Georgia TE Bruce Figgins' Return Could Bolster the Bulldogs Offense
When Bruce Figgins was suspended at the start of 2009, many felt that the tight end position took a hit. Despite the potential at the time, of both Aron White and Orson Charles, it was the size and blocking ability of Bruce Figgins that many hoped to see on the field in 2009--especially given the inexperience of Joe Cox at quarterback.
After the first few games of the season however, it became clear that both Charles and White were doing a solid job as starters and, their production on the field was significant enough, that Figgins felt comfortable opting for a medical redshirt . This allowed him to continue rehabbing his shoulder and preparing for a fully healthy season in 2010.
His six-game suspension in August 2009 likely factored into the decision as well. He was due to return for the seventh game of the year, but there was no guarantee that he would have been ready, conditioning wise, to play at the level fans were accustomed to seeing.
2010 brings a fresh start and Figgins is ready to get back to buisness on the football field. Even so, that doesn't mean it will be an easy task for him to steal reps from the firmly established rotation of Orson Charles and Aron White.
After all, their performances firmly established them as receiving threats in the offense and Charles, in particular, could prove a comfortable target for new quarterback Aaron Murray--the two are good friends and played together at Plant High School--as he gets comfortable with his starting role.
On the other hand, it couldn’t hurt to bolster the offensive lines expected strength with an extra body that knows how to pick up a blitz and open up running lanes for the tailbacks.
Last season, the Dawgs offensive line struggled against the pass rush and was inconsistent blocking in short yardage situations. Figgins’ size and aggressive nature at the point of attack could help alleviate some of those issues in 2010 by adding another big body on the line of scrimmage.
Figgins has always shown a proclivity for being an outstanding blocker and he can hold his own against some of the tougher defensive ends in the SEC.
This year it is expected that the Dawgs will lean on the run game heavily in the early going and a healthy, strong, and rejuvenated Figgins lining up alongside an experienced crew, would be beneficial in both protecting Aaron Murray and opening running lanes for the tailbacks.
Furthermore, his healthy influence on Arthur Lynch cannot be discounted. He and Lynch are similar in both size and style of play, and Lynch has shown that he can be a formidable blocker in the future.
Figgins’ ability to catch passes should also not be dismissed. He may not be called upon to fill that role very often, but that does not mean he is not capable of doing so. He has good hands to go with his strong frame and that makes him an excellent redzone target.
Georgia has a lot of talent at the tight end spot, but the return of Figgins is significant because of his above-average blocking ability. Georgia will need him to remain healthy and focused (both on and off the field) this season. If he can do so, both the passing and running game should be helped by his presence on the field.
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