2008 CFN Georgia Preview
2008 Georgia Offense
2008 Georgia Depth
2007 CFN Georgia Preview
2006 CFN Georgia Preview
The SEC is so
good and so tough year in and year out that it’s nearly impossible
to be a consistent national title superpower like USC is in the Pac
10, Ohio State is in the Big Ten, and Oklahoma is in the Big 12.
Instead, the star teams are always strong, but it takes a year or two
to build to a level good enough to get through the league and win
Florida grew into the powerhouse that won the 2006 national title.
LSU won it last year, and in 2003, after building, and Auburn went unbeaten in 2004
and probably should’ve been playing for the whole ball of wax.
Head coach: Mark Richt
8th year: 72-19
Off. 17, Def. 25, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 22
Best Bulldog Players
1. RB Knowshon Moreno, Soph.
2. QB Matthew Stafford, Jr.
3. CB Asher Allen, Jr.
4. LB Dannell Ellerbe, Sr.
5. OT Trinton Sturdivant, Soph.*
6. DT Geno Atkins, Jr.
8. FS Reshad Jones, Soph.
8. DT Jeff Owens, Sr.
9. LB Rennie Curran, Soph
10. TE Tripp Chandler, Sr.
*Injured, lost for the season
2008 Record: 0-0
Sept. 6 Central Michigan
Sept. 13 at South Carolina
Sept. 20 at Arizona State
Sept. 27 Alabama
Oct. 4 OPEN DATE
Oct. 11 Tennessee
Oct. 18 Vanderbilt
Oct. 25 at LSU
Nov. 1 Florida (Jack.)
Nov. 8 at Kentucky
Nov. 15 at Auburn
Nov. 22 OPEN DATE
Nov. 29 Georgia Tech
CFN Prediction: 8-4
2007 Record: 11-2
Oklahoma St W 35-14
W 26-23 OT
Tennessee L 35-14
Florida W 42-30
Ga Tech W 31-17
Dec. 1 Hawaii W 41-10
It should be
Phenomenally successful under head coach Mark Richt, with 64 wins in the
last six seasons with two SEC titles, the Bulldogs have been among the
elite of the elite teams, but they haven’t been able to put together
that one special season at the right time to get their first national
title since 1980. This year’s team is the one that can change all that.
Considering Georgia’s history of great running backs, it’s saying a lot
that many consider Knowshon Moreno the best Dawg runner since Herschel
Walker. The no-name defense that finished 14th in the nation
gets nine starters back, Matthew Stafford is considered by many to be
the best NFL quarterback prospect in college football, and the offensive line could grow to be
among the best in school history. It’s all there to finally get over the
Now the team has to show it can do it with the lights on.
Georgia always seems to do its best work when it's flying just barely
under the radar, but now everyone will be watching.
Over the last seven years under Richt, Georgia has been the nation's
best program that hasn't been able to get over the hump. It doesn't fall
into the Texas A&M/UCLA/Michigan State category of programs that have
the potential to explode, but haven't; this is a bona-fide,
every-year-top-ten superpower that has won two SEC titles and came up
with a whale of a 2002 season, but wasn't in the national title game
because of Miami and Ohio State.
This is Georgia's year. This is the time when everything has to come
together for a national championship. An SEC title would be nice,
another BCS appearance would be solid, but unless Richt is holding that
crystal football in Miami at around 11:30 p.m. on January 8, 2009, this
season will be a failure. While that might seem harsh, with the level of
excellence set by the rest of the SEC when it comes to winning national
titles, it's an all or nothing year for a Dawg team that's really that
What to watch for on offense: Can the receivers come through?
Stafford is the type of quarterback who can make everyone around him
better, and Moreno is a next-level caliber talent to take the focus of
the offense away from the passing game. But for Georgia to navigate
through the nasty SEC waters and win the title, and play for the
national championship, it needs more through the air. The passing
numbers weren't awful, averaging just under 200 yards per game, but it
was an inefficient attack. Mohamed Massaquoi and Kenneth Harris have the
experience, but it might be a bunch of young players, like A.J. Green
who make it all happen.
What to watch for on defense: The emergence of Dannell Ellerbe.
There aren't any nationally known defensive stars, at least compared to
the offense, but there are plenty of All-America caliber talents, like
CB Asher Allen and DTs Geno Atkins and Jeff Owens. Ellerbe should be the
star who brings it all together in his middle spot. If he's the
NFL-caliber playmaker he's supposed to be, the defense goes from being a
killer to one of the top five in America.
This team will be much
better if …
the passing game is more consistent. The running game is in place, the
offensive line is terrific, and Matthew Stafford is one of the top NFL
quarterback prospects. So why can’t the Bulldogs get more through the
air? If the receivers are merely consistent and can keep the chains
moving, the rest of the offense will open up.
The Schedule: Everyone will know right away if Georgia is a
national title contender with road trips to South Carolina and Arizona
State by September 20th. The interdivision draw couldn't be any worse
than facing Alabama and going on the road to play LSU and Auburn with
both Tiger games bookending a brutal four-week stretch of at LSU,
Florida, at Kentucky, at Auburn. Throw in a sneaky-tough early game
against two-time defending MAC champion Central Michigan and its
explosive spread offense, and the regular-season ender against Georgia
Tech and an option that should be jelled by the end of November, and the
Dawgs will truly earn a spot in the national title game if they get
through with just one blemish.
Best Offensive Player: Sophomore RB Knowshon Moreno. Originally
was seen as a nice option for down the road after showing a good flash
and nice power in 2007 spring ball, he turned into the main man with
1,334 yards and 14 touchdowns averaging 5.4 yards per carry. It's a
stretch to say he carried the Bulldogs over the second half of the
season, but yeah, he sort of carried the Bulldogs over the second half
of the season. At 207 pounds, he can run between the tackles, but he's
at his most dangerous when he gets a little room to move.
Best Defensive Player:
Allen made the step up from being a nice reserve to a fantastic
all-around playmaker with 64 tackles, good for second on the team, three
interceptions and five broken up passes. He plays much bigger than his
5-10 and 198 pounds with great open-field tackling skills, while his
tremendous speed and quickness makes him a strong option on any No. 1
Key player to a successful season: Senior DE Jeremy Lomax. One of
the team's biggest losses is on the end where Sugar Bowl superstar
Marcus Howard is gone, taking with him 10.5 sacks. The 6-4, 247-pound
Lomax has the potential to flourish with all the attention paid to the
rest of the line, and he has to come through after spending his career
as a decent reserve.
The season will
be a success if
... the Bulldogs play for the national title. The schedule might be too
nasty to go unbeaten, but there’s no reason this can’t be the year they
finally break through the ceiling under Mark Richt and play for the
whole ball of wax. There’s too much talent to shoot for anything lower.
Nov. 1 vs. Florida.
The cute little stunt (that worked) to fire up the team with the mass
show of support on the field in last year's game has only stoked the
fire of what might be the biggest game of the 2008 season. It's not an
overstatement to suggest that the winner of this game wins the East, the
SEC, and the national title.
2007 Fun Stats:
- Sacks: Georgia 42 for 294 yards – Opponents 15 for 132 yards
- Second half scoring: Georgia 227 – Opponents 104
- Punt return average: Georgia 11.8 yards – Opponents 4.9 yards