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 …

Got a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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412 comments Add your comment

Sissy Dawg

August 2nd, 2011
6:07 pm

Aaron Murray is just one broken bone away from a total disaster. No one is ready to step up and take over.

You are Kidding

August 2nd, 2011
6:07 pm

Please tell me you are kidding! Another year of Dawg hype. Every year is the “Year we’re winning a national championship”. Remember those hotel rooms booked when Stafford and Mareno were in Athens ready for a MNC? Here’s some facts: LSU, Auburn, Alabama, Vols and Florida have all won national champtionships since UGA’s lone MNC 31 years ago. Dawgs are a second tier SEC team. Now the team in the SEC East is in Columbia!

TampaGator

August 2nd, 2011
6:07 pm

You guys somehow win the SEC title every summer. I don’t know how, but you do every single year.

But……

Boise has a really good, experienced team.
South Carolina has a really good, experienced team.
What if you guys go 0-2?
What happens then?
It could happen.
What happens then?:

I know what happens if you go 2-0, or maybe go 1-1 and lose to Boise but beat SC (in that case, you still can dream of beating the Gators)

But what happens if you go 0-2 to start the season?
What happens then?

Gator fans are expecting a 6 to 8 win season this year…..and will be thrilled with 9 or 10 going into the following year….when the Gators will again be national title contenders again.

But what if you go……..0-2?

Run…….Mark…….Run!

Richt`s Hammer

August 2nd, 2011
6:09 pm

Oh my. Believe w can win at least 3

TampaGator

August 2nd, 2011
6:15 pm

It is Bama or LSU for the SEC title this year…..no one else even close…..not even SC. Georgia has the QB to win the East this year…..this is your chance. Florida will be back next year in full force….and may be close to full force if Brantley somehow becomes a man behind center this year. Even the writers in the Gainesville Sun are picking the Dawgs to beat the Gators. Again….this is your chance. Can you somehow make it 18 out of 22…..?????

But what is you go 0-2? What happens then?

SOUTHGADAWG88

August 2nd, 2011
6:19 pm

Bama is overated so is Lsu…it wouldn’t surprise me to see Ark win the west.Uga should have a great season this year though…most overall talent in Athens since 08.

SOUTHGADAWG88

August 2nd, 2011
6:22 pm

Tampa Gator if if if….what will you say when Muschump goes 0 for 4 against his alma mata?

Paul

August 2nd, 2011
6:25 pm

Shug you sir about a complete DA…Bama in 2010 schedule had 6 teams with open dates and LSU,ARK,USCe all on the road. Then again what you expect from Lowder U folks.

Paul

August 2nd, 2011
6:37 pm

UGA football … the best team in America…from March until August! Year after year.

JB…never compare UGA football with Alabama results…I understand you’re not real smart but don’t bring attention to yourself. 1980/1 or whatever year you won something other than the little sister of the poor trophy or the team that worse the most different type uniforms.

UGA? R U Kidding?

August 2nd, 2011
6:44 pm

Good rule of thumb in predicting UGA’s season. Step 1…..see where their recruiting class was ranked (i.e. 5th, 8th, 11th, etc.) Step 2…..subtract 12….that final number will give you a good idea where they will finish in the polls.

UGA? R U Kidding?

August 2nd, 2011
6:44 pm

Get mad if you want hush puppies, but you know it’s true.

CDAWG

August 2nd, 2011
6:51 pm

Man can we please get this season under way. I think we can all agree that whatever is going to happen is going to happen.
Tampa Gator, if we go 0-2 we go 0-2. Anyone can bash CMR all they want about the past but my God look at all the positive moves he has made this year, go to Athens, experience the attitude and hunger in the air and the renewed excitement, it’s a great starting point back on the path to greatness.

WAR DAM EAGLE

August 2nd, 2011
6:51 pm

go dogs (and take Vandy with you).

Mark Richt 2011 Farewell Tour

August 2nd, 2011
6:59 pm

All of you Mark Richt supporters,( who aparently know nothing about football ) make sure you get your tickets to see one of his 12 final appearances as UGA’s head coach.

Obamanation

August 2nd, 2011
7:17 pm

Optimistic…hmmm…isn’t Richt still the head coach?

War Darn Dawg

August 2nd, 2011
7:20 pm

go Tigers (and take the Eagles and Plainsmen with you)

Growler

August 2nd, 2011
7:29 pm

Wow, all these negative posts from rivals on this blog, new record, that gives me a sense of optimism, never before have as many critics come out as this blog. If you get to 7 pages, means a 10 win season, we’re already at 8 pages.

Still@theBAR

August 2nd, 2011
7:32 pm

UGA? R U Kidding?
(i.e. 5th, 8th, 11th, etc.) Step 2…..subtract 12….

5-12= -7

I think you mean ADD 12.
What school did you graduate from? GED maybe?

Growler

August 2nd, 2011
7:33 pm

Let’s get to 10 pages of criticism from rivals here, based on past seasons, means an 11 win season, 12 pages means 12 wins, 13 pages means 13 wins, 14 pages = 14-0!!

RedandBlackDAWG

August 2nd, 2011
7:35 pm

FLA DAWG,

UGA’s offense line is below average. I disagree with you there. They are thin but the starting five have got a fair amount of experience, are in good condition and they are huge. I think two of the five are pre-season all SEC picks at their position.
The defense is not below average either. The front seven will have a good bit of pressure to put on the OL’s of other teams, and I believe our safeties and CB’s can handle the job.
If these two parts of the puzzle do their job, UGA is above average. The only thing hurting is the experience, and I suspect, what ever growing they need to do after practice ends and the games begin will come to them real soon. Nobody on the DAWGS is going to lay down and give up I can bet you on that.

LDog

August 2nd, 2011
7:49 pm

Growler,

I disagree. 11 pages of criticism should be equal to 11 wins.

DenseDog

August 2nd, 2011
7:50 pm

Hmm, it appears many of you misunderstood the purpose of this article. Look up the word ‘optimism’, then post, ok folks?

DenseDog

August 2nd, 2011
7:54 pm

Hutson Mason, big ups. 5AAAAA Baller, 7 td’s in a playoff game. Owns Georgia records for yards and td’s. Completes over 70% of his passes in games he starts.

jwebb

August 2nd, 2011
8:14 pm

Second year in the 3-4 defense.

jwebb

August 2nd, 2011
8:14 pm

Enter your comments here

AdMan

August 2nd, 2011
8:16 pm

Look for Florida to fall apart this season. Too many unknowns about all facets of that team…plus I hear that Muschamp and Weis are constantly at odds with one another….this is the year the gators implode on themselves….and I can’t wait!….Bama wins the West and the Dawgs win the East…write it down…its gonna happen!

Looks like a lot of anti Dog fans

August 2nd, 2011
8:33 pm

are getting in their shots now, because in a little over a month, the Dogs will be taking no prisoners. Boise State, batten the hatches. Spurrier, the Dogs are coming for you. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee (Dog opponents)

SEC Fact Finder

August 2nd, 2011
8:40 pm

After reading multiple post on this blog, I had to make a comment. First, UGA should have Optimism. The players are reporting and all these young men have the air of excitment around them. Second, UGA has a schedule that is favorable. Third, the top 22 player plus Special team players can play with anyone in the SEC. UGA and their fans have witnessed an overhaul of their offseason strength and conditioning program while gettting rid of some players who did not want to be student athletes.

UGA has a tough two game opening stretch, and that will set the tone for the program and lay down the identity of the team for the season. UGA also will need some of their young pups to step up and take over some positions.

I am not a UGA fan, but recognize the efforts made by The staff at UGA to turn this program around.

So go ahead UGA fans and be optimistic until you have reason to be anything less.

Good Luck to UGA and to the rest of the SEC.

FLA DAWG

August 2nd, 2011
9:08 pm

Red and Black,

I respect your opinion but must emphasis what you have pointed out – they are thin. There is zero depth to this line and the experience they have rates far too low to compete effectively in this conference.
I hope The Dawgs run the table but on paper and on the field I just don’t see it happening.

I’m sure you’re as anxious as I to get this season underway. I want to see for myself just what we have. But I don’t see us better than 1 – 1 after two games.

Swampdawg

August 2nd, 2011
9:20 pm

Aaron and Durham certainly were the play makers last season. The soft hitting defense was virtually a “No Show” all season. They couldn’t stop anyone except the “Sisters of the Poor”. Gotta get “Meaner and Hit Harder”! The Offense played well enough to have a good year if the Defense had shown up.

Mobile Dawg

August 2nd, 2011
9:22 pm

Definitely optimistic, but highly realistic at the same time. This team with the right breaks, and luck could go 12-0. Or if things go like they have, we could be 6-6. Or anything in between. Looking forward to it.

Swampdawg

August 2nd, 2011
9:34 pm

What good is speed if you can’t tackle when you get there! The Dawg Fans long for that hard hitting “Junkyard Dawg” defense again. Gotta have more than just one who can tackle on defense.
This Dawg longs for Larry Munson back too! The Dawgs have been in steady decline since his retirement. Not as much fun to listen as it once was!

Herschel Talker

August 2nd, 2011
9:54 pm

I am optimistic…that Mark Richt will be fired after this year and that we will begin great things in 2012.

D&D

August 2nd, 2011
9:57 pm

As long as Richt is in Athens, my expectations are very low. He’s on the downslide now, and another Dream Team isn’t going to help.

RedandBlackDAWG

August 2nd, 2011
10:03 pm

FLA DAWG,

I am anxious also to see what they can do. I would be happy to split the first two games, but more happy to win both. I believe the way to beat Boise is just be more physical than they are. We have the size and strength to do it, so I hope we will.
S.C. is the Lattimore show. Take away his running lanes, and Spurrier is forced to go with Garcia. They do have a really good wide out, but if Garcia is rushed, he makes poor decisions. His other QB isn’t ready according to Spurrier, and in the few years I have watched garcia, he makes bad decisions when he is hurried. Lattimore will get some yards. UGA just can’t afford to let him, control the game. I don’t think he will be running up the middle like he did last year, against the big uglies we have now. The three guys we have on the DL, are fully capable of commanding double teams that occupy the 5 men on an opposing OL. Do that and the LB’s should be able to be much more active in the game. To me, it is all a matter of controlling the OL, and I believe these guys can do that.
If we can get some of these guys to step up a little and increase their learning curve, UGA will surprise a few folks. I think with the new attitude, S and C, improvements, and if CMR will become more involved in the offense, we will be ok.

GO DAWGS

Don't Matter

August 2nd, 2011
10:12 pm

I hope UGA has no major injuries this year that would cause a starter to miss a number of games. When the season ends, if Richt repeats the last two dismal years, I don’t want him to be able to whine that all those injuries they had resulted in the lousy season. I don’t want him to have any excuses at all.

RedandBlackDAWG

August 2nd, 2011
10:29 pm

It took me a little while, but I think I have finally figured out why the UGA haters come on blogs about UGA and spout their dribble. Forgive the slowness as I am getting older.
It is called the Mickey Finn Syndrome. His famous saying was, “He was going to hit me, so I hit him back first”. Fear, just plain fear. It even drives Tech. fans to come on here, and pretend they matter in the whole scheme of things.
It probably wouldn’t be so bad, except most of the stuff spouted by these haters, is equivalent to a 4th grader mentality. No substance and all B.S. with childish remarks. Isn’t this the time of year when all these haters should be on their own blogs, supporting their teams. You can forgive the Tech. fans of that, since they really don’t have much of a team.

GO DAWGS

AtkinsDog

August 2nd, 2011
10:34 pm

Popular video highlight of Crowell on youtube seen by over 150,000:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWRcM_d2qWE&feature=fvwrel

AtkinsDog

August 2nd, 2011
10:46 pm

New football complex is impressive, 2 minute video:
http://www.wsbtv.com/video/26808447/index.html

Josh

August 2nd, 2011
11:22 pm

THANK YOU BILL!!! POSITIVITY IS GREAT!!!! Am I getting through to you or what? Keep it up!

Effie's of Athens Boarding House

August 2nd, 2011
11:33 pm

`
Richard Samuel is big and fast, just give him some decent blocking up front.

AceDawg

August 2nd, 2011
11:40 pm

We have moved from an era of automatic confidence to a complete tossup, but I believe the Dawgs are worth our attention this year. It could be memorable if Murray plays awesome and major injuries are avoided.

savannadawg

August 3rd, 2011
12:12 am

I’ll tell you this. I hate losing as much as anyone. But i love the attitude of this NEW team. I do see us struggling a bit at the outset. Not because we don’t have talent. But because of the youngness this team will have. I also see the team getting better with each game. And barring injuries, being pretty damn good by mid-season.

RED DOG 77

August 3rd, 2011
12:47 am

@RedandBlackDAWG……….I somehow knew you were a damn good DOG. Yup, and yer dern tootin’ these bedwetters are simply showing their fear. Me? I see us as a unique team we have waited three years to see again. Coach Richt and Todd Grantham will be throwing everything including the dadgum kitchen sink at Boise St. and South Carolina………as far as Garcia, I’d rather him than the kid from FloweryBranch……..Garcia, as you pointed out can get some pretty happy feet and make some bone headed blunders under fire……….and they tell us he won’t be constantly under fire all afternoon long?………as for Boise St……….Yes Kellen Moore is a dern good QB, but hows he gonna feel with brand new recievers, while taking snaps from a 5ft 10in 280lb center while we constantly rotate a 6ft 4in 360lb Johnathan Jenkins and a 6ft 6in 355lb Geathers who by the way was voted MVP of the D unit during Spring drills………Do I feel good about “my” Georgia BULLDOGS?………..You’re damn straight I do………GATA…………RED

AltamahaDawg

August 3rd, 2011
7:27 am

R&B D, I’ve tried to figure that out over the year too. Why do trolls spend so much time in here slinging poo, with nothing resembling an original opinion to say. Or the handful of professed dawg fan that are almost indistinguishable from the trolls. But then it occurred to me, that while we assume that it has something to do with football, that’s just the excuse. Sometimes the most simple explaintion is the right one. It’s really not any more complicated than, that’s just who they are.

King Gator

August 3rd, 2011
8:01 am

Why not be optimistic..this year should be like any other year.. best time to be a Dawg is the preseason, then once the Pups drop their third game in the first six or seven it’s business as usual. Then the fire CMR crowd can have it’s way. Go Gators!

Dogs Smell

August 3rd, 2011
8:21 am

1.)Glad fulmer got fired — No , didnt think with the options available to replace him it was not a good choice

2.)Rejoiced over Kiffin’s hire- No , I felt this would only be a stepping stone to his next move.

3.)Regret fulmer’s firing- At this point yes!

4.)Realize that Dooley will take at least 2 more years to get UT competitive again.- I agree with that but I like the majority of UT fans are realist with our expectations year after year.Unlike Ga fans who will brag before a season starts that they will win it all. I dont know how any educated football fan can look at Ga this year and expect to win the SEC. Yes they have about the easiest schedule in the country but they still have to play with with very little dept at any position. All of the “if we stay healty” and if pigs could fly ! Ga will lose players to injury all teams do and when you do you will be even a weaker squad.

RedandBlackDAWG

August 3rd, 2011
8:54 am

Dogs smell,

It is not bragging when you are feeling good about your team and you constantly have to defend it against, idiots like you. I realize that Tenn. probably doesn’t have much of a blog, since, nobody ever spends time on it, but maybe you could help them out and go spend time there. You aren’t welcome here, and to keep posting negative crap, just shows you are mighty worried about UGA and you know you could get your hiney handed to you this year.
By constantly trying to disrupt another teams blogs with stupid remarks and claims, you only succeed in bringing scorn upon yourself, and showing how to act like a butt. Go home to rocky top, they need you there. UGA does not need you here.

JunkyardByrd

August 3rd, 2011
8:55 am

Kicking the ball off out of bounds. Logan Gray being used for fair catches!! Richard Samuel being switched back and forth. Once again (seriously-how many times under CMR has our offensive line been our biggest weakness, even when it suppose to be our greatest strength? Poor clock management. Inability to score TD’s in the Red Zone (making Billy Bennett or best offensive weapon). Players not getting better… (Knowshon? Stafford? Greene? All had the best years as sophomores). Having Joe Cox toss Richard Samuel the ball in the fist quarter of a game when they were back-ups only to watch Samuel fumble the ball). RB by committee. No killer instinct. Throwing to K Durham instead of AJ Green in overtime? I could go on and on. Yet somehow now that we have a new strength and conditioning coach, all that will change? Lord-I hope I’m wrong, but this train seems headed off the tracks. Guess we’ll find out in about a month.

Lindsey

August 3rd, 2011
8:55 am

All UGA fans should be optimistic at the start of a new season, best of luck to CMR and the 2011 Bulldogs, GO DAWGS!!!!