Branden Smith has been up and down in his two years at Georgia.
As a true freshman he burst onto the scene in a wild game against South Carolina in 2009. Georgia was down early but had battled back and took the lead at the start of the 2nd quarter when Branden Smith took a pitch, went 61 yards and left everybody else in the dust. It was one of those plays that stays in your memory. Etched into the brains of Georgia fans as a highlight and etched into the minds of Gamecocks fans as something they'd like to forget. It's one of those moments that makes you take note of a player.
In his freshman campaign Smith went on to run the ball 17 times for 208 yards for 2 TDs and an eye-popping 12 ypc. Smith's sophomore campaign was plagued by injuries as he only played in 9 games. Smith also had to learn a new defense last year as Todd Grantham came in and brought the 3-4 defense to Athens. Smith spent more time on defense and more time on the sideline due to injury.
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Then came the G-Day game this spring. While the Spring Game should not be used as an end-all be-all, it can be used as a reminder of what could be. I wasn't even expecting Branden Smith to play offense in this game. So you could color me surprised when he proved to be the most explosive player on the offensive side of the football for the Dawgs during their G-Day game. Smith finished the day with 2 carries for 11 yards and 2 receptions for 28 yards and a TD. The TD catch was a 28-yarder where Smith did all the work. Aaron Murray hit Smith out in the flat on a short pass and Smith zigged and zagged his way down the sidelines for a score.
Georgia's offense this year has the talent to be pretty good. They have arguably the best QB in the SEC in Aaron Murray. They have the best TE (Orson Charles) and the best TE corps in the SEC (and possibly the nation). They have some decent returning RBs and one of the top recruits in the nation coming in to challenge them. The biggest question-mark for the Georgia offense might be WR. They lost two guys that were drafted in the first four rounds of the NFL Draft (AJ Green and Kris Durham). They return guys with good up-side like Tavarres King and Marlon Brown. They have some untapped potential in RS Frosh Michael Bennett, Rantavious Wooten, Frosh Chris Conley and Frosh Malcolm Mitchell. But will they be enough to open up the field for the RBs and Orson Charles. If Branden Smith was moved to offense then he would have the explosiveness that the offense needs and the defense would have to know where he was on every play. Smith could line up at WR, RB or at QB. He could take direct snaps, reverses, hand-offs or receive passes. He could be an X-factor. So is it worth moving Smith to offense full-time?
They key to Branden Smith being moved to offense could be how well the defense progresses and how the depth chart flushes out in the defensive backfield. The DBs already lost dynamic Safety Alec Ogletree as he has moved to ILB (a move which I love). CB Sanders Commings played some at Safety during the spring and could move their permanently. If Commings does move to Safety then Georgia can't afford to move Smith to offense. I believe Brandon Boykin and Commings will start at corner. I also believe that this is our best 1-2 combo at the position. After them there is young depth that can cover the nickel (and Smith could still play some nickel in key positions). So should the Dawgs permanently move Smith to offense? I think they should.