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

RabidDawgFan

August 2nd, 2011
12:07 pm

Why not be optimistic? You only need 5 guys on the O-line. Murray is the best QB in the SEC. Samuel, Crowell, & Malcome can and will get the job done at tailback. Our defense should be one of the best in the SEC with a new attitude…a key clog in the middle at NT…2nd year in the 3-4…entire secondary back…new S & C program…Ogletree at ILB…& we have the best special teams unit in the country…put all that together with the new hunger and drive that this team has and the sky’s the limit.

AltamahaDawg

August 2nd, 2011
12:07 pm

I’m sure they are fit to be tied by the time the boat hits the hill, having to listend to that Jackie Mason stand up routine of yours for a few hours.

SSIgator

August 2nd, 2011
12:08 pm

1953 was a lousy year -

I wish I were eligible. I would like to have some extra play money since the market is hardly doing anyone any favors these days.

EDawg71

August 2nd, 2011
12:09 pm

SSIgator. I’m sorry. I actually feel guilty for messing with you on here. At least you’re smart enough to have Googled “fictional literature” to sound a little smarter than you are. Go on, do what you do brother.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

August 2nd, 2011
12:11 pm

Here is our problem feel goos storys involving UGA football do not get 300 hits in 24 hours. They are lucky to get 75. So the AJC is driving all of these topics to generate blog hits.

Hell UGA has the 1st Team All SEC QB. Does this even get talked about? Apparently everyone on the AJC writing staff is aligning the deck chairs on the Titanic with all of these topics. It is laughable.

RabidDawgFan

August 2nd, 2011
12:12 pm

The only thing I’m truly worried about is staying healthy throughout practice. I’m hoping and praying that I don’t get on ajc one day and see that somebody has gone down due to injury. We don’t need that. Especially to one of our starters. That would be DEVASTATING.

People look at the loss of A.J. Green and say “Oh no what are we gonna do?!”…to be honest, if I had to choose on who we had back between Green and Durham, I’d pick Durham all day. Durham loved Georgia and played his heart out for us. Green just got out of Georgia what he could and that was a top 5 paycheck. He never played a full season for UGA, didn’t win us anything, so what good did he actually do us?

7576DAWG

August 2nd, 2011
12:12 pm

I can at live with a lost to a good team when you say ,too bad but somebody had to lose , next time it will be them, or good try. But last year our offensive line and at times our defensive line was beat so bad I now know the agony that teams like Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech must feel in the past. Not having the depth to ” FINISH THE DRILL”. It’s one of the first years that I didn’t feel we could beat the good teams and the negative attitude from some of the players really hurt the teams confidence which allowed some worst teams to beat us. I applaud McGarity being able to see this problem in less than a year and doing something to change the mind set that was entrenched in Athens.
The radical changes I hope will be very obvious in 2011 because of the easier schedule and if the changes can help win the first game or two, this year will be very special . All I hope is we are able to compete and that hopeless feeling never is there again. I sure like what I am hearing and I hope the Freshmen can learn the system fast enough to help from the first game.
I think Drew, Herrera , Marshall and Mitchell will have very big years and as many as 10 in the Freshman class will not red shirt. With CMR moving Samuel back to tailback and having Malcome there I don’t think, at least the first few games, that Crowell will be as much of an impact player as he will be later in the year. Can’t wait. Go Dawgs.

JT

August 2nd, 2011
12:13 pm

If Bobo ever learns to include the team in the offense Georgia will be a tough team to beat with all the skilled talent available. Last year his philosophy was to get the ball to Green. If his offense is ever geared to go to all skilled positions and the qb delivers UGA will be hard to beat. I just do not know if he has the insight to do so.

RabidDawgFan

August 2nd, 2011
12:17 pm

For everybody bashing our offensive line, we protected Murray pretty well last season and must have because he only threw for 3,049 yards with 24 touchdowns and only 8 picks. Must be doing something right. If you go watch highlights, our O-line protected pretty well. It’s the blowing open holes for RBs that we need to improve on.

SSIgator

August 2nd, 2011
12:17 pm

AltamahaDawg -

No, actually by the time we have caught our limit and emptied the beer cooler we all think it was a very pleasant day and look forward to going again. Don’t think I also don’t hear my share of “UGA owns the series” and other assorted statements, but at the end of the day we have a geat time fishing.

Dogs Smell

August 2nd, 2011
12:18 pm

5-7 at Best , that is just being a realist.

Ace

August 2nd, 2011
12:19 pm

Hope vs experience…another 6 loss season for the dawgies.

DawginLex

August 2nd, 2011
12:19 pm

I have been told by more than 1 person that the housecleaning was a directive from McGarity as a way to address the overall discipline issue and the perception of the program.

There is a long list of players who would have been playing this year and continuing with the all about me attitudes. The choice was made to flip those players and bring in talented younger players who know nothing but “The New Georgia Way”.

Richt was quoted at 1 TD Club meeting as saying “I have lost my patience”. He got a standing ovation.

I applaud McGarity and Richt for having the guts to do this because the risks are tremendous.

RabidDawgFan

August 2nd, 2011
12:21 pm

And you Bobo haters, lay off. The guy knows how to call plays. It may not be the most exciting plays and I admit that sometimes he makes you scratch your head, but he knows how to put us in position to score. FACTS: Last season we scored 30+ points in 8 out of our 12 games. FACT: in 6 of our 12 games we put up 40+ points. FACT: After the loss to Colorado, we never scored less than 30 points again until the bowl game, and that was 7 weeks in a row of scoring 30+ points. And 5 of those seven offensive outings we put up 40 or more points. Don’t believe me? Go look it up.

That’s how I know that Murray was not the reason we lost those games. The defense was. Well our defense will be better this season. Better watch out.

Cuz

August 2nd, 2011
12:22 pm

August and hope springs eternal in Athens town.

JY

August 2nd, 2011
12:23 pm

Rabid Dawg Fan, You have to credit the coaching staff, media, and fans for the “throw it to Green philolsophy of the last three years”. They are the ones that geared the offense to him. The qb practiced to get the ball to him. They went away from the team philosophy to get the quick fix by throwing to him probably more than they should. They certainly went away from the running game to throw the ball more….Making one person the go to hero guy only takes away from the team…and I dare say promoted some grief among the running backs and possibly poisoning the team to some extent… In recent reading they have mentioned how good Mitchell is. I hope they do not go that route again with a player and not use the players that have been in the program longer. He may be greater than Green but do not put the crown on anyone as the savior of the program. One thing aboout the Walker years….They were a team!!!!! Last year that was not evident.

Cuz

August 2nd, 2011
12:28 pm

If we had gone 8-4 last year no changes in the players or personnel would have occurred. The “me” attitude would have remained and Joe T would still be in the video room.

it took a 1979 season to bring us a 1980 season. I was at UGA for both.

I am not saying we will be undefeated. I am not saying we will be SEC Champs. But I think with what I see as a new attitude, or a return to the old attitude, we will compete. That is all I ask of the players and the coaches.

RabidDawgFan

August 2nd, 2011
12:28 pm

Just go watch Murray’s highlights of his FRESHMAN season. I mean my goodness the potential this kid has is tremendous. Here:

http://youtu.be/6cjimTtqv70

Nothing Could Be Finer

August 2nd, 2011
12:30 pm

Barely beating Tech at home then losing to Central Florida by only scoring 2 fg’s and there are HIGH EXPECTATIONS?

LOL

The dogs should expect to finish no higher than 3rd in the East after losing their top 2 wr’s, top 2 rb’s, top 2 lb’s, a whole bunch of o-line and Chappas.

SSIgator

August 2nd, 2011
12:31 pm

DawginLex -

“The New Georgia Way”

UGA fans can only hope that it will be more successful than the other way that da PreachaMan and his Straw Dawg coaches have been doing things in the past few years. Going 10-3, 8-5 and 6-7 usually gets you fired. By the way, did your friend tell you how Richt’s “cutting edge football studies” have been going? First game is a month away. He better be through studying.

Nothing Could Be Finer

August 2nd, 2011
12:34 pm

“I have lost my patience”
-Richt

Wait till all those freshmen start screwing up.

This could get ugly, folks.

Wow

August 2nd, 2011
12:35 pm

The social security income cheeseball ( aka SSIGaytor) is absolutely infatuated with the Dawgs. You would never catch me on a Floriduh Cheeseball blog.

Ben

August 2nd, 2011
12:35 pm

Rabid Dawg, Scoring 30 points is great…. Sometimes how quick you score hurts the defense by not allowing them a rest. Look at the time of possession and the games we scored 30 points. I cannot remember the game but someone had a long sustained drive after we went up in the score. After about 15 plays the other team scored. We ran the KO back for a TD, Defense back on the field for another long sustained drive and a score…. After that the game was basically over. I am for the Strength and conditioning program but sometimes the game situation dictates more an effect on the players as their over all fourth quarter conditioning. If the team is conditioned for four quarters and the defense has to play 40 minutes and the offense only 20 because they score so many points or so fast….well…that makes a substantial difference in performance….Not to mention the freshness of the special teams that score quickly. Just a thought. Go Dawgs!!!!

georgiadawg93

August 2nd, 2011
12:35 pm

Folks, the best UGA quarterback will soon start at LSU. Just saying.

Wow

August 2nd, 2011
12:36 pm

Nothing finer,

which team has more suspensions and arrests?……the Dawgs or the team you root for?

It's so much easier

August 2nd, 2011
12:37 pm

being a GT fan – no lofty expectations to crush your spirit and we can always point to all those yards CPJ gets on the ground.

BJ

August 2nd, 2011
12:37 pm

I am sure a certain young lady could care less who is starting for LSU. Get over it. He played his cards and lost.

Sandy Springs Dawg

August 2nd, 2011
12:38 pm

I would be optimistic that every player would pass their remedial reading courses, but really, we all know that won’t happen.

Big Dawg

August 2nd, 2011
12:38 pm

Yes there is reason for optimism the season has not started and for the first time in 3 years the attitude on this team is geared to win. There seems to be a renewed vigor around the program that mediocrity of the last 2 seasons is not going to be tolerated by the new AD. That bad attitudes were kindly shown the door and a renewed sense of urgency by Coach Richt. Hopefully all of this lends itself to more wins on the football field.

We will know rather quickly whether the changes that have been made are successful as we play a very good Boise State team in the very first ballgame and what I have seen the last 5 years is they come ready to play in the big ballgames. Them coming here the first game of 2005 and getting manhandled was the best thing to happen to them as their coaching staff and players learned what they needed to do to get better and be able to compete and win against the big boys. Anyway I do believe we will be better this year I just hope it shows up in wins otherwise Coach Richt will be gone, he may be gone if he loses to Florida again this year.

Go Dawgs

honky talkin'

August 2nd, 2011
12:38 pm

After an 0-2 start, the billboards will pop up around Athens calling for Richt’s head on a platter. Great talent…Dream team?? Same story as last year…another mediocre season for the Dawgs.

Rolaids anyone?

August 2nd, 2011
12:39 pm

Vince Dooley

August 2nd, 2011
12:40 pm

Sorry, but Richt can’t control his players. The prayers don’t work.

Nothing Could Be Finer

August 2nd, 2011
12:41 pm

Dream Team?

More like Pipedream Team.

Chris

August 2nd, 2011
12:41 pm

Everyone is optimistic this time of year as they should be. We are all undefeated till kickoff.

I would have more optimism going into the season if Mark Richt had made the difficult decision that NEEDS to be made, and that is firing or demoting Bobo. As long as he is calling plays, I will have very little optimism for our offense. I have a ton of optimism for the defense, and I truly think they will improve barring injuries and suspensions. Hopefully they will be good enough to keep us in games, but as long as Bobo has his head in the offense, we will not meet expectations. We were stacked at tight end last year, yet Bobo acted as if we didn’t have a tight end to throw the ball to.

The man has no business being an offensive coordinator at the college level, and until Richt figures that out, we will suffer, or it will lead to Richt’s demise.

Joe

August 2nd, 2011
12:42 pm

Bill, Get someone to research the time of possession of the Dooley-Russell era and the other eras of Ga Football. Sustained long drives kill defenses.

allwehaveishope

August 2nd, 2011
12:43 pm

As noted in this article there are many positives to look forward too on this team. If just a few of these prize recruits and replacements play as billed it can fill the voids left by key losses to graduation and the NFL.

The first 2 games will answer a lot of questions about these players and the coaches ability to use them in the right situation. Lets hope all this optimism will actually evolve into W’s for the dawgs.

SSI GATORTATER

August 2nd, 2011
12:44 pm

GATORTATER, let’s hope you have enough players to compete after Mushchomp realizes all that he has is drug users and theives. I bet UF loses more games than UGA this year and by the way UF loses to UGA BIG!!!

JB

August 2nd, 2011
12:45 pm

I know I’ll be asked to get drug tested…….Or sent running with ridicule,,,,but win those first two…..And that’s a tall order, the Dawgs should/would be favored in every game after that. Wouldn’t the Haters jump off a cliff if that happened…..running the table that is………..And that’s why you play the games.

Shuttled

August 2nd, 2011
12:46 pm

Chase-let me spare you. Lemay is lazy. I’m close To the team and I know for a fact that he has slacked since he has been here. Murray is the real deal. The offense will be fine because we have him to lead it. Tk and Malcolm are going to be huge for us. Our run game has been nonexistent since knowshon left so that doesn’t matter as much. If we stay healthy we will win. Look to 2008 if you want to see what injuries do to us

RedandBlackDAWG

August 2nd, 2011
12:46 pm

Dogs Smell,

I ask you once again. What team do you support as a fan. Scared to answer?

JB

August 2nd, 2011
12:47 pm

It will be interesting to see how Muschamp runs that Gator program. By the book …or covering it up.

AltamahaDawg

August 2nd, 2011
12:47 pm

Ah, so in real life you are pleasant, smart, good fellow to be around. It’s just when you troll the UGA blogs that you turn into the guy who can’t make an original point without tripping over the same worn out platitudes and immature jokes that we see?

Same old horse manure

August 2nd, 2011
12:48 pm

After an 0-2 start, the billboards will pop up around Athens calling for Richt’s head on a platter. Great talent…Dream team?? Same story as last year…another mediocre season for the Dawgs.

That says it all. UGA has sunk to total irrelevance, not only nationally, but in the SEC. And still, Richt collects his multimillion-dollar paychecks year after year.

After another crappy season, this same conversation will be going on again, next year, won’t it. :-(

just thinkin'

August 2nd, 2011
12:49 pm

UGA will be national champs this year!! Murray for Heisman!! Richt will be coach of the year for sure. Even though UF has won like 17 of the last 20, we still run that state too, and will go undefeated this year.

DawginLex

August 2nd, 2011
12:49 pm

Mettenberger?

Start at LSU?

Don’t think so.

He as already been recruited over for 2012 and beyond.

JB

August 2nd, 2011
12:52 pm

Dog smells? Well, if we could get a sniff of Paul Johnson’s butt off some DNA somewhere, I think you could link “dogs smell” to him, just say’n……..He’s a Techie all the way.

DawginLex

August 2nd, 2011
12:52 pm

Question to the Dawgs out there.

Does anyone think we are going to try and become more of a power running team? The signs are there: Big offensive line, 2 big fullbacks(one who weighs 270) and big running backs(one who weighs 238).

In my book it would be OK IF the defense is really improved. Plus if we could sustain clock killing drives, the defense is not on the field as long.

Any opinions?

Smartalec TROLL comments in 3…2…1…

Bulldog Jay

August 2nd, 2011
12:53 pm

Of course we should be optimistic, it beats the heck out of the alternative, Go Dawgs, 14-0 until the scoreboard tells me otherwise.

JB

August 2nd, 2011
12:53 pm

I’m thinking FSU runs Florida now.

59bulldawg

August 2nd, 2011
12:54 pm

I would say strength and conditioning, the dream team of freshmen we have comimg in, the athletes we already have in the program, and the fire that’s been lit under Richt’s butt have me feeling very optimistic about the upcoming season. It’s not a guarantee mind you, but it gives me great hope. Plus even with our not so great seasons recently, we are still the University of Georgia and I wouldn’t trade that for all the Alabamas, Floridas, and LSUs in world. Go Dawgs! GATA!