Fear Not Bulldawg Nation, Georgia Has the Tools to Compete in 2009

Mike In ValdostaCorrespondent IJuly 29, 2009

ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 29:  A Georgia Bulldogs fan yells during a defensive stand during the game between the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on November 29, 2008 in Athens, Georgia.  The Yellow Jackets beat Bulldogs 45-42.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

Time had not expired on the Citrus Bowl clock when the questions about Matthew Stafford's and Knowshon Moreno's future took center stage. Then came the answer and the fretting, then more fretting. Add Mohamed Massaquoi to the list of departures and fret some more.

The Joe Cox era will begin without the quarterback controversy that seems to be the norm at other schools. From every indication, he has the complete confidence of his teammates and coaching staff, if not the NFL scouts.
He has been in the program for four years, is a student of the game, and aspires to be a coach when his playing days are done. His top goal in life is to be head coach of a national champion.
As a player, will he lead his team to a championship? We are about to find out.

I certainly do not remember a more daunting season opener than to be breaking in a new quarterback on the road. We should know all we need to know about the "Ginger Assasin" by the time we hit the Arkansas line on the way home from Stillwater. Expect him to do what coaches do, get the ball into the hands of his play makers.
Caleb King and Richard Samuel both ooze athleticism. King is very shifty and has decent speed. Samuels is a load that has some get up and go.
King tended to bounce it outside a little too much last year. Samuel looked like a strong safety carrying the football and looking for contact.
A year of seasoning and film study should pay off. Carlton Thomas and Washuan Ealey will make sure these two do not get complacent.
Coach Richt's recent comment about King being No. 1 "for a reason, not just because we like him" gets me pretty fired up. It seemed like both of these guys were trying a little too hard last year.
As their carries increase I imagine things will slow down for them and their talent will prevail. Running back is not going to be a weakness for this team.

The only knock on our No. 8 appears to be that he doesn't spell his name J-u-l-i-o J-o-n-e-s. Without getting into any media biases against our guy, the real question is who will benefit from the double teams WR A.J. Green is certain to face all season.
Just like with our running backs, there is a lot of receiving talent on the roster that has yet to demonstrate itself in game situations. One advantage they will have is the amount of practice reps they have shared with Cox while MoMass was catching the Stafford strikes.
These guys are scholarship athletes at the University of Georgia. We will be fine.

No offense to Tripp Chandler, but tight end has not been a strength in recent years. The coaches appeared to have addressed this shortcoming with excellent recruiting.
Only time will tell, but I am looking forward to seeing the big guys fly down the middle of the field again. I am sure Joe Cox does too.
With all of the attention giving to the departures, it is easy to lose sight of what remains. Coach Searels has plenty of healthy talent to coach up. In retrospect, the Dawg's accomplishments last year were pretty amazing given all of the injuries and changes along the offensive line.
Last year's weakness should be this year's strength. Even a Yankee knows football games are won and lost in the trenches. This year, the trenches should be our briar patch.

So fear not Bulldawg Nation. 2009 promises to have the Dawg's back in the thick of the SEC race. We even have one more orange clad opponent on the schedule, and nothing makes your red pants look better than to stand next to someone wearing an orange.
There have been more stories than I care to recognize detailing the amount of offense that has departed the Classic City. Georgia averaged 426 yards per game in 2008, all but about 50 of those yards were produced by the aforementioned trio.

This is the game we love. We pour our heart and sole into these young men, living through their successes and dying with their failures.
Then they leave and others take their places. Their athletic eligibility is limited but their place in the Bulldawg Nation is eternal. This is the game we love.

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