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

Pago Pago Dawg

May 7th, 2011
2:49 pm

We agree with everybody else, we change coaches if we get beat in JAX.

RxDawg

May 7th, 2011
2:54 pm

For me it’s the Offensive line, Secondary, Running Backs. In that order.

The Bear

May 7th, 2011
3:01 pm

“But it’s still a coach’s game. Make no mistake. You start at the top. If you don’t have a good one at the top, you don’t have a cut dog’s chance. If you do, the rest falls into place. You have to have good assistants, and a lot of things, but first you have to have the chairman of the board.” – Bear Bryant.

Tater salad

May 7th, 2011
3:06 pm

Dawg48

May 7th, 2011
3:20 pm

Rambo has one safety spot but I hope to see Hamilton or commings step up and play good at the other spot. Even though king has been a disappointment so far I think he will step up and have a good senior season. If we can get a solid running game going and that’s got a lot to do with the o line and ever who wants the ball the most at running back if they can be solid then our outside at receiver it will take some pressure of them and murry. I have a concern at full back it is a big part of the offence at Georgia we have had some solid fullbacks under richt. I just wonder how fig gins and tree will do their cause if the defense has to keep an eye on what’s going on out in the flats with a short pass to the fullback then that will open up the middle for the running game and some big time play action

azdawgs

May 7th, 2011
3:22 pm

My biggest concern is they won’t be any better than the 2010 bulldogs. They do have some talent returning but they also lost a lot to graduation and early departures for the NFL or left the team. The O line took a blow w/the loss of Trident S. There’s no signs the O line will be better this year. The D has yet to prove itself. That’ll be a wait and see. Same coaches, enough said there. Special teams could be this teams strong points especially if they show improvement in punt blocking and trickery. They have good returners on KO and punts if they don’t fumble and PK and punter can be best in the country or close to it.

First 2 games will either define this team or sink it. W/their schedule win the first 2 and barring injuries they could be a good team. You’re always hopeful but their track record over the last several years haunts even the most loyal fans.

ugaclassof2004

May 7th, 2011
3:31 pm

cadawg,

I think its both. For the first 8 years, Richt was too loyal. But once the 8-5 and 6-7 season’s began to happen, he started getting rid of people left and right( Longtime practice isn’t accurate, I should have said recent). Usually you fire one coach to send the message to the others, but when a DC, a LB coach, a DE/Special teams coach, and a conditioning coach ALL get fired( most of whom have been on Richt staff from day 1)…then the problem is the head coach and his inability to evaluate his program.

@mad dawg 1: Well of course fans are going to be upset! We have gotten progressively worse the last 3 years!! UGA has historically waited too long to make a change. We waited too long to get rid of Wally Butts even when he was getting his brains beat out by Tech in the 50’s. We kept Dooley around a bit too long( even though he had a great run in the early 80’s, so he earned the immunity). We definitely kept Ray Goff around 3 years too long, and we’ll do the same thing with Richt. The ONLY coaches we fired when we should have were Johnny Griffith and Jim Donnan. But I’ll say this about Donnan, the program was in much better shape when he was fired, then it will be when Richt gets fired. It may take two coaches to clean up the mess that Richt has made.

AltamahaDawg

May 7th, 2011
3:44 pm

Maybe it’s those “religious beliefs that you disagree with him about” that’s really bugging you?
Does it matter? You have already stated they are losing 6 games and Richt is getting fired. Why are you beating a dead horse?

1eyedJack

May 7th, 2011
3:54 pm

Now ain’t ya’ll gonna look silly there with your Fire Richt t-shirts on when he wins 11 games this year.

DollarDawg43

May 7th, 2011
4:13 pm

The offensive line will be a big key but the bigger concern is the defensive unit as a whole. If we have the ability to lock down opposing offenses we will have a greater margin of error relative to the ovbious challenges we will have early on with the offense.

The defense has a ton of athletes (admittedly with some inexperience in a couple of areas); as a group they need to take it upon themselves to “carry the team” for a bit and take control of games from the kick off. That is a huge challenge but, if we can manage it, things will be just fine.

Lotus 8

May 7th, 2011
4:21 pm

Defense? Not the problem. Defense did superb in Todd Grantham’s 1st year, finished 4th in SEC in defensive scoring against ranked teams, which is superb for a 1st year defensive coach.

Offense? Finished 8th in scoring against ranked teams. Bobo’s had plenty of time to get the right people in to his offense, and still, 8th in SEC scoring against good teams?

Lotus 8

May 7th, 2011
4:29 pm

O-Line the problem? No. Only gave up 9 sacks in 2009 and had us getting 250 yards rushing per game last 5 games of 2009 with Ealey & King. Had most experience in NCAA on O-Line at over 150 games combined. O-Line Coach was so good he got a big raise and was stolen away from powerhouse Texas.

Backs? No, both King & Ealey average over 5 yards a carry, 5.5 ypc together & scored 13 td’s between them.

Receivers or TE? No, 2 receivers got drafted by the NFL (AJ & Durham). For this year, Tavarres & Charles are as productive as it gets (15-20 yards a catch average & both score a td on a higher than average rate per pass).

Mark

May 7th, 2011
4:32 pm

Yeah the fans constant complaining. Look we could be Ohio State if we didn’t have a quality man leading this program.

It Ain't Rocket Science

May 7th, 2011
4:33 pm

My only real concern is the offensive line. I think the Defense will be fine this year as I truely believe we have a great defensive coach at UGA. I just don’t know that much about our O line coach. If the offensive line plays well, UGA is going to surprise a lot of people. If not, we will not be able to run the ball, no matter who has it. I know we are a little thin on the line and I hope we don’t get too short on healthy bodies there.
I still believe that CMR can do the job though, so if the O line can do the job, UGA will be just fine.

GOOOO DAWGSSSSSS

P.S. We need a permanent mascot also.

AltamahaDawg

May 7th, 2011
4:43 pm

If the defense had been only slightly better last year, they would have won a more games. If the running game/o-line had only slightly more umph late in the game, they would have won more games. If Murray had been able to read defense only sightly better last year, especially early in the season, they would have won more games. Any one of those things independantly would have been good for at least 2 or 3 games, any combination would have been a 10 win season.

We needed to score 2 more points per game, and hold em to 2 points less.

My biggest concern is that they are not not even slightly better at any one of those things. I feel 100% confident they are at least slightly better at #1, #3, and about 60% confident they are vastly improved. I cannot see #2 being any worse, and from a standpoint of more experience and an upgrade in talent, it’s hard to imagine not being at least slightly better.

SiddyBoy

May 7th, 2011
4:53 pm

I’m concerned that no or few upperclassmen will step forward and provide leadership.I believe that was a big problem last year. The uppers should “kick ass and take names” and not tolerate any crap like A.J and some other selfish players demonstrated. Let’s have someone put “Team” back on top. !!

Wonderful Ohio on the Gulf 'Dog

May 7th, 2011
4:54 pm

I’m confident that our defensive backfield is more solid than it may seem.

They got burned a couple of times, but they also played with flashes of brilliance

Many of their mistakes were mistakes of going for the big play but missing the tackle. Those mistakes can drastically reduced or even eliminated by experience and coaching.

Most importantly, big improvement on the defensive line will cure a lot of backfield ills. Georgia will simply be infinately improved on the D line over last year.

Consequently, it seems to me our defense is solid. I very much like Coach Grantham, too. Coach O as well.

Wide receiver- and running back-by-committee isn’t all bad either. Coach Bobo can run whoever has the hot hand (feet?) that particular Saturday until some one establishes himself as the Man.

Special teams and kicking seem totally set.

The only positional question to me, then, is the offensive line. We have big beasts there who ought to be able to be among the SEC’s best. Coach Friend seems up to the task.

The big question is attitude. I truly expected us to blow out UCF in the Liberty Bowl last year, and I wasn’t underestimating how good a team they had.

I expected A.J., Durham, and Murray to put on a huge show; A.J. and Durham because it was their last game as Bulldogs; Murray because so many of his former Plant City classmates matriculate at UCF. I was greatly disappointed.

Starting from the opening kickoff, when Georgia stopped pursuing when the yellow flag came out and UCF ran the ball back for a nullified touchdown, I realized we were in for a long afternoon.

The question the 2011 Bulldogs need to answer is whether they have the willpower, mentally and physically, to win every game at the time they play that game.

There is no one on our 2011 schedule we cannot beat, handily. The question is whether we have the willpower to win.

chilidawg

May 7th, 2011
4:59 pm

The O-line. I hope they are all living in the same house, walking to class together, rowing a dragon boat together,doing ropes courses together, group counseling, montel williams show….

Coachalien

May 7th, 2011
5:02 pm

The secondary will be better simply because the defensive line and linebackers should produce a better more consistent pass rush this year. The best way to prevent a team from picking you apart with the passing game is with pressure on the QB.

Biggest concern has to be the offensive lines inability to open holes for the running game. If they improve in that area our offense will be just fine.

Ricky Grooms

May 7th, 2011
5:10 pm

You know that Georgia will be #1 in the nation in 2011. I’ll be surprised if we don’t go undefeated this year. Whats wrong with you people? And you call yourself Bulldog Fans. Your all worthless and weak, now drop and give me 20. Go Vols!!!!!!!!!!!!

AltamahaDawg

May 7th, 2011
5:25 pm

Dooley never had a great run in the 80’s. What are you talking about? They fired him after the completely inconsistant job he did in the 70’s, learning from the mistake they made not getting rid of Butts sooner.

59bulldawg

May 7th, 2011
6:07 pm

I’m more concerned with the offensive line. A team with a good line and fewer great skill players can do better than a team with a poor or mediocre line and more great skill players. The O-line has got to get it done this year if we are to have a good season.

Fortune's Cookie

May 7th, 2011
6:27 pm

Want to watch a replay of Georgia’s G-Day for free? Here tis:
http://espn.go.com/espn3/player?id=175553

red&silver

May 7th, 2011
6:30 pm

Biggest concern? None. When Richt has a returning QB the team averages 11 wins. Last year, we had a freshman QB, the best offensive player suspended 4 games, and installed a new defensive scheme. Sorry but, that does not equal a successful season.

Troy Roy

May 7th, 2011
6:37 pm

The odd thing is, in 2009, UGA rush offense got 168 a game vs. ranked teams, but dropped to 95 a game vs. ranked teams last season. All with same offensive line, same backs. 44% drop.

Also, same offensive line went from giving up just 8 sacks 2 years ago, to 25 last season. 200% drop. It’s odd.

Randall "Pink" Floyd

May 7th, 2011
6:57 pm

The receiving corps. Murray is going to put it there. Are they going to catch it?

Full Employment

May 7th, 2011
7:23 pm

Dawgtards’ biggest concern should be having enough players to field a team. Between arrests, suspensions, and dismissals, Richt will be lucky to have 22 decent players by the end of the seasons.

At least Athens is a full-employment city for police, bail bondsmen, and lawyers.

Ceasar

May 7th, 2011
7:31 pm

Enter your connemts here.

Otto von Bismarck

May 7th, 2011
7:32 pm

A few salient comments:

1. Four different SEC teams have won the last five BCS championships.

2. UGA was not one of those teams. Not even close.

3. During that period, UGA did not win the SEC championship. Not once.

4. During that period, UGA did not even win its SEC division. Not once.

5. Red panties. Always the red panties. UGA’s permanent legacy.

6. Remedial studies. Remember Jan Kemp? Ah, yes, you certainly do!

In other words, UGA has sunk into total irrelevancy both regionally and nationally.

So why is UGA paying Mark Richt millions of dollars a year? Hmmm… why indeed?

AltamahaDawg

May 7th, 2011
7:38 pm

I think the running game relies on the QB reading the situation, and picking the “play” more than it looks like. Stafford always called that sprint draw out of uncertainty his freshman year. I think you would see a similar (low Rushyards) statistic that year too. I would hope that Murray would be better at diagnosing when to run, where to run, and get those yards back up. Also didn’t help that opponents brought thier safeties up, without a lot of fear that he would pick them apart on the corners, especially early on in the season.

Troy Roy

May 7th, 2011
7:42 pm

red & silver, you seem to be saying QB ‘inexperience’ is the problem, and QB play automatically gets better with more ‘experience’. Going scoreless in the passing game with AJ Green in the last game of the season, since it was the 13th game of the season, points to something other than ‘experience’.

randall, you seem to think the problem is the ‘receiving corps’ not catching Murray’s accurate passes. Since 2 receivers got drafted in the NFL, that wasn’t the issue. QB accuracy isn’t strong suit at this point in development. QB procition varied widely depending on the ‘degree of competition’. Ended up in the top 25% percentile against weaker competition and bottom 25% percentile against stronger competition in accuracy and passing touchdowns. QB consistency against strong competition will be something to watch early on in the 1st two pre-season top 10 match ups against Boise St & South Carolina, since both will be ranked higher. The playing your ‘best against the worst’ & ‘worst against the best’ thing is one reason why Bobo described the QB play last year as ‘inconsistent’.

rocketfuel

May 7th, 2011
8:31 pm

Have several concerns,but the main one is the soft O-line.They can pass block pretty good.Run blocking is a different story.Maybe Ol Pat Dye needs to motivate them like he did before the Bama game.Hope the men in Red&Black prove all us naysayers wrong.

Troll Power Ratings

May 7th, 2011
9:07 pm

My biggest concern is whether or not the trolls can maintain the torrid pace they set in ‘10. It’s going to be tough for them, especially if Georgia “underperforms” by exceeding their hopeful expectations. I’m betting the trolls will be disappointed but will remain steadfast to their delusional hope that Georgia won’t KICK THEIR A**.

Eddie

May 7th, 2011
9:23 pm

Concerns? I have many.

1. Georgia’s players do not fear or respect their head coach. Current coach is more interested in being their friend and saving their souls than challenging them to be the best football players and team they can be.

2. Assistant coaches are not allowed to coach and challenge their players the way they are accustomed to for fear of reprisal from The God Squad.

3. Players are too comfortable, loaf, and don’t work hard to keep their nose clean due to a sense of entitlement brought on by having no fear of losing their scholarship.

4. Coaching staff focuses too much on recruiting skill players and not enough on linemen.

5. Coaching staff’s pass-first offensive philosophy carries too much risk and lacks the ability to control the clock in a close game.

6. Georgia’s assistants lack experience vs. their peers in the SEC.

7. Defensive players are too preoccupied with scheme and are not focused enough on whipping the guy in front of them and getting to the ball.

8. The lack of physical practices creates a soft team unable to win on third down or in the fourth quarter.

9. Coaching staff’s reluctance to go 1s vs 1s in practice does not allow them to identify who can handle SEC-level competition and who can not.

10. Coaching staff’s “days-off” discipline approach rewards players who cause trouble, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of their scholarship without the required work effort.

11. Lack of innovation on offense makes it easy for opposing defensive coordinators to force Georgia into check downs favorable to the defense’s down and distance. This is why you see so many dives up the middle on 2nd and long.

12. The high pad level of the Georgia offensive linemen forfeits their ability to drive block effectively.

13. Defensive backs are taught to watch the receiver instead of the quarterback’s eyes or the ball. This philosophy has put Georgia near or at the bottom in turnovers forced for the last several years.

14. Georgia’s arrogance in hassling their fans will result in many empty seats this year.

15. Despite having the second largest university in the conference, Georgia’s preoccupation with running the “most profitable” athletic department has put them at a huge disadvantage, allowing the rest of the conference to outspend them in all of the primary men’s sports.

SOGADOG

May 7th, 2011
9:36 pm

Top concerns by position:

1. Running back
2. Safety
3. oline run blocking
4. Unproven D-line
5. Full back

SOGADOG

May 7th, 2011
9:39 pm

Good points Eddie

red&silver

May 7th, 2011
9:40 pm

Troy Roy you seem to have selective memory. I think we all can agree that the Dawgs did not show up that day. 2011 is the season in question not last year.

King Gator

May 7th, 2011
10:22 pm

I’d say my biggest concerns for Georgia football in no particular order are: conference schedule, lack of playmakers, fairweathered fans, Athens PD, coaches giving the other teams kicker the choke sign, blackouts, picks in the redzone, having to go to UGA 14 by the end of the season, the liberty bowl, losing to UCF in the Liberty Bowl (did that really happen??), lack of tailgating for the fans, high dives while fully dressed, Mark Richt having to show his long form birth certificate, being ranked high in the preseason, uninsured running backs, grades, players selling jerseys, recruits stealing from players, drunk A.D.’s, Trump wanting to buy the naming rights to the stadium, red thongs, DUI’s, backup qb’s playing grabass, Tech (jk about that one), SEC officials being unfair, getting gauged in the eye, Spurrier, water restrictions, blue laws, failing predraft drug tests, the qb getting injured while playing soccer and of course the AJC being out to get the Dawgs! 4 months until meaningful football. Go Gators!!

chazzo

May 7th, 2011
10:26 pm

The only worry I have is whether the Dawgs will hang together as a team while some of the pecking order gets sorted out and/or if they suffer a loss early. Teamwork hasn’t looked like a real forte this past couple of seasons. I have suspected dissension and doubt among the ranks. It is a corroding thread. These guys can work it out. If they decide to hang together no matter what and do what is best for the team, they will have an impressive season.

SugarHillDawg

May 7th, 2011
10:32 pm

My concern is which ever coach we get next year doesn’t sign a multi-year contract with the school he is already at!!

Otis My Man

May 7th, 2011
10:48 pm

What a sorry bunch if UGA Fans we have these days!!!!!!!! CMR screwed up by hanging on to his “buddies” for one or two years too long– we agree!!! He has made wholesale changes and we will benefit in 2011. Boise is DAWG FOOD! 1-0, SC will be tough after the big victory but it is at home… we win a close one after recovering a fumble inside our 20 with :03 seconds left in the game. (caused by Jarvis Jones). DONT HATE>>>APPRECIATE!

Otis My Man

May 7th, 2011
10:55 pm

anyone….anyone?????

Otis My Man

May 7th, 2011
10:56 pm

king gator– dont you have to sell some weed to your team?

Chaddd Scottt: I laughed when UGA died

May 7th, 2011
11:06 pm

biggest concern… not winning a darn thing since 1980. UGA is about the 10th best team of da 12 SEC teams.

Bobo is Gollum

May 7th, 2011
11:12 pm

Mike Bobo, Mike Bobo, Mike Bobo!

Bulldog blog killed the anon poster

May 7th, 2011
11:32 pm

What really concerns me is that the preacha man is using curse words towards disgruntled fans.

Bubbatavious

May 7th, 2011
11:53 pm

My concern is why Rantavious had a bad spring.

Otis My Man

May 7th, 2011
11:54 pm

Thank goodness CMR lashed out!!! He is living the deal, he is the head coach! I think he does understand what is happening on the field. Cuss ‘em all out CMR!!!!!!!!!!!

ugab

May 7th, 2011
11:57 pm

Where do we start? Oline and Dline is the most concern every season. MR thinks he is in the acc still. We recruit some good rbs but dont recruit the best OL in the nation to block. It don’t matter how many rbs we got if they don’t have a hole to run through. Watch the last bowl game! The OL sucks. MR is a good man. No doubt. We need a coach. Garner needs to recruit. Garner is not a DL coach. I watched our DL playing Central Florida in the bowl game. They do not go for the ball. The Dl just grabs the OL and that is it. Coaching is going to get us better. It is going to be the end of MR this year. All of the fans know it.

ugab

May 7th, 2011
11:59 pm

It is sad us fans have to watch another season like the last 4 seasons. Millions of dollars are being wasted.