After a relatively disappointing season where the Georgia Bulldogs were expected to win a national title, the Bulldogs hope to rebound after losing the starting QB Matthew Stafford to the Detroit Lions and RB Knowshon Moreno to the Denver Broncos. Returning a brand new offense, Georgia will rally around sophomore WR AJ Green, a five star prospect who has supreme speed and hands pro scouts drool over. With a 10-3 2008 season, Mark Richt’s team is coming off a Capital One Bowl victory over Michigan State.
With three year starter Matthew Stafford off to the NFL, Richt will put the Quarterbacking duties in the hands of Joe Cox, a senior who passed for 151 yards and 2 TD’s a year ago. With a relatively inexperience senior at Quarterback, Georgia is likely to pound the ball to Caleb King, a sophomore that rushed for 247 yards on 61 carries last season and should be a welcomed addition to a school that has produced running backs lately. As mentioned before, Green is the top receiver and will build on the 963 yard and 8 TD season he had as a freshman and replace Mohammad Massaquoi as the top receiver, Green at 6’4″ 190 lbs, is a big target that exposes man coverage. Green is also very good at finding holes in the zone and should help Cox adapt to the SEC game where teams blitz more than any conference and Green’s route running skills will benefit Cox and his transition into the starting role.
On the defensive side of the ball, Georgia will be good once again with the return of seven starters and the headliner is LB Rennie Curren, a stud linebacker that hits as hard as anyone in the country and can cover receivers up the middle very well. Curren isn’t the only good linebacker on defense as Georgia returns two more starters in Darryle Gamble and Akeem Dent, with these three backing the defensive line, Georgia has one of the best corps not only in the SEC but in the country. The defensive line is also good once again after holding Javon Ringer to minimal yards while allowing Michigan State to 12 points and the most exciting returnee is DT Jeff Owens, who is a freak of nature, maxing out at 535 and running a 40 in the 4.8 area, very very scary for a man his size. With Owens helping get penetration up the middle, Curren and the rest of the linebackers should fly all over the field reeking havoc for opposing offenses.
With a very tough schedule, Georgia opens up with #5 Oklahoma State in Stillwater. The Cowboys explosive offense led by QB Zac Robinson and WR Dez Bryant, Georgia will have to get in the face of Robinson and make sure Bryant doesn’t touch the ball very often, when Bryant wasn’t involved last season, the Cowboys struggled. Aside from OSU, the Bulldogs face Arizona State at home on September 26th. ASU suffers from the loss of QB Rudy Carpenter and the Bulldogs should roll them at home. Once into conference play, Georgia has another tough opener with a home game against #6 LSU, the Tigers have the fastest team in the land and the Bulldogs must score in bunches to win. If Richt has some magic up his sleeve, the Bulldogs might have a chance to knock off Florida on Halloween Night, October 31st, a tough task considering Florida essentially returns everyone and with Stafford and Moreno last season, Florida still put up 50+ points. Looking past Florida, the Bulldogs hope to avenge a loss last season to Georgia Tech and defeat the Yellow Jackets at home on November 26th. With Owens stuffing the run, Jonathan Dwyer and Co. hope to run for 300+ yards again against the Bulldogs but with a fast defense and the game in Athens, those possibilities are very slim. If Georgia can go at least 10-2, they have a very good chance to sneak into the Sugar Bowl, a bowl game where they have been very successful and watch the Gators go out to Pasadena and play for another title.