This year’s G-Day game, set for April 10, should be one of the more interesting UGA intrasquad matches in a long time.
While some aspects of the 2010 Dogs at least appear to be pretty well established — the offensive line and the two top running backs — there are a lot of big question marks hovering over Mark Richt’s 10th team.
Will Logan Gray still be competing for the starting quarterback job by G-Day or will he be a receiver or in the secondary? Will forgotten running back Richard Samuel have taken his speed to the linebacking corps?
And the two most intriguing questions: The quarterback battle and the implementation of a different defensive alignment under new coordinator Todd Grantham.
About half the defensive starters from last season are gone, and the defensive players are a little nervous about the switch to a 3-4 scheme and where they’ll fit into it. Who’s going to play nose guard? Who will those blitzing outside linebackers be?
But at the same time they’re excited about Grantham’s preference for an aggressive, attacking defense.
As fans, we’re feeling the same way, but come G-Day it’s likely we won’t get a true picture of what kind of D the Dogs will field in the fall. Chances are the players will still be learning what they’re supposed to do and making a lot of mistakes. It’s likely to be a pretty sloppy game on the defensive side.
Which could give us a possibly misleading view of where our offense stands, particularly the play at quarterback. Still, it will be instructive to see how Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger have progressed since we last saw them play in the 2009 G-Day game. At that time, Murray definitely looked to be farther along and impressed with his ability to roll out, while Mettenberger still had a ways to go on his footwork and dialing back his cannon of an arm. We’re told both players have improved since then. It’ll be fun to see how much.
The spotlight obviously will be on Grantham since he was brought in to clean up Willie Martinez’s mess, but I’m thinking there actually may be more pressure this season on offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, who’ll have two redshirt freshmen and a true freshman (incoming recruit Hutson Mason) taking snaps this fall if Gray does switch positions, and a pretty inexperienced quarterback even if Gray stays in the mix.
Some folks felt Bobo skated a bit in the blame game last season in that the embattled Martinez took the lion’s share of the heat for the Dogs’ troubles when in many cases the offense’s sputtering and turnovers left the defense with a short field to defend. This year, with the defense in a rebuilding mode, the onus is on the offense to lead the way. Is Bobo up to it?
What other G-Day story lines are you looking forward to seeing?
LADY DOGS MEET THE LADY IN ORANGE
Tonight’s game between Andy Landers’ 8th ranked Lady Dogs and the 3rd ranked Lady Vols at Stegeman Coliseum is a big one and I know at least one Georgia fan who’d sell his soul to see UGA beat the orange pants suit off Landers’ longtime nemesis, Pat Summitt. (Right, Steve?) Reserved seat tickets are still available for the 7 p.m. game and are $5 for adults and $3 for kids. Tickets can be ordered online (using the print-at-home option only) until 3 p.m. today or can be bought by calling 1-877-542-1231 before 4 p.m. They’ll also be on sale at the Stegeman ticket booths starting at 5:30 p.m. Mastercard, VISA and cash are all accepted forms of payment at the Stegeman Coliseum ticket windows. UGA students get in free when presenting their valid UGA ID Card at Gate 4 of the Coliseum. The first 300 UGA Students will receive a “Beat Tennessee” T-shirt and free pizza. All UGA students can register to win a Nintendo Wii, iPod Touch and other gift cards during the game.
Go Lady Dogs!