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Post Welcome to Game Week

Monday August 25, 2008

It’s here, and in five days we’ll hear Brook Whitmire introduce for the first time our #1-ranked Georgia Bulldogs. Pretty much all of the positions are settled now. Preparations for the opener are well underway. There’s not much left to do but line it up. With a few days remaining, here’s what we do and don’t know at this point.

What we know

  • Moreno is the star, but this is Matthew Stafford’s team. We’ve read about his lofty personal goals for the season, and he’s put in the work to get himself ready for a pivotal season. If Stafford does raise his level of play, Georgia should be just fine this year.
  • The offensive line is set. From left-to-right it will be Tripp (LT), Vance (LG), Chris Davis (C), Cordy Glenn (RG), and Josh Davis (RT). I’m not alone in expecting Clint Boling to assume one of the starting positions – most likely right tackle – upon his return from suspension next week. That’s a solid line, and the lone surprise is probably Glenn who has really come on as a true freshman. For the first time in a while, Georgia also has a respectable second team line with players like Ben Jones, "Bean" Anderson, Tanner Strickland, and either Boling or Josh Davis all pushing the starters.
  • Youth will be served. From the receivers to the offensive line to placekicking, true freshmen will see the field early and often in significant roles. Not many tools will be left in the shed this year.
  • Georgia will be wearing the bulls-eye. Everyone wants to knock off the king of the mountain. The Dawgs can expect nothing less than the opponent’s best shot each week.

What we don’t know

  • Who’s going to be this year’s Marcus Howard? Charles Johnson went out with a bang in the 2006 Chick-fil-A Bowl, and Georgia turned to an undersized end who had struggled to find playing time. The situation is similar a year later. Marcus Howard left Georgia fans raving about his Sugar Bowl performance, but his time at Georgia ended just as he was rounding into form. Now somewhat unfamiliar names like Wynn and Houston are among those competing for playing time. The ability of Jon Fabris to crank out NFL-quality defensive ends isn’t in question, but his job has been made tougher this year with a rash of minor injuries at the position.
  • Can Blair Walsh perform under pressure? A field goal make or miss can be season-changing in the SEC, and the Bulldogs enter 2008 with a freshman kicking the ball. Walsh has said all the right things and has the cockiness you’d want from someone willing to accept the pressure, but it might take consecutive road trips in September to learn just what kind of kicker we have.
  • Who’s splitting carries with Moreno? A year ago many fans expected Caleb King to compete with Knowshon Moreno. Now King is in danger of becoming the second choice for backing up Moreno. History is full of promising players who end up with the "injury-prone" label and can’t shake it. Now true freshman Richard Samuel is getting glowing press and is dead-even with King. Though Caleb is only a redshirt freshman, his window for proving himself is now.
  • How tough will the schedule really be? We know it’s loaded with big name teams, and even the mid-major opponent brings a dangerous quarterback to town. The ins and outs of a season though reveal some teams to be better than expected and others to be worse. Some games we expect to be struggles could likely turn into cakewalks and vice versa.
  • What factor will serendipity play in the 2008 season? Will one of the season’s biggest games be played in a driving rainstorm? Will a key injury turn the fortunes of the Bulldogs or one of their opponents? Will an epidemic of jock itch derail any more contenders? These completely random unknowns are what makes the game what it is and can make the difference between 14-0 and 10-2. Will enough of the bounces go Georgia’s way?

3 Responses to 'Welcome to Game Week'

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  • How about a couple of “What we knows” about the defense:

    1. The middle will be stuffed by a rotation of 5 capable bodies. Rushing yards between the tackles should be at Seymour/Stroud level.

    2. Our top two linebackers compare favorably to any pair in the conference.

    3. Our 5 best defensive backs form possibly the best nickel package we have had at UGA. If they aren’t there yet, they should be by the mid-point in the season.

  • Frank Franklin

    August 25th, 2008
    11:38 pm


    Agree with most of what you said and what Hunker Down said in his comment. However, I cannot agree that “We Know” about the O-line. I think people have been a bit naive (not sure if that’s the right word) in thinking that the O-line will be fine based on the potential of our players and the coaching of Coach Searels. The reality is that our starters are unproven and have seen no meaningful action and it is hard to predict how such a young O-line will fare. While I fully believe that they can come together at some point, the question is at what point will this occur. We need these guys to come together quickly, and I am worried that might not happen. Hopefully I’m wrong. But our O-line scares the living shit out of me right now.

  • Good stuff, especially about the defensive tackles. I’m especially interested to see Brandon Wood.