2009 Georgia Bulldogs Football Preview
2008 Record: (10-3, 6-2)
2008 Bowl: Capital One Bowl vs. Michigan State (W 24-12)
Coach: Mark Richt (82-21 at Georgia, 82-21 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Bobo
Defensive Coordinator: Willie Martinez
Other Key Returnees: OT Justin Anderson, DT Geno Atkins, DE Roderick Battle, OT Clint Boling, LB Akeem Dent, CB Prince Miller, WR Michael Moore, K Blair Walsh
Key Losses: CB Asher Allen, TE Tripp Chandler, LB Dannell Ellerbe, DT Corey Irvin, WR Mohamed Massaquoi, RB Knowshon Moreno, QB Matthew Stafford, DE Jarius Wynn
Georgia had some high expectations heading into the 2008 campaign, but they fell well short of those lofty goals. However, it was not the fault of quarterback Matthew Stafford or running back Knowshon Moreno. The offensive line was decimated by injuries and the team was never able to garner much consistency. The line hopes to stay healthy this time around, but now Stafford and Moreno are off in the NFL and the high expectations left with them.
Rennie Curran might not be a household name outside of SEC country, but the junior might be by this time next year. The linebacker tallied 115 tackles, ten tackles-for-loss, three sacks and 14 quarterback hurries last season and was the anchor of the defense. Curran will once again be the anchor this year, but he will have plenty of help from fellow linebacker Akeem Dent. The secondary is just as strong with safety Reshad Jones returning after picking off five passes a year ago. The back seven will be very strong, but the defensive line is not too shabby either. Geno Atkins can be a dominating interior lineman at times and players like Roderick Battle can provide the Bulldogs with a quality pass rush.
Joe Cox might not be Stafford, but he is not a bad replacement either…if he is indeed the replacement. Cox is a savvy veteran who is ready to play right now, but he is being pushed by Logan Gray. Gray is the more athletic prospect with a higher ceiling, but Cox is the safe choice. That covers replacing Stafford, but what about Moreno? Georgia has a slew of talented backs like Caleb King, Richard Samuel and Carlton Thomas, but can they do what Moreno did? Eventually they probably can, but they certainly lack in experience since they are all underclassmen. King is the likely candidate to get the bulk of carries in 2009 after serving as Moreno’s backup in 2008, but this could turn into a dynamic running back by committee type of team.
The Bottom Line for the Bulldogs:
But those rushers will not be as productive without an offensive line. Tackle Trinton Sturdivant is trying to come back from an awful knee injury and just about everybody who played last year is also returning. Yet, much of the line is still pretty young and it remains to be seen if that year of experience will make a big difference. The key will be finding some consistency on the line and, if that happens, Georgia will exceed expectations this year after failing to live up to expectations just a year ago.
By Joel Welser
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