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Post What do the preseason All-SEC lists say about Georgia?

Friday July 17, 2009

The coaches’ preseason all-conference teams are out, and Hale has the complete list. The nine Georgia representatives are pretty much who you’d expect, though some fans probably might be surprised to see Prince Miller and Rashad Jones get mention. (You shouldn’t be.) Florida’s 16 representatives were far and away the most, and LSU, Alabama, and Georgia were all pretty close at the top of the list. Though Georgia had nine players receive preseason honors, only two (Green and Curran) were first-teamers. But that’s not a surprise, is it?

On the whole, the lists more or less validate what we’ve known about the team. On defense, the representatives are the defensive tackles, Curran, and the returning defensive backs. Georgia’s questions at defensive end, two new starters in the secondary, and hit-or-miss play at the other linebacker spots are familiar offseason story lines. Green’s first-team selection was expected, and the three other representatives on offense are all offensive line starters. It’s that offensive line that drew my attention.

Georgia has two second-teamers and a third-teamer on the preseason lists. Not bad – only Florida is better represented (with two first-teamers and a second-teamer, not to mention a TE). Before you note that Sturdivant might be underrated because of his injury, he didn’t make the preseason lists at all last year *before* his injury. He had a great freshman season, and his ability to perform with any competency at all made the 2007 season possible. But he was still a freshman.

For the first time in several years, we’re able to talk with confidence about both depth and quality experience on the line. That’s an improvement and worth something. It should be a very solid unit (health permitting of course), and we know they will be well-coached. If Georgia had decent lines given the circumstances of the past two seasons, how good can they be with a bit more experience, health, and depth?

That said, does the absence of first-team candidates (and this is all-SEC, let alone all-American) lead anyone to think that we might be building this line up a little too much as the strength of the offense? I don’t mean that they’ll fall apart – we’ve seen too much from the projected starters to know better. I mean that a lot of us are depending on this line not only to protect and maximize the production of Cox but also to clear the way for a muddled group of tailbacks. Are they to that point yet, and is it possible for the line to do everything we need of it without at least one dominant all-SEC first-teamer? It doesn’t take a Ciron Black to have a good line, but do you need those kinds of stars to make the line the “brick wall” that will allow the rest of the offense to come along?

Of the projected starters, I think Boling is the most likely to make a postseason first-team list. As a junior he’s one of the most experienced of the group, he’s remained healthy, and (again depending on the rest of the line holding up) he’s starting off at a position where he’s done very well. Others like Glenn and Jones are definitely coming along, but as sophomores it’s probably too soon for them to vault to the top of the conference. As for Sturdivant and Vance, we’re all holding our breath waiting to see how they come back from major injuries.

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