Preview 2007 - Offense
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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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.