My top questions going into Georgia's season opener vs. Louisiana Lafayette. In no particular order...
1. Will Hutson Mason play?
I'd like to see us get a big enough lead that Mason could see action through the entire 4th quarter. Yes, Murray needs snaps, but you never know when the back-up QB will be needed. Remember the 2006 trip to Columbia? Joe Tereshinski started the game and lasted about fours plays before injuring his ankle. Mason needs snaps, and there might not be another opportunity to give him significant minutes until the Colorado game.
2. Will we bring the pain on defense?
Grantham talks the talk, and so do his players. However, this group of returning linebackers was positively wretched last year. Over the past five years, Georgia played 10 vs. 11 when it was in the 4-3 defense against the pass because the SAM linebacker spot was one of the least productivity positions in the SEC outside of Mississippi State's quarterback. Against the run, we often played 10 vs. 11 because the MIKE linebacker (other than Ellerbe's run from mid-'07 through the ASU game in '08) was staggeringly tentative. When the MIKE refuses to run into the hole in favor of standing 3-4 yards down field and waiting to be run into, you can't stop the run. Will the LBs find religion and bring the violence to the opponent? Will they deliver the blow or receive it? That's what I'm looking for. The good news is I believe Belin might be the best linebacker coach in the SEC.
3. How will Aaron Murray play?
I can't sugar coat it. ULL has a pillow case defense. He should be able to pick them apart very quickly, and hit AJ Green for some deep plays. Will he look like David Greene as a redshirt freshman in the 2001 season opener against Arkansas State where he ran the no huddle flawlessly and dazzled us? Or will he look like Matt Stafford against UAB or Colorado where he looked completely clueless.
4. How will the OLine look?
For all the talk about this group's dominance, Cordy Glenn and Ben Jones have each missed a month of practice. Trinton Sturdivant is recovering from a two year long knife fight with a surgeon, and Chris Davis has a worse hip than a Golden Girl cast member. This group should punish the ULL defensive line, but will they? They should've punished Ok State last year, and didn't. I expect Glenn, Jones and Sturdy will all see limited action on Saturday. In fact, the entire OL will heavily rotate fresh players due to the heat, and it being the last opportunity to evaluate the youngsters. They have the talent to be exceptional, but will they? Are they healthy enough and conditioned enough (due to injuries) to be great?
Those are my questions? What are yours?