2011 CFB Regular Season: Predictions for the Georgia Bulldogs' Offense
It may seem a little premature for me to make these kinds of predictions, but I have absolutely no patience. I just cannot wait until September!
Georgia football I believe will turn around this year, including the offense. We Dawg fans have had to suffer these past two years with a mediocre team, and we are getting fed up. We love our team, but we want to win.
Although the defense has performed more poorly than the offense these past two years, the offense still has been shoddy. When Georgia gets behind in games due to the defense, they cannot catch up. The offense would be acceptable if the defense actually played like an SEC defense, but that has just not happened.
However, this year the offense returns many starters and gains new talented recruits. A.J. Green did leave, which could hurt the passing game. But there is enough talent left so that his loss will be hardly felt.
Here are my predictions for each offensive player in the 2011 college football regular season.
RB: Caleb King
I will start with the ground game with Caleb King. He is a talented running back, but has had issues in the past. He missed five games last year including the bowl game due to legal issues and injuries.
If he could change is attitude and fix his behavioral issues, then he would have and could have a great career. He has average five yards a carry in his three years, and last year he averaged 5.4 yards a carry.
He at one point was a highly touted recruit from Atlanta, but stat-wise he has been a bust. He has only one year left at UGA to prove himself, but is it too late for him? With Washaun Ealey and Isaiah Crowell competing for the starting job at tailback, King will see limited carries.
I believe he will have a high average per carry, but the carries he does get will be meaningless. He will probably be used most in blowout games like New Mexico State and Coastal Carolina. If someone becomes injured or if either Ealey or Crowell do not perform well, then King will get some carries.
However, I just do not see that happening. Plus, Georgia also has another talented running back in Ken Malcome. King blew his opportunity, and thus he will not get many carries and touchdowns.
Prediction: 387 yards, 75 carries, 5.2 yds/carry, 3 TDs
RB: Washaun Ealey
Once again we come to a troubled player who has yet to finally hit his stride. Ealey has shown flashes of greatness, but he has never been consistent.
Also, he missed a game due to extracurricular troubles last year. In the games he did play in, he was either hit or miss.
He ran for 811 yards and scored 11 touchdowns last year, averaging 5.2 yards per carry. For a backup, these are good numbers, but for a starter it just doesn't cut, especially in the SEC.
He rushed for over 100 yards only three times last year, and had TDs only in seven of the 13 games he played in. To show how inconsistent he was, he had four games in which he average over 5.5 yards a carry, and the rest were under 4.9 yards per carry.
He and Isaiah Crowell are expected to compete for the starting job this season, which could be a good thing for Ealey. With his starting job in jeopardy, he may step up his game.
I expect Ealey and Crowell to both get most of the carries and for Ealey to be more consistent. However, his yard totals may stay the same because he will be getting fewer carries because of Crowell.
Prediction: 824 yards, 148 carries, 5.6 yds/carry, 7 TDs
RB: Isaiah Crowell
I am only cautiously excited for this player due to how Caleb King turned out. However, unlike King, Crowell does not have as much pressure on him.
Crowell is not the only running back the Bulldogs have, which will help. If he is as good as predicted, then Georgia has nothing to worry about. If he has some growing pains to go through, then UGA still has Ealey and King.
Crowell looks like a player that Georgia needs though because he is quick and has great eyes. He can find gaps to run through and has the ability to juke people out. In a way he reminds of Knowshon Moreno because of Crowell's ability to break tackles and keep his feet running.
Early signs tell that Crowell will either start or just get a few carries in the season opener against Boise State. How he does in that game could decide his future as a starter which could affect how many carries he gets. I believe he will perform well enough and that he will be given many opportunities this year.
Prediction: 913 yards, 194 carries, 4.7 yds/carry, 8 TDs
RB: The Rest
Carlton Thomas was Georgia's third best rusher last year in terms of yardage, but he will probably not get that many carries this year. Last year he did not impress and was only used in blowout games, and even then did not perform like he should have.
Prediction: 158 yards, 41 carries, 3.9 yds/carry, 1 TD
Probably my favorite rusher last year was Murray. Sure he is not supposed to be the one to run, but when he did it was always exciting. Plus, he actually had some pretty great rushes.
Obviously sacks count against him, so his average was very low. That will probably be the case this year again unless the OL becomes an rock wall that performs way above expectations. However, he may score more touchdowns this year from his four he scored last year.
Prediction: 244 yards, 93 carries, 2.6 yds/carry, 6 TDs
It will be interesting to see how much Malcome will be used this year. He was red-shirted last year even though he did very well in practice. I expect him to get a decent amount of carries this year because I believe Mark Richt and Mike Bobo will try to revert to more rushing than passing.
Prediction: 193 yards, 38 carries, 5.1 yds/carry, 1 TD
WR: Tavarres King
With both A.J. Green and Kris Durham leaving, Tavarres King will now be the starting wide receiver. However, unlike Green, King will primarily be used for deep balls and big plays. Green was used for both short and long passes.
Also, King will not see as many passes coming his way because of the depth at the tight end position. However, he will be seeing more deep balls than Green because Aaron Murray will have more confidence in his arm.
Last year, King had the second highest yards per catch average among the starters, which shows that he is good at what is expected of him. His numbers were 504 yards, 27 catches, 18.7 yds/catch and three TDs.
King has the talent to be a good SEC wide receiver, and thus he will have decent numbers this year. He will not have the most yards, but his average for yards per catch will be high. Also, he will have more opportunities to score touchdowns, so that total will go up this year.
Prediction: 789 yards, 41 catches, 19.2 yds/catch, 6 TDs
WR: Marlon Brown
Just like Tavarres King, I expect Brown to have a breakout year. This year he will step out and be a driving force in the passing game.
Brown, like King, had an okay year last year. He had only had 133 yards, caught 11 passes and scored one touchdown. For a player so talented, those numbers are terrible.
With Aaron Murray being a sophomore and having more confidence, I believe he will have an even better year this year. That means better stats for those on the receiving end of his passes.
Charles will have a lower yds/catch average than King, but he will score almost the same amount of touchdowns.
Prediction: 546 yards, 38 catches, 14.3 yds/catch, 5 TDs
WR: Malcolm Mitchell
Mitchell is another highly regarded recruited from the "Dream Team." He, like others of that group including aforementioned Isaiah Crowell, are expected to contribute immediately.
Mitchell is a 4-star recruit who is known for his exceptional speed and agility. His mold is very similar to A.J. Green's. Obviously he is not expected to be the next A.J. Green, but is expected to do a respectable job replacing Green.
At first Mitchell was expected to be a cornerback, not a wide receiver. Richt did not agree and stated that Mitchell will be a wide receiver. He would be a good fit either way, but the need at wide receiver is more pressing.
I expect Mitchell to have the expected amount of catches and yards from an important back up receiver. He won't have as much opportunity to get the long balls like King will, but he will get his fair share of big plays.
Prediction: 455 yards, 28 catches, 16.3 yds/catch, 3 TDs
WR: The Rest
At one point he was a well-regarded wide receiver recruit, but the hopes for him a slowly fizzled away. In fact, he only has 157 yards total in his three years at UGA. I believe that this year will be his best year, but he still will not have too much playing time or opportunities.
Prediction: 156 yards, 11 catches, 14.2 yds/catch, 1 TD
Wooten actually had more yards last year than Troupe did, but do not expect that this year. He will have a very low chance of getting much playing time, and when he does the game will either be almost over or someone will be seriously injured.
Prediction: 94 yards, 9 catches, 10.4 yds/catch, 1 TD
This is purely speculation, but I believe due to the lack of depth at the wide receiver position, Scott-Wesley will get some playing time instead of waiting until next year. He is a 4-star recruit who has good talent and could turn into a great wide receiver. Like Wooten, however, he will only get playing time in games that are not close.
Prediction: 87 yards, 9 catches, 9.7 yds/catch, 0 TD
TE: Orson Charles
I believe this will be the year of the tight ends for the Georgia offense. With the running game still in question and the lack of depth at wide receiver, this will the season that the tight ends gain much importance.
In the past, the Bulldogs have not utilized their tight ends well. This year however they cannot ignore the fact that they have three talented tight ends who can anchor this offense.
They are strong and fast, the perfect combination in the SEC. Orson Charles is one of these players. He has shown that he can do it all when he has had the ball thrown his way.
Charles had a breakout game against Florida last year, and become more involved after that. He had an okay year last year stat-wise, with only 422 yards, 26 catches and two touchdowns. I expect though that this year he will have a breakout season, and he will become on of Aaron Murray's favorite targets.
Prediction: 766 yards, 50 catches, 15.2 yds/catch, 6 TDs
TE: Jay Rome
Jay Rome according to some recruiting Web sites is a 5-star recruit, but all of them agree that he is the best tight end recruit in the country. And Georgia nabbed him.
He will not get as many catches or yards as Charles, but he still will do just fine in his freshman year. He is talented and hopefully will not be ignored by the Georgia coaching staff.
I believe that he will get some playing time in quality games, due to the fact that he is so talented and Georgia will pull out all of the stops.
Prediction: 532 yards, 36 catches, 15.2 yds/catch, 4 TDs
TE: Aron White
Another tight end! As I said before, Georgia is full of them. And this is a good thing.
Aaron Murray will have a great array of players to throw to, which helps everyone. White has not garnered that many yards in his career, but like many others he will have more opportunities this year to get those yards.
Last year he caught nine passes for 125 yards and no touchdowns, but this year expect his numbers to increase. Not by too much, but by enough for him to be noticed.
Predictions: 211 yards, 14 catches, 15.1 yds/catch, 2 TD
QB: Aaron Murray
We have finally come to my favorite Georgia Bulldog. Even though last year the Dawgs went 6-7, Aaron Murray had a beast year. And he was only a freshman.
At one point there were doubts about Murray and his abilities, but those doubts have been put to rest. Murray proved he is one if not the best new quarterback in the division. His stats were only bettered by Cam Newton, Greg McElroy and Ryan Mallett.
However, all three of those quarterbacks are gone, leaving Murray as the best returning quarterback in the SEC. In fact, he is expected to be one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC and even a Heisman candidate.
Last year he threw for 3049 yards, had a 61.1 completion percent and threw 24 TDs compared to only eight INTs. My God, a freshman!
If he can replicate or better those stats this year, which I believe he will, then the Dawgs are looking pretty good. Georgia and Mark Richt need a good year this year, and Aaron Murray will be leading the way on offense.
If the ground game is stable, then expect Murray to throw for over 3,500 yards. If not, then expect him to throw for somewhere between 3,000 and 3,500 yards. His TD-INT rate will be great like last year regardless because he is an intelligent QB.
Murray has a bright future, and this year will continue to show that.
Prediction: 3,587 yards, 62.3 completion %, 26 TDs, 7 INTs
Expect the offense to improve this year. The running game will be more stable with a new OL coach, and the passing game will improve because of Aaron Murray's continuing maturation as a QB.
Georgia's schedule factors in this discussion because of how easy it is compared to most year. They only have to play four true road games, and they play two cream puff teams.
Overall, the team will improve, with the offense leading the way. The offense showed that it could be lethal last year, with the team scoring over 30 points in the final seven games of the regular season.
Prediction: 13 games, 34.6 points/game