UGA Football Offense: 10 Starters Return To Make Unit Dangerous
In 2009, the Georgia Bulldogs thought quarterback Joe Cox would lead them to big things because he waited patiently behind Matthew Stafford for three years and the whenever the opportunity arrived for him to step up, he was successful (the Colorado game in 2006 for example).
Things did not go according to plan, however, because Cox never got the offense rolling on a consistent basis. He did throw for 24 touchdowns, which was third-best in the SEC, but he did throw 15 interceptions, which was third-word in the conference.
Now with Cox gone, it’s time for redshirt freshman Aaron Murray to take over as the new QB and he will have a lot of help as all 10 starters return from last season including preseason All American A.J. Green.
Here’s a look at Murray, Green and the rest of the 2010 Georgia Bulldogs offense.
When Murray signed his letter of intent early 2009, there was an already a lot of hype around him because everyone thinks he will be the next great quarterback for the Dawgs. Only time will tell if that will happen, but Murray has an arm and can throw on the run, like D.J. Shockley.
The only real disadvantage Murray has going against him is experience, because when he takes the field on September 4 against Louisiana-Lafayette, that will be his first college football game. If he keeps his cool and makes sure he keeps everything in front of him, Murray will have a solid 2010 year.
Logan Gray will be the backup but he will play wideout this year. Gray is athletic, but as a quarterback he doesn’t fit well into what head coach Mark Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo want him to do. Gray will play if Murray goes down or if he struggles mightily.
The reason for this is their third quarterback, Hutson Mason is a true freshmen and is not ready yet to be thrown in to the fire. Mason should be the backup by the end of the year, once he gets more comfortable in the system.
Caleb King and Washun Ealey were quite the duo running the ball last year. King rushed for 594 yards and seven touchdowns while Ealey rushed for 717 yards and three touchdowns.
King missed spring practice due to an injury, but will be ready to go in the home opener. Ealey has looked strong throughout the offseason and should put up better numbers this season.
Carlton Thomas is the No. 3 back and he is a guy that can spell Ealey and King as well as return punts. He in seven games he rushed for 92 yards on 22 carries.
The fullback position will be handled by Shaun Chappas and Fred Munzenmaier. Both are hard-nosed blockers that do not make too many mistakes. Chappas was named SECs best blocking back by Sporting News last year.
A.J. Green is considered by many as the best receiver in the SEC as well as the country. Despite playing in only 10 games last year, Green was able to post an average of 5.3 receptions per game and 80.8 yards per game, both were second in the SEC.
The other receivers that will see playing time are Tavarres King, Rantavious Wooten, Kris Durham, Israel Troupe, Marlon Brown and Gray as mentioned earlier.
King has been anointed starting split end spot, but will miss the opener on September 4 due to an suspension for an alcohol related arrest back in July.
This leaves the door open for Durham who is coming off a knee injury and missed all of last season. He had a solid scrimmage earlier in the week, pulling down three catches for 78 yards.
Wooten showed promise last year, but was inconsistent at times. Troupe and Brown are also have a lot of promise but may not see a lot of action due to a young quarterback in the system who still is learning.
Orson Charles returns as the leading receiver for tight ends, catching 23 passes for 374 yards and three touchdowns, but Aaron White is the starter and is very reliable at the position. Bruce Figgins will return after sitting out last season due to a shoulder injury, and has seen action in 24 games. This could be the deepest position for the Dawgs on offense or defense.
If the Bulldogs do big things this season, it will be because of their offensive line. All starters from last year are back and some say this could be the best line in the country.
They are led by All SEC performers Clint Boling and Ben Jones. Boling will man the left tackle spot while Jones (who is currently nursing an ankle injury) will be back to play center for the third consecutive year.
Cordy Glenn will be back at left guard and Chris Davis will return as the right guard. Chris Davis will handle the right tackle duties, bur Trinton Strudivant could see some time there as well. Sturdivant missed the 2008 and 2009 season due to knee injuries.
There is no question with 10 starters coming back on offense, Georgia will be expected to score a lot of points. But it all comes down to how quickly Murray can adjust to the speed of SEC defenses.
If he comes around quickly, the offense will be as good as any in the SEC then the Bulldogs can be a top team in the conference. But If injuries bite them early and Murray struggles, then like it was in 2009, it going to be a long season.