With spring practice right around the corner, it's time to wrap up the 2014 season once and for all. This week, we'll be looking at most improved players on each side of the ball, MVP's on each side of the ball, and finishing with the most outstanding player on the team from the season.
As a general rule, I despise being wrong. I'd rather accurately pick my team to lose than inaccurately pick them to win. Much of the joy I get from sports gambling is in finding out that I'm right. (Sadly, that's not as often as I'd like.) That said, there are some occasions where I'm OK being wrong. Bryan Chamberlain is one of them.
I can't find where I said it, but I know that before the 2014 season, I wasn't shy about the fact that I was not a believer in Chamberlain as a starting offensive lineman for Georgia Tech at all. At 6'4", 295lbs, I knew that he had the physical tools, and that there weren't too many problems in technique or physical stature. The problems, as I saw them, were in Chamberlain's head. A number of times throughout the 2013 season and even in the 2014 spring game, Chamberlain was called for false start penalties (especially in crucial moments during games) and was occasionally missing assignments. It got so bad that it cost him his starter job after the first seven games of the season. I saw it as a major concern moving forward, especially for a guy due to be a starter again in 2014. Could Chamberlain get it together and deliver as a full-time starter?
Deliver he did. Not only did Chamberlain cut down on his mistakes, he realized his potential and became one of the best linemen on the team. (A strong case could have been made for him being the team's second-best offensive lineman, over Freddie Burden and behind only Shaquille Mason.) I don't remember a single time throughout the season when my eye was drawn to Chamberlain for having made a mistake -- in pass protection, run blocking, or on a penalty.
Chamberlain had an absolutely outstanding season, and he deserves recognition for his amazing play. He was named Honorable Mention All-ACC, and was a key part of Georgia Tech's historic rushing attack. He returns next season as one of four seniors on the offensive line, and surely he'll be a starter once more. Chances are, he'll team up with Trey Braun to anchor the left side of the offensive line.
In other words, Justin Thomas should be very comfortable with the idea that his blind side is safe in 2015. He's going to have a gem of a left tackle behind him.
Congratulations to Bryan Chamberlain on an outstanding 2014 season!