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

Dick

May 8th, 2011
8:18 pm

Biggest concern is Bobo is still with team.

1eyedJack

May 8th, 2011
8:24 pm

If the offense averages the same number of points as last year, and the defense averages less points given up than last year, and scores a few more points of it’s own, Bobo will look like a genius and nobody will care how many pass we throw or how many times we run the ball.

Greg

May 8th, 2011
8:26 pm

#1 concern is also Murray, by far. Did you watch the UCF game? Murray can’t hit the broad side of a barn, didn’t complete a pass more than 18 yards, threw 2 interceptions, fumbled on the 15 yard line, and took multiple sacks at the end of the game in the 4th quarter as time was counting down.

Choke.

RR XSING

May 8th, 2011
8:29 pm

Me to, #11 is biggest concern. Aaron Murray. Just fell apart in the Florida rivalry. 3 interceptions, or was it 4? And a fumble for good measure. Didn’t complete a single pass in the first quarter, beides the 1 he threw on the 1st play for an interception. Need a new QB. Anybody would do better.

RR XSING

May 8th, 2011
8:31 pm

Bobo did terrific with David G & Matthew S, just needs some talent to work with. Bobo’s an excellent coach.

A1

May 8th, 2011
8:34 pm

JOE COX AND AARON MURRAY BOTH HAVE THE DEER CUAGHT IN HEADLIGHTS LOOK. THEY FREEZE WHEN YOU NEED THEM. COACH RICHT HAS GOT TO MAKE A CHANGE AT QUARTERBACK. FOR GOODNESS SAKES, A 6 WIN SEAOSN WITH LOSSES TO COLORADO & A CONFERENCE USA TEAM IN A BOWL GAME?

A1

May 8th, 2011
8:50 pm

MURRAY IS ONE OF THE WORST QB’S IN THE NCAA IN ALL CLUTCH AREAS LIKE RED ZONE, 4TH QUARTER, 3RD DOWNS, AND SO ON. VERY FEW QB’S IN THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL HAVE WORST STATS THASN MURRAY AT CRITICAL TIMES.

SEC Fan

May 8th, 2011
9:18 pm

The team has tons of problems, but Murray is not one of them.

Bo

May 8th, 2011
10:16 pm

Without a doubt QB is the most important thing we need to fix. In the SEC, the QB has to deliver vs the heat. Takes a special kind of guy. I do not feel Murray will ever beat the elite teams. He lacks the “it” thing. The guy just loses every big game when he’s in charge.

CamdenMark

May 8th, 2011
10:43 pm

Coach em up and we’ll be just fine.Only problem is thats whats been missing the last 2-3 years,I’m far more worried about that than the players

RimShot

May 8th, 2011
10:52 pm

Richt’s a great coach, he jsut needs to find some crunchtime leaders.

Every team has to find their Cam Newton/Tebow/McEleroy to win in the SEC.

I think Richt has his guy in Lemay.

Lemay is Mr. Clutch, looked great on last drive to win on G-Day, just what we need.

Dr. Morpheus

May 8th, 2011
11:02 pm

Me, I’m just going to wait and see. The pressure is on, the incentive to win couldn’t be higher, and either we jell or we don’t.

RimShot

May 8th, 2011
11:04 pm

I always thought Ealey was the go-to guy, 2 years ago, when Richt needed a big win, Ealey came up big against Ga Tech. Last year, Ealey’s 5 td game against Kentucky, after Kentucky had beaten Carolina, who had beaten Bama, after the 1-4 start Ealey’s 5 td game saved Richt’s job. But the way Richt’s been treating Ealey lately, I don’t know if Ealey ends up transferring.

red&silver

May 8th, 2011
11:21 pm

I think some of you guys are out of touch with reality. 2008 we were the preseason #1 true enough but, how many teams have ever went wire to wire with that ranking.2009 was a Joe Cox led team and, being honest he was not the guy with the physical tools to be a SEC QB, and 2010 we were led by a FRESHMEN.How many freshmen QB’s do you know that have jumped in the SEC without any problems. Also, we had one of the worst defensive coordinators ever during this stretch. The Dawgs will be fine. Be a true fan and support what we have.

Michael

May 8th, 2011
11:43 pm

Went back and looked at Aaron Murray’s 2010 wins. All 6. You got Louisiana Lafayette, Kentucky, Tennesee, Idaho State, Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt. All 6 had a losing record. Which of Murray’s 6 wins is so impressive that everybody’s excited about the guy? 6-7 Tech, Tenn or Kentucky? L Laf, Idaho St or Vanderbilt? You guys realize Murray has never beat a ranked team, or even a team with a winning record, right? Think about that. It should worry you.

red&silver

May 8th, 2011
11:51 pm

Does anyone truly think that we have the same record if AJ was not suspended those 4 games?

Mr. Phelps

May 8th, 2011
11:57 pm

Coaching, I think that when Richt did not expect Martinez to coach at a certain level and kept letting him slide, he sent a message to the staff and the entire team. Being medicore is good enough.

William

May 9th, 2011
12:03 am

The AJ angle is dead.

Murray’s record was 0-3 without AJ against ranked teams, 0-2 with AJ against ranked teams.

0-5, with or without AJ Green. AJ wasn’t why Georgia lost those 5 games.

Durham got picked in the NFL draft. Tavarres King is excellent. Charles is an excellent tight end.

Murray had plenty of passing weapons in the first 3 games against ranked teams. And even more in the last 2. Lost all 5, AJ’s presence didn’t help.

It Ain't Rocket Science

May 9th, 2011
12:14 am

&th grade=7th grade. But I could be giving you too much credit.

William

May 9th, 2011
12:15 am

Defense 4th in SEC against ranked teams in scoring, offense was 8th.

Why was Richt 8th in scoring in SEC on offense against ranked teams?

Was it line, backs, receivers or QB?

Had experience everywhere except QB last year.

chazzo

May 9th, 2011
12:29 am

David Greene’s freshman stats:

Passing
Rk Player Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate
1 David Greene 192 324 59.3 2789 8.6 8.4 17 9 143.3

Murray’s freshman stats:
PASSING GP-GS Effic Cmp-Att-Int Pct Yds TD Lng Avg/G
———————————————————————–
Aaron Murray 13-13 154.48 209-342-8 61.1 3049 24 66 234.5

ET: David Greene was 59.3 for the year. You bad mouth Murray because he was 58% in a big game. The Dawgs put up 30+ in every game except USC and MSU, Murray’s 2nd and 4th game of his career. I’m not blaming it all on the line. All i was ever saying is that Murray had a pretty good freshman year. The Ws and Ls are a team thing.

BTW here’s Stafford’s stats:

Matthew Stafford 13 108.99 135-256-13 52.7 1749 7 53 134.5

Cox’s Joe Cox 13-13 136.33 185-331-15 55.9 2584 24 65 198.8

Just for fun here’s Brett Favre’s freshman stats. Is he good enough for you. It is a little askew so I will help you out: He went 79 out of 194 for a 40.7% completion rate.

Year Lge Team Age # GP Comp Att % Yds TD INT TD% INT% Y/G Y/A RAT ▾

1987 NCAA Southern Miss Golden Eagles 18 11 79 194 40.7 1264 15 13 7.7 6.7 114.9 6.5 107.6

red&silver

May 9th, 2011
12:31 am

What ranked team did AJ play against besides the NC? It was a reason he was the 4th pick in the draft. Do you seriously think he would have not been a factor against South Carolina,Arkansas,and Miss.St? If you do I can say honestly you know nothing about football. He is the type of player who helps in one possession games. Which all 3 were until the 4th quarter.Last years team was a team which installed a new defensive scheme and that made the offense’s margin of error very small.

chazzo

May 9th, 2011
12:32 am

@ red and silver: Amen.

chazzo

May 9th, 2011
12:34 am

PASSING GP Effic Cmp-Att-Int Pct Yds TD Lng Avg/G
——————————————————————–
Cam Newton 14 182.05 185-280-7 66.1 2854 30 94 203.9

PASSING GP-GS Effic Cmp-Att-Int Pct Yds TD Lng Avg/G
———————————————————————–
Aaron Murray 13-13 154.48 209-342-8 61.1 3049 24 66 234.5

Comparison of the #1 NFL drafted player’s Junior year to Murray’s freshman year.

red&silver

May 9th, 2011
12:36 am

Thanks chazzo!

bigdawg

May 9th, 2011
6:59 am

bigdawg

May 9th, 2011
7:00 am

maybe next time

old time dog

May 9th, 2011
7:07 am

Biggest concern is we don’t allow our strenghts to be our strongsuits.

old time dog

May 9th, 2011
7:29 am

We have a soft schedule this year. There should be 8 or 9 easy wins and the rest are definitely winnable. Talent wise we should be superior to everyone on the schedule

WJ

May 9th, 2011
8:03 am

Murray’s passing efficiency dropped from 7th in the NCAA in the 3rd quarter to 59th in the NCAA in the 4th quarter. Panics.

WJ

May 9th, 2011
8:05 am

Murray’s passing efficiency was ranked 86th in the NCAA in the red zone. Panics.

WJ

May 9th, 2011
8:08 am

Murray’s passing efficiency dropped from 34th in NCAA on 1st down to 55th in the NCAA on 3rd down. Panics.

DMR

May 9th, 2011
8:16 am

My biggest concern is three fold….EFFORT, DISCIPLINE,ACCOUNTABILITY. The team last year lacked all three. We got out worked, we were not disciplined on or off the field, and accountability was lacking. This is the foundation of a football team. Do you really believe UCF was physically more gifted that Georgia? I don’t. However, they gave greater effort, were disciplined and held each other accountable.

If you lose to a better team, so be it, but Mark Richt, for as long as he may coach this team, should never get outworked again. Neither coaches or players. If this is the lacking component, changes will be needed.

CircusCatch88

May 9th, 2011
8:20 am

Duh, score more points. We scored 10th in SEC on offense against teams with winning records. 10th in scoring. 10th. Out of 12 teams. 10th.

DawginLex

May 9th, 2011
8:45 am

My biggest concern is whether or not I will be humble enough to not go all ape sh@@!!! to all the trolls when we end up having a good season.

What's That Again ?

May 9th, 2011
8:46 am

Did you say 10th ? Not sure I caught that.

chazzo

May 9th, 2011
8:49 am

I’ll give you that Muray made some Freshman mistakes. But, putting all the blame on him for the 4th Quarter dilemma… Come on. The D looked like they just wanted to go home in the 4th quarter.

Everyone keeps compiling these stats that he had against ranked teams. A) AJ didn’t play against those ranked teams early on. B) It was early on making it C) the second to fourth game of Murray’s college career and the second to fourth game for the new D.

I am not saying that Murray walks on water. I am just saying that he had a good freshman year. I am also saying that it is pretty unfair to place 100% of the blame on a freshman QB.

I don’t blame the lineman. I blame Searles. That cat never got a cohesive unit together until midseason. He did point out that their conditioning sucked. Mark Richt made moves to address both of those issues.

I think the running game gets judged somewhat unfairly, also. Those guys are getting 5-8 ypg. No big numbers overall, but they can move the ball. The dismal thing is that UGA couldn’t seem to dependably get the 3rd and short. Who’s at fault there?

The biggest issue, as pointed out by many here, is discipline, commitment, and teamwork.

As far as individual positions: I am most concerned about Safety, a key D-position that I haven’t heard much about.

Timbodog

May 9th, 2011
8:58 am

I have too many to list, but #1 with a bullet is whether the coaching staff has got it together.

It Ain't Rocket Science

May 9th, 2011
9:02 am

I still do not get why people want to blame Murray for UGA’s record last year, as if he was the only person playing on the team. If you compare his statistics with the Alabama QB from last year, you would see that they compare very favorably to each other. Alabama just had a lot better suporting cast for thei QB. For a freshman, he did a pretty good job. And to say that his stats. went down in the 4th quarter is true but examine the circumstances. By the 4th, UGA was exhausted as a team, and he was already without much of a supporting cast as it was. He tried too hard to life up UGA to a win, but that is a product of being young and wanting to lead his team. Admirable quality I think. By the 4th, UGA was tired most of the time, the running game had disapeared by then, so it all fell on his shoulders. He will not be the problem this year if UGA falls apart. He has been the one consistent player the DAWGS have on offense that had played the whole year. A J was missing for 4 games, the running back put the ball on the ground in too many critical games, and the Ol line, couldn’t block and therefore couldn’t protect their QB.
If the OL steps up and does it’s job this year, he will a much more effective leader and UGA will be a much more productive team. If they do the poor job like they did last year, Peyton Manning would look bad at the QB position. If they do their job, the QB can control the clock a lot better, the Rb’s can do their thing, and UGA will have a good record. If they don’t do the job, UGA is in deep trouble. I hope our OL coach is able to coach them up.
The defense will be the strength of the DAWGS team this year, at least in the beginning of the season, so no worries there as far as I can see. I think the safety and CB’s play will be OK,and the front seven are going to be much improved.

GO DAWGS

GO DAWGS

EagleEye

May 9th, 2011
9:09 am

We know the offense didn’t score against good teams. Why? We know it wasn’t coaching, Bobo and Richt have done well in the past such as 2007 when we got over 30 points a game against good teams. So why did the 30 drop to 15? Not the receivers. Not the backs. Not the o-line, this o-line did solid with Cox at pass pro and run production. Only leaves 1 possibility? QB play under pressure.

PMC

May 9th, 2011
9:13 am

Safety. My biggest concern is how they handle mostly coverage at safety.

I think they will be helped greatly by more system knowledge and a more robust pass rush, but they lost a few games last year because of big plays made against the safties.

Timbodog

May 9th, 2011
9:14 am

Alabama also played a much tougher schedule. Murray is good and should be very good this year, but McElroy was better last year.

James

May 9th, 2011
9:17 am

Secondary had a great year. Top 20 in NCAA in fewest td’s, lowest QB accuracy, and passing yards yielded.

It Ain't Rocket Science

May 9th, 2011
9:20 am

CMR said this year that the OL had to improve a lot for the offense to be successful, so that tells me they didn’t do the job well enough last year. Cox had been with the team for five year and although not playing a whole lot, was still a more poised player than Murray, a freshman. Think that young kid had a fair amount of pressure on him and felt it? Was it his decision to go with so many draw plays and off tackle runs, when there was no place to go for the runner. Was that the RB’s fault or the lines? UGA was still 4th in the SEC in 2009, but was only 8-5 overall, so I am not sure that was all that great in the context of things, given we had a senior QB and the O line by your account was good. Last year, the Ol was suppose to be the strongest unit on the UGA team and I don’t think they made the grade there. Games are won in the trenches and last yeare we lost on both sides of the ball with our line play. I hope it is a lot better this year.

Saban

May 9th, 2011
9:24 am

Richt retires. Keep Richt.

Choakdawg loses his krispy kreme store in Athens.

Clarke County Correctional cancels their early release program for Georigia players.

Boise State 50 Dawgs 8

James

May 9th, 2011
9:24 am

This O-Line did great with Cox, got 170 yards rushing per game, and only gave up 8 or 9 sacks. Under Murray, the rushing dropped form 170 to 90, and sacks went up from 8 to 24. But the O-Line wasn’t the issue.

truedawg

May 9th, 2011
9:24 am

I still say that safety position is most concern. I think the O line was all condition problems. alot of the team issues where that. look a the 4th quater, not just O line, but every player on the field, see AU game and UF game and UCF game ( conditioning and desier there) but I think that will improve this year.

It Ain't Rocket Science

May 9th, 2011
9:26 am

Timberdog,

For sure the Bama QB was better as well he should have been as he was a senior on a very talented team. Stats. wise though, Murray was very simular to him with a lot less exsperience. Murray made some freshman mistakes for sure, but if his supporting cast had been better, he could have been better. I think we got a very good job from our QB last year and if all falls into place this year, this kid could be very good.

Timbodog

May 9th, 2011
9:27 am

I don’t disagree that he is very good…QB is one of the VERY few positions on the team I am not concerned with at all.

But to say he was as good as McElroy last year is disingenuous. McElroy played a much tougher schedule.

Hooper

May 9th, 2011
9:29 am

Offense has to get back on track. Scoring has fallen from 35 a game against ranked teams with Stafford in 07′ to 15 a game with Murray in 10′. That’s a 20 point fall. 3 td’s a game less.