With the regular season over and the bowl pairing still to come, a lot of fans are looking ahead to next season and debating what changes, additions and tweaks are needed to pull Mark Richt’s program out of its two-season slump. Here’s my own wish list for the Dawgs, which is topped by:
A big, bad JUCO nose guard to bolster the undersized defensive line. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is in dire need of more bulk and aggressive play on the defensive line, and while signing Thomasville defensive end Ray Drew looks like a must, Georgia can’t wait for a true freshman to mature. So let’s hope some of the junior college lineman the Dogs reportedly are looking at wind up in Athens next season.
A more consistent Mike Bobo. Richt has indicated the former Georgia QB will return as his offensive coordinator, and while that decision isn’t popular with some fans, I’m OK with it. (An interesting discussion of Bobo’s pros and cons has been taking place at Get the Picture.) Bobo is a fine developer of quarterbacks and shows flashes of brilliance as a playcaller. The problem is he’s inconsistent, too often going away from what’s working in what appears to be a misguided attempt at balance. He needs to step up his game next season if the Richt era is to continue at UGA.
A new gamebreaker on offense. With the Dogs likely to lose A.J. Green, it becomes more crucial than ever to sign a player who opposing defenses have to account for on every play. Say, a blue-chip back like Isaiah Crowell. Returnees Washaun Ealey and Caleb King are decent running backs but nobody’s going to be talking about them being a first-round NFL draft pick. Just ask Steve Spurrier what adding a top-ranked running threat can do for your program.
A new rising star at wide receiver. If the Dogs do indeed lose Green along with senior Kris Durham, someone besides Tavarres King is going to have to step up in the receiving corps. Can Marlon Brown finally live up to his potential in his third year in Athens? I’d love to see it happen. Or will it have to be a true freshman? With Mitchell County’s Justin Scott-Wesley reportedly now soft on his commitment to UGA, the pressure is on to sign a receiver who can make a difference in a hurry.
Strength. As in the strength for Richt to make the hard decision to replace his best friend, Dave Van Halanger, as director of Georgia’s strength and conditioning program. The Dogs have been getting pushed around on both lines for too long now and the comments from opposing players about our guys being gassed late in the game have been cropping up far too frequently. Those mat drills might have been cutting-edge at FSU in 1990s, but they’re not getting the job done these days in Athens.
Those are the things I think are most needed. What’s on your wish list for the Dogs?
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