published Sunday, August 28th, 2011

UGA: 3 reasons for big expectations, 3 reasons for big worries

In this file photo South Carolina's Patrick DiMarco (47) carries the ball as Georgia's Bacarri Rambo (18) tries to stop during the first half of an NCAA college football game Sept. 11, 2010, at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)
In this file photo South Carolina's Patrick DiMarco (47) carries the ball as Georgia's Bacarri Rambo (18) tries to stop during the first half of an NCAA college football game Sept. 11, 2010, at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)
Photo by Associated Press.

BIG EXPECTATIONS

1 — Sophomore Aaron Murray is the preseason All-SEC quarterback pick after throwing for 3,049 yards last season with 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions- Murray benefited a year ago by having receiver A.J- Green, who was a top-five pick in April’s NFL draft, and his second go-around could get tricky if the tailbacks don’t produce from the start.

2 — The “Dream Team.” Georgia’s freshmen have given the program needed excitement following last season’s 6-7 finish, and many could contribute right away- Tailback Isaiah Crowell got off to a good start in camp and could give the Bulldogs a running presence they haven’t had since Knowshon Moreno’s two seasons in 2007-08- Receiver Malcolm Mitchell and outside linebacker Ray Drew expect to be seen a good bit this year as well.

3 — Experience in Todd Grantham’s 3-4 system- The Bulldogs often were ineffective at the point of attack last season but may have two quality noseguards with Kwame Geathers and Jonathan Jenkins- If Alec Ogletree is a success at inside linebacker, then Grantham will look like a genius for making that switch before spring, and the secondary has the potential to be very good with Brandon Boykin, Branden Smith, Bacarri Rambo and Sanders Commings heading a veteran crew.

BIG WORRIES

1 — The Bulldogs have a nice starting offensive line but don’t have any experience behind it, so any injury up front could really hinder things- Senior left tackle Cordy Glenn may be the team’s most irreplaceable player, because the next best tackles are Justin Anderson, who had most of his 2010 season scratched by turf toe, Austin Long, who has been sidelined by injuries and illness since arriving in Athens, and true freshman Watts Dantzler from Dalton.

2 — Isaiah Crowell wouldn’t be the first Bulldogs tailback to produce as a true freshman, but a lot is expected of the 5-foot-11, 215-pounder, even though coaches repeatedly have said he doesn’t have to be the savior of the program- Crowell got off to a good start in preseason camp and should be busy in the opener with Boise State, and how he handles adversity could go a long way in determining the offense’s fate.

3 — Georgia’s schedule overall is not that demanding, as the Bulldogs get to avoid a trio of SEC West teams — Alabama, LSU and Arkansas — ranked in the preseason top 15- Yet for the first time in program history, the Bulldogs open with two ranked teams — Boise State and South Carolina — so they could start out 0-2 and still be a quality team- At 0-2, however, how would the players handle what would only be enhanced talk about coach Mark Richt being on the hot seat?

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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