10 things a Bulldog fan is looking forward to seeing

Last week I ran down some of the things I hope not to see in the coming football season, mostly nagging problems that plagued the Dogs last year. Now it’s time to look ahead to some of the good things I think will have fans on their feet cheering this fall.

So here they are, starting with our big-play man:

1. A.J. Green catching the ball and running the ball. It’s hard to believe the freshman phenom played most of last season hurt and still had 56 catches for 963 yards, some of those catches quite spectacular. He also ran the ball four times for 61 yards, an aspect of his game I’d like to see more of, turning him into a Percy Harvin-style weapon. Of course, Green will be double-covered much of the time, so the Dogs will need some of their other receivers to step up. Michael Moore showed in the bowl game that he’s coming along nicely, and a healthy Tavares King has potential. But it would be really nice to have another big weapon, which leads me to …

2. Marlon Brown making a big splash as a freshman. The wide receiver out of Memphis, who also played quarterback and running back, returned kicks and even played some defense in high school, should make a big target in the Red Zone for Joe Cox and force defenses to pay attention to someone other than Green. If he’s as good as they say, he’ll probably get an early chance to play like Green did last year.

3. Big Jeff Owens, returning from a season-ending injury last year, back on the defensive line with Geno Atkins. That alone should make it easier for our defensive ends to pressure the quarterbacks, one of our biggest deficiencies last year. With linebacker supreme Rennie Curran, easily the cream of the defense a year ago, also returning, Georgia’s defense can take a lot of pressure off the rebuilding offense. Willie Martinez would certainly sleep better.

4. An experienced and (hopefully) healthy offensive line. Considering how green his troops were and the way he had to keep mixing and matching last year, OL coach Stacy Searels worked wonders. If he can keep a stable lineup this season, those battle-tested youngsters should develop into one of the strengths of the team. 

5. A healthy team. Georgia had more than 20 players lost to season-ending injuries last year, and nearly that many had to sit out spring drills while recovering or rehabbing from injuries. Along with a lack of team leadership, it was the major reason the Dogs didn’t live up to their advance billing last season. You’ve got to figure the odds are we’ll fare better in that department this year. But keep those fingers crossed. 

6. Joe Cox quickly shutting up all those folks who think he might be another Joe T. With the cool way he brought the Dogs back against Colorado a couple of years ago, we know he’s capable of being an on-field leader. And while he doesn’t have Matthew Stafford’s arm strength, we’ve seen him throw some really nice balls in his limited playing time. All Dog fans should want this guy to succeed, because if we reach midseason and there’s any question about who should be starting at quarterback, it’ll mean we’re in trouble. There’s a lot of talent behind Cox, but baptism by fire isn’t the best way to develop it. Speaking of which …

7. Logan Gray in the Red Zone. Although he didn’t get much of a chance to show it last year fielding mostly fair catches on punts, the Dogs’ likely backup QB is the kind of running threat that will make for more versatility inside the 20. I’m not saying Mike Bobo should put him in the game every time we get in the Red Zone, but just enough to keep defenses uncertain about what we’re going to do.

8. Caleb King proving he’s not another Jasper Sanks. Even if Bobo ends up returning to the tailback-by-committee system, Georgia needs a reliable lead back, and King looks to have all the tools. From all reports, he’s improved his blocking, which was his main liability as Knowshon Moreno’s backup. But he didn’t take ownership of the position in the spring as he was expected to do. Here’s hoping he rises to the occasion this fall. 

9. Fred Munzenmaier getting a third touchdown on his third career carry. Along with probable starter Shaun Chapas, Munzenmaier gives us valuable experience at fullback, and after his spring play he might even get in at tailback occasionally. Since he’s scored the only two times he’s been given the ball in regular season so far, it would be sweet for him to make it a hat trick.

10. Some big hits by Bacarri Rambo like the one he delivered in the G-Day game. Georgia’s defense is always at its best when it has a really hard hitter who can make receivers think twice about laying out for a ball. And what a great name!

What else has you excited about the coming season?

95 comments Add your comment

dawgsontop

April 29th, 2009
10:41 am

11. …revenge time for the tech game…

Brian

April 29th, 2009
11:13 am

I want to see Bryan Evans succeed at safety this year. The guy took a beating last year (on the field, and from fans) and I hope he’s as comfortable as everyone says.

DawgGirl32

April 29th, 2009
11:16 am

Great list, Bill. Makes me excited for the fall. I would have to add watching Justin Houston develop as a defensive end. He had a great spring. Hopefully we can actually put some pressure on QBs this year. And I have to agree with dawgsontop. Revenge on the bees will be more than sweet.

Bradley G

April 29th, 2009
11:19 am

11. A change in defensive philosophy DURING the game. The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again expecting a different result.

12. The emotional Mark Richt from 2007 and not the stoic one from 2008. He took a lot of heat from the Touchdown Celebration, but the other games (especially the latter half) from that year showed him much more animated in 2007 than in 2008.

13. Beat Florida…and Auburn…and Tech…and Tennessee…and everyone on the schedule. Hey, the title of this blog was about what Bulldog fans want to see in the upcoming year, right? Well, that’s what I WANT to see.

Renegade

April 29th, 2009
11:22 am

Put Munzenmaier at fullback and Chapas and tailback. Mark my words, Caleb King will not amount to much. He does not have that fire and explosiveness. Joe Cox will do fine. I remember in 97 when Donnon told Bobo not to throw the ball any farther than his chin strap. We went 10-2 that year. We’re looking good.

Maddog

April 29th, 2009
11:29 am

A stifling defense that performs in both halves. Last year we allowed Alabama, Florida and GT to score a collective 135 points.

lastgrad

April 29th, 2009
11:40 am

How about three or four big goose eggs on the visitors side of the score board! Let the Big Dawgs eat!

PTC DAWG

April 29th, 2009
11:49 am

This Dawg is looking forward to his week at the BEACH….

WTF???

April 29th, 2009
12:26 pm

11. – Tebow picking up his teeth at the goal shortly after a keeper up the middle…..

Dorsey Hill

April 29th, 2009
12:27 pm

I am afraid that #6 is entirely dependent on #’s 2 and 8. If Cox has weapons, he’ll flourish. If its chuck and duck to Green we could be home for Christmas. Defense will be fine especially if the one oversight in the list: Botogay kicking through the end zone, pans out.

Success in 2009 will come down to whether we develop playmakers (other than Green) on offense or not. At this time we simply don’t have the proven horses to score enough points to beat UF or Tech or Ok. State. And y’all can whine about Willie all you’d like, but you don’t plan to shut these sorts of teams out. You can’t even plan to hold them under 20. Each will average over 40. Keep them under 30 and score more and that is just what it takes whether you like it or not. I haven’t seen enough weapons on our side to score 28 against air.

uga_b

April 29th, 2009
12:49 pm

I would only like one thing…Urban Meyer to cry again.

JB

April 29th, 2009
12:54 pm

Or Dorsey…….. This team could have a great reaction to Matt and Knowshon leaving ( Hey press, there’s 20 other guys over here ) and some new stars are born…..I say they can’t wait to play this fall.

WTF???

April 29th, 2009
12:59 pm

Dorsey Hill – Great point, the kicking game KILLED us last year. Specifically on kick-offs. Way too many times the other team started with great field position because Blair Walsh couldn’t keep it between the lines.

P.S. – CMR, due to his inability to kick a football within the confines of an entire football field please make sure this kid NEVER drives drunk. He would kill thousands….

Alabamadawg

April 29th, 2009
1:11 pm

I agree with UGA_b

uuugh.

April 29th, 2009
1:12 pm

How about: 1. No arrests.

Dorsey Hill

April 29th, 2009
1:20 pm

JB,

I certainly hope you are right. All the other pieces are there. OL, DT, LB’s are pretty much at championship level and we have reason to hope that we’ll have good DE, Corner and Safety play.

We just don’t have a back we know will be a every down threat and we haven’t yet developed a receiver, or a TE for that matter, that can make a defense worry, other than Mr. Green.

We could be a real threat or we could crash and burn in an ugly way. This year’s team unlike any other I’ve seen can go either way. Most years you really know if your are going to compete at a high level or not. (For example I pre-season predicted the 2007 team would win it all and but for Vandy imploding in the 4th and UK missing a chip shot field goal vs. UT would likely would have, so I am no skeptic in general. We were, in my opinion, the best team in the country that year, even if we didn’t win the trophy. I also didn’t feel good about the 2008 team even before Sturdivant went down. I dont know… a premonition maybe.)

The 2009 squad is all potential that has yet to be realized. And the success of our QB, a good leader and accurrate passer without any athleticism to speak of, depends on those pieces coming together. On top of that we are opening against a team that puts up points in bunches on the road. The 2009 Okie State team is better than the 2007 one we saw in Athens. That game in Stillwater will be a real litmus test for where we are as a team.

Cuz

April 29th, 2009
1:28 pm

Sanders Commings and Bacari Rambo as the roving headhunters. Hit em again, hit em again, harder, harder.

Exley DAWG

April 29th, 2009
1:34 pm

11. The cheerleaders, (female ones!)

SEC1

April 29th, 2009
1:34 pm

11. Kickoff’s making it in to the end zone!
12. NO headlines of…”GA player arrested for…”
13. Emotion, Emotion, Emotion from Cox and company!

go dawgs

Huh?

April 29th, 2009
1:37 pm

Dorsey, I have come to terms with the possibility that that 2009 could be a very lackluster season, but I take issue with how you seem to put the onus on the offense and not the defense. If we go 7-5 it won’t be because we didn’t have any “playmakers” on offense or any crap like that. You are watching too much SportsCenter. It will be because our defense is giving up 30+ points per frickin game like they did in the second half of last year. They were AWFUL and unless they improve it doesn’t matter how many lousy “playmakers” we have on offense. We will be doomed. Thanks.

Dorsey Hill

April 29th, 2009
1:45 pm

Huh,
Last year has nothing to with this year. If you don’t believe me find a 2008 preseason poll.

Billy

April 29th, 2009
1:49 pm

11. Good at making French Fries.

uga_b

April 29th, 2009
1:57 pm

Speaking of which, who is our kickoff return man? From what I have seen Samuel should be starting at RB.

That reminds me
#20 the same person catching and returning punts.

WTF???

April 29th, 2009
2:00 pm

The defense will be vastly improved with Big Jeff Owens back in the middle & I think once all of our ends are healthy we will have the pass rush from the outside we missed last year.

Dan

April 29th, 2009
2:00 pm

Seeing how Auburn’s coach reacts to the Athens environment in November!

Dawg4Life

April 29th, 2009
2:16 pm

Dorsey, you just argued your own point. If last year has nothing to do with this year, then what difference does it make who we play first? Okie State may fall on their face too. Naturally, the first game of the year is always a litmus test. The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter what happened last year. All we can hope is that the coaches can develop these top 10 recruiting classes. The talent is there, but issues like injuries, penalties, lack of consistent pass rush, and below average tackling were the major problems last year. Lets just hope they can improve in those areas. If they do, they will be fine. As far as an every down back, don’t forget about Ealey coming in. The guy is very similar to Moreno in is ability to finish off runs. He is more physical than Knowshon, not as shifty, but has the same nose for the end zone. The only thing I question with him is his blocking. Being that ECI’s offense consisted of pitch to Ealey, draw to Ealey, off-tackle to Ealey, toss to Moody, there is reason to have doubts in that area. Other than that, the guy is the real deal.

I am with you on the 2007 team though. The knock on them getting to the NC was they didn’t win their division, which I understand completely. But the media quickly forgot this argument when they were so quick to defend Texas going to the NC instead of Oklahoma this year. Texas didn’t win their division, but since they are one of the ESPN darlings, they deserve it?

Musa Dawg

April 29th, 2009
2:42 pm

Look, we are no where near as talented on defense as you guys are saying. The guy that said the good teams are going to score 30, we just have to score more, is foolish.

Weve got a long way to go. And nothing to show that makes me believe we will get there at this point.

DLine–No Ends
LB’s–Not that good–Even Curran
DBs–They were horrible at every spot last year

cnoles

April 29th, 2009
2:44 pm

How about FEWER penalities guys!!

Cuz

April 29th, 2009
2:46 pm

.14 Tailgaiting on North Campus with a bevy of beauties.

braveswin

April 29th, 2009
2:58 pm

Musa Dawg, Curran not that good? And I thought I was stupid

WTF???

April 29th, 2009
3:04 pm

Talent is useless without a desire to be dominating. I think our defense proved that last year.

DawgGirl32

April 29th, 2009
3:06 pm

Rennie Curran finished second in the SEC last year in tackles with 115 but he’s not that good??

rabbit

April 29th, 2009
3:07 pm

caleb king doesn’t have that fire and explosiveness,have you ever watched him run, not likely because if you have, you wouldn’t have posted a probable and likely the number one worst comment of the year, watch some video genius

Pitbull

April 29th, 2009
3:09 pm

Caleb King reminds me a lot of Musa Smith in his first 3 years at UGA. Musa was a very hesitant runner that did not make the yards he was capable of making. That changed his senior year in the Alabama game. I understood that his dad challenged him to man up as a runner and dish it out. Musa changed into a player that would put his shoulder down and punish his tacklers after that and he picked up a lot of extra yards and wore down defenses doing that.

It would be nice if Caleb would do the same. He has the potential to be very good. I am unsure about his heart though. He needs to get meaner as a runner.

WTF???

April 29th, 2009
3:17 pm

Caleb King looks scared to get hit to me. I dunno, but I would run Carlton Thomas till the wheels fell off. Kid is small, but a lot of heart.

DONZADAWG

April 29th, 2009
3:20 pm

looking forward to Mark Richt speaking in Rome, Ga
tonite. Having healthy and experienced offensive and defensive lineman will make all the difference even with no Stafford or Moreno. i.e. look at Alabama last year.

george

April 29th, 2009
3:35 pm

I am excited about the Clarke County jail once again being filled up with thug UGA football players between now and September.

WTF???

April 29th, 2009
3:36 pm

12. – George having male genatallia on his breath before midnight tonight.

WTF???

April 29th, 2009
3:42 pm

Donzadawg – Distract them while I sneak out & play golf.

Home&Home

April 29th, 2009
3:52 pm

There was a huge difference between UGA 2007 and Texas in 2008. The SEC east was a 2 way tie and UT had beaten UGA. The big 12 South was a 3 way tie with each team having beaten one of the other. If the Big 12 used the SEC tiebreaker, they would have thrown out the lowest ranked of the three teams and gone head to head, leaving Texas over OU. Our case was much different.

JaxDawg

April 29th, 2009
4:19 pm

11. Showing up for ALL 4 quarters in ALL games. The Dawgs were good enough to beat every team on the schedule last year but had games where they either didn’t show up at all (FL) or only played half a game (Bama & GT). I’d love to see them play all every game with passion and intensity from whistle to whistle!
GO DAWGS!!!

king gator

April 29th, 2009
4:22 pm

1 good thing about the Gators – National Championships (4 this decade!)

Dorsey Hill

April 29th, 2009
4:27 pm

Dawg4Life,

You are correct in that just because last year’s Ok. State team was good does not mean they will necessarily be good this year. However, I do believe that they have most if not all of their offensive talent back. That would suggest that this year’s team will be good as well. Defensively they may be weak but can we, w/Cox and co., put up points on them? Or anyone?

Musa Dawg,

In no way did I say that “good teams” will put up 30. What I said was that there are certain teams on our schedule: Ok State, FL and Tech who will avg. throughout the year over 40 ppg. To believe that we can plan to hold each of them to less than 20 is foolish. We probably will once. Obviously we’d love to do it each time, but reality is reality and you have to expect that these teams will put points on the board. As the object of the game is to score more than your opponent, I’d like to have the weapons to do just that.

Keep in mind that these are not the only “good” teams we play. These are the teams with potentially explosive offenses. Now you might think that if we put up 10 we should beat anyone, but that is just dumb. Football just doesn’t work that way.

Against the balance of our schedule, the other 8 opponents, scoring over twenty in each would win at least 6-7 games and maybe all of them. In short, if you see a 17-13 win over the Gators you are fooling yourself. 35-28 maybe. 31-24 possibly. 17-13 ain’t happening if Tebow is in the game.

I will make this bet with anyone who wants to play. If we avg. 32 or more points per game, we will allow less than 19. If we avg. less than 28 you can put our defenses numbers in the low to mid 20’s. Does that mean the defense is worse? No. It simply means that bad offenses have less TOP, more turnovers, worst field position and yield more points. Effective offenses control the clock, make the other team’s offenses more predictable as they must catch up and thus leads to a better ppg. result on defense.

The same happens in reverse. If we have a defense that avg. 15 points or less, I can pretty much assure you that we will avg. close to 30 ppg on offense, even if we ain’t that good. What we as fans have to think about is which unit will be the dominant one? Right now it appears that the D is ahead of the off. But how good is the D really? I think that are 17-19 ppg. good. That should be Top 3-4 in the Conference and not bad at all. That being an average, some will do better and some worse. If we want a successful season we are going to have to beat the teams that fall above that avg. My thought is that the three that have that potential are Tech, UF and Ok. State. I’d like to beat each so I would like to be confident in scoring more than 30 and holding them to less. By my calculations this means we win. Is this so complicated?

OZZFEST

April 29th, 2009
4:27 pm

The stench of Stillwater, OK.

shane#1

April 29th, 2009
4:28 pm

1- Agreed, I think Troupe and Wilson will contribute this year also, Wilson missed last year and he is one of UGA’s more physical WRs. 2- I agree here, with reservations. Marlon has a little further to go than Green had as a freshman. It may take Marlon a little while to catch on to the speed of Division 1. 3- Amen, Houston seems to be picking his game up and hopefully Battle will be healthy for a change. Tripp adds some quality depth. 4- You forgot that Sturdivant, possibly UGA’s best O lineman will be back. Boling can move back to guard and Vance being back will certainly help. Lets hope everyone stays healthy enough for this line to gel. 5- Amen Brother! 6- I hope Cox can carry the load, some plays can be designed to make use of Logan Gray, and that Murray can tote the clipboard on the sidelines and play a little in garbage time. It would be nice to have a QB actually have time to learn a little on the bench rather than learning on the field like Stafford did. 7- See above. 8- Thomas is impressive and Samuel should be much improved. I have been a little disappointed in King. 9- How about that jumbo formation in the red zone, with Gray at QB? 10- I love all the Dawgs, especially those South Ga boys. Cuz, I told you this kid was a gamer.

Cuz

April 29th, 2009
4:51 pm

C’mon shane, with a name like Rambo I expect the kid to eat nails and drop barbwire. I want some bells rung in Athens and not just at the chapel.

shane#1

April 29th, 2009
5:05 pm

Cuz, Baccari Rambo has one of the great football names of all time. I can picture him in a PR spread, bdus, headband and a big freakin’n knife! Gotta go partner, there’s a sudden urge for an ice cold coke with a little something in it. Happens every time I talk about that kid!

DawgGirl32

April 29th, 2009
5:11 pm

If Oklahoma’s “defense” can hold the Gators to 24 points with Percy Harvin playing I don’t see why couldn’t hold them to less.

Dave In Tampa

April 29th, 2009
5:12 pm

I think the opener in Stillwater will answer a lot of questions on how the team will take on the challenge this coming year. Definitley will set the tone.

11b. Cut way down on the stupid penalties.

Renegade

April 29th, 2009
5:37 pm

Oh Rabbit(?),
Your right. Caleb King has really performed well. What am I thinking? I must ask, what video are you watching? His HS highlight reel from 2006? Dude, he is overrated. Get real.