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

RxDawg

June 2nd, 2010
1:37 pm

Dawghater, give in to your anger. Give in to your fears. Step over to the red and black side!

SSIgator

June 2nd, 2010
1:38 pm

Dorsey Hill -

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

One thing about these AJC articles and the fans that respond – they are always good for a laugh.

RxDawg

June 2nd, 2010
1:39 pm

Doresy, I like what your saying.

Amsterdam Sam

June 2nd, 2010
1:53 pm

StammerRammerJammer – ten of those twenty years prior to Richt’s hire the coach was Vince Dooley. Seems we did pretty well under him, for we had Florida’s number during his tenure. However, Florida wan’t the same team back then. Richt’s ten year’s as coach have been more successful than any ten year period Dooley ever had. Young Florida fan’s don’t remember the bad old days or realize that all things (even college football success) is cyclical and their day is coming. Then they will find we, the Bulldogs, have far more class when it comes to these blogs they so love while riding the crest.

Me

June 2nd, 2010
2:07 pm

No one really needs to stoke the fires of optimism for the average dawg fan. They pretty much stroke, uh I mean, stoke themselves.

Gator Growl

June 2nd, 2010
2:13 pm

Thanks for the earlier posts about GATA! I never really knew what it meant, I just figured it stood for Gators in ATlanta Again…GATA!

Florida Tennessee Alabama Kentucky

June 2nd, 2010
2:15 pm

We’re very confident, indeed!!!

Go Richt! Go Richt! Go Richt!

Much love,
UF, UT, UA, UK

76-Dawg

June 2nd, 2010
2:23 pm

I hope Bobo’s poor leadership at times in 2009 was because UGA didn’t have a QB who could compete in the SEC. But the main glaring inept things for the offense was; First, UGA needs better execution on the screen play. I have never seen a worst execution from any division 1-A team. I knew every time UGA ran it before it was run. Second, make sure you get the ball to the other teams 40 yard line. You have the best field goal kicker in the united states, use him. UGA had more 3 and outs in 2009 than I can ever remember, that has got to change. UGA has to play toward their strength and using Blair Walsh more when the offense bogs down has to be a top priority.

ca dawg

June 2nd, 2010
3:28 pm

i’m cautiously optimistic. i think the ceiling is beating florida, winning the east (we don’t have the hosses to beat alabama in the championship), and getting back into the BCS hunt. the floor is 8 wins, and coming in third behind UF and USC. we’ll almost certainly play better defense and cover kicks more effectively this year (hidden yardage and field position has murdered us the last couple of years). depth at OLB concerns me, especially as the year drags on. we’ll need freshmen to step up and make plays at that position. a freshman QB is obviously a concern, but being so strong at TE really helps: i remember a steve mcnair really leaning on wycheck and the titans’ TE’s when he was early in his career. murray should do the same with orson, aron white, figgins, and artie lynch. go dawgs.

Ross

June 2nd, 2010
3:46 pm

With Steele and Athlon and Scout all saying Georgia could go on a run and win it all, you’d have to be a major cynic to predict a dismal year for Georgia. And you’d show a lack of all common sense.

Ross

June 2nd, 2010
3:48 pm

Steve Spurrier take on coaching longvity, can’t coach after 10 or 12 years? Really? Wooden won all 10 of his Natl Champships after his 15th year coaching.

Spurrier, as usual, is clueless when it comes to understanding much in the last decade or so.

74Dawg

June 2nd, 2010
3:50 pm

SSI Gator, I have followed Ga Fla for 40 years and remember when the shoe was on the other foot. Enjoy it while you can , nothing lasts forever (except Tech ineptitude and jealosy).

Dan

June 2nd, 2010
4:04 pm

Yeah, if Steele, Athlon, and Scout are saying, it’s gotta be true!!!

Bulldoogmaniac

June 2nd, 2010
4:05 pm

I find it very, very funny that the tech fans always post negative comments on a GEORGIA blog.
What the heck had tech done??? Are you kidding me?
We OWN you!
Go Dogs!

Dawg H8ter

June 2nd, 2010
4:12 pm

Bulldoogmaniac? How can you own someone with superior intelligence?

Ross

June 2nd, 2010
4:16 pm

Don’t trust Steele or Athlon, wow, we have some football geniuses? Steele & Athlon are only the 2 most accurate at prediciting pre-season rankings in the last decade.

http://preseason.stassen.com/prediction-accuracy/2009-10yr.html

If you can’t trust Steele or Athlon, the 2 most accurate, when it comes to predicting the season in college football, well, nevermind.

Gator Growl

June 2nd, 2010
4:20 pm

Wow, I guess we don’t even need to play the season. Steele and Athlon have already done it for us!

chazzo

June 2nd, 2010
4:34 pm

Ross,
The problem with Steele or Athlon is that the predictions about the dogs are wishy washy safe bets. To say someone might do really well is wimpy. You can claim to have called it either way. If bad, well I said might. If good, it’s a bullseye. Take all of the off season mags, and throw them in the trash along with your preseason All-Americans. There is a direct correlation between how hard the players work this summer and how many games they will win. That is all. If they want to be drunk puppies all summer, they will play like drunk puppies in the fall.

Ross

June 2nd, 2010
4:37 pm

Somebody needs to tell Spurrier the only way to get Richt out is for Spurrier to do better than 2-7 against him.

Yo!

beatdowns galore

June 2nd, 2010
4:49 pm

What is really sad is that UGA fans have to still wonder year in and year out how really good the dawgs will be till the South Carolina game. South Carolina? Are you kidding me? Yeah Dooley had a few tough games with Carolina but he blew them out many times too. Same thing goes for Vandy. Until UGA reaches Florida level it is gonna be the same ole stuff. Im not buying it yet just like I havent the last two years……

DawginLex

June 2nd, 2010
4:56 pm

Sc is the first SEC game so it is the first test moron.

If the first game was MSU, it would be the first test.

i recall SC giving florida all they wanted and more last year at the chicken coop.

some of you haters are just too dumb to try and respond to.

DawginLex

June 2nd, 2010
4:59 pm

richt has never lost to SC the way dooley did in 1988. I was there and it was 200 degrees in that place and Todd ellis lit us up like a christmas tree.

That was against Joe Morrison.

richt coaches against spurrier and is 4-1.

Next

beatdowns galore

June 2nd, 2010
5:15 pm

Dawg in Lex But look what Florida has done to SC other than last year….BTW The 2007 loss was absolutely a pathetic loss to the chickens. UGA had Moreno ,Stafford , MOmass and NO Td’s in the dawgs own backyard that year. Now run along and drink your Kool Aid boy!

DawginLex

June 2nd, 2010
5:20 pm

as far as Vandy, goes, remember the day Dooley coached with the chest pain and ended up getting treated for heart problems?

Last minute TD by Lars Tate in a game that was far from a beatdown.

but don’t let facts get in the way of your bashing

DawginLex

June 2nd, 2010
5:23 pm

boy?

I’m old enough to have been around to see us whip florida almost every year. UGA had nothing going until richt arrived except a bunch of 6 win seasons.

dooley is retired son.

his boy ain’t coming to athens either except to get his butt kicked

Who do you want to coach the dawgs boy?

Name your names and show your true agenda.

DawginLex

June 2nd, 2010
5:25 pm

florida’s record vs SC since Meyer arrived is 4-1
richt’s record vs SC is 4-1 since SOS arrived

Next

1eyedJack

June 2nd, 2010
5:32 pm

South Carolina always plays hard early and then fades late in the year. Good players (many from Ga.), just not enough of them.

hunkerdown

June 2nd, 2010
5:43 pm

Can’t we get the AJC to get one of those reverse clocks to count down the days, hours, minutes and seconds to kickoff for the Dawgs? Go Dawgs, sickem!

Delbert D.

June 2nd, 2010
5:45 pm

What I can’t figure is Phil Steele saying Georgia could go all the way, and yet he has them at #18 (or #16, I looked at his site and didn’t see the number.)

One thing I did pick up on is his May 29 blog on % of lettermen returning. That’s a very interesting stat. Boise St. is #1 at 91.7% (55 of 60 players), and Arkansas and S. Carolina lead the SEC by far at #2 & #3 at 81.1%. Georgia is at #90, Florida at #105 Alabama #109. Those last 3 are in the 66% to 63% range.

hunkerdown

June 2nd, 2010
6:00 pm

Delbert,

That is hard for me to figure out as well as to how Phil Steele can rationalize a barely top 25 ranking and yet say watch out for the Dawgs they might run the tables. I do know that when the Dawgs won the NC in 1980 they were not a top ten ranked team. OF course Hershel had not emerged and run all over Bill Bates in the UT game as of yet either.

beatdowns galore

June 2nd, 2010
6:03 pm

Yeah Dooleys chest pains but gosh the man coached for 25 years If CMR were to last that long he would lose ANOTHER HOMECOMING GAME TO VANDY. Meyer lost to SC his first year which helped UGA back into the SEC championship game in 2005. ok whup T do.

hunkerdown

June 2nd, 2010
6:17 pm

Thanks for setting the record straight gator gout on the GATA accronymn. I had presumable (mistakenly I might add) thought it was a Gainesville headline; Gators attempting to armrob

DawginLex

June 2nd, 2010
6:17 pm

Meyer is still thanking the big guy upstairs that he didn’t have to face DJ Shockley in Jacksonville in 2005. that beatdown they got in columbia the next week would have plaed in comparison to that one.

Instead he got to face the legacy who gave it his all but was nowhere near the talent and leader that DJ was. Meyer got lucky.

DawginLex

June 2nd, 2010
6:17 pm

paled not plaed

One, two, free, fo, fi, dem der Gator don't take no jive!

June 2nd, 2010
6:32 pm

DaginLex,
I’m sure Meyer was real concerned. Get real.

One, two, free, fo, fi, dem der Gator don't take no jive!

June 2nd, 2010
6:33 pm

Why is it when UGA wins it’s talent and when anyone else winds it’s luck?

Gator Growl

June 2nd, 2010
6:39 pm

D.J. Shockley? What club does he spin the vinyl at?

buzzDawg

June 2nd, 2010
6:56 pm

I don’t see a contradiction in Phil Steele’s ranking of Georgia and his statement that Georgia is potentially one team that could run the table. Georgia has 1) a favorable schedule 2) a new defensive coaching unit that has all the elements to get the most out of our defensive talent in the newly installed and much anticipated defensive scheme 3) an offensive line that some rank as one of the best in the nation 4) a duo of running backs in King and Ealey that came on very strong at the end of last season 5) great tight ends and 6) A.J. Green. If QB Aaron Murray proves to be either a smart game manager or, better yet, a playmaker, Georgia will have a great year.

peckinpah

June 2nd, 2010
7:00 pm

I disagree with some fans that say Murray is the key. He’s going to be important no doubt, but with 10 returning starters around him, I am MUCH more concerned about the D. Hell, we had a above average O with Cox as QB.

peckinpah

June 2nd, 2010
7:02 pm

Also, I don’t see how Bill saying a lot fans expect 10 wins is overly optimistic. I mean, that’s been the average for Richt, so I don’t see how expecting what’s been par for the course as being “overconfident”.

hunkerdown

June 2nd, 2010
7:06 pm

I agree with what you say buzzdawg but then why the barely to[p 25 ranking?

One, two, free, fo, fi, dem der Gator don't take no jive!

June 2nd, 2010
7:09 pm

Chazzo,
I do appreciate an honest answer! LOL
Seriously, don’t you find that funny?

Bulldog59

June 2nd, 2010
7:34 pm

Defense wins games, defense wins championships.

In 2009, in their 8 game SEC schedule, Alabama allowed a total of 85 points (best in the SEC.)

In 2009,in their 8 game SEC schedule, UF allowed 96 points (second best in the SEC.)

In 2009, in their 8 game SEC schedule, UGA allowed 252 points (worst in the SEC.)

In 2009, in their 8 game SEC schedule, UGA scored 252 points (tied for 1st in the SEC with Arkansas.)

Joe Cox was Joe Average, cost us games, no doubt. The O was too predictable, but the O was still scoring…. a lot.

The problem was/is the D. And CMR has addressed this in a big big way.

The question is, how quickly can Coach Grantham get the D turned around?

Personally, I’m optimistic.

Roll Tide

June 2nd, 2010
7:51 pm

MEMO TOP RICHT: you know how they say if the politicians had to lead the first charge, then would be no war. We’re going to let you and Bobo alternate lining up as tailbacks in a single back set and run behind the likes of Ben Jones, Chris Davis, and Clint boling. Just like there would be no more wars, I think we would see some mighty quick changes,i.e. Burnette for jones, Sturdivant for Boling and heaven forbid, bean Anderson for davis. Seeing as the people at UGA would never accpt this, we’ll have to rely on your new nutritionist coach to get us ready. Sheesh, no wonder FLA. manhandles you every year.At Uga, jones starts at center and you move Mike Pouncey to backup nose tackle. Sheesh. it has got to be tough being a Bulldog. Glad i’m not. ROLL TIDE!

Roll Tide

June 2nd, 2010
8:10 pm

p.s. if that OT from Moultrie signs with georgia it should launch an investigation. You already have Jonathan Owens,Dallas lee, Tanner Strickland,Austin Lond g,and big Kolton Houston. Sheesh. Richt should be on the hot seat. The Moultrie kid needs to go to Bama, redshirt, and then replace our all-america from Augusta, the best left tackle in the conference, James Carpenter. He’ll then play next to the georgia roadgrader, Chance warmack, the second best left guard in the conference behind Cordy Glenn. Roll tide

The rest of the SEC

June 2nd, 2010
8:18 pm

Aaaaah yes. The unbridled optimism of Georgia football fans. I just had to tune in to crack up about this. Every year I get a kick out of laughing at the dawg fans talking about their yet to be championship run. What is it? 30 years and counting. We’ll be waiting for you. Get ready for your usual beatdown at the hands of the gators. We’re coming for you. AGAIN! And I guess you can look forward to Kentucky whupping you. AGAIN! But at least you may actually beat the Vols again. At least you win have the boy blunder laying another arse whupping on your behinds 45-19. And best of all you don’t have to play the Bammers. I imagine you still have nightmares after blackout night. Seems ever since that humiliation that the dawgs have played .500 ball. Keep up the optimism. Its always great humor for me and the rest of the sec.

Bulldog59

June 2nd, 2010
8:48 pm

Sorry, typo in previous post, should read:

In 2009, in their 8 game SEC schedule, UGA scored 234 points (tied for 1st in the SEC with Arkansas.)

hunkerdown

June 2nd, 2010
9:21 pm

Dear Rest of the SEC,

I am a Dawg fan as big as they come. I cheer my team on and jostle with the opposition all in good humopr. However, I have never been on a Gator article blog trying to demoralize the Gators. I guess I got a life.

Brian Asselstine

June 2nd, 2010
9:57 pm

USC released Jarvis Jones from Columbus from his schoalrship. Where does he end up?

hunkerdown

June 2nd, 2010
10:45 pm

Wonder why he wants to leave USC. Had the neck injury but was highly touted as a true freshman. Is it Kiffin? Who Knows out there why he wants to leave? AJC?