published Sunday, August 28th, 2011

Bulldogs 'biggest': Kicking, experience gap

Georgia punter Drew Butler.
Georgia punter Drew Butler.

Biggest strength: Georgia should have the best kicking game in college football with Drew Butler, who led the nation in punting in 2009, Blair Walsh, who has made 40 of 45 field-goal attempts the past two seasons, and Brandon Boykin, the only player in SEC history with three 100-yard kickoff returns. The Bulldogs should be in great shape for games that come down to the third phase.

Biggest weakness: The Bulldogs have lost three offensive tackles since the start of spring practice, and any injury to a starting offensive lineman could be disastrous. There is a monstrous gap in experience between most of the first- and second-teamers, with two of the second-team spots occupied by true freshmen.

Biggest star: Junior tight end Orson Charles is the SEC’s top tight end and gives the Bulldogs a variety of ways to attack defenses. He is a mismatch for both safeties and linebackers and expects to be a favorite target early and often for sophomore quarterback and former Tampa Plant High School teammate Aaron Murray.

Biggest future star: Take your pick among a trio of “Dream Team” members — tailback Isaiah Crowell, receiver Malcolm Mitchell and outside linebacker Ray Drew. All three have the potential to start this season, and each is expected to contribute significantly. Mitchell turned the most heads on the practice fields this summer, so we’ll make him the pick.

Biggest game: Without question, it’s the Sept. 10 home game against South Carolina. The Gamecocks are definitely talented enough to win a second consecutive East Division title, and this could be such a test mentally for the Bulldogs, who could be sky high after the Boise State opener or down in the dumps.

Biggest finish: This is among the most unique schedules in Georgia history, with arguably the two toughest games first. Having both of those games in the Peach State is a plus, as is the fact the Bulldogs get to avoid Alabama, Arkansas and LSU on the West Division rotation. Since Florida and Tennessee struggled last season and Auburn could struggle this season, the Bulldogs have a good chance at double-digit victories.

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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