Is confidence high again in the Bulldog Nation?

The Dogs' running game should be a big plus, thanks in part to Washaun Ealey. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

The Dogs' running game should be a big plus, thanks in part to Washaun Ealey. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

It’s been an up and down spring for Georgia football fans.

On the one hand, we’ve gotten excited about the rebuilding project Todd Grantham has undertaken with the defense. Sure, it likely will take more than one season to get the Dogs back to Junkyard status, but the fact that basic fundamentals like footwork, tackling and ball awareness are being taught at the Woodruff Practice Fields again fills a lot of us with hope.

And, yes, the new 3-4 scheme will have its kinks early on and the Dogs look a little thin at some positions, particularly outside linebacker. There’ll be a mostly new secondary, too. But the talent there is exciting, and Georgia looks to be putting a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks with Grantham’s scheme. Now if the Dogs can just get some take-aways!

On offense, there’s been the big question mark about quarterback, but concern over that has been tempered somewhat by the fact that Mike Bobo has 10 starters back this season. The veteran offensive line, barring a rash of injuries, will be a strength. That and a revived running game with Washaun Ealey and Caleb King should keep the new QB from having to try to do too much too soon. There’s not a lot of depth behind A.J. Green, but Georgia is absolutely loaded at tight end, a position that looks to become a game-changer for the Dogs this season.

Still, any spring that sees Mark Richt having to kick three players off the team has to be considered troubled. And the fact that one of the players dismissed was a very promising quarterback makes it even worse.

Yes, Aaron Murray apparently would have graded out above Zach Mettenberger overall despite a subpar G-Day game, and the odds were Murray was going to be the starter no matter what. But a lot of us would have felt much more comfortable knowing we had that big kid with the NFL arm standing on the sideline ready to come in if need be.

How do you feel about UGA's prospects now that spring practice is finished?

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So how’s your confidence level now that the Dogs have finished spring practice and we have a depth chart? Do you see Georgia having a shot at the SEC East? Are you taking a more cautious “at least the second best team in the East and a 10-win season” mind set? Or does the prospect of approaching the season with only two QBs, one completely inexperienced, plus the unknown of a new defense fill you with trepidation?

Feel free to vote in the poll, share your thoughts in the comments, or do both.

245 comments Add your comment

Sean

April 24th, 2010
10:53 am

Sean

April 24th, 2010
10:55 am

I voted on the side of caution. Playing it safe this time. They fooled us the past few years, so Im not going get too excited. But I do feel we are moving forward again.

Major Nelson

April 24th, 2010
11:00 am

Sean. Really, who cares?

Congrats to Murray. He’ll be solid as the year progresses.

When are we going to hear the full story on Mett?

Mark

April 24th, 2010
11:03 am

Enter your comments here
I think the program is moving in the right direction. I like Coach Richt’s new zero tolerance policy. This nonsense had to stop. Those kids have no business drinking if they are underage. We all did it but we all were not on scholarship either. If losing Mettenberger means we get LeMay I am all for it. Im hopeful for this season but Im also realistic so as long as there is progress in the fundamentals of the game and discipline on and off the field I can let the chips fall where they may.

Denver Dawg

April 24th, 2010
11:10 am

any year we’re not completely humiliated in Knoxville or Jacksonville will be the first true step forward… wins would be nice, too.

76-Dawg

April 24th, 2010
11:19 am

Just waiting for this fall when the real team will be set. In 2008 UGA had a great team before Sturdivant got hurt and then was followed by about 25 more significant injuries. UGA has some starter Freshmen coming in and others that didn’t play that much this spring that will start so I don’t put too much credence on this spring other getting use to a new QB and new defense.

DAWGS RULE

April 24th, 2010
11:20 am

The Dawgs are back in 2010—bank on it!!! With Murray running the offense and Grantham’s 3-4 D, UGA wins the SEC east, beats florida and plays bama for the title! 2010—the year of the dawg!!!!

Ron Burgundy

April 24th, 2010
11:21 am

I care about being ‘first.’. It’s the most incredible feeling in the universe. Quite frankly, I saw giant rainbows and I’m pretty sure there was stardust and…what? You mean we aren’t talking about making love to Veronica Corningstone?

Never mind.

But it was spectacular.

Joe M

April 24th, 2010
11:25 am

Yes because of the change on defense.

Just play GREAT defense and this program can soar.

Great D + great ST + good offense = WINS & Championships!

Big Harry Dawg

April 24th, 2010
11:33 am

I’m looking forward to seeing how this defense is going to work for the Dawgs, though I am certain that recruiting will have to change gears a bit to accomodate the roles we’ll need.

Further, I want to see CMR more involved than he has been in the past. No, I don’t want him calling plays or getting tied up with the defense; but I think most would agree that the lack of direction over the last few years has been a direct result of CMR’s lack of attention. I’m not bashing CMR just stating what I see to be a much needed change for the head coach…

How ’bout them Dawgs!

DirtyDawg

April 24th, 2010
11:45 am

CMR, not sure what some of the advice you’re getting here really means, but mine is ‘don’t try to be something you’re not’. You got where you are by being true to yourself, and that ain’t bad. You know how to handle young men, even those that you, ultimately, don’t reach….and they’ll all thank you for it in the end. And I’m not sure just what ‘loyal to a fault’ means, but it it’s giving people the benefit of the doubt until they prove completely unworthy, then I’m with you. I mean we aren’t talking about defusing a nuclear bomb or something, the worst that can happen is coaches make poor choices that result in student athletes missing a tackles or failing to defend the ‘bootleg, roll-out’.

So keep accumulating worthy young men – players and coaches – and do your thing. We know a good thing when we see it and in Mark Richt we got one.

Chronos

April 24th, 2010
12:21 pm

No. Mediocre team and worse coaching.

AltamahaDawg

April 24th, 2010
12:23 pm

We will absolutely no be humiliated in Knoxville this year.

Pitbull

April 24th, 2010
12:35 pm

What is all of this confidence crap about. CMR is getting tough with the players that break the rules. There is more discipline. We have a great new defensive coaching staff. We have a experienced offensive line to protect Aaron, and a great punter and field goal kicker.

We have beat Tech 15 out of 19 and it should have been 18 out of 19 if we weren’t robbed by the officials twice and couldn’t tackle in the last loss.

I have every confidence in the world we will be good this year.

If you don’t feel the same then take the train.

Delbert D.

April 24th, 2010
12:40 pm

Murray has to be good enough to keep opponents from stacking against the run. Should Murray get injured, Georgia will have to run, run and run some more.

kauai dawg

April 24th, 2010
12:41 pm

Upgraded our coaching and we always have talent. We have endured wierd stuff, injuries, turnovers, and penalties etc.. a solid year is in making.

Go DAWGS! 30-24 and the hits just keep coming!

RedPantsDawg

April 24th, 2010
12:47 pm

Just not having Willie Martinez and Fabris on the sidelines this year is cause for job.

chazzo

April 24th, 2010
12:48 pm

Judging by their draft stock (with the exception of Curan), I’d say we had some players last year who were kind of old and in the way. Disappointing to say the least, I was telling people last year that UGA would have the best interior D-line around. Clearly they needed a kick in the pants. Too much Little Debbie and Nintendo, I guess. Anything on D will be an improvement.

PS. I still think Moore will make a good pro receiver. What a bargain for some team out there.

Dylan

April 24th, 2010
12:49 pm

I’m not going in this season to optimistic. I do believe UGA will win 9 or 10 games, but at the same time, I’m not going to bed extremely upset if Murray or the defense looks confused at times. Murray’s never played in a college game. The 3-4 scheme is brand new and will have some kinks in it this year. But on the other hand, the defense has to perform better than it did last year. Looking forward to September 4!!! GO DAWGS!!!

Dylan

April 24th, 2010
12:49 pm

I meant I’m not going to be extremely upset. Sorry about that.

chazzo

April 24th, 2010
12:55 pm

PSS. UGA has a shot at the East. It is wide open. UF, of course, is the team to beat, but USC is a first and serious hurdle. Both of those teams have the tough picks from the West, so UGA could lose to one of them and still take the East. (Of course, I don’t want to see a loss to either.)

It should be three years before Grantham and Co. have their personal hand picked crew in place. Keeping that in mind, there are a lot of solid athletes on that side of the ball. How much work these kids do this summer is directly proportional to their odds of winning the East.

Darindawg

April 24th, 2010
1:01 pm

We won 8 games and was a bad ref call and last second fumble away from winning 10 games with Joe Cox at QB, a bad defense, and a tough-as-nails schedule. Murray has to be an upgrade over Cox…the defense has no place to go but up….our schedule is much easier….our OL and RBs are more experienced, more conditioned and stronger….UF lost a ton of talent and will miss Tebow (no matter what anybody says)…UT is a mess….With all of that said, no reason to think we can’t win the EAST…and more.

dawgfan

April 24th, 2010
1:03 pm

Forunately the rest of the SEC East won’t be anything special either. Even Florida has major issues this year. The schedule is not that difficult. If we stay consistent and win the big ones we could find ourselves in the SECCG. Crazier things have happened. That should be the goal.

Dawg 39

April 24th, 2010
1:21 pm

I believe we have the coaches, the players, & the fans to be competitive for the SEC title every year for the next 4 years. I expect a 4 year run that will excite all of the real DAWG FANS.

Olde Dawg

April 24th, 2010
1:23 pm

Any truth to the rumor Coach Richt will open the season with leather helmets?

Iraq Dawg Coming Home

April 24th, 2010
1:33 pm

I would like to see a 3 Tight End offensive set formation since we got this much talent at the position. Now you tell me who the hell gonna stop us. I enjoyed the Dallas Cowboys when they used to run heavy on offense and they used to plow through everyone. It ain’t a defense in the SEC that has the depth to match up with our offensive line and Tight Ends on the field at the same time. But then again I don’t wanna get my hope us with this offensive coordinator calling the plays.

Let’s get it DAWGS!!!

Mid Ga Dawgs

April 24th, 2010
1:33 pm

altamahadawg……….can’t be humiliated in Knoxville this year sport…game is in Athens!

1eyedJack

April 24th, 2010
1:35 pm

The Dawgs have had the talent all along, I just think that recently the mindset has been wrong. At times complacency has crept in on the part of coaches and players. Plus Martinez’ defensive philosophy. And that could be part of the problem, over time players tend to take on the personality of their coaches. A lack of aggressiveness, leadership and overall team chemistry has seemed to be the result.

Now comes Grantham, Belin and Lakotas. Aggressive fundamentals-based coaches for the defense, and a new aggressive, attacking 3-4 philosophy. Mark Richt now becomes a stern taskmaster and along with recruiting more well-grounded football-smart players, hopefully we see a new culture on this team. No more shenanigans to motivate, no more dancing on the sideline, no more jumping up and down at Vandy. Just get after their a$$e$!!

dan

April 24th, 2010
1:36 pm

I think the UGA program is at a crossroads. We can keep Richt, collectively lower our expectations, and be satisfied with 8 or 9 wins. Or we can hire a new coach with a new coaching staff that will make winning a National Title a priority. Richt was a good coach for UGA in the mid -2000’s but his time has past. And his judgment in coordinators absolutely positively stinks.Except for 2007, the Dawgs have finished the regular season 8-4, 9-3, and 7-5. And that is what our program is right now, an 8 or 9 win program. And most UGA fans still seemed to be enamored with Richt and have no desire to let him go even though his teams has underperformed the last 2 years. So if we want to keep Richt, then be satisfied with 8-4 or 9-3 because the days where we went 13-1 or 11-2 are done.

Mid Ga Dawgs

April 24th, 2010
1:39 pm

Dan

Name us some coaches…..who would actually come to Athens….and stay…..who would average more wins per year than Richt and bring us a NC. Anxiously awaiting this answer oh wise one!

Football Fan

April 24th, 2010
1:40 pm

Why are people ranking Alabama as preseason number 1 when they lost nine defensive starters? NINE!!! Georgia has as good a shot as anyone now that King Tebow is gone.

Delusional Dawg

April 24th, 2010
1:40 pm

Brand new QB with no playing experience, replacing many players in a brand new defensive system, coming off a 7 win regular season…oh yeah, National Title baby!! Count on it! Mark it down! Book it! Anybody seen my Prozac??

Mid Ga Dawgs

April 24th, 2010
1:43 pm

Bama is the media favorite because Saban keeps giving them things to write about. Lost all those starters and 6 of their opponents this year have 2 weeks to prepare for them. They’ll lose to Auburn and not even win the west. Saban will be long gone within 3 years. Don’t care anything at all about someone like that running our program.

Sid Vicious

April 24th, 2010
1:43 pm

How would a three TE lineup run?

Me

April 24th, 2010
1:45 pm

King Tebow is indeed gone but crown Prince Brantley has arrived.

CHDawg

April 24th, 2010
1:46 pm

Bill,
I disagree on a couple of points: the depth behind Green is good with Wooten and Troupe. And second, the last thing we need to do is come out and run exclusively on ULL. Murray should throw 40-50 times in that game. That is really the first real game time experience opportunity before he hits the SEC. I would try and get him a couple of games worth of confidence and experience in that first game. The running game is already battle tested. Developing the new QB will pay big dividends down the road.

CHDawg

April 24th, 2010
1:50 pm

Delusional,
Didn’t we have about the same record in ‘79? And didn’t we have a brand new QB, too? Just asking, and just for the record, if you plan on losing, your plans usually work out….

george

April 24th, 2010
1:52 pm

UGA fans are the most delusional fans on the planet. Darin Dawg I hope you just wrote that to get a laugh out of people. Do you really think the call in the LSU game made yall lose that game???????? HELL NO. Even without the call it would have taken a mircale. And the kentucky game you dolts should beat them by 2 tds AT HOME. Not to mention the fact that yall had MIRACLE wins over ASU,and USC. And the Auburn win was fairly lucky as well. Yall were also 3 plays away from winning 5 games you MORON. UGA will not be any better this year. New qb, new defense, no depth at wr, too many players in jail etc. But I am sure when dec rolls around and the pups have won 8 games again the excuses will be flying like always. Gotta love UGA fans.

Sid Vicious

April 24th, 2010
1:52 pm

CHDawg, that’s a good idea about ULL.

Want a job as OC?

Me

April 24th, 2010
1:52 pm

Mid Ga…spoken like a true doggie but you forgot to mention that they’ll be on probation. You know, the usual wish list or at least anything that might stick to the wall .

dan

April 24th, 2010
1:54 pm

Mid Ga-Dawg

So you’re saying you’d rather have a coach who averages 10 wins a season after 9 years and a couple of SEC Titles over a guy like Saban who stays 5 years but will win you a National Title? I say screw this Southern Loyalty Crap, I’d rather have my program be Nationally relevant by winning a National Title. Those LSU idiots should be kissing Saban’s butt. That program was 4-7 and 3-8 before he arrived and he delivered them a National Title. He made that program what it is!

CHDawg

April 24th, 2010
1:55 pm

Dan,
Richt has won everywhere he has been, pretty much. Look at the record of Dooley, Bryant, or anyone else and you will find they didn’t always have great years.

Mid Ga Dawgs

April 24th, 2010
1:56 pm

No, I said name me some coaches….which you haven’t.

bufbox

April 24th, 2010
1:58 pm

I usually enter every season with great hope and promise for the Dawgs. Last season was an exception. I considered Cox as average at best, and I had already seen way too much of CWM’s “bend-don’t-break” defense to have any confidence. And both these fears became fruition. We had the statistically worst season of Richt’s tenure.
But I feel that the program had definitely made a move to correct recent probs. I’m excited about CTG and the 3-4, can’t wait to see it. Excited about the return to fundamentals exhibited by the defensive staff as a group. Not looking for miracles this first season, but confident we will be much more competive on D and will only learn and get better.
On offense, I see a great group of athletes. The line looks good, but thin depth-wise. All the depth is either green or coming off injury. So we need some injury-free luck there in order to be strong. Running game has huge potential, much will depend on health of the line. TE is deep with playmaker experience. Receiver has proven playmakers, but gotta stay healthy and keep those first and second teamers on the field. QB will be unproven, but certainly better than last year if AM stays
healthy. Bobo playcalling needs to improve somewhat, using more of the right play at the statistically right times. With Murray I think we have a QB with a good head on his shoulders. Once he gets his feet wet, he will improve over the season. So lets tailor the plays and scheme to help him out. Use that line and RB’s and establish that run and stick with it until the other team can prove they can stop it. A successful basic run game sets up everything else.
And we have the kickers, just need to use a coverage scheme that works for everyone else ( straight and deep). Word is special teams are being recharged, and getting back to basic fundamental kick coverage.
Yeah … I’m much happier than I was last year… looking at same old program too stubborn to make needed changes.

Ron Burgundy

April 24th, 2010
2:00 pm

George, I admire your love of the question mark and the CAPS LOCK button.

It reminds me of MY LOVE FOR VERONICA CORNINGSTONE. Is there not a more perfect bottom in all of the history of history of women’s bottoms?????????

I think not.

Delusional Dawg

April 24th, 2010
2:00 pm

CHDawg…yes, I’m sure that all that happened 31 years ago. But until Hershel Walker walks back thru that door……but you’re right…you COULD win the lottery twice. But I wouldn’t…Bank on it!!

Dumbo

April 24th, 2010
2:03 pm

Minnesota Dawg

April 24th, 2010
2:05 pm

Maybe playing LA-Lafayette first we can ease into a smooth machine! Should help the Quarterback to work out the first game jitters. Then we can look at South Carolina and then to Arkansas.

Chris S

April 24th, 2010
2:06 pm

UGA’s schedule this year looks to be one of the easiest they’ve had in recent years. Florida, Auburn, and Georgia Tech are the only teams that look to have a legitimate shot at a Top 20 ranking (unless Dooley works some wonders at Tennessee). If UGA can’t pull out a 10-win season, it’s going to be a big disappointment.

Mid Ga Dawgs

April 24th, 2010
2:07 pm

Old Dan is still scratching his head….can’t think of anyone!