Friday, July 25, 2008

Countdown to UGA-GSU: 36 Days

#36 Brannan Southerland, FB
6-0, 240, Dacula GA (Greater Atlanta Christian School), Sr.
Brannan was one of the top fullback prospects in the Class of 2004, choosing the Dawgs over UNC, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Florida and Florida State. There was some talk early in his career that then-Defensive Coordinator Brian Van Gorder might want to gobble him up to play linebacker, so he redshirted his first year to figure out where he'd land. After Van Gorder bolted, Southerland settled back in at fullback. After an injury to Des Williams prior to the 2005 season, Southerland found himself as the starting fullback for game 1 of his redshirt freshman season, and did not disappoint. Besides displaying the punishing style of blocking that we've all now become accustomed to, he also scored 5 touchdowns in just 26 touches in his first season. He took on a more expanded role in the offense as a sophomore, touching the ball 60 times and scoring 10 touchdowns, which led the team in scoring. Last season, with the emergence of Knowshon Moreno, Southerland's offensive role was scaled back considerably, yet he still scored 6 TDs. One constant throughout his career has been his blocking ability. Not many in the game today fill a hole like Southerland. One of the better fullbacks ever to wear the red and black, Brannan should hear his name called in the NFL Draft in 2009, and have a nice, long career in The League.
Depth Chart Analysis: In what was probably the most crushing news of the entire off-season, Southerland suffered a setback in rehabbing a foot injury, which required additional surgery in June. The prognosis is good, but the rehab period is 14-16 weeks. That puts him back anywhere from the the season opener to the Arizona State game. My guess is that we might possibly see him in Columbia in week earlier than the trip to Tempe, which would be not only an obvious boost on the field, but a great psychological edge for the team to see the "Scottish Warrior" (as one famous Dawgventer labeled him) bruising Gamecock linebackers in the biggest of early season tests. Southerland's importance can not be discounted. The Dawgs need him back in there (at full strength) in a big way. He is an absolute key to this season. Assuming his foot is fine, he's the starter once again on the first day he is ready. Until then, Shaun Chapas should fill in admirably.

11 comments:

Bear said...

I actually feel very comfortable with Chapas stepping in big #36. Last year it was very noticable that we used the FB dive much less and when it was used(which I am glad we didn't use it very much), Brannan seemed to always get stopped for no gain and appeared to have "slow feet." Which I guess could have been caused by the foot problems he's rehabing now. Of course, #36 is known for his blocking. Chapas looks like he's put on weight and muscle since last year. I think we'll be fine with Chapas personally and that is saying nothing negative at all about Brannan.

JJ said...

Bear, I agree that Southerland wasn't quite as effective running the ball last year. That said, we can't expect Chapas to be anywhere near the blocker that Southerland is. Southerland is a special blocker. Good pass catcher as well for his size, although Chapas may be just as good in that regard. (Not sure since we haven't seen much from him with the ball in his hands.)

BayouDawg said...

If Stafford can toss the ball out to the FB's and not try and take their heads off, then both these kids could get some receiving yards.

Bop said...

I honestly believe that Southerland is one of the best players in Georgia history at a given position, and think he is underrated.

I thought he could have ended up like Herschel and Pollack as a 3 time all american if UGA would have had a better season in 2006. Had UGA won beaten Vandy and UK that season to get to 11 wins I think he would be going for 3 straight seasons as an AA. We will be a much better team as soon as he gets back between the hedges.

Simply put, Georgia has had the best FB in the country for the last few years. He might just be the best "football player" on the team.

Worm said...

I hope he gets back in there quickly. I'm sure Chapas is good but he is not Southerland yet (blocking). Bop is right when he says we have had the best FB in the country for the last few years.

Bear said...

BOP:

You must be forgetting about Marisa Simpson. Played FB back in the early 90's. My favorite player at that position and one helluva good guy.

Bop said...

No disrespect to Simpson, he was a very good player, but Southerland is the best FB to ever play between the hedges (Mack Strong a very close 2nd).

Now speaking of off the field accomplishments and quality of people, not many can match Simpson (and I understand how he's your favorite fb). I'd have him in my top 5 fb's to play at Georgia, but the top two are far ahead of the others imo.

VOLSFAN72 said...

I asked my buddy this the other day and he did not know...who was the back that caught the pass during the infamous Hob-nail boot call by Munson. Not that I want to remember that night, but it is driving me crazy trying to remember and I do not want to look it up!!!
By the way, as a Vol fan, I will be very happy to see Sutherland graduate, he has been an incredible FB and it seems like he has been there for years!!!

JJ said...

Volzfan,

Verron Haynes is the fullback you are thinking of. Former walk-on fullback turned tailback later that season. He was a good one.

VOLSFAN72 said...

Thanks JJ! I still have nightmares of that play!!! That was one of the strangest moments I have ever experienced at Neyland. The crowd went from total pandemonium after our screen pass, to dead, and I mean DEAD, silence when he caught that ball.

JJ said...

I was at that game, and it was one of the most surreal experiences I've ever been a part of. First of all, the hotel room I booked north of town for the night before, had police tape over the door when I tried to check in. I caught a room about 60 miles the other way down the interstate, watched Barry Bonds break McGwire's HR record, then woke up the next morning and bought a sweatshirt from Walmart because it was an unseasonable 32 degrees on Saturday morning. Went to the game by myself (Bayoudawg ditched me to go sit in the upper deck with some girl I think.) First part of that game seemed like every other UGA/UT game I'd ever been to at Neyland, I think it was 14-3 Vols early. After Damien Gary's punt return TD, I really thought we had the game locked up. We had some guys (who will remain nameless) loafing it down the field on Travis Stephens' touchdown. Then we flew back down the field. Truly an unbelievable day and weekend for Dawg fans and Vol fans I'm sure.