One forecast sees this as the year of the Dawg in SEC East

Quarterback Aaron Murray already has a year in Mark Richt's offensive system. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Quarterback Aaron Murray already has a year in Mark Richt's offensive system. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

So far the preseason estimations of Mark Richt’s team have varied wildly, though most predictions have Georgia improving modestly over last season but still behind Florida in the SEC East.

And then there’s Tom Poisal of the highly respected philsteele.com, who says “Georgia is poised to re-take the throne in the SEC East from Florida” this year. Poisal says the key game is South Carolina. “If the Dawgs survive that test in the sauna that is Columbia in September, they will be off and running barring injuries.”

Poisal’s appraisal of the Dawgs addresses the concerns of an inexperienced quarterback in Aaron Murray and the transition to a new defense.

He thinks this being Murray’s second year in the program will help. “Expect statistics mirroring David Greene [in his redshirt freshman year] and Matthew Stafford’s 2nd year on the Georgia campus at minimum. Murray has a much better arm than Greene but not as much as Stafford. His mobility is better than both and his intangibles are said to be reminiscent of Greene.”

As for the defense, Poisal says “we are talking about a defense that gave up more passing touchdowns than any other SEC team while also creating the fewest turnovers in league play. There HAS to be improvement in those numbers this year given the athleticism Georgia possesses on the defensive side of the ball.” And the fact that opponents won’t know what to expect from Todd Grantham’s 3-4 scheme “should soften the blow of any potential learning-curve that the Bulldogs may encounter, especially early in the year.”

Plus, Poisal says, “ask any coach breaking in a 1st year quarterback what he wants to go along with the rookie and he will probably say a veteran offensive line, good running game and great special teams.” And Georgia has all that. Plus, he says, a schedule “tailor-made for a 1st year quarterback in the SEC.”

To sum it all up, he says, “The team you see in the final third of the season will not resemble the team that began the year. Murray will be entrenched as the QB of the present and future, the playbook will open, and all the pieces will fall into place giving Georgia an SEC East Championship and potentially more.”

Not bad for a team picked by the Orlando Sentinel to be only the 64th best in the country.

BUT WHAT ABOUT THAT LEARNING CURVE?

Talking about the defense with the Macon Telegraph, Richt conceded there’s going to be “a learning curve” but noted that “the 3-4 is a good aggressive, attacking style and it’s one where we have enough personnel to run it effectively. The question is, how well will we do it, how many mistakes will we make along the way, and when we make the mistakes, what’s it going to cost us? On the other end, hopefully we’re going to pressure people enough to get them to turn the ball over more than we did a year ago.”

That’s the key: how much Georgia can flip its turnover ratio from last year’s abysmal numbers.

A HEISMAN DARK HORSE?

Alabama’s Mark Ingram is the preseason pick to repeat as the Heisman Trophy winner, but as last year showed the favorite frequently doesn’t win. So what dark horse Heisman contenders could emerge?

Collegefootballnews.com says: “Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green is the first name that comes to mind. Green hauled in 53 passes for 808 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore in 2009, doing so in a rather average offense. In 2010, the only question mark in the Bulldog offensive puzzle is the quarterback. Granted, that’s a pretty big question mark, but Aaron Murray should be able to work off of his running game to get Green the ball in key spots. Green has the talent, it’s just a matter of him getting enough touches.”

Amen.

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253 comments Add your comment

Dawg House

June 30th, 2010
11:42 am

Murray County Mystic

June 30th, 2010
11:42 am

I get to say it…first. PS: UGA sucks…

Murray County Idiot

June 30th, 2010
11:45 am

good job being “first” loser..
if UGA sucks so much, why do you waste your time and energy reading and attempting to post first on their blogs.. seems as if you need to prioritize..

slow down young pups

June 30th, 2010
11:45 am

Murray County Mystic, you are sad! Go DAWGS! 30-24 and the hits keep coming!

Year of the DAWG!

Dawg House

June 30th, 2010
11:46 am

Thanks for posting this POSITIVE article Bill. All the other AJC bloggers are bored recently, and just want to write articles to poke dawg nation with a stick, in hopes of getting hits. Unfortunately it works, but fir the love of god, write positive articles fir the local team.

This will be a great year, but 2011 is the one on my radar!!

GO DAWGS!!!

66 days!!!

#1 BAMA FAN

June 30th, 2010
11:46 am

Potentially more? A date with Bama at the Dome…come on. Trent Richardson’s name will be in the Heisman mix.RTR

TheTruth

June 30th, 2010
11:47 am

Ah, Mystic, you never did tell us when the Wagon Trail is this year???

TheTruth

June 30th, 2010
11:48 am

BamaFan, Richardson will have to take away carries from Ingram for a shot.

KM

June 30th, 2010
11:55 am

Being from Murray County must really suck.

BobDog

June 30th, 2010
11:58 am

If we make it to the SEC Championship game, I don’t see a problem with beating ‘Bama. They’re going to be off this year on defense and we’ll pound them until they try to stop the run, then blow them out with the receiving corps. They’ll score some points on us, but not enough to make it close.

We have to survive that hellhle, Columbia. That’s got to be the hottest I have ever been two years ago.

How2fish

June 30th, 2010
12:06 pm

Never been a more important game with USC than this years will be in my memory. Good article !

TXDawg

June 30th, 2010
12:14 pm

ABSOLUTELY!!!

destin dawg

June 30th, 2010
12:15 pm

Conditioning will be huge this year… it always is.. but the critical S.C. and Ark. games will be high noon games in the Sept. heat … lets’ wear ‘em out and win in the 4th quarter !!!! we ‘ve got he players and you’ve got to love the new DDDEEEE coaches !!!

sksflksdfjsdfljdfjk

June 30th, 2010
12:21 pm

The grass must be through growing and the paint must be dry in Murray County is all I can say.

Fillin' up @ Juniors

June 30th, 2010
12:22 pm

When are we going to realize that predictions are meaningless, and that the very fact that sports is random makes it worth watching. Less predicting, more pictures.

JB

June 30th, 2010
12:24 pm

Heat suits us well in those games. We are two deep on the OL and have two pretty good running back. We run, run run, control the clock, and have some big plays on a tired defense in the second half…..Next question.

JB

June 30th, 2010
12:26 pm

All eyes will be on Brantley and Florida in their first 4 games…..any Div 1 teams this year on their schedule the first few weeks?

JB

June 30th, 2010
12:32 pm

on a serious note, we are one bad ankle from #11 away from being 6-6 or 5-7……..

Waycross Dawg

June 30th, 2010
12:33 pm

Ain’t nothing from Murray County but queers and steers, and we all know steers can’t type.

DIT

June 30th, 2010
12:34 pm

If we cab get by ARK & SC we will be in good shape. That is going to be a tall order witht the new defense and both of those teams are projected to do well this year.

Gwinnett County Guru

June 30th, 2010
12:35 pm

Is there anyone left in Murray County that is not the product of inbreeding?

Urban's Husband

June 30th, 2010
12:35 pm

It’s a little too early for me to be that optimistic about our 2010 Dogs. Murray is pretty young and our defense still must shake off several years of what I like to call the Willie effect. This effect causes a lack of tackling, few turnovers and giving up the big play over an dover again. The dogs are taking their medication but it may take longer for them to fully recover from Willie. USC is the litmus test regarding our 2010 Dogs!!!

441north

June 30th, 2010
12:44 pm

If we get by SC we will go into JAX undefeated.

tdog

June 30th, 2010
12:49 pm

2010 OUTLOOK: With Heisman candidate Joshua Nesbitt returning at quarterback, the Yellow Jackets will contend for another ACC title. Nesbitt leads an option attack that will again be explosive, and the new-look defense under Al Groh should be improved. Look for runner Anthony Allen and wideout Stephen Hill to emerge as stars: they replace Jonathan Dwyer and Demaryius Thomas, two of four juniors who left for the NFL

JB

June 30th, 2010
12:49 pm

I believe the defense will be better than most think…..Why? 7 or 8 guys starting could be starting for Anybody…..Everyone wanted them. The system will be new, but we will be quicker, more aggressive, better coached, better prepared for the other teams scheme and mentally stronger, a swagger you might say. I’m excited.

Bryan

June 30th, 2010
12:50 pm

Once again the redneck ga fans think they will be this great team. Happens every year. We beat sc, we will be undefeated into jax. Haha. Gawd you are the dumbest fan base on earth.

Your average at best team will lose 5 games again. No experience with your qb and you play in the sec. Miss st might even beat your team.

unedumacated

June 30th, 2010
12:50 pm

Fellow Dog fans, we need to get real here. If we need to worry about getting past SC early, then suffice it to say that we probably aren’t going to be all that great. Does anybody here think that Bama or Florida would be as concerned with an early game in Columbia? So basically, Richt’s program has evolved to “maybe we beat Carolina?” That is sad.

Bulldog

June 30th, 2010
12:51 pm

Murray County taking a beating this AM!

Can we get some new interviews with the new coaches? I’d like to hear their take on how things are going, rather than guys whose job it is to sell papers or get hits on a website.

Hey Dawgs Fans...

June 30th, 2010
12:51 pm

what if it’s cloudy for the South Carolina game instead of being 90+ degrees…or what if it’s raining…what do you think will happen?????

JB

June 30th, 2010
12:51 pm

Tech offense = no passing game= any athletic defense shuts them down= 5 or 6 teams they play will give them fits= usual 5 or 6 weak suspects they play= padded stats…..Yawn.

Sweat Socks

June 30th, 2010
12:52 pm

Please don’t ask that question! There’s already enough BS speculation on this site.

JS

June 30th, 2010
12:54 pm

on a serious note, we are one bad ankle from #11 away from being 6-6 or 5-7……..

OR #11 plays like a red shirt freshman QB who couldn’t beat out Joe Cox last year.

Sweat Socks

June 30th, 2010
12:54 pm

All right, I WOULD like to hear Murray County Mystic’s take on the waether in Columbia question.

Should be good for a laugh!

WHAT SAY YE, MYSTIC???

JB

June 30th, 2010
12:56 pm

bryan is a bammer or florida johnny come lately with a computer……if Vandy is winning, he’d compare us to them…….Go home bryan or find you own kind to banter with……….no room in sand box for you. State your team or leave

Jan Kemp

June 30th, 2010
12:59 pm

Athens sucks…

The uga downward spiral continues

June 30th, 2010
12:59 pm

30 years since a nat champ.
Losses this year include
SC–spurrier will crush you
Ark–Mallet will throw for 4 td’s against your still crap D
Fla–nothing need to be said except for 19-22 losses
Aub–revenge
Ken–Couldn’t beat them at home last year, won’t beat them on the road
Tenn–toss up game. Dooley knows how to win better than you think

JS

June 30th, 2010
1:00 pm

GT had 1774 passing yards last year, 5910 yards toal offense. Last year was a great offensive season!

wow, the "philsteele" writer...

June 30th, 2010
1:01 pm

…really went out on a limb with this comment “Poisal’s appraisal of the Dawgs addresses the concerns of an inexperienced quarterback in Aaron Murray and the transition to a new defense.”

WELL, DUH – Ya think he thought that up all by himself or did he copy the 1000 other writers, coaches, fans, etc who said/say the same thing????

JB

June 30th, 2010
1:01 pm

JS…………you don’t know much about Richt if that’s your stance……Murray wouldn’t have started last year if he was the second coming. He was a true freshman and Cox had been in the system 3-4 years. Richt, being a passed over second string collge QB himself, was going to give Cox every benefit of the Doubt. Yes, I think it’s a “weakness” he has for not putting the best player on the field to give us a chance to win, but that’s just the way he’s runs ‘his” team. Murray will surprise this year.

bruce mac

June 30th, 2010
1:02 pm

Question: If all Dawg fans are delussional red necks, why do you read all the Blogs and feel compelled to comment? Jealousy takes many forms. We Dawgs do expect to be good every year because we are good every year!!! Do you idiots even look at the records and final rankings. Noone is bettter the last 9 years in SEC than UGA, period.

Class of '98

June 30th, 2010
1:03 pm

Collegefootballnews.com is NOTORIOUSLY pro-Georgia.

But hey…. then again, so am I.

Lost dog

June 30th, 2010
1:07 pm

If UGA improves each game the season will be good. However the record could be 11 and 1 or just as easily 6 and 6. Regardless, the season will be a lot more fun than last year.

G2Rhett

June 30th, 2010
1:07 pm

It will be a great year for the Dogs. Let’s just say this; I don’t think any team is looking forward to playing Georgia…not even the so called “Mighty” Gators. Florida’s reign over the Dogs is over. Now, it’s our turn to dominate!

Tech Sucks

June 30th, 2010
1:07 pm

How many emails do you think that idiotic woman who wrote the Dawgs in @ 64th best team in the nation has received?

Innocent Bystander

June 30th, 2010
1:07 pm

If Aaron Murray has a “much better arm than David Greene” then we’re home free. But I’ve never heard that before. Also I question the reasoning that other teams’ adjustment to our new defensive alignment will offset our own learning curve. But I hope he’s right. I don’t think Ingram can repeat his monster year. But I have no objective reason for saying that other than that he will share a lot of carries with a great back.. Just mysticism and wishful thinking I guess. If AJ stays healthy and plays up to his potential look out.I do appreciate the Bulletin Board motivation from the Sentinel and Paul Finebaum.

Bugtussel

June 30th, 2010
1:08 pm

We’re number 64!!!!!

JB

June 30th, 2010
1:09 pm

Tech for sure loses this year: N.C, V.T., Miami,Ga. maybe: Kansas, Clemson……..better huddle on your own blog…..The nest is getting sprayed this year….

How2fish

June 30th, 2010
1:13 pm

The uga downward spiral continues…. I don’t think I’ve ever read a dumber post…spurrier will what ? crush us..big boy if he does he will be starting a trend not continuing one. IF Mallet throws 4 TD’s big deal we beat him last year with WM. Auburn..wants revenge because they are what the 21st century to 0 vs UGA ? I’ll bet you big we are favored to beat UK, and Dooley will have to be better at winning than we think..to have any chance in hell. Tell the truth you didn’t really believe a word of what you wrote did you?

SSIgator

June 30th, 2010
1:16 pm

G2Rhett -

Are you in charge of the KoolAid today? I look forward to the UF/GA game every year. With an occasional exception a very quiet night on the island after the game.

JB

June 30th, 2010
1:18 pm

How2fish…….The more trash we read on here, the better I like it….Richt firing that Defensive last year opened an eye or two. We have fallen a long way on D, but the recovery has started, in coaching and recruiting. they know it. 2010 may be just a year to start putting the pieces back together, but I like what i see. Talked to Cummings from Augusta after spring ball, and he felt like he had transferred to another school. Intense and a lot of physical hitting. GATA…