5 Fall Camp Questions:Can Oliver be replaced?

Asher Allen

ATHENS – In a week-long series Dean Legge takes a look at the top five questions going into fall camp. Today: How much with Georgia miss Paul Oliver at cornerback?

When the story broke on Dawg Post about Paul Oliver not returning for his final season many wondered just what the Bulldogs would do to fill his spot on the roster.

Asher Allen, Oliver's backup during spring practice, was elevated to the number one spot on that side of the defense, but he's far from locked that spot down as he will have to hold off at least two other players who also want to play there – senior Thomas Flowers and sophomore Donavon Baldwin.

It looked, for some time, in the 2005 season that Flowers was the future at cornerback. But injuries and off-the-field problems sidelined what seemed to be a promising career. Allen came into the fold at the end of the 2005 season – able to practice with the Bulldogs for the Sugar Bowl and the 2006 spring drills.

Last season Allen was most productive on special teams, but got heavy rotation in the Bulldog secondary. He held his own this spring and after the news broke that Oliver would not return, was made the number one guy at strong corner.

No doubt, the loss of Oliver will significantly impact the Bulldogs. Allen may hold off Flowers and Baldwin to win the starting job, but he's got a long way to go to give the Bulldogs what they are missing with the loss of Oliver. Allen and sophomore Bryan Evans combine to form one of the youngest cornerback combinations in the SEC, and while they are talented, they both lack the experience Oliver had.

Still, cornerbacks have to be thrown into the fire at some point, and Allen will get more than his fair share of attention playing Oklahoma State and South Carolina in the first two weeks of the season. Is Allen what Oliver was? No. But he's a more than adequate replacement considering the circumstances.

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