Should UGA fans be optimistic despite all the question marks?

Aaron Murray is a big reason for optimism in Athens. What are some others? (Associated Press)

Aaron Murray is a big reason for optimism in Athens. What are some others? (Associated Press)

The players officially “report” to UGA today, though most of them have been in Athens working out and/or going to school all summer. The first practice is Thursday. And then we can all start obsessing over the reports over which line is dominating the other, who’s tweaked their hamstring, and all the other joys of college football in August.

Major questions remain to be answered before the Dogs meet Boise State in the Dome. Will anyone step up to fill the gaping hole in our offensive production created by the departure of A.J. Green and Kris Durham? Will any of the tailbacks look like they know what they’re doing? Will the offensive line stay healthy long enough to jell? Can the linebacking corps overcome its inexperience?

Lots to worry about if you’re the worrying sort, which it seems most college football fans are.

But on the other side, the infusion of fresh, exciting young talent is likely to be the greatest we’ve seen in several years in Athens. The Dogs finally will have a legitimate nose guard this year (maybe two) to help Todd Grantham’s defense work the way it’s supposed to. Aaron Murray returns as the consensus best quarterback in the conference. And Georgia’s stacked at tight end and has the nation’s best special teamers.

So before we get into the ups and downs of preseason practice, let’s put a positive spin on all this. What about the 2011 Georgia Bulldogs makes you the most optimistic? Murray? Isaiah Crowell? The schedule? Share your thoughts on why this should be a great year to be a Georgia Bulldog …

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412 comments Add your comment

Watkinsville Hound

August 2nd, 2011
10:47 am

Absolutely!

Nobody will EVER make me feel bad for being optimistic and having a love for my alumni and it’s football team.

33 days!!!

sam

August 2nd, 2011
10:49 am

Too many holes, too many Freshmen expected to compete in the SEC

SouthGA Dawg

August 2nd, 2011
10:50 am

TWO WORDS, GO DOGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1953 was a lousy year

August 2nd, 2011
10:51 am

Because it is a fresh start.
Because the opener is against a nationally ranked opponent
Because of kids like Richard Samuel who put the team first

Go Dawgs!

Why not...

August 2nd, 2011
10:52 am

…it’s a new year and we are optimistic every year – just ask the UT, AL, SC, etc fans – we are always the pre-season NC, and then the season starts…

UGA Insider

August 2nd, 2011
10:52 am

My only worry and worry for coaches is a few injuries on the OLine. UGA has its first “shutdown” corner in Nick Marshall and AJ’s replacement in Malcolm Mitchell. We also have speed now at safety and RB and size at fullback. I really don’t have any worries other than the fact that I think we will be a decent team in the first half of the season and a really good team by the second half.

Now tell me......

August 2nd, 2011
10:53 am

….what is so great about being “stacked at tight end”?

SouthGA Dawg

August 2nd, 2011
10:53 am

If UGA can stay healthy they should have a great year. Next year will be the year of the Dog. this year is a good warm up for the next. UGA should win 10 games this year and at least 10 next year.

1953 was a lousy year

August 2nd, 2011
10:53 am

Insider

You said on another blog that Dantzler might play this year?

That is concerning to me unless he has really gotten stronger real fast.

Sopwith Camel

August 2nd, 2011
10:54 am

Just hope Murray isn’t affected by the infamous Sophomore Jinx!!!

italian_29

August 2nd, 2011
10:55 am

I think the reason to be optimistic is the season hasn’t started yet. This is the time of year that all teams are undefeated and all TRUE fans should be optimistic. I feel another reason to be excited for the upcoming season is we FINALLY have a returning QB with some experience. Only 2 or 3 of CMR seasons have been able to say that and those seasons turned out pretty good.

JYD

August 2nd, 2011
10:57 am

DawgBone97

August 2nd, 2011
10:57 am

The Dawgs are going to have a great year! We will win over Boise St. Be challenged, yet prevail over South Carolina and be undefeated going into Florida! GO DAWGS!!!!!

Crush

August 2nd, 2011
10:58 am

“consensus best quarterback in the conference” …. Meaning the entire SEC.. uhh. Okay, man. Once again, who has he beaten?

1953 was a lousy year

August 2nd, 2011
10:59 am

Last time I checked, football is a team sport. 1 player doesn’t win or lose games.

Dontsufferfools

August 2nd, 2011
11:00 am

Two tough but winnable games to start the season makes me optimistic. Georgia usually has a better season when they open with a legitimate opponent.

canedawg2140

August 2nd, 2011
11:00 am

Because they will win more than 6 by default with this schedule and talent alone…
Because they could start 0-2 and finish 9-3 – which will still be a good year and tickets to home games will be easier to find on the bridge…
Because we don’t have to root for some of these kids we have been obligated to root for because of the G on their helmet, even if they had some character issues…
Because I don’t have to explain to my daughters what it means to be “suspended” so much – especially when it concerns the best player who basically held the entire program hostage for 4 games last year…
Because football games in Athens are just a lot of fun…

VDawg(Vixzilla)

August 2nd, 2011
11:01 am

Strength and Conditioning has me the most fired up. We have finally turned boys into MEN!! \
Man-Beasts even!! GATA!!!!

Shout out to H2H!!

SSIgator

August 2nd, 2011
11:03 am

“Should UGA fans be optimistic despite all the question marks?”

Of course Bill. It is still pre-season and the puppies are always SEC and NC at this time of year. Nothing new here. But once the season starts da Preacha Man and his Straw Dawgs will be exposed for the frauds that they are.

Chase

August 2nd, 2011
11:03 am

I’m a big Christian Lemay fan. Any team he’s on has a chance to beat anyone. Lemay beat Independence High, at home, to stick Indep’s 1st regular season home loss in over 20 years, also led his team to its’ 1st state championship–show the kid knows how to change culture in an organization. I like the way Lemay took the team down for the game winning score on G-Day. Clutch, poise, leadership.

Mason threw that td pass on his first collegiate pass last year coming in cold off the bench, terrific poise.Then recently led his team to the go-ahead td late in the G-Day game too. Very promising what I saw from thse 2 QB’s.

You figure either Aaron Murray makes a big jump in his leadership & end game poise, or else one of these guys steps in.

Georgia wins, better season, either option.

DogFace Blues

August 2nd, 2011
11:05 am

If UGAs strength and conditioning has made a big improvement, the talent will whoop anyone that gets in UGAs path. Laziness and not finishing the drill has plagued the team since losing to WVA in the 2005 bowl game… Let that Big Dawg EAT!

The Greatest Game Ever Played

August 2nd, 2011
11:06 am

Will be interesting to see how this year’s team copes with the memories of the beat down UGA got from Tech on that magical night in November 2008 — 45-42.

Old Flatulent Dawg

August 2nd, 2011
11:06 am

No way…this HC has managed to underachieve every year but his 1st. I’d like for UGA to have a HC that eats, sleeps and works at getting his team bigger & better everyday; you know kinda like the guy at Bama!! Nothing against the poor in Central America, but they’re not season ticket holders in Athens.

SSIgator

August 2nd, 2011
11:07 am

“Will any of the tailbacks looking like they know what they’re doing?”

Is Booboo still in charge of the offense? Question answered.

Old Flatulent Dawg

August 2nd, 2011
11:08 am

The Greatest Game Ever Played…..time to grow up dork!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1953 was a lousy year

August 2nd, 2011
11:08 am

Murray came back early from a broken ankle to lead his team to the state championship at Plant in Florida where the high school football is 2 times better than NC.

Lemay will get his chance down the road but will most likely be redshirted in 2011. Mason is clearly not as good as Murray as evidenced by the spring game and practices which have led the coaches to place him behind Murray on the depth chart.

Chase, we have all seen your posts under numerous blog handles. You really should try something different.

Newman

August 2nd, 2011
11:08 am

I think you mean “gel” don’t you?

DanDawg

August 2nd, 2011
11:09 am

I’m optimistic about the new strength and conditioning program, nutrition program, the schedule, Murray, Charles, seeing Malcolm Mitchell develop, D-Line, athletic and fast LBs, seeing Drew at DE, special teams, 1-2 punch with Samuels and Crowell and a renewed sense of winning. Whipped Dawgs can be dangerous. Improvement to 8-9 wins would bode well for 2012.

frannie mae

August 2nd, 2011
11:09 am

Lets be real people UGA is in BIG BIG trouble.

1953 was a lousy year

August 2nd, 2011
11:09 am

just wondering why a gator feels the need to be obsessed with us?

SSI=Social Security Income

Must be bored and have access to a computer at the Nursing home

SSIgator

August 2nd, 2011
11:10 am

“Will the offensive line stay healthy long enough to jell?”

They never have. Why would this year be any different?

UGADawg

August 2nd, 2011
11:11 am

We will survive with winning the east.

sprouse27

August 2nd, 2011
11:11 am

Hmm. Let’s see how we do after Boise St. and SC before we get too excited. I haven’t seen a lot of significant program changes and it looks like more of the same to me.

Joey

August 2nd, 2011
11:11 am

There’s plenty of talent on offense to replace the stars, but the question is, can Bobo utilize it?

TROJAN

August 2nd, 2011
11:12 am

Old Farter: Maybe if our coach “over signed” EVERY year like Saban, it would help.

Maybe if he paid for players like you know who, it would help.

Maybe if you had a hobby, it would help.

Go Dawgs! There is no need to not be optimistic. This is new year and UGA has tremendous talent. We can be pessimistic later.

sprouse27

August 2nd, 2011
11:12 am

But the CMR PR machine is in full swing. We’ll win the east, the SEC, the BCS….until the first game.

JunkyardByrd

August 2nd, 2011
11:14 am

What have you seen in the last three years that would lead you to believe this year is going to be any different?

SSIgator

August 2nd, 2011
11:14 am

“the infusion of fresh, exciting young talent is likely to be the greatest we’ve seen in several years in Athens”

Every year UGA gets 4 and 5 star recruits that don’t pan out. Why would this year be any different? Just because UGA has more this year than usual? 1980 – so long ago.

bubba4dawgs

August 2nd, 2011
11:14 am

This may not mean anything but it’s worth mentioning:

UGA BOISE STATE

Seniors 20 24
Juniors 23 22
Sophomores 28 19
Freshmen 16 32

These aren’t exact numbers but in general represent the makeup of each team. I know you can’t go on such statistics but it’s worth mention as far as experience is concerned. Listen, the DAWGS are hungry and I believe more motivated than we have seen them in a long time. That fact, along with the extra work they’ve been putting in and the talent to go with it, spells success. If they don’t beat Boise State and South Caroline, I bet both of those teams will know they’ve been in a football game.
I’m optimistic and believe the DAWGS will prevail! GO DAWGS!

AltamahaDawg

August 2nd, 2011
11:15 am

..as opposed to it not being a great year to be a Georgia Bulldog? Can’t happen.

Blake

August 2nd, 2011
11:15 am

If Auburn can come out of no where and win it all, Why can’t UGA. one more month!!

Vance Duly

August 2nd, 2011
11:15 am

We have to start out with optimism! None of our opponents are unbeatable IF we play well. But, being “stacked at TE” only helps us if we use those players in an attempt to score points! So, that’s up to Coach Bobo to see that it happens. Otherwise, it’s irrelevant. (Charles only touched the ball twice per game last year). A new running play or 2 would be nice to see (especially if it doesn’t involve Carlton Thomas having his head removed on yet another ill-fated run between the tackles….).

I believe the defense will be much tougher this year, especially in the 4th quarter, where we were dominated last year. So, if our offense can score against the better teams (such as Boise, SC, FL), and our starting offensive line stays healthy, it could be a 10-2 or 9-3 season. Beyond that, it will also take a dose of good luck….. GO DAWGS….!!

Bippitty Boppitty Boo Boo

August 2nd, 2011
11:16 am

Mike Boo Boo is still vanilla against the good teams.

DogFace Blues

August 2nd, 2011
11:16 am

Get me out of this friggn hotass August heat and into some sweeeeeeeeeet September mowed grass football. Dawgs have the perfect schedule. Need to capitalize.

SSIgator

August 2nd, 2011
11:17 am

“Murray returns as the consensus best quarterback in the conference”

The kid that could not lead UGA to victory over a team with a winning record last year? That is a reason to celebrate?

Shug

August 2nd, 2011
11:17 am

Can we please all agree that Nick Saban’s “greatness” is overstated. For example, last year he had the consensus #1 team in the nation, scads of NFL caliber talent, a favorable schedule, and still managed to lose 3 games, including the debacle to his archrival. How many 24 point leads did teams coached by Bobby Bowden, Joe Paterno, Tom Osborne, Barry Switzer, Pete Carroll, or even Mark Richt, blow? Saban’s records is fine, but he’s not exactly the model we should hold up as ideal.

Pete

August 2nd, 2011
11:18 am

Time will tell but at least we got rid of some of the cancer that was on this team the last few years…..

1953 was a lousy year

August 2nd, 2011
11:18 am

I would expect us to lose to SC unless Garcia gets suspended again.

Everyone is going to lose to SC in the East though. They will probably go 11-1 and play in the dome

The gator guy is a riot. Screaming Will Muschamp and Doughboy Weis don’t equal Tebow running the spread. Mot even close.

Florida goes 7-5 or 8-4 at best including losing to us.

Y’all will turn on Muschamp in a heartbeat.

SEC Fact Finder

August 2nd, 2011
11:18 am

First of all, good luck to Bulldawg Nation for a healthy upcoming season. As an Alabama fan we do not play UGA, but UGA winning several games against some West opponents would be beneficial.( that is selfish but, you play the cards dealt.)

The UGA team is going to be definitely stronger physically, with Joe T running things ole school style. The UGA team will be more cohesive with several players who had histories of academic, disciplinary and distractions to the team are gone. The staff signed some very good players who at skill positions will contribute immediately( specifically Mitchell, and Crowell, as the staff at Alabama also keyed those two guys as immediatle impact players). The addtion of Junior college players on the DL is the key to running Todd Granthams offense and that was accomplished with Jenkins.

With all that being said, the UGA team plays a schedule that lends itself to winning more games and not having to play the big three in the West also helps. It is a long season and injuries will be the deciding factor. UGA has minimal depth on the OL, but coach Friend is going to be a great addition to the staff at UGA and bringing in a new pardigm is always great for a team who is struggling to find its identity.

UGA will find a way to win, the first two games are the keys and will provide the opportunity for some of these young players to find their footing and gain some traction.

Good luck to UGA and their fans,and go SEC!

Chase

August 2nd, 2011
11:18 am

Also a big Grantham fan. Coach Grantham’s numbers compared with Saban’s 1st year installing the 3-4 at Bama in 2007. That is very promising considering Saban is thought to be the #1 defensive guru in college football. In the 2nd year there, Saban’s 3-4 really improved, especially against the run and in scoring. I expect Grantham to hold opponents under 90 yards rushing, and average less than 19 points per game yielded. Boise normally scores a lot–but this year has a new OC, new receivers, and pretty much new O-Line. Auburn lost mega productivity on offense and this will be a down year offensively. Georgia Tech is way down in 2011. So, good chance Grantham finished in the top 20, even top 10 in defensive scoring. Lot of video on Lattimore now and teams figured out how to shut him down. The new d-line, particulary Geathers/Jenkins at NT, and Drew & Jarvis as passrushers, along with Smith & Thornton & Tyson & Jones, makes for a terrific front 7 or 8. Stripling was one of the best passrushers in the nation coming out of high school. Boykin & Branden should be good at corners. Ogletree will be solid at ILB. Robinson is weak and unproductive at ILB (only 30 tackles in 2010), but a lot of new talent there coming in. You got to build your D in the SEC to stop the run.