up with a Rich married man that fills Athens with the Devil's juice to get college kids arrested and filter money back to UGa Lawyers. 

She is really the classy woman I want to bring to MOM'S Basement.