"How do I keep my players happy?"
It's a question right up there in today's day and age of college football next to "how do I make my players better?"
The combination of a rampant NIL market and player mobility being at an all-time high in the sport has created a need to keep the players you have happy.
So, when you look at a position group like Georgia's tight end room, one filled with uber-talented targets and a finite number of touches available, it's a reasonable question to ask.
How will Georgia manage to keep Brock Bowers, Darnell Washington, Arik Gilbert, Oscar Delp, and Brett Seither engaged for the entire season and perhaps beyond?
Darnell Limited Early
Washington is currently rehabbing his second foot injury in less than one calendar year. One would assume that when he makes it back to the field, he will likely be limited in terms of usage rate. Additionally, of all of the tight ends, it's Washington that will be tasked with the majority of the workload on the line of scrimmage. It was Washington that added a dynamic to Georgia's running game late in the season as a physical blocker on the edge, something that the rest of the tight ends on the roster struggle with.
Georgia is fully invested in bringing in a large class of wide receivers in 2023 under Bryan McClendon as the wide receivers coach. But Kirby Smart made no bones about it this spring when talking about his current roster. Smart said publicly, that he believes they have two "SEC receivers" on their roster - Adonai Mitchell and Ladd McConkey.
So, if you have a limited number of weapons at receiver, but a plethora of specimens at the tight end position, why not play those guys? Todd Monken has shown a tendency to play with two or even three tight ends in his past, particularly when his tight end rooms have been stacked.
Someone Will Have to Wait
It's the reality of the matter when you look at it on paper. Barring some type of injury, one of the five SEC caliber tight ends they have on the roster currently will need to wait their turn, and it won't be Bowers or Gilbert this spring.
Brock Bowers is the heavy favorite to win the Mackey award entering the season, and despite not having played since October of 2020, Arik Gilbert has drawn plenty of reason for the belief that he's on track to return to form, the same form that saw him become the first tight end ever to win Gatorade Player of the Year.
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