Stoking the fires of offseason optimism among Dogs fans

Mark Richt's new slogan is to the point. (Associated Press)

Mark Richt's new slogan is to the point. (Associated Press)

It’s that time of year when Georgia fans examine every comment Mark Richt makes for clues to what we can expect on the field this fall. So far this spring, Richt has pretty much stayed on an even keel, as he usually does, although he has sounded optimistic enough to have stoked expectations up a notch or so among many in the Bulldog Nation.

Despite all the questions about an inexperienced quarterback and revamped defense, I’m hearing more and more fans saying they expect the Dogs to achieve 10 wins this season, at the very least.

How realistic that is, we can’t really say until we see the team perform.

So we look for clues from Richt. So far I like what I’m hearing for the most part, including some comments he made in a recent interview with Fox Sports South.

Asked whether tight end Orson Charles can take pressure off A.J. Green on the outside just as well as any secondary receiver, Richt said flatly, “He can. In our base set — two receivers and a tight end — he is basically on the same side of the field as A.J. So if they choose to double A.J., there’s no way they can also double the tight end right next to him, so Orson — and Aron White for that matter — really benefited from the double teams that A.J. was getting. Now that Orson has established himself in our TE position, people are going to have to think twice about leaving a linebacker on these guys.”

On the subject of which defensive players are most likely to thrive in the new 3-4 scheme, Richt said Justin Houston is “going to benefit from it. I think he’s going to be put into a position to make a lot of plays for us. On the other side, opposite him is Cornelius Washington. Cornelius is a guy who is tailor-made for this defense as it will allow him to become more of a playmaker.  Quite frankly, he’s matured to the point physically and mentally where this should be a big year for him whether we had changed our defensive scheme or not.”

When asked whether there’s a new slogan like “Finish the drill” to sum up 2010 Georgia football, Richt put the emphasis in the right place by answering, “Win the turnover margin.”

Not as colorful perhaps, but very much to the point.

And for us old-school fans there was this summation of how the players are approaching the season: “I would just say that our guys are looking forward to playing hard and getting after people, really going back to the Vince Dooley and Erk Russell days, we just want to get after people. I think that’s going to be an attitude that this team is really going to embrace.”

GATA, in other words.

Some might portray this as just offseason pandering to what the fans want to hear, but everything we know about Todd Grantham points toward a more aggressive style of play on defense. And aside from Aaron Murray, the Dogs will have a veteran offense.

I think the optimism is well-founded. What about you?

134 comments Add your comment

11Dawg

June 2nd, 2010
10:57 am

Is it September yet?

Innocent Bystander

June 2nd, 2010
11:09 am

After being blindsided by Oklahoma State last year I swore I would never fall prey to optimism until the season began and we could see what we had.We won’t know much until South Carolina. But I am optimistic. I think we’re in the best position we could be for a new quarterback to limit the damage which comes with inexperience. Our offensive line and tailbacks should bring us a lot of points.Anything would be an improvement on the defense. And I expect it will improve. Go Dawgs!

DCDawg

June 2nd, 2010
11:10 am

I wish we could fast forward a month or so.

GetOverIt

June 2nd, 2010
11:12 am

I don’t know, GATA sounds like something you would hear in a Midtown bar alley on Saturday night. You know, one of those bars where the stools are upside down.

Bryan G.

June 2nd, 2010
11:13 am

I’m with Bystander. I’m done being optimistic until I see it on the field. We’ve been down from 2006-2009 (save for 2007), so I’ll believe hype when I see something worthy of hype.

It’s kind of like Logan Grey. I keep hearing how athletic he is, but I haven’t SEEN it. Same thing with the team…I’ll believe it when I see it.

By the way, if Cuff runs a 4.25 or whatever, Bay Bay Thomas must run a 3.9 b/c he housed Cuff last year.

slow down young pups

June 2nd, 2010
11:14 am

I am drinking the cool aide and think that this is going to be the year of the DAWG!

We are winning the off season with our coaching changes and players developing who are coming back. GO DAWGS 30-24

The most interesting man in the world

June 2nd, 2010
11:15 am

I may not watch college football, but when I do, “Its the Georgia Bulldogs”. Stay thirsty my friends.

RxDawg

June 2nd, 2010
11:36 am

It all comes down to Murray. What little fans have seen with Murray in a bulldog uniform has been mixed. Last years G-day looked good, this years didn’t. I also went back and looked at his youtube videos of high school film. Richt was right, if you doubt Murray watch some of those videos. Holy smokes there were some plays being made in high school.

But I digress, this ain’t high school. If Murray starts completing passes on a regular basis, and DOES NOT THROW INTERCEPTIONS….we will be a force in the SEC.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tim Tucker, AJC Junkyard Blawg. AJC Junkyard Blawg said: Stoking the fires of offseason optimism among Dogs fans http://bit.ly/ce77Ly [...]

Bradley G

June 2nd, 2010
11:39 am

So Bryan G, are you saying there is a lot of GREY area in terms of Logan GRAY’s contributions to the team?

Hey St. Simons...

June 2nd, 2010
11:41 am

We own you. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!

Jeffrey

June 2nd, 2010
11:44 am

They got runningbacks and that should help the QB and the D. Let’s get back to Erk and Vince and all that. GO DAWGS!!!!

8 out of 9

June 2nd, 2010
11:48 am

Hey Bryan G. and St. Simons,

((((((((((((((30-24))))))))))))))
((((((((((((((73-66))))))))))))))
((((((((((((((8 out of 9)))))))))

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!

and BAY BAY ain’t there anymore along with Derrick Morgan and Jonathan Dwyer so get ready for another beat down.

GATA???

June 2nd, 2010
11:50 am

Would someone please share with me what the acronym GATA stands for? Thought I knew all about Georgia football…please share!

NC Dawg

June 2nd, 2010
11:53 am

Only thing that matters is cleats on the turf, but I can’t wait for the season to start.

TS

June 2nd, 2010
11:56 am

GATA- Get after their ass. I’m a Gator fan and I knew that!

Silver Creek Dawg

June 2nd, 2010
11:56 am

GATA=

Get After Their Arse!!

Top Dogs

June 2nd, 2010
11:58 am

1. Richt’s right about not emphasizing 4th quarter, who’s leading at half is better predictor of wins.
2. run the ball, and play smashmouth defense.
3. Win the TO Margin, love that.
4. Right about aj/oRSON situation. There will be a mismatch on every play against every team.
5. Right about OLB’s playing big in 2010, in the 3-4, these guys get to the QB and drive him bonkers, ask Meyer.

IT’S SCORING MARGIN. SCORE MORE POINTS, STOP THEM FROM SCORING AS MANY. AS SIMPLE AS THAT.

Top Dogs

June 2nd, 2010
12:01 pm

Reasons for Optimism grounded in reality:

the 2 most accurate pre-season predictors say Georgia could go on a run, Athlon & Phil Steele.

Georgia will be a scary team to face on special teams, defense, and offense. Now weaknesses on this bunch of guys.

Steele said before Spring, secondary was only weak concern, after Spring, I don’t think so with Boykin and Cuff. The safeties looked great on G-Day.

Bryan G.

June 2nd, 2010
12:03 pm

8 out of 9…um, I went to UGA. Maybe you should actually read my comments before you assume I’m not a Georgia fan, idiot.

joe

June 2nd, 2010
12:03 pm

Here we go…let the predictions of 2010 SEC/Natl champs begin…just like every other year for the past 30.

gtfanfrom1951

June 2nd, 2010
12:04 pm

UGA can only win by running the football. If the offense line play is outstanding UGA might get 10 wins but it will still behind FLA.

Dan

June 2nd, 2010
12:05 pm

Aside from Aaron Murray? Yeah, it’s only the most important position on the team, but let’s minimize it anyway…

SSIgator

June 2nd, 2010
12:11 pm

Bill King -

Didn’t you write this same article last week?

Dawg 39

June 2nd, 2010
12:16 pm

9 & 4 will sucessfully completete the best 10 year run in Dawg history , All under CMR.

I expect much better than that. With the OL we have plus the TEs, We s/b able to run the ball.

Double team A.J. & free up others. Play action passes & run the ball. 10-2 or 11-1 Reg. season.

The new 3-4 will cause more problems for the Opp. than it causes break downs for us. GATA.

Gatorlove

June 2nd, 2010
12:20 pm

woooo dogs fans getting fired up again just to be let down, i love watching you guys get all excited every year and then whining about the season at the end. Youre all a disgrace, should move uga to the sun belt conference.

Athletic Supporter

June 2nd, 2010
12:20 pm

Bryan G. On the play you are referring to, DThomas didn’t house Cuff…Cuff missed a tackle on a screen pass and was on the ground when he took off. And DThomas didn’t even juke or anything, it was just a bad form tackle. I hate that it happened, but that’s all it was. It wasn’t like DThomas was sprinting down the field and Cuff couldn’t keep up and Nesbitt threw a good pass…None of those things could EVER happen! Ha…Nesbitt throw a good pass??? HAHAHAHAHA! And you should know that, being a UGA grad. Don’t give the nerds any supposed ammo.

SEC Headlines – 6/2/10 « MrSEC.com

June 2nd, 2010
12:29 pm

[...] or hypotheticals.”25.  This fan/writer says he’s hearing more and more UGA fans saying “they expect the Dogs to achieve 10 wins this season, at the very least.”26.  Steve Spurrier had an interesting take on how longevity is the enemy of coaches.  [...]

Gary

June 2nd, 2010
12:32 pm

Lets wait till Tennessee and see where we stand. I don’t care how much talent we have. If they keep making dumb penalties and turnovers it will be the same as last year but maybe without the loss to Kentucky. Somehow they just have this incredible ability to dissappoint me. I can handle loosing to a better team like Florida and Alabama. But getting smoked by Tennessee and Texas Tech and way to close for comfort games against USC and Ark left me pretty dismayed. I just don’t think those issues can be resolved with a few new coaches. Penalties and turnovers will take more time to fix.

Denver Dawg

June 2nd, 2010
12:37 pm

when did we “loose” to Texas Tech? glad I missed THAT one!

DawginLex

June 2nd, 2010
12:38 pm

All i know is the last time we had a defensive coordinator that knew what he was doing, we went:

42-10 with 2 SEC East titles and 1 SEC title (2001-2004)

I’m hoping for similar results or better with coach Grantham.

2010 could be a repeat of 2001 with a redshirt freshman at QB but the overall talent surrounding Murray, especially on the OL plus the knowledge of the system should get us more wins than 2001.

Gary

June 2nd, 2010
12:39 pm

Gator Love: You have had a great run. I only hope you are still willing to stand by your team as the glory fades and the crystal looses its shine. It is easy to root for a team that wins 90% of their games, but will you still watch on Saturday if you know your going to loose to Tennessee or Alabama or Auburn year after year? Frankly I have more respect for SC fans. You young Gators that have no memory of the 80’s will be in for a treat at some point. Even the nighty BAMA had a major dry spell. So yes, last year was hard on the bulldog nation, but we do know one thing… Floridas time in the spotlite is fading. Hope you can handle it.

DawginLex

June 2nd, 2010
12:41 pm

Joe,

Read son. The article is about optimism. It doesn’t predict a national title.

We always are optimistic about the Dawgs. That’s what winning teams do.

Gary

June 2nd, 2010
12:41 pm

Sorry, Ok State… Not Texas Tech… Guess I did a pretty good job blocking that miserable game out of my head.

bee

June 2nd, 2010
12:44 pm

richt saying he didn’t know he was on the hot seat means he is either a complete moron or liar, for those of you who don’t know, both are bad.
now my joke of the day: name a socialist institution, that is state created, state funded and state regulated……answer: the university of georgia! we should end all socialism!

Dawghater

June 2nd, 2010
12:46 pm

UGA should put themselves on the front of SI and proclaim the #1 team in the nation and wear those black helmets and black uniforms. Yea, that’ll create optimism. Hum, I think they tried that didn’t they! Dreaming for another trip to Shreveport!

Dawghater

June 2nd, 2010
12:47 pm

I seem to remember a lot and I mean a lot of optimistic comments about Joe Cox about this time last year! HUM!

RammerJammer1005

June 2nd, 2010
12:49 pm

So is saying that the Dawgs are back mean that they will lose to Florida, some other SEC school, and then beat some overrated Big 10 team so they can have illusions of grandeur again next year. Face it, Dawgs, you’re a mid-tier team that has good seasons when other teams (Florida, Tenn) are down.

As far as Richt on the hot seat, you had better hope not. What did UGA do for about 20 years before Richt got there?

DawginLex

June 2nd, 2010
12:52 pm

the nerd’s obsession with all things UGA continues………………………………….

KeithB

June 2nd, 2010
1:00 pm

It’s going to give you false hopes. You will play lesser competition and win more hence thinking you are better, which will not necessarily be the case. Whatever it takes I guess.

I also think you lost the best QB on your roster to Butler JC. Just beat UF and I’ll be happy.

Dawghater

June 2nd, 2010
1:01 pm

DawginLex – avoid the facts, divert attention to other issues and bark like a UGA fan. Seen it, won’t do it.

Reality Check

June 2nd, 2010
1:11 pm

Rammer jammer you are right. UGA has had good seasons in the midst of LSU, Flordia and Winning National Championships. Since CMR came to UGA the SEC has won 5 NC’s. In the 9 years the CMR has been at UGA they have been to 3 SEC championship games, 1 more than Alabama. BTW, UGA is 3-1 against Alabama in the same time. Also, UGA finished number 2 or 3 in the country in 2007 so I guess you are right, UGA is a mid tier team. Only LSU has played in more SEC championship games in the same time period moron.

SSIgator

June 2nd, 2010
1:14 pm

DawginLex -

“We always are optimistic about the Dawgs. That’s what winning teams do.”

Is a 7-5 year more or less reason for optimisim? Just asking.

Honest Lee

June 2nd, 2010
1:15 pm

Please keep the optimism high, AJC. The WLOCP would be no fun at all if the dawg fans attended the game without their usual overconfidence.

Dawghater

June 2nd, 2010
1:16 pm

Man, I’m a pathetic loser. I hate my life.

DawginLex

June 2nd, 2010
1:16 pm

Who is your team Dawghater?

spend all your time on a UGA blog and give yourself the handle of dawghater doesn’t show obsession?

You don’t see me hanging out on any other blogs other than the Braves.

Obsessed with what you can’t be? Let it go.

DawginLex

June 2nd, 2010
1:18 pm

SSIgator,

Yes i’m optimistic. Yes we did go 8-5 last year. But there is true reason for optimism. If you can’t see it, then fine.

You should be optimistic too about the Gators.

SSIgator

June 2nd, 2010
1:26 pm

DawginLex -

Hope for the best – be prepared for the worst. Remember, these are late teen early twenties kids running around out there that everyone is so excited about. Just another reason not to bet on college football.

Gatorlove

June 2nd, 2010
1:27 pm

Hey Gary, we will never loose to tennessee! We may lose to them from time to time but not loose to them. I cant wait to hear the UGA fans crying once the season starts and you cant blame it on willie martinez anymore. Waaaaaaah!!!

Dorsey Hill

June 2nd, 2010
1:28 pm

I see that some fans were “blindsided” by last year’s team. I wasn’t. I posted time and time again last summer about the fact that our offense was AJ and well that’s it. Can’t win that way, especially with a questionable defense. Had the running game not turned around late in the year it would have been much worse. Last year’s team had 6 wins written all over it going into the season. The fact that we got 8 (and put an asterisk next to the LSU loss) given what we had to work with, was not that bad of a result.

Now AJ is a piece in the puzzle and we have 2 good RB’s, excellent TE’s, an even better line and we should get some production from the other wr’s. We also have the two best kickers in the country. Add to that the inherent excitement that the change in coaches and schemes will give to the defense and this is a formidable team. This team will win the East.

If you doubt me I said that 2007 would be a big year (specifically I said we’d be in the MNC discussion), that in 2008 we wouldn’t meet the very high expectations placed on us and that in 2009 we wouldn’t be very good at all.

I’m on a roll, so trust me. Get you SECCG tickets today.

BTW: we will play Bama.