Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Looking forward to this season

Can't wait to see how these things turn out this year for the Dawgs... if they go the way I think they can, 2009 could be a special year for UGA. Here are a few questions...

1. What is more important - proven superstars at the skill positions on offense or a really solid foundation on the OL with solid (yet unproven) talent at the skill positions? Obviously, AJ Green is a proven commodity at WR. But, the rest of the offensive skill position players have almost zero experience. I am looking forward to see this offense prove one of the old adages of football - the games are won and lost in the trenches. I think the Dawgs offense will be plenty good this year for a few reasons.... The offensive line is going to be huge for us this year and the talent is there at the skill positions. The young pups just have to go out and realize their potential.

2. How much leadership really took place during the off-season? And how much will it affect the way this season goes? This could be huge. All of the players said the right things and did the right things during the winter and spring and summer. Now we get to see if it was all BS or if there really was an attitude change in Athens after the disappointment of last year's 10 win season. I believe in Joe Cox as a leader and I believe in that being a key to a team's success. See Matt Ryan last year for the Falcons - the players on that team rallied around him from Day 1. Jeff Owens, Rennie Curran and co. seem to have the ability to rally the D up and get back to a "Junkyard D". A surprise leader might also emerge from a true FR on offense in Orson Charles. Every time I read a quote from him, I get jacked up. He wants to win and he wants to win NOW. If he truly believes in everything he says, Look Out - When I hear AJ Green and other players comparing him to Knowshon for his motor and energy after a few workouts, I can't wait to see this guy hit the field.

3. Which true FR will see the field and what type of impact will they have? Richt has already said that he expects all skill position freshman to see action this fall. This was expected to be the case at WR and TE and from Branden Smith in the defensive secondary. What will be interesting to see is if this will have an impact on our special teams. I think having these talented rookies come in and play on the kickoff teams could be a huge upgrade in our coverage and will help out immensely. I am curious to see what Marlon Brown will do opposite AJ.

4. Can Bogotay win the kickoff duties and can he put it into the end-zone? This was a huge problem last year and put a lot of pressure on our Defense. If Richt was able to find a leg that can force our opponents to start on the 20, I would feel a lot better about Willie and the D.

5. Will a tailback emerge and be a true #1? In a perfect world, I would love to have a horse that we can ride for 20-25 carries per game, while the backups sprinkle in another 5-10 carries. But, I don't think it will happen and I don't think it really matters. I believe that we have too much talent back there (coupled with an unbelievable OL) to struggle in the running game. Richt has almost always had a committee in the backfield and he has always had pretty good success. I do like the idea of Carlton Thomas getting some opportunities in space and on screen plays.

6. What are we going to get from the QB position? I think everyone forgets what type of recruit Joe Cox was coming out of high school. He is not some scrub that just lucked into the starting gig in Athens. Rivals had him ranked as the 7th best pro-style QB in the country when he committed to the Dawgs. Assuming he has been coached up over the last 4 years, he will be just fine as our starting QB. The question is how will the depth chart look behind Cox... Let's assume Mettenberger gets the redshirt - who will be QB2 - Murray or Gray? Regardless, I expect to see some sort of a special package for Logan installed in this year's offense and that should be exciting.

7. Pass Rush??? I think having Weston, Owens and Atkins clogging up the middle will free up the D-ends to have an impact again. As we all know, Willie's defense is dependent upon getting a pass rush from the front 4. If someone can emerge from the outside, the defense could be nasty again this year.

Those are some of my questions along with my always optimistic outlook. What do y'all think and what are your questions for this year?


JJ said...

All great are my first instincts on each....

1) I agree that having the strong OL is as important (if not more important) as anything. I really think we're going to be fine on the edges. It would be nice to have a go-to #2 receiver with some experience like Massaquoi, but I have a feeling that Mike Moore will step up and fill that void. Brown and Wooten will be 2 players to keep an eye on. Especially Marlon Brown. If Cox can just be average and a tailback can emerge, the offense should be pretty good.

2) I don't put nearly as much stock into the leadership factor as everybody else seems to. I realize that people are looking to hang their hats on when comparing this year's team to next year's, so I think that is where alot of it is coming from. If we had problems keeping guys motivated last year, I blame that on the coaching staff more than the players. After all, these are 18-21 year old kids, and none of them are named Tebow, Pollack or Shockley. But maybe there is somebody on this roster who has something special and can keep everybody around him focused.

3) I really hope it is Branden Smith or Montez Robinson. CB and DE are 2 positions I'm concerned about.

4) The coaches offered Bogotay without ever watching him kick a ball in person or even speaking to him in person. Not sure how to feel about that. He's either real good or UGA is real desperate.

5) I sure hope so. This is the key to the entire offense in my opinion. Somebody has got to establish themselves as a clear #1and take the lion's share of the carries as a result. Nobody employed by the University of Georgia in the last 8+ years has shown me that they have the ability to handle a tailback rotation.

6) I'm going to disagree slightly with you on this. Cox was committed to Duke (that's right, Duke) before he decided UGA was a better fit for him. The Floridas and USCs of the world weren't exactly knocking down doors for him. That said, I really don't think it matters. The fact that he's the clear #1 heading into fall (I honestly thought he was going to get a serious push from Gray or Murray in the offseason) tells me he's good enough to get the job done. I hope that isn't just blind faith on my part. I heard Gray has looked very good so far in summer practice. Sounds to me like he's going to be the clear #2 and take alot of snaps during games.

7) One can only hope. We just need somebody, anybody to emerge as a serious pass rushing threat. Just one player. That will help this defense immensely.

Bop said...

Damn that's a good post RB and a really good follow-up from JJ. My biggest reason for optimism is the trenches. I'd rather have stars on the Oline and Dline than anywhere else on the team....and we are loaded with them. Our best position coach has the best players on the team. We should maul people up front.

I'll post some rambling thoughts later, but this season should be a lotta fun.

Anonymous said...

My question is Defensive End. If one steps up to become dominant, we should be much better (10 points better) as a defense. Good post by the way.

Anonymous said...

This is some pretty good insight. I think a lot of your year depends on the play of Joe Cox. Speaking from our miserable experience last year (although I do not think it dealt with Crompton as much as it did with the "Clawfense"). I believe your QB play can determine a lot of games. We had a phenominal front line returning and a very solid core ... Read Moreof RB's and decent WR's. However, we never found a QB...and unfortunately we never junked the pitiful system.
I definitely think you have your work cut out for you with your schedule. That can never be taken for go to OSU, Tennessee (I know), Vandy (who is not terrible anymore), and Ga. Tech. Your tougher games at least are at home with LSU, USCe, and Auburn (who should be pretty bad, but they are in the same boat we are in, so they could be a wild card). And then you get to go to Jacksonville, which is not going to be much fun unless Tebow is banged around...which you have done in the past.


Anonymous said...

I love coming up from the middle of the pack in expectations. I do believe the game is won in the trenches. The young skill players can do some special things if they get a view of the field without getting hit their first step. Cox: when DJ came in during his career for back up opportunities, he didn't look so good and we made excuses that "it's... Read More hard not to get as many snaps and perform up to expectations." In Cox's case, he's performed really well in his brief snaps... like Colorado. Over the top to Millner about 45 yds for game winning TD. That's clutch. I can't recall the other examples, but I recall being impressed with his other appearances. If he's the leader his teammates have described over the past few years and clutch, we're in for some big moments rather than just some steady play that may be enough for our D.