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2007 Georgia Preview - Offense

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jul 3, 2007


Preview 2007 Georgia Bulldog Offense Preview

Georgia Bulldogs

Preview 200
7 - Offense

- 2007 Georgia Preview | 2007 Georgia Defense Preview
-
2007 Georgia Depth Chart | 2006 CFN Georgia Preview 


What you need to know:
The offense was a disaster at times throughout an inconsistent season, but that was to be expected with a true freshman at quarterback, at times, injury problems at running back, and the team's best receiver out. Now, sophomore QB Matthew Stafford appears on the verge of being the superstar he's supposed to be, Thomas Brown is expected to be back at some point to help out the running game, after missing the second half of last year with a knee injury, and Sean Bailey should be the number one target now that he's back from his knee injury. The offense, at least early on, will revolve around big Kregg Lumpkin and the running game, but the line needs to produce as well as it did this spring. A mega-concern going into the off-season, now the front five appears to be a strength.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Matthew Stafford
135-256, 1,749 yds, 7 TD, 13 INT
Rushing: Kregg Lumpkin
162 carries, 798 yds, 6 TD
Receiving: Mo Massaquoi
30 catches, 366 yds, 2 TD

Star of the offense: Sophomore QB Matthew Stafford
Player that has to step up and become a star: Senior WR Sean Bailey
Unsung star on the rise: Freshman OT Trinton Sturdivant
Best pro prospect: Stafford
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Stafford, 2) RB Kregg Lumpkin, 3) Sturdivant
Strength of the offense: Potential, wide receiver depth
Weakness of the offense:
Proven depth, line experience

Quarterbacks

Projected Starter
:
Forget the 2006 stats; he's really that good. Thrown to the wolves as a true freshman, 6-3, 237-pound sophomore Matthew Stafford had some good moments, but he had a hard time keeping the ball from going to the other team with 13 interceptions, including an ugly stretch of eight in three games, with only seven touchdown passes. While consistency was an issue, he didn't get a whole bunch of help from a mediocre receiving corps. One of the most heralded quarterback recruits in the school's history, he has the arm, the size, and just enough mobility to get out of trouble. He's not there yet, but he has all the tools and appears to be on the way to being a top NFL prospect.

Projected Top Reserves: 6-1, 210-pound Joe Cox got a little work, stepping in and shining in the 14-13 win over Colorado by going 10 of 13 for 154 yards and two touchdowns including the game-winning scoring pass with less than a minute to play. That would be his one shining moment. He's no threat to Stafford for the starting job, but he's a tough, slightly experienced number two with nice, accurate arm making him a strong number two. He's also winner, posting a 31-0 record as the starting quarterback at Independence High in Charlotte, North Carolina.

6-3, 230-pound junior Blake Barnes, was a top recruit of a few years ago with size, running ability, and the talent to push
Cox for the backup job. He's a good enough player to step in and start if needed ... but only for a short stretch. He's not Stafford.

Watch Out For ... Stafford to explode. It was asking a bit too much of a true freshman to blow up right off the bat when taking over as the starter in the midst of the SEC season. Now he's mature, knows the offense, and will be given far more of the offense to play around with.
Strength
:
Talented prospects. Stafford is considered an NFL caliber prospect, while Cox and Barnes were superstar high school recruits who just so happened to be on the team at the beginning of a new era in Georgia football. The coaching staff has players to work with.
Weakness
:
Actual production. Don't put Stafford in Canton quite yet. As much upside as the quarterbacks might have, no one's actually done it yet on a regular basis. All the excitement surrounding the passing game is based on potential.
Outlook:
Call this a stepping-stone season for Stafford as he grows into the player many are expecting he'll be. The Georgia coaching staff loves to run the ball, but it's never been afraid to bomb away down the field. With Stafford getting more and more comfortable, there will be even more big pass plays.
Rating: 7.5

Running Backs

Projected Starters: 6-1, 229-pound senior Kregg Lumpkin finally appeared to be fully back from a knee injury suffered early in his career to lead the team with 798 yards and six touchdowns to go along with 17 catches for 116 yards and a score. A bruising, pounding back, when he's on, he's the type of runner that no defense wants anything to do with. However, he needs to get into a groove and can disappear for stretches. Always productive as a change of pace back, now he'll get the first shot to carry the load.

6-0, 240-pound junior Brannan Southerland is a blocker, but he's also been an effective runner at times and has nice hands in the passing game. He came up huge when the team needed him to get the hard yards with 120 on 46 carries with eight scores as a top short-yardage runner.

Projected Top Reserves: Is senior Thomas Brown going to be ready? The team's best back is expected to be back this fall after suffering a bad knee injury halfway through the season, but that's hardly a sure bet even though he reportedly has been ahead of schedule. He's a compact 5-8 and 200 pounds with fantastic quickness and good hands, but he's never been a workhorse and struggled mightily before getting hurt last year.

Providing more depth is 5-11, 207-pound redshirt freshman Knowshon Moreno, a power back who showed good flash throughout spring ball. While he can bounce the ball to the outside, he's at his best between the tackles. With Lumpkin having never been a full season back, Moreno will get in the mix early on and should get more than his share of carries.

The star of this year's recruiting class was
Caleb King, considered among the top backs in the nation with a great burst and a nose for the goal line, but he broke his leg his senior season and will likely end up redshirting unless disaster strikes. He'll be the main man in the ground game at some point over the next few years.

Backing up Southerland will be a combination of redshirt freshmen Fred Munzenmaier and Shaun Chapas. The 243-pound Munzenmaier is more of a blocker, while the 227-pound Chapas is going to be a bit more of a runner and a receiver. Both are talented enough to start at some point over the next few years.


Watch Out For ... Moreno. The Georgia coaching staff loves to pound the ball and control the tempo, and while Lumpkin is the more powerful of the two, Moreno will come up with his share of punishing runs.
Strength
:
Lumpkin getting more work. It could be argued that he wasn't used nearly enough over the last few years with all the other backs in the rotation. The knee problem had something to do with it, but No. 6 could grow into a scary-good back if he can prove he can handle the work for a full season.
Weakness
:
Speed back. Brown won't redshirt and appears to be on the way to being back, he wasn't great last season and might need a little while to get full back in the mix. Lumpkin and Moreno will be productive, but they're not going to tear off many home runs.
Outlook:
The 1-2 rushing punch of Lumpkin and Moreno will punish teams, but the running game will only start to roll if and when Brown is back and healthy. This was an underachieving running game last year, and now it should be better with a good line up front and the expected improvement in the passing game to open things up.
Rating: 8


Receivers

Projected Starters: The return of 6-1, 174-pound senior Sean Bailey from a knee injury that cost him all of last year gives the receiving corps a deep threat sorely lacking last season. Smart, fast, and dangerous, he averaged 18.2 yards per catch over his first three seasons, and averaged 22.8 yards per grab in 2005. Now he has to be a number one target, and he has to be far more than just a field stretcher.

Also returning is 5-10, 150-pound senior Mikey Henderson, who made a name for himself last year as a punt returner, averaging 14.7 yards per try with two touchdowns. While he's a wisp of a receiver, and only caught seven passes for 44 yards, the former defensive back is a flash of lightning who'll get the ball in a variety of ways.

A factory for tight ends, Georgia has another good one in 6-6, 259-pound junior Tripp Chandler. Always a sensational receiver prospect with pillow-soft hands, he has grown into a stronger blocker and now should be a featured player in all phases of the offense.

Projected Top Reserves: 6-2, 198-pound junior Mo Massaquoi was the team's leading wide receiver with 30 catches for 366 yards and two touchdowns, but he should've been far more effective. Catching the ball has been a major problem, with his consistency an issue throughout last season. With good speed and plenty of experience, he should be a featured target behind Bailey at split end.

Former quarterback A.J. Bryant grew into a nice supporting role making 14 catches for 251 yards, averaging 17.9 yards per catch, and has just scratched the surface on how good he can become. Minor injuries have been a problem, and if he can stay healthy and finally start to use his 6-2, 200-pound size and elite speed on a consistent basis, the Bulldogs will have a weapon.

6-3, 205-pound junior Kenneth Harris was fourth on the team in receiving with 15 catches for 305 yards, averaging 20.3 yards per catch, but he's going to have a harder time cracking the lineup and getting time with all the talent in front of him. A physical deep threat, he'll make big plays from time to time.

A career reserve, 6-6, 253-pound senior Coleman Watson will play behind Chandler and should be a decent blocker. He made two catches for 37 yards with a score against Western Kentucky, and while he won't be used often in the passing game, he'll get a chance to see plenty of time in two tight end sets.

Watch Out For ... Bailey to make all the difference. His return adds a major boost to the entire receiving corps, adding more speed and experience to an inconsistent group.
Strength
:
Experience. It's not necessarily a bad thing when the top two returning starters are the key backups. There are more than enough options to play around with more three-wide sets and hope for a few unearthed stars to emerge over the course of the season.
Weakness
:
Actual production. For all the noise made about Bailey coming back from his knee injury, he only has 36 career catches. Massaquoi can't catch a cold, and Henderson is one big shot away from being on the sidelines. There's a lot of potential and a lot of names, but now someone has to step up and shine.
Outlook:
The Georgia receiving corps
is all about strength in numbers. There are so many options, so many prep stars, and so many different players to work with that some have to emerge to make the passing game better. More consistency at quarterback would be nice, but a number one target has to step up and take the heat off everyone else.
Rating: 7

Offensive Linemen

Projected Starters: The concerns on the line going into the off-season were eased, mostly because of the emergence of 6-5, 286-pound true freshman Trinton Sturdivant at left tackle. Considered by some to be a top guard prospect coming out of high school, he came to Athens early and was a rock at tackle throughout spring ball. While not all that big, he appears to be a phenomenal all-around player with good enough skills to be the anchor of the line from day one.

Next to Sturdivant will be 6-4, 292-pound redshirt freshman Chris Davis, who came to Georgia as a possible center, and emerged as a rock of a blocker at guard. Extremely athletic, he should grow into a good pass protector as the season goes on.

Moving from guard to center will be massing 6-4, 328-pound senior Fernando Velasco after starting every game last season. Known throughout his career for being one of the team's steadiest practice players, and named the team's Most Improved Offensive Lineman last off-season, he's the type of veteran leader to build around. He could move back to guard to add more beef to a side.

The right side welcomes back 6-4, 330-pound senior veteran Chester Adams, but he'll start at tackle instead of guard. An ankle injury kept him out for a few games, but or the most part, he's been a consistent blocker who has grown into a great run blocker. "The Big Cheese" has been tried out at tackle before only to move back to guard, but this time, the switch might stick.

6-4, 310-pound junior Scott Haverkamp comes in from the JUCO ranks after a great ear at Butler Community College in Kansas. A good technician, he's also a physical, driving run blocker who should quickly be one of the team's most solid starters.

Projected Top Reserves: While Sturdivant appears to be a sure thing at left tackle, he's still a true freshman. Adding more beef and more size at left tackle is 6-8, 330-pound sophomore Vince Vance, a good-looking prospect coming in from Georgia Military College. While not as smooth yet as Sturdivant, he should grow into a top reserve.

The guards appear to be set, but it would be nice if the option was there to play Velasco at one of the spots on occasion. For that to happen, 6-3, 274-pound redshirt freshman Kevin Perez has to grow into an option. He's physical for his size, and while he'll need time to grow into a role, he's talented with great upside.

Watch Out For ... Sturdivant. The loss of tackles like Ken Shackleford and Daniel Inman, as inconsistent as they might have been, would be crippling for most teams. While it's asking a lot of a true freshman to step in and shine right away, he appears to be an upgrade on the left side.
Strength
:
Instant cohesion. Not only did the holes get patched right away in spring ball, but the starting five quickly came together and started to dominate at the end. The right combination has quickly been found.
Weakness
:
Backup experience. There isn't any. Two true freshmen, two redshirt freshmen and a sophomore transfer make up the reserves. They're good, but they didn't get a whole bunch of work with the ones in spring ball and probably won't be ready to roll if needed by September.
Outlook:
A potential mega-problem might grow into one of the team's biggest strengths as the season goes on. The sky's the limit for the young group with so much talent and upside that there won't be many worries going into the fall. While the newcomers could still use time, and it remains to be seen how the three inexperienced starters will do when the lights go on, the line will be more than fine.
Rating: 7.5

 

Related Stories
2007 Georgia Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 2, 2007
2007 Georgia Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 2, 2007
2007 Georgia Preview
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 2, 2007








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