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August 27, 2007

2007 UGA Season: A Journey or a Destination:

Image: Jim Hipple

The 2007 Georgia Bulldog team is awash in talent at virtually every position. The problem is…much of it is extremely young. A team in the Southeastern Conference generally only goes as far as its offensive and defensive lines will carry it.

This year’s Dawgs will start at least two freshmen offensive linemen. If any injuries were to befall Chester Adams (who has struggled with ankle problems for long stretches of his career) or Fernando Velasco, we would start three freshmen along offensive front. That's not a championship recipe.

All told, 12 of the 14 linemen on scholarship have never played a down in Sanford Stadium. Matt Stafford can only make so many plays lying on his back.

Many comparisons have been made to the 2003 Georgia team that started:
    OT – Max Jean-Gilles (So.)
    OG – Josh Brock (So.) / Nick Jones (So.)
    C – Russ Tanner (RFr.) / Nick Jones (So.)
    OG – Bartley Miller (So.) / Fernando Velasco (Fr.)
    OT -- Dan Inman (RFr.) / Dennis Roland (RFr.)
That group won the SEC Eastern Division, and it was arguably a few missed field goals from playing for the national title despite 20+ players who started at least one game missing at least one game for injury. This year's OL already has more experience with Adams and Velasco than that '03 group.

However, this year’s team doesn’t have David Pollack, Odell Thurman, Sean Jones or Thomas Davis to offset some of our offensive problems. It also doesn’t get to face a Clausen led Vol team or a Granny Holtz lead Gamecock squad.

Assuming we stay relatively healthy, I think the team should get dramatically better as the season goes along. Said another way, Georgia Tech is in for another beating, and the Cocktail party could be a ton of fun no matter what happens in September.

However, these first two games could be painful to watch. That’s why I say this season is more about the journey to get better than the destination of a title. If we win the East, I wouldn’t be shocked. But I would be pleasantly surprised.

Get past the first two without a blemish, and we brace ourselves for an incredible ride.

My prediction:
9-3 would be par in my mind. Win 10 or more, and the season is a huge success. Win fewer, and it’s a bit of a disappointment.

Agree or disagree?

See Also:
-- Tony Barnhart's Preview -- AJC
-- Expect the unexpected - ABH
-- Freshmen along the OL - ABH
-- Juco OL making a name for himself - ABH
-- Dogs schedule says BCS Bowl - AJC
-- What we've learned about the Dawgs - AJC



Ben said...

My fearless prediction is 9-3 as well, but as far as the season being a "success" or a "failure," I think I'll wait to see what the team is capable before I judge my expectations. Right now there are too many questions, imo, to safely determine what we should expect from this team.

Overall, though, I pretty much agree with your assessment: if we win the first two, I think we can reasonably expect a ten win season. If we drop one, 9-3; if we lose both, who knows.

Anonymous said...

Although I believe I am a realist, many people would place me in the category of "Disney Dawg". They would be right, but they would also be Disney Dawgs - just on the other end of the spectrum. Call me Pooh; call them Eeyore.

That said, the only way we lose to the Cowboys is if we aren't ready. I can't see that happening. They'll score, probably more than us Pooh types will be comfortable with, but so will we. We will score against good defenses this year; we should score a lot against OkSU. Carolina will be annoying, but in the end they, too, will lose to the Dawgs. I am not willing to make predictions about the rest, except to say I am worried about one game no one talks about - Troy.

Troy is Southern Miss lite; they are better than you realize; we will be flying high off a victory over UF; I fear we will be primed for a cathartic humbling. Hope it isn't the fatal flaw in our season.

Anonymous said...

We aren't going to lose to Troy, even coming the week after UF. I think our kids learned their lesson from Vandy last year. If you don't come to play every game anybody can beat you....even a team that didn't win another SEC game.

Beating OK State and SC is a must or we could lose 5 or so games this year.. Losing to EITHER of them at home would make winning at Bama, UT, Jax or GT(not to mention AU at home) seem like a long shot.

Cash Mag-Direct Mail Ads in Savannah., GA said...

I agree that 9-3 is par, but Thomas Davis, Odell Thurman and Sean Jones weren't superstars before the 2003 season. I'm not saying that Ellerbe and Reshad Jones will be the same players that Davis and Odell became, but it's impossible to know at this oint just as it was in August of 03 regarding Thurman and Davis.

C. Paul said...

Dead on.

9-3 is the base line and all judgments are based from there.

I'm frightened about our OL not getting on the same page until after UT (when we could possibly have 2 losses). I hate playing true freshman anywhere - but especially on the OL. I'm also frightened that our DE's are not as they should be - but nothing can be helped this year.

On the plus side, I always tend to underestimate the coaching and total team talent so that should make up for some of the above concerns.

For us to win 9 and above these are the key players-

Offensive Player of 2007: Trinton Sturdivant

Defensive Player of 2007: Roderick Battle

Go Dawgs!!

Anonymous said...

WHO SAID LUMPKIN CAN'T BLOCK? he's knocking the hell out of a virginia tech player in that picture.

really good post. 9-3 sounds about right. i can't see us starting 2-0, however. the first two games remind me of 2005, when we showed up flatter than hell against carolina after whipping boise. the only way we'll beat carolina is if we lose to oklahoma state. we don't do really do well on the second end of big back to back home games (carolina in 05, tennessee in 04).

Anonymous said...

My fearless prediction is UGA wins the SEC East with a 12-0 record and then lets see what happens on 12/1.

We will be ready for OSU. USC will only score if their field goal kicker is having a really good day.

I feel really good about this team and our schedule.

Anonymous said...

anon @ 11:44

Everyone who watched the UT game last year, that's who.

Anonymous said...

If we are undefeated after the Florida game, I think we will finish out the regular season with a 12-0 record. However, at that point we'd be 8-0. Can we do it? Why not!?!?
I believe in our coaches and I'm sure that they will have the boys ready.

dog lover said...

we are only starting 1 freshman, lt trinton, chris davis is a redshirt fresh, i feel there is a difference, boling is a reserve and will cycle in, not start, so 1 freshman, dawgs win 10 11 games this year, stafford avgs 350 360 a game

Anonymous said...

Hell, I already bought my ticket reserve for the national title game. Oh ye of little faith.

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