When you take a quick, superficial look at the upcoming football season for the DAWGS, you will either see a team riddled with holes and questions or you will see a team that should once again be considered a contender in the SEC Eastern division and therefore a contender for the SEC and national championships. We here at the BEAST can see both, depending on the day…the humidity in Dublin…the lake levels at Hartwell…and which way the wind is blowing in Toccoa. Point is no one knows how the season is going to play out…and that’s part of the fun of it…but today we encourage you to get in touch with your inner head coach, stare down the pre-season media horde and, in your best coach-speak, acknowledge all of the keys to greatness that will be unveiled to the masses as our DAWGS get unleashed in 2010.
I know Murray is only a redshirt freshman that has never taking a live snap on game day for Georgia, but we don’t know the whole deal. Late last season, quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said that although you can never say for certain, there was certainly a chance that the arm injury that limited Murray’s development last season played more than a small role in the team’s decision to not pull his redshirt. This season, head coach Mark Richt has said that if given the opportunity he (and any other coach in his mind) would take an “Aaron Murray” every year in recruiting. During SEC Media Days, CMR expressed his confidence that Murray has shown all the signs of knowing what he will be asked to do on the field and that he understands the level of commitment necessary to be successful and lead this team and reported that Murray’s teammates see this as well and have rallied around him during the off-season. These men know better than any of us ever will how prepared Murray is to take the reigns of this team. If they feel confident in his abilities and readiness…both physical and mental…then I say tee it up and get it on. Steve Spurrier, who knows a few things about quarterbacks, said this during SEC Media Days: “You put a quarterback with a real good team, he should play pretty well. (pause) If he’s a good quarterback.” I think that sums it up pretty well.
There is no denying that there needed to be some new blood injected into the Georgia program after the DAWGS stumbled to an 8-5 record in 2009 and Grantham and his new defensive coaches certainly seem to have filled that need. Undeniably, there is a new energy around the program these days. Although we have not seen the DAWGS new defensive product on the field yet, but we all will soon enough and the frenzied, attacking style of play we will see from Georgia will turn the DAWGS opponents and the league on its collective ear. CMR recently said that the goal heading into fall practice on the defensive side of the ball is to get the guys ready to “Play fast, play physical and play with confidence.” Grantham and his staff will get it done and the DAWGS D will be feared once again.
With no Alabama or LSU on the conference schedule, three of the four out-of-conference games against Louisiana-Lafayette, Colorado and Idaho State and the toughest true road games looking like South Carolina and Auburn, the DAWGS look like they are in position to really make some headway. I’m of the opinion that there are no free skates in the SEC, but when the cards fall your way you had better take advantage.
When it comes to kicking the football, you would be hard pressed to find any team in the country that is as set as Georgia. DAWG Legacy Drew Butler led the nation with a 48.1 yards per attempt average last season and won the Ray Guy Award, which recognizes the nation’s top punter. Blair Walsh did his best to continue Georgia’s recent history of big-legged and accurate kickers going 20-22 on field-goal attempts. Walsh was one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award which goes to the nation’s top kicker.
We Run This State
The offense should be in good hands with Caleb King and Washaun Ealey returning in the Bulldogs backfield. Both are coming off productive seasons in 2009 and with the fires of competition being stoked throughout the year, there is no reason to be surprised if the two talented backs combine to rush for more than 2000 yards in 2010.
The DAWG Mollies
Georgia’s offensive line has the potential to be the top unit in the Southeastern Conference and one of the best in the nation. All five starters return and there are a total of eight letterman across the offensive front. That has to make Murray and the running backs sleep better at night. The O-Line is anchored by first-team All-SEC honoree Clint Boling and should only continue to grow together. This is a unit that the DAWGS should be able to hang their hat on, especially early in the season, and they should make the offensive unit look better than it may actually be early in the campaign.
Lethal Weapon 8
A.J. Green. Without question, the DAWGS superlative talent at wide receiver ranks among the best in the nation at his position. Green’s stellar body control, great hands and deceptive speed make him the premier weapon in Georgia’s offensive attack. Green is almost a “no joy” assignment for any defensive back on the DAWGS schedule and one fantastic security blanket for a redshirt freshman quarterback. Although the casual Georgia fan may think Green will be the only weapon in the aerial arsenal, they would be mistaken. The DAWGS return an extremely talented group of tight ends in Aron White, Orson Charles, Bruce Figgins and Arthur Lynch as well as the return of veteran Kris Durham and several yet-to-break-out wide receivers in Israel Troupe, Rontavious Wooten and Marlon Brown. With so many options on an offensive unit that returns 10 of 11 starters, there should be many happy Saturdays for the DAWG Nation in 2010.
So, why shouldn’t we members of the DAWG Nation be excited about the 2010 edition of the Georgia Bulldogs? With key new faces in key places that are dripping with expectation and potential, a schedule that is just about as sweet as they come in the Southeastern Conference, one of the premier kicking units in the nation, talent and production returning in the running game, a deep and veteran offensive line and a Heisman Trophy candidate at wide receiver…the DAWGS future looks bright for the 2010 season.
If the O-Line brings a lunch pale at South Carolina and the DAWGS continue the road dominance we have come to expect during Coach Richt’s time at Georgia, there is no reason to believe that this bunch of DAWGS cannot get to Jacksonville in late October (there will be more to come on the HATED Gators at a later date) with a record of 7-1 or 8-0 and the table will be set for Georgia to once again reach double digits in wins and reclaim it’s rightful place at the top of the SEC Eastern Division and get back to Atlanta. CMR is 2-1 in SEC Championship game appearances and if the DAWGS could get that one, well let’s just say bigger things usually follow.
These are not predictions, but rather a glimpse of what to look forward to and what could be in 2010. Regardless, there is no reason to doubt that this will be an exciting season “between the hedges” and the DAWGS will have a chance to win every time they step on the field. Not every program in the country can say that, and you can rest assured that every last coach in the country would take those odds, so break out your red and black and get ready for the ride. GO DAWGS!