What’s your biggest concern about the 2011 Dogs?

Aaron Murray gives the Dogs hope in 2011, but what is the biggest concern? (AJC file)

Aaron Murray gives the Dogs hope in 2011, but what is the biggest concern? (AJC file)

Over at ESPN.com, Edward Aschoff took a look at the biggest reasons for hope and concern for the Georgia Bulldogs this season. As you’d expect, the return of quarterback Aaron Murray was one of the reasons for hope, along with a talented linebacker unit, which he said “could be the most athletic in the league.”

Biggest reason for concern, Aschoff says, is Georgia’s unproven offensive skill players: “The Bulldogs have a ton of offensive talent, but only Murray, wide receiver Tavarres King and tight end Orson Charles have really made any sort of impact. Those three are reliable, but the rest of the group has yet to prove themselves. The Bulldogs haven’t found that elite running back. Washaun Ealey’s future is unknown and senior Caleb King was solid this spring, but has yet to really break out. Ken Malcome and Carlton Thomas struggled with injuries this spring. Incoming freshman Isaiah Crowell will have a ton of expectations to live up to when he arrives and he will immediately be in the thick of the running back competition. At receiver, King will be the go-to-guy, but after him there is a cloud of uncertainty. Marlon Brown seemed to come along at times this spring, but was inconsistent. Rantavious Wooten might be the most athletic receiver, but he, too, was inconsistent this spring and didn’t play in Georgia’s spring game. The rest of Georgia’s group hardly has any experience.”

Do you agree that the offensive skill players are the biggest reason for concern? Bigger than the unsettled secondary, where one of the safety positions is still a big question mark? Bigger than the reshuffling of an already suspect offensive line after the injury of Trinton Sturdivant?

What makes you the most nervous about the 2011 Dogs?

NEIGHBORHOOD LEGEND

The only reason I was surprised by the news this week that Danny Birchmore was being inducted into the Georgia Tennis Hall of Fame was because I’d just assumed he was already in it.

Birchmore, who lettered on the Georgia men’s tennis team 1970-73, was the first Bulldog to receive All-America honors when he was selected in 1971, and he repeated as an All-American in 1972 in addition to earning four first team All-SEC awards. In 1969, he won the U.S. boys 18 clay court singles title, upsetting Jimmy Connors in the quarterfinals. He was part of that cadre of Athens tennis kids (including future UGA athletic director Greg McGarity) shepherded by the great Dan Magill.

I grew up living around the corner from Danny, whose dad is Fred Birchmore, a legendary figure in Athens known for riding a bicycle around the world as a young man and building a giant stone wall in his 70s. Danny is two years older than me but he and I were in Boy Scouts together (Troop 4’s Buffalo Patrol) and we usually had our patrol meetings at his “Happy Hollow” home, where I spent many an hour tramping through his “backyard” (known to local kids as Birchmore’s Woods and now a part of Athens’ Memorial Park).

Danny easily could have been an intimidating presence to other kids since he was a brilliant student (he’s now a doctor in Nashville and teaches at Vanderbilt), a tremendous athlete and just about the perfect Boy Scout. But on top of all that, Danny was one of the nicest, most humble guys you could ever meet.

I was sitting beside him at Camp Rainey Mountain in North Georgia the night he was tapped for the prestigious Order of the Arrow and I remember how thrilled the rest of us from Troop 4 were for him. I feel the same way about his latest honor.

Give it up for Danny Birchmore, a damn good Dawg!

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

389 comments Add your comment

tater tot

May 7th, 2011
10:53 am

FIRST !!!.. Well minwe is that folks will let them play to the best of their abilities like we know they can and stop coming on here with all that poor-mouthing.

tater tot

May 7th, 2011
10:54 am

And also the photo you show on here of Arron with his bowl-cut Jim-Bob hairdo is truly southern. :P

Jim

May 7th, 2011
10:58 am

Why the heck is Richt back this year?

midland Dog

May 7th, 2011
11:09 am

concerns are wide receiver and offensive line. And can we not come up with a couple of trick plays now and then?

Ca dawg

May 7th, 2011
11:11 am

Bill king’s inability to say something positive about his own team is a big concern.

RabidDawgFan

May 7th, 2011
11:11 am

My biggest concern is the O-line. All of this reshuffling can’t be good for Murray’s psyche, or the continuity of our O-line. IMO, you must have the same 5 guys battling it out at all times. Competition is good, don’t get me wrong but reshuffling is not competition. One week we may see Cordy at LT, then see him at RT the next. That’s not good. Coach Friend seems to want to shake our line up and I don’t think that’s good for particularly Murray. Murray wants to be able to count on his LT game after game and if it’s a different player, how comfortable will he be knowing that it could be a person that’s used to playing guard that is now playing tackle that is protecting his blindside?

RabidDawgFan

May 7th, 2011
11:15 am

I am also concerned with our RB situation. Who is the guy? Is it Ealey? Is it King? Is it Crowell when he steps on the field? We need a horse in the backfield and right now we don’t have that Marcus Lattimore, that Trent Richardson, etc. We don’t have him. Hopefully Crowell can be that guy and carry the load for us and help Murray out. I’m tellin you, we have to have a running game if we want to win a championship. That’s just how it’s gonna be. If you don’t run the ball, and pass all the time, there’s bigger risk for turnovers and also you don’t kill the clock. Time of Possession is everything and in the SEC especially, you need it.

RabidDawgFan

May 7th, 2011
11:19 am

I know it’s pretty to throw the ball 75 yards down field and if that’s what happens then it’s fine but never underestimate the effectiveness of a solid rushing attack. I’m an old school guy and I love to get after it in the trenches and I still believe that games are won or lost up front. If you have the bigger, meaner, stronger, more determined linemen up front, you win the game. Point blank. We need some nasty linemen that want to punish and demolish the guy in front of them. If we can get that type of attitude and tenacity, then we’ll be fine.

Earl

May 7th, 2011
11:22 am

Bill,

On offense, biggest concern is lack of scoring in big games. You’re not going to win a lot of games averaging less than 16 points a contest against ranked teams. Didin’t score a touchdown against UCF in the Bowl or East rival South Carolina. Only scored 1 td against Miss St. If you look at it, 3rd down conversions were poor and the rushing game was 10th in the SEC. Scoring was 11th in the SEC against ranked teams. Didn’t throw to Charles, Green or Durham enough, didn’t use Brandon Smith or Washaun Ealey or Aaron Murray enough on offense in the running game. Passing game broke down in the 4th quarter, only 4 td’s all season in the 4th quarter. Passblocking was poor, gave up dozens of sacks. Costly turnovers against East rivals Florida & South Carolina defined 2010.

On defense, poor on 3rd downs, last in the SEC. Also, poor against the run and in red zone defense. Running the 3-4 without correct personel proved to be a losing decision in 2010.

1eyedJack

May 7th, 2011
11:28 am

Didn’t know they let Ewoks in the Boy Scouts.

We will have one of the best if not THE BEST QB in the league.

We will have THE BEST set of TEs in the league.

We will have THE BEST tandem of kickers in the league.

We will have one of the best if not THE BEST group of LBs in the league.

We will have a lot of beef and a couple or three NFL draft choices manning the DL.

We will have a lot of beef and a couple or three NFL draft choices manning the OL.

We will have a very manageable schedule.

DB, WR, RB, therein lies the crux.

Accentuate the positive for a change Bill. Go Dawgs!!

athensdave

May 7th, 2011
11:29 am

I love Fred Birchmore! Never knew how amazing his son was too. Thanks for the info on my neighbors :)

hURRY UP

May 7th, 2011
11:29 am

WHAT CONCERNS ME, IS RICHT’S 0-6 RECORD IN 2010 AGAINST RANKED TEAMS. WHY CAN’T COACH RICHT BEAT GOOD TEAMS ANYMORE?

Yo Murph

May 7th, 2011
11:31 am

Inexperince.

At receiver.

On front 7 on defense.

Earl

May 7th, 2011
11:35 am

Offensive turnovers against key SEC East rivals South Carolina & Florida.

Those are the biggest two games of the year, can’t beat yourself.

ugaclassof2004

May 7th, 2011
11:38 am

My biggest concern is the Big Picture in regards to the football program, chief among those concerns being why the majority of our fanbase is willing to accept such subpar results out of loyalty to ONE MAN.

2008-Richt should have fired Willie but instead gave him a raise. ASININE!! Richt should have been fired right there for such an incompetent decision!! 2009- Dawgs go 8-5, Willie gets fired a YEAR TOO LATE, Richt fires half his coaching staff yet is on NO HOT SEAT WHATSOEVER!!!! Again totally ASININE!! 2010-Dawgs have first losing season in 14 years, Richt’s continues the practice of throwing longtime assistants on his sword by “reassigning” Van Halanger, yet Richt is just now being held somewhat accountable??

So my question is this: If the last 3 years were considered bad( and yes I consider 10-3 in 2008 bad for THAT team), then how bad does it have to get for UGA to fire Richt???? 4-8? 3-9?? Gasp…2-10 or 1-11??

ugaclassof2004

May 7th, 2011
11:40 am

My biggest concern is the Big Picture in regards to the football program, chief among those concerns being why the majority of our fanbase is willing to accept such subpar results out of loyalty to ONE MAN.

2008-Richt should have fired Willie but instead gave him a raise. ASININE!! Richt should have been fired right there for such an incompetent decision!! 2009- Dawgs go 8-5, Willie gets fired a YEAR TOO LATE, Richt fires half his coaching staff yet is on NO HOT SEAT WHATSOEVER!!!! Again totally ASININE!! 2010-Dawgs have first losing season in 14 years, Richt continues the practice of throwing longtime assistants on his sword by “reassigning” Van Halanger, yet Richt is just now being held somewhat accountable??

So my question is this: If the last 3 years were considered bad( and yes I consider 10-3 in 2008 bad for THAT team), then how bad does it have to get for UGA to fire Richt???? 4-8? 3-9?? Gasp…2-10 or 1-11??

Dr. P

May 7th, 2011
11:43 am

the biggest concern and biggest shortfall in talent continues top be at Head Coach !

Rocket Man

May 7th, 2011
11:44 am

The overall direction of the program. 2007, you have that incredible 11 win season with Stafford. Pre-season, picked to win it all in 08′, only won 10 wins loaded with 5 future NFL guys on offense behind Matthew Stafford, 10 wins fell below expectations. Then in 09′, Joe Cox led the team to just 8 wins, this fell below expectations again. In 10′, Aaron Murray took over and led the team to just 6 wins. This was again below exepctations. It’s the direction of things that concerns me. It’s as if the Head Coach doesn’t know how to get the train back on track.

old time dog

May 7th, 2011
11:48 am

Line on both sides of the ball concern me. The offensive line casts doubts on the right side. The defensive line needed bolstering badly and we will see if any improvement was made. Hope Crowell is as good as both himself and UGA thinks because it will be the same old song otherwise. QB should be improved with a little more experience and maturity under his belt and hopefully can exhibit some leadership qualities. Lack of inspiring confidence hurt on both sides last year.

AltamahaDawg

May 7th, 2011
11:50 am

But you already said that the 6 losses this year that you predicted, will get Richt fired. Problem solved.

Spike

May 7th, 2011
11:52 am

How are we going to blow it against the Gators again this year?

Otis

May 7th, 2011
11:53 am

Gettin off to a slow start.

You start off wit 2 top teams, could be nother bad start at 0-2, like last years 1-4 start.

Otis

May 7th, 2011
11:57 am

How will da new coaches do?

Friend come from Div 2 UAB?????

LB coach came from loser redskins who got spanked gainst the run??????

New strength coach used to be video editor???

old time dog

May 7th, 2011
12:09 pm

Balance on both sides of the ball is how really good, strong teams blossum. You need to be able to run and pass. You need to be able to stop the run and pass. Some teams do one better than the other ut the best teams are pretty balanced in all four.

Shawn

May 7th, 2011
12:10 pm

Mitch Cumstein

May 7th, 2011
12:22 pm

Coaching is and always was the weak spot for the dogs. High school coaches don’t cut it in the SEC.

Bulldog38

May 7th, 2011
12:33 pm

I wasn’t going to comment. However, I haven’t read where anyone has mentioned my biggest concern, which is the offensive play calling of Mike Bobo.

He is WAY too concerned about having a 50-50 balance of pass versus run. Sometimes, you have to take what the defense gives you. But, a good offensive coordinator knows that you have to establish the run in the SEC. He abandons the run too quickly. Between Crowell, King, Ealey, Malcome, and Thomas, we should always have fresh legs this season. If properly utilized, we should lead the SEC in rushing this year. Unfortunately however, with Bobo calling the plays, it probably won’t happen.

Dawg 39

May 7th, 2011
12:35 pm

My main concern is the OL & the Running Game. Everything else is coming together like we hoped that it would. Also, the Coaching Staff is certainly grade A SEC calibre. GATA..

DawgDawgDawg

May 7th, 2011
12:40 pm

Coaching. There’s a reason we hardly have any developed offensive skill players.

edumacated

May 7th, 2011
12:50 pm

My largest concern would be at safety. If those guys are getting burned every series, Murray will have to put up 30 plus every game to win.
The O-line is the next concern for me, but honestly, can they get much worse at run blocking than last year? I hope not.

Dawg Tired

May 7th, 2011
12:51 pm

Biggest concern – Giving supreme effort all the time. The team clearly quit when Richt decided to kick the field goal on 4th and goal fro the one in the bowl game. The team effort was spotty at best during the season with very poor efforts against Miss. State, Colorado and Florida.

Chris from Smyrna

May 7th, 2011
12:53 pm

Most concerned about lack of focus and passion. There’s enough talent. It will hurt if MB is a bust. One of those backs will break out from the pack. OL and DL should be “man enough” as a former Dawg player and Aub coach likes to say.

dawgs111

May 7th, 2011
1:02 pm

short and sweet…my biggest concerns for nexy year are the O line, our running game or lack there of and the unimaginative play calling.

DIT

May 7th, 2011
1:06 pm

DEFENSE!!!! We can score 21 points per game min. If the defense steps it up and only allows 10 to 14 ppg then we will have a decent shot at a 10 win season. Defense falls apart so does our dawgs!

OldFan

May 7th, 2011
1:08 pm

I believe that QB will become the biggest scapegoat, fairly or not. Murray could become the kind of QB who is much better than he plays, and that will be the result of an unstable running game and an inconsistent OL. If we lose the first two games, the rest of the season will become a debate over Murray’s ability to win and CMR’s ability to put the best QB on the field. I sure hope I’m wrong.

Ca dawg

May 7th, 2011
1:08 pm

@ugaclassof2004: is richt too loyal or not loyal enough? That is: if cmr’s “longtime practice” is to throw his assistants on a sword, why wait so long to fire Willie? I’m not happy with 6-7 any more than you, but your criticism as it is currently stated is incoherent.

bwkdawg

May 7th, 2011
1:22 pm

My biggest concern is the o-line. I think if the can consitantly open up holes than our running game will be fine. I feel the secondary will be fine, unless we have a true freshman thats ready to play saftey than I feel cummings will stay at that spot to me he is the best athelete in the secondary and if brandon smith has improved in the physical aspect of the game I think he will lock down the other corner spot, with a good pass rush which I think we will have this year that helps out the seconday tremendously.

UGADawg83

May 7th, 2011
1:25 pm

My biggest concern is Bill King who offers commentary based on what he observes on television because he’s never at a road game not even Florida and writes columns based on what he has read in another blogger’s column.

FRED

May 7th, 2011
1:45 pm

My biggest worry CMR

The Reaper

May 7th, 2011
1:52 pm

My biggest concerns are their mental and physical toughness, the Offense and the playcalling. I think the defense will be fine, but the offense is becoming and enigma. We should never be slack on the OL, but we have to improve on the OC posiiton and that was not rectified this off season.

tide roll

May 7th, 2011
1:53 pm

Bill, Biggest concern is coaching staff that simply refuses to run a ball control offense, even when circumstances dictate it. Therein lies the problem of having a head coach AND offensive coordinator who were former QB(s). Richt/Bobo simply support each other’s crazy philosophy. Someone should have challenged Richt on his field goal decision on 4th and short vs. Central Fla. and on Bobo’s play selection in overtime vs. Florida. It doesn’t stop there. Their lack of personnel decisions in recruiting a physical offensive line WITH DEPTH almost assure you of having to, yet again, throw the ball all over the place. Richt/Bobo are the same. They would rather show everyone how they outsmarted the other guy with their clever play calling than simply prepare a team to out physical the other. Not good if you’re in the SEC East.

midland Dog

May 7th, 2011
1:56 pm

oh, and i am still mad about not going for it on 4th and goal on the first series in the bowl game. I don’t care how easy you got there, you just in essence told your team “you guys are such wusses that you probably can’t move this ball a couple feet.” That may have been the beginning of my serious concerns.

needums

May 7th, 2011
2:00 pm

Not being able to play hard in the fourth quarter. I know things are different now with strength and conditioning but I have to see it on the field. Also better attitudes will be key this season, I hope the team really comes together this year.

old time dog

May 7th, 2011
2:02 pm

jrmdvm1

May 7th, 2011
2:05 pm

Bill,

I, too, thought Danny was already “there”. He is responsible for my learning to love tennis. I would go over from the vet school on weekday afternoons and watch. He was always exciting to watch, going up against much taller players. Coach McGill would let us “regulars” sit in the chair during some of the weekday matches. I watched others like Bill Kopoeke ( I think I spelled that right ), and even watched current coach Manny Diaz when he was a player. If you ever talk to Coach Diaz, ask him about the “Streaker Match”.

My only concern for the football Dawgs is whether or not they will give their all on every play. What I heard this spring really reduces that concern, but they still have to show it on the field.

JDawg1785

May 7th, 2011
2:07 pm

I’d rather focus on the positives like 1eyedJack. Why fixate on our concerns when we can revel in the things that Georgia fans will have to cheer about next season?

t

May 7th, 2011
2:12 pm

My biggest concern>>>>Mr.Richt!

dougmo2

May 7th, 2011
2:39 pm

My biggest concern is the size of the Clarke County jail. Is it big enough to support the players who plan to get busted for underage drinking, driving without a permit, and leaving the scene of an accident. It’s not like they are Mensas or bright enough to know better.

mad dawg 1

May 7th, 2011
2:40 pm

My biggest concern is this bunch of so called Ga. Bulldog fans. And Bill this includes you. I have heard that the trade school has room for any fans that see the need to cry b@#&* all the time. I’ve only been a fan for 30 years but I haven’t heard this trash talk ever by their own fans. I say to he!! with tech and anyone else who dosen’t back these young men and U.G.A.

mad dawg 1

May 7th, 2011
2:46 pm

P.S I went to and sat through ever game in the 1990 Dog season I know what hard times are. Just saying