Georgia vs Notre Dame preview: Watch Isaiah Wilson

September 20th, 2019 | Written by Rob Staton

I didn’t think Notre Dame deserved to in the final four a year ago. Georgia were the superior team and an Alabama vs Georgia rematch felt like a proper ‘semi-final’.

Notre Dame were selected due to their unbeaten record and were subsequently pummelled 30-3 by Clemson. Their best wins in the regular season were against a 10-3 Michigan, a 9-4 Stanford and a 10-3 Syracuse.

Georgia weren’t unbeaten but their two losses were against LSU and a classic against Alabama. I think an eye-test and strength of schedule consideration is required for the playoffs. At the moment there’s a clear power-four in college football — Clemson, Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma. Everyone else is trying to keep up. Notre Dame weren’t close and they still aren’t.

Saturday’s game is being billed as a titanic encounter but I’d expect a fairly comfortable Georgia win. They have the better players. We’ll see if I’m right. I’m always happy to admit when I’ve got something wrong.

Julian Okwara (DE, Notre Dame) is often touted as a sure-fire first round prospect. I’m just not seeing it. He has a lean upper-body and is listed at 248lbs. You don’t see any real power generated with his hands and he doesn’t control his side of the line with any gusto. Equally though, I’m not sure he’s a dynamic enough athlete to consider a great speed-rusher.

I went back-and-forth with Brian Burns a year ago — initially listing him as a top-10 talent before second-guessing how the league considered his size. Yet the one thing you couldn’t deny with Burns was his explosive power and quickness. He jumped a 34-inch vertical at 213lbs at SPARQ and on the field you could see cat-like agility to work around blocks and win against overmatched college linemen. He’s had a good start to his NFL career in Carolina and we’ll see how he progresses. I still wonder whether he has the size to be more than a specialist rusher but he’s started well.

With Okwara I’m not seeing the same kind of athleticism. He ran a 5.14 forty at Nike SPARQ and only a 4.63 short shuttle. His overall score was a fairly abysmal 52.23. Players develop in college and improve as athletes. I’d never expect Okwara to run a 5.14 at a pro-combine. Yet I’d equally be shocked if he matches Burns’ 4.53. On tape you see the occasional flash where he stunts inside and beats a block or works a lineman off the edge. There’s very little that wows you though and he had games (eg Vanderbilt, 2018) where you struggle to notice him.

This will be a good test for him against Georgia. Andrew Thomas (LT, Georgia) is one of the top players eligible for next years draft along with the likes of Grant Delpit, Jerry Jeudy and Tua Tagovailoa. He’s so incredibly balanced and in control. He has excellent size, mobility and power. Thomas has the potential to be a day-one starter at left tackle and a long term fixture in the NFL.

I’ve also been impressed with Isaiah Wilson (RT, Georgia). I watched him for the first time this week and he’s a gigantic monster of a lineman. He’s 6-7 and 340lbs but carries the size superbly. He’s not carrying much bad weight and cuts an intimidating presence on the right side.

When he locks his arms into position he’s extremely difficult to disengage from. There’s evidence of effective combo-blocks (you always love to see that) and he’ll drive defenders back in the running game. There are occasions where he gets his drop wrong and loses balance and leverage. He drops too deep against speed and gives faster rushers an opportunity to attack from within the pocket, eliminating much space and freedom for the quarterback. He needs to play more inside-out against speed and allow his massive frame to act as a blockade. If he can’t win with a kick-slide then use your tools to your advantage.

This is a coachable issue though. What he does well is appealing and if Thomas is a high first round pick, it won’t be a surprise if Wilson ends up going later in round one as a hulking, powerful right tackle capable of excelling in the run game. And yes, he’s one to watch for the Seahawks if they move on from Germain Ifedi. If you want to focus on anyone in this game — make it Wilson. Interestingly they usually leave him on an island without tight end support. He has first round potential for sure.

How Okwara plays in this game will play a big factor in his draft stock. Many believe he’s a mid-first round talent. He won’t have a better opponent to prove it. Whether he attacks the left or right side, he’s going to face a NFL opponent. I’m not convinced he warrants the hype but I’ll happily be proven wrong.

Khalid Kareem (DE, Notre Dame) plays across from Okwara. He’s a bigger, stouter defender. Georgia has been creating enormous running lanes and plenty of space for D’Andre Swift (RB, Georgia) this season. Kareem needs to be able to push-back against this to max-out his stock. I actually hope it’s a competitive battle in the trenches (although my suspicion is Georgia will win this battle comfortably). Let’s see Swift get some hard yards and face some tough snaps. So far it’s looked so easy for him. He’s a first round talent in his own right. Let’s see a challenge where he has to create some yardage rather than exploiting the opportunities presented to him.

It’s also a key game for Jake Fromm (QB, Georgia). He lacks some of the physical skills of the other quarterbacks in this class but he’s been very effective for two and a bit years now. He’s not flashy but he’s generally accurate and makes good decisions. He rarely gets flustered and he benefits from good blocking, a great running game and speed/talent at receiver. He doesn’t have to declare for 2020 and he might stick it out if Georgia misses out on a National Championship again. This is the type of game where you him want to prove he belongs in the early rounds.

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96 Responses to “Georgia vs Notre Dame preview: Watch Isaiah Wilson”

  1. Hawktalker#1 says:

    Hey Rob,

    Here is a tool I use a lot that you might find has value for you as well:
    http://www.grammerly.com

    Great for personal and business use.

    Go Hawks!!!

  2. CHawk Talker Eric says:

    The start to this Utah-USC game is kinda insane!

  3. CHawk Talker Eric says:

    That’s easily one of the most entertaining halfs of CFB so far this season. Loads of great plays and some tremendous personal effort. Some interesting prospects on both rosters. Looking forward to the finale.

  4. charlietheunicorn says:

    I’m going to give the Patriots their props. They at least figured out AB is a bum and cut him. They should never have been signed until everything was fully investigated. Now bgi daddy NFL is getting involved and might be placing him on the commissioner exempt list until things play out. Who would have thought, the Raiders made the right call 3 weeks ago.

  5. Coleslaw says:

    https://youtu.be/Um1co8Hy_xw

    This guy is going to help us a lot. Its going to be interesting to see whether DK holds him off for the #2 WR spot.

  6. DC says:

    Glad you are including OL in your scouting Rob.

    It will be interesting to see what ultimately happens with Ifedi & Fant. The supply vs demand for functional OL reaching UFA in the NFL is weighted very heavily toward demand. It’s like the Seattle housing market, borderline insane. Given that, salary cap inflation, Ifedi’s age & relative health I wouldn’t be surprised to see him offered something north of $14M/apy by some needy team. Even though I am not enamored by his play at RT, I am a fan of continuity along the OL. I also can’t remember the last time that we had a super solid RT so there’s no rush to move on. It really comes down to how much Seattle will budget for him knowing pretty well by now what they have at the position. If Germain actually reaches UFA, someone most likely outbids us for his services.

    Losing both Ifedi & Fant would be a dangerous situation imo. I believe we will pay to keep Fant. His flexibility as a ‘6th man’ swing tackle and use as the jumbo TE has added to the identity of the team. It might cost $8M/apy (maybe more?) to retain his services but that depth is not a luxury. Protecting the NFL’s highest paid player has to stay a top priority.

    • Eli says:

      $14 million is left tackle money. There are only two right tackles in the NFL making more than $12 million. The Hawks declined Ifedi’s 5th year option for $10 million.

      Ifedi is a perfectly average, and occasionally above-average, right tackle who is often extremely frustrating. He will be lucky if he gets more than $7 million per year on his next deal. I would look at the deal Jesse Davis just signed as a good comparison.

  7. DC says:

    Welcome back to reality Utah. Your fantasy lasted just longer than Oregon’s & Washington’s…

  8. Kyle says:

    Hey Rob and friends, My buddy is a die hard Georgia fan. I asked him about rb swift and what he thought a year ago. He said he thinks he is even better then gurley. Do you have any insight on him? Is this just him being optimistic or is this something to watch?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I don’t think he’s better than Gurley. Swift accelerates incredibly and has a great power base to go with it. I think there’s some lateral stiffness but his ability to turn and cut is rare given that stiffness. R1 potential but not top-10 like Gurley for me.

  9. McZ says:

    If Georgia had won this LSU game, they would have gone to the playoffs. It was this game and the style in which it was lost breaking the 2018 season.

    ND meanwhile did what it has to do: win every single game in regular season, including some fierce low scoring battles.

    To me, it will come down to Fromm vs Book. Both teams have talented OL and DL, their secondaries are in rebuild with the occasional senior player. Book isn’t the feature player we have come to expect at the position, but he is a leader on the field. He can play under pressure, which Fromm still has to prove.

    17:10 Georgia

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think Georgia are vastly superior in the lines and have much better playmakers to be honest. And while Notre Dame did indeed go unbeaten who did they beat? Why do they gain consideration but say someone like UCF don’t? At least UCF is competitive when they reach a Bowl game. The last two times Notre Dame have made either the playoffs or National Championship it’s been a predictable hammering.

      • McZ says:

        We will see.

        But, in 2018, what has ND – or any other team going unbeaten – to do to qualify for the playoffs? UCF lost at unranked Pitt. Georgia got routed by LSU.

        Clemson hammered Alabama 44-16, which is even worse. There is no reason to believe Georgia or UCF would have fared any better.

        And “not being competitive” is a bit harsh. ND went into second quarter 3-3, but with Alohi Gilman and Julian Love injured. Clemson outgained them 261-57 in said quarter, scoring thrice on 19, 42 and 52yd pass plays vs a second secondary. When Love came back, they held Clemson to a single run TD late in third. And lost the ball on a couple of headscratching plays, which you need to risk, if your run game is not ticking. Nowhere I’m saying ND had any chance to win, this was a D with a couple of first rounders.

        We have two systems that are clear #1 and 2. Georgia just invested $200m to come close, and while one has to admire ambition, this is a lot of money to an org being a college first and foremost. ND is in the pack following. That is not a bad place having a different culture, due to higher academic standards for athletes.

        • Rob Staton says:

          I don’t think being unbeaten should be decisive though. It should be determined on who is best and it’s more nuanced than whether you lose one or no games.

          Anyone could see Georgia was better. We should aim to have the best four teams. The teams in the SEC simply have tougher schedules and are more at risk of losing a game.

      • Eli says:

        I’ll try to take an educated stab at this in the spirit of debate:

        – No question Georgia is a more talented team than Notre Dame. Level of talent should have no determination in who makes the playoff. No matter how you chalk it up, 12-0 is 12-0. If it was easy more teams would do it.

        – Notre Dame played a pretty quality schedule, actually. Going into the 2018 season they were generally regarded to have a S.O.S. somewhere in the 20-30 range, while Georgia’s was a bit lower. End of season rankings gave Georgia a harder final S.O.S. but Notre Dame’s was still ranked in the 10-15 range. It also seems unfair to question Notre Dame’s schedule when Georgia played three powderpuff teams – Austin Peay, Middle Tennessee, Massachusetts.

        – UCF doesn’t gain consideration because the playoff committee and CFB in general has a bias against non-P5 schools. I personally think it sucks, but UCF also plays a considerably easier schedule than Georgia or Notre Dame. The playoff, in my opinion, should be expanded to 8 teams.

        – What’s happened in prior seasons shouldn’t have a determination in who gets into the playoff. Maybe Notre Dame does get beat up on every time they make the post season – why does it matter? Oklahoma has lost three of their last four post-season games. Georgia seems to lose every time they play Alabama. Should we question their standing in the landscape of college football or pre-eminently dismiss them from the discussion? I don’t think so.

        Overall, I think we should honestly be excited when a school like Notre Dame makes the playoff, regardless of what has happened in the past season. The college football landscape is incredibly top-heavy and it should be alarming that every year we can pretty much write-in three teams – Clemson, Alabama, and Georgia. As a fan, it certainly makes me less excited to think that a school like Notre Dame or USC or Penn State needs to be a perfect 12-0 to get a nod over a one- or two-loss SEC team, and will then still be questioned throughout the entirety of their post-season run.

        Thanks for reading and sorry for rambling.

        • Rob Staton says:

          I agree on a playoff expansion. But I still think Notre Dame’s schedule was weak. What it looks like in pre season doesn’t matter. By the end of the year we knew what it was. And Georgia were clearly superior. Nothing about Notre Dame being de-pantsed by Clemson was a surprise.

          • Eli says:

            I think the reason I feel so strongly on this topic (and this is partly in response to your above reply as well) is that it is so entirely subjective in what constitutes ‘best’, especially so when the playoff only takes four teams.

            Is the ‘best’ team the one that has the best offense and defense? The most number of 5-star recruits? Hardest schedule? Most blowouts? Its so hard to define it in my mind that it almost becomes in exercise in and of itself and works to diminish what should also matter – actual results.

            I don’t want to reduce what actually happened during the season because its like you said in the article – the best four teams in the nation are very clearly Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, and Oklahoma (though they’re a step behind in my mind). To that list you could maybe squint and add Ohio State. If the impetus is on having the best teams in the playoff, then its going to get really stale really fast seeing the same four or five teams beat up on each other.

            (I think really this is a deeper issue, to me, than what your article was meant to provoke, so apologies for that, but its a nice forum to be able to put my thoughts out there.)

            • Rob Staton says:

              Certainly it’s subjective. For me the college football playoff decision shouldn’t be an exact science. It should be a hard-fought debate with merits for each team made vigorously. An unbeaten record should get you in the conversation for sure. Equally I don’t think it should be an automatic qualifier. I think it’s a good talking point though and a health debate about the selection process is a good thing. I think a lot of these questions would be solved by an eight team playoff. Or even six team with a bye for the top two.

          • RWIIO says:

            Just for the record. Alabama did not play very well against Clemson in the Championship game.

            • Rob Staton says:

              That is true. But nobody would try and argue Alabama didn’t deserve to be in the playoffs. They were clearly one of the top two teams in the country. I never once watched Notre Dame last year and thought they were one of the four best.

          • Paul Cook says:

            Agree about the need for a college playoff expansion. It’s all but a no-brainer that college football needs an 8 team playoff. Every power 5 conference winner should make the playoff. It gives more meaning to winning the conference and those big intra-conference rivalry games. It also allows for a few wild card teams to make it, and possibly one non power 5 conference team. Then seed them 1 through 8.

            I see no reason to expand beyond this other than to make more money. This format makes sense though. It may help to mitigate against the aristocracy factor a bit in college football, concerning both certain colleges and conferences. There’s never going to be anything truly resembling parity in college football, but at least this would be an attempt to address it in some small but significant way.

        • Justin Mullikin says:

          I have been watching football for many years. I love the playoffs. I love the idea that a group of intelligent people (not a computer) decide who goes into the playoffs. I think they have been getting it right.

          I am not a fan of Notre Dame but I do think that an undefeated season against FBS opponents (they schedule actual games not FCS games) should be awarded.

          I am not problem with 2 SEC schools making it in the playoffs. They are the best conference and they have the best players. I get it.

          With that said, one of the things that makes college football great is that teams from across the country and with different styles and schemes get to play each other. This is what makes bowl games fun.

          An undefeated team from a power five conference (or a team that plays tough games) should get an opportunity.

          With all that said, I think the playoff committee has gotten it right. Remember the BCS? I do. I hated the BCS.

  10. Volume12 says:

    God I love RB Jonathan Taylor

  11. Dawg paws says:

    What do you think of Pittman Rob? Does he declare early? If he does, could he alive a Seahawks target?

  12. Volume12 says:

    Jim Harbaugh blew a bunch of smoke up everyone’s a** and 5 years later it’s the same damn thing. Hasn’t beat Ohio St, haven’t won the BIG10, 1-3 in bowl games.

    • Henry Taylor says:

      It’s a little disappointing how dull this game has become.

    • CHawk Talker Eric says:

      I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a Harbaugh led team so thoroughly outplayed

    • cha says:

      I know this is low-hanging fruit, but maybe they need to cut back on those million-dollar offseason team trips abroad.

      Italy, France, South Africa the last 3 years.

      Probably would be hacky and wildly unpopular, but JH should issue a press release right now….”we’ve cancelled our 2020 team trip. We will go on a team trip when we’ve actually won a game against a quality opponent.”

  13. Volume12 says:

    Syracuse pass rusher Alton Robinson has had a slow start, but he’s having a huge game today. One to monitor.

    Bit of an older prospect, similar backstory to Bruce Irvin.

  14. Eli says:

    BYU tight end Matt Bushman looking nice today – capable and willing blocker, BYU splits him out wide quite a bit. He uses his size well against smaller cornerbacks when catching passes.

    • Eli says:

      In that respect, Skinny has looked really sharp today. Ball is exploding off his arm, great anticipation w/ his receivers

    • Pickering says:

      Re tight ends, U Washington’s sophomore Cade Otten is 6’5″, 246, bigger than Hunter Bryant, 6’2″, 239, and can also catch footballs. Maybe he’s another one to keep an eye on down the road.

      • Nathan W. says:

        Hmmm early in the season but after watching Eason live last week vs Hawai’i and after today, I feel comfortable in saying that Eason has first round arm talent. That said, he makes some boneheaded decisions sometimes. That INT today… what? As he continues to grow and hopefully corrects some of his decision making, he’ll climb up the QB rankings. For now though…

        • Paul Cook says:

          When it comes to just pure arm talent, Eason is already one of the very top QB prospects in the country. This guy was throwing effing darts today into some of the narrowest windows. NFL scouts certainly have their eyes on this guy. Leadership and decision making are all that are keeping him from being a top 5 pick now.

  15. Volume12 says:

    This Auburn D-line (Brown, Davidson, and Coe) is gonna get all the attention in this game today against A&M and rightfully so. However, A&M DT Justin Madubuike is a fantastic looking 3-tech in his own right.

  16. charlietheunicorn says:

    https://twitter.com/ProFootballDoc

    This has some interesting stuff, might be of interest to you all.

  17. charlietheunicorn says:

    DT Bobby Brown, Texas A+M (6’4″ ~ 325). The broadcast of the game earlier today kept mentioning him as a high round NFL prospect. I’m not familiar with this guy, any thoughts on him?

  18. cha says:

    Ian Rapoport
    @RapSheet
    After a week of speculation, the #Jaguars currently have no deal in the works to trade star CB Jalen Ramsey, and one source said the longer this goes on, the more likely it is he stays. Meanwhile, Ramsey’s trade request still stands. The wait for clarity continues.
    2:39 PM · Sep 21, 2019

    • Coleslaw says:

      Big difference from Clowney’s situation, huh?

      I think its just Khan trying to maintain leverage. First he said he loves Ramsey and wants to keep him, now this. Like Rob said, the eventual suitor will have been the aggressor in the trade.

  19. Rob Staton says:

    Isaiah Wilson out injured again so not playing vs Notre Dame. Shame.

  20. Volume12 says:

    Anyone notice that little ball flip/wrist flick Jake Fromm does?

  21. Volume12 says:

    Hello! Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida St. The juice this dude has at that size?!? 👀

    https://twitter.com/i/status/1173237151787638785

  22. Volume12 says:

    The past 2-3 years there’s been a gap between Clemson, ‘Bama, Georgia, Ohio St., Oklahoma and everyone else. It’s really created a divide in CFB. Glad to see some good, competitive football finally in the 2 big games tonight.

    • Eli says:

      It’s unfortunate that the Notre Dame offense is performing so amazingly poor, because there defense has actually looked really solid (at least in the first half and before they started getting gassed).

      Notre Dame offensive coordinator should be canned. Not sure I’ve seen them run more than a variation of the same 5 or 6 plays. Not gonna beat Georgia if you don’t try and pop them in the mouth.

      • Volume12 says:

        Up until the 3rd quarter, Georgia’s offense was trash too. I agree with ya though. ND doesn’t have anything offensively to threaten the Georgia D.

        IMO Brian Kelly should be canned. He’s atrocious.

    • Awsi Dooger says:

      I’m impressed you included Ohio State. Absolutely they belong in that elite tier.

      I was beyond astonished when Rob somehow excluded them.

      The Buckeyes suffered from 3 years of JT “Little Game” Barrett. That one player singlehandedly ruined the Buckeye fortunes and skewed the perception of how they stack up to the likes of Alabama and Clemson. Barrett somehow managed laughable YPA numbers below 5 and sometimes below 4 in key games, although he was less inept as a senior.

      Last year without Barrett they went 13-1 and finished third in the final AP rankings. They were also third in most of the final 2018 power rankings, including Jeff Sagarin’s numbers. This year Ohio State is currently third in virtually all of the power rankings.

      It requires silly subjectivity to demote them, IMO.

      I have to say I thought Notre Dame had a great shot at defeating Georgia tonight. The pointspread was an extreme bargain at +15 points. I had that. I didn’t think Georgia would score much more than 20 against a team as rugged as Notre Dame, and that’s the way it played out.

      Georgia is a bit of a fraud. They suffer from Razor Ruddock Syndrome…reputation largely based on two narrow defeats in contests they should have won.

      Lotsa luck with that as your claim.

      That bowl game against Texas last season was similar to tonight’s game in that Georgia somehow is absurdly overvalued in terms of the pointspread and expectation, when facing those teams just a cut below. Jake Fromm and his tiny 8.75 hands and weird ball flipping technique is not someone who is going to manage a margin against teams of the caliber. It might happen accidentally once in a while via big plays but Georgia is not dominant enough to make it happen amidst normalcy.

      • Rob Staton says:

        “I was beyond astonished when Rob somehow excluded them.”

        This is a bit overly dramatic. As is the snarky “It requires silly subjectivity to demote them”.

        The last time Ohio State made the final four they lost 31-0 to Clemson. They have an extremely athletic team every year and a system that churns out massive production for whoever is quarterback. But in a game against one of the top four — I wouldn’t trust them.

  23. Volume12 says:

    Georgia S JR Reed is damn good

  24. Denver Hawker says:

    Andrew Thomas is impressive. I know the dolphins need a QB, but I’d think about taking Thomas #1 and grab another QB with their next pick. Quick first step, dominant.

    • Denver Hawker says:

      Fromm’s game reminds me of Joe Flacco, efficient but boring. It works, and I can see him being drafted in a similar spot high teens, low twenties in R1, early R2 at latest. There could be 5 QBs taken in the 1st round, only good for the Hawks.

      Eason looked good today as well, still need to see more to be lock in R1. UW O-Line dominated and season had plenty of time in the pocket. Would like to see him pressured more.

    • Matt B. says:

      Fromm reminds me of Carr, did not see anything impressive in his game tonight.

  25. Paul Cook says:

    Georgia’s talent eventually wore ND down. ND just couldn’t move the ball.

  26. Paul Cook says:

    Just as I say that, ND goes down the filed for a TD. LOL

    • Volume12 says:

      Lol. I did the same thing. Mentioned ND had no one to threaten Georgia’s D and Chase Claypool then proceeded to take over. 🤦‍♂️

      • McZ says:

        Like I wrote to Rob… NDs run game (especially the calling) was and still is atrocious, so Book needs to take over. He is a solid QB prospect, much more mature than Fromm.

        Julian Okwara was a non factor. Really unbelievable, he is just not his former self.

        Book, Claypool and Gilman will be the top prospects out of ND.

  27. Volume12 says:

    OK St. galaxy brained themselves! Hahahaha. Instead of going for it on 4th & 1 they try a FG, get a delay of game, then try a fake FG. You can not make this stuff up.

  28. charlietheunicorn says:

    Brutus the Buckeye nails a 50 yard FG in costume….. impressive…
    *phone starts ringing*
    Brutus, this is Ryan Pace, we have a job offer for you… kicker for DA Bears

  29. Kenny Sloth says:

    Brycen Hopkins TE Purdue. Smooth, some ok blocks on film, huge catch radius, explosive threat in a bad scheme

  30. charlietheunicorn says:

    Not often you see a stat line like this:

    Anthony Gordon WSU / 40-60, 556 YDS, 9 TD

    (so far, game is not over yet)

  31. Murphy says:

    As a UCLA fan it’s been a while since I’ve been able to say this without a hint of sarcasm. Go Bruins!!!! Crazy game, down by 32 points in the 3rd?!?! On another note, I note I was pleasantly surprised with how competitive ND was.

  32. charlietheunicorn says:

    Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny, who strained his hamstring during practice on Friday, is not expected to play Sunday vs. the Saints, per source. His injury is not considered serious, but Seahawks want to be careful with Penny. ~ Schefter

    : /

    • Rob Staton says:

      Better to not risk it. Shouldn’t be too much of an issue if Prosise can repeat his pre-season form.

      • Sea Mode says:

        I’m eager to see some more of Prosise and Homer too.

        Wonder if there will be a game or two during the season where we can just rest Chris Carson completely as a preventive measure and to keep him fresh for the long haul.