Friday, April 30, 2010

Georgia State has a football team? Georgia State has a football team!

Georgia State is a mostly commuter school located in downtown Atlanta with just over 30,000 students. This year Georgia State will play in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), formerly known as Division I-AA, for the first time in school history. Former Alabama and Georgia Tech Head Coach Bill Curry was hired on June 11th of 2008 to start up the Georgia State program from scratch. In August of 2009 the first Georgia State football players arrived on campus. This year the spring roster includes 71 players. They signed 27 players to scholarship in the 2009 recruiting class and the rest of the group is comprised of 6 transfers and walk-ons. They also landed 23 players in the most recent recruiting class. GSU will play 7 home games this year at the Georgia Dome and also scheduled a game in November with defending National Champion Alabama.


GSU's offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach is John Bond. He has been OC at Army, Northern Illinois (when they had Garrett Wolfe) and Georgia Tech for one year (when they had Tashard Choice). On the defensive side of the football the DC is former East Carolina coach John Thompson. Thompson also worked with Curry at Alabama in 1987 and has been coaching football for over 20 years.

Spring Scrimmage

On April 10th the Georgia State football team held an open scrimmage for more than 3,000 fans. There are three Redshirt Freshman Quarterbacks fighting for the starting job. Keltan Hill (a rivals ** recruit from Lithia Springs) went 8 of 14 for 111 yards and 2 TDs. Bo Schlechter (a rivals ** recruit from Belle Glade Florida) went 5 for 8 for 101 yards and a rushing TD. Drew Little (a rivals ** recruit from Henry County) was 6 of 12 for 71 yards. Curry says that he will not announce a starter until they are ready to play games and that they will need all three of these guys to win football games this year. Redshirt Junior Wide Receiver Sidney Hayes (a UCF transfer and former *** recruit) made some noise with a 54 yard TD pass and totaled 3 receptions for 87 yards. Redshirt Freshman Jordan Giles (a ** rivals recruit from Columbia, South Carolina) was the leading receiver with 5 catches. Redshirt Sophmore TE Emmanuel Ogbuehi also had a productive game with 3 catches and a TD. The top RBs were RS Sophomore Roosevelt Watson (a ** rivals recruit from Lake Worth Florida) and RS Sophmore Malcom Smith.Watson rushed 6 times for 43 yards and Smith ran 6 times for 33 yards and a TD.

On the defensive side of the football the stand-outs were RS Freshman LB Robert Ferguson (a ** rivals recruit from Belle Glade Florida), Junior LB Olufemi Opanubi (a transfer from West Los Angeles College in Culver City, California) and RS Freshman DE Austen Wiley. Ferguson and Opanubi both had interceptions and Wiley had a fumble recovery and 2 sacks.

In August Georgia State will have their full squad and then it's 29 more practices until they play their first game against Shorter College. I think it's safe to say that this will be an interesting ride. If you want more information on GSU Football, Mr College Football (Tony Barnhardt) wrote a column this week about Bill Curry, ESPN the Magazine did some really interesting stuff with Billy Curry and the Georgia State program and you can follow GSU Football at this link.

Mark Richt Conference Call Notes

Hat Tip to Team Speed Kills for passing on the link to the SEC coaches teleconferences at Here are my notes from the call with Coach Mark Richt.

- Richt loves Todd Grantham's experience (coached with Beamer, Saban, Crennell). Has a great wealth of knowledge and football IQ. He is a great communicator, has a strong presence and a high level of energy and intensity.

- Logan Gray wants to play and right now he's not sure that he can. Richt has made it clear that they have a post-spring depth chart but they have not named any starters including QB. He is trying to decide where he wants to be and what position he wants to play. If he wants to be at Georgia, Richt will work with him on what position he plays. This type of thing happens a lot more than anybody knows. We are certainly a better team with him then without him. There is no time table for his decision. With or without Logan there will be a tremendous amount of inexperience at the QB position.

- Has always wanted to recruit Georgia first butometimes in the past they've gone out of state first. During these first two weeks they are going to hammer Georgia and do it in mass numbers. They must recruit out of state but if they go out of state the recruit better be special.

- Trintan Strudivant is expected to be ready by pre-season. He has been making very good progress. Feels like this repair feels different and better to him. They will take their time with him to make sure he is healthy.

- AJ Green is one of the best players in the country and if he can help them win in an area then they should look at it. Richt would not be against him returning kicks if it will help them win. He's not worried about injuries, he could get hurt trying to catch a ball as a receiver. If he's the best at that skill then they will use him for that.

- Richt sees Conference expansion as doubtful but hasn't really read up on it. He would be surprised if it happened any time soon. Thinks the format with 6 teams on each side and the Championship Game is a great format. If you expand you don't get to play everybody and it's almost like two different leagues.

- Lost some outstanding players on the interior defensive line. Personnel wise feels they have some pretty good players they are counting on to step up. The defense is brand new but there are a bunch of good players. There is some difference in what is expected in guys in the 3-4. Guys like Justin Houston and Cornelius Washington will do more in pass coverage whereas they were primarily pass rushers last year.

- Escalating assistant coaching salaries are the way things are going. It's the market. Has no problem with the escalating salaries due to revenues brought in by SEC football and the pressure on the coaches.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Scouting the UGA QBs

The University of Georgia went into spring practice with 3 QBs fighting it out for the starting job and a 4th QB on the way in the fall. At a minimum the depth at this position looked good for Georgia. Zach Mettenberger was dismissed from the team and now Logan Gray is contemplating a transfer and it's left the Bulldog faithful in a quandary. Georgia is one decision away from being left with two scholarship QBs this fall and both of them being freshmen. Georgia is one transfer and one injury away from playing in the SEC with a true freshman who did not enroll early and is one more injury away from playing with a walk-on or a defensive back at QB. With that in mind I thought I would dig into finding out more information about who could (worst case scenario included...well not really that would include Bacarri Rambo or Branden Smith) see some playing time at QB for Georgia this year. There is a lot of information out there on Hutson Mason. But not that much information on Greg Bingham and Parker Welch.

Here is some information from the recruiting sites (, rivals, ESPN) on our Quarterbacks:

Aaron Murray
Redshirt Freshman
6'1", 198
Pro Style
Rivals QB Rank- #3
Scout QB Rank- #3
ESPN QB Rank- #3
Rivals Rating- ****
Scout Rating- *****
ESPN Scouts Grade- 86
Strengths: Accuracy, Consistency, Decision Making, Poise, Leadership, Athleticism
Weaknesses: Size
Offerred scholarships by: According to he received 53 scholarship offers
2010 Spring Scrimmage Stats: 31 of 53 for 380 yds with 2 TDs and 3 INTs
HS Senior Stats: 118 of 195 for 2,285 yds with 33 TDs and 5 INTs. Rushed for 257 yds and 2 TDs (won 4A Florida State Title)
HS Junior Stats: 201 of 329 for 4,012 yds with 51 TDs and 7 INTs

Logan Gray
6'2", 185
Dual Threat
Rivals QB Rank- #10
Scout QB Rank- #12
ESPN QB Rank- #7
Rivals Rating- ****
Scout Rating- ****
ESPN Scouts Grade- 82
Strengths: Accuracy, Consistency, Decision Making, Running Ability, Mobility
Weaknesses: Size
Offerred scholarships by: Auburn, California, Missouri, Nebraska, South Carolina, Texas A&M
2010 Spring Scrimmage Stats- 23 of 42 for 280 yds with 2 TDs and 1 INT
2009 College Stats- 5 for 12 for 31 yds and 2 INTs.
HS Junior Stats: 135 of 233 for 2169 yds with 25 TDs and 10 INT (could not find good Senior yr stats but was a 3 year starter)

Hutson Mason
Incoming Freshman
6'3", 190
Pro Style
Rivals QB Rank-N/A
Scout QB Rank- #53
ESPN QB Rank- #22
Rivals Rating- ***
Scout Rating- ***
ESPN Scouts Grade- 78
Strengths: Accuracy, Consistency, Decision Making, Touch
Weaknesses: Arm Strength, Field Vision
Offerred scholarships by: Central Michigan, Cincinnati, FSU, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi St, UAB, UCF, Virginia, Western Michigan
HS Senior Stats: 4,560 yards and 54 TDs
HS Junior Stats: 292 of 420 for 3,705 with 28 TDs and 10 INT

Greg Bingham
Incoming Freshman (Preferred Walk-On; Hope Scholarship)
6'4", 220
Pro Style
Rivals Rating- **
HS Senior Stats: 83 for 166 for 1,129 and 6 TDs (missed his junior season with a broken leg and was set back as a senior with an ankle sprain)

Parker Welch
Incoming Freshman (Preferred Walk-On; Hope Scholarship)
6'3", 190
Pro Style (ran the Wing-T in High School)
Scout Rating- **
ESPN Scouts Grade- 40 
HS Senior Stats:  36 of 56 for 543 yds with
HS Career Stats: 190 for 286 for 1993 yds with 20 TDs

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Logan Gray Conundrum

This has been a ridiculously busy off-season for the Georgia Bulldogs. I unplugged from the world of the internet and the world of twitter to find out that our back-up quarterback Logan Gray is contemplating a transfer. This wouldn't be that big of a deal but Georgia's QB depth took a huge hit when Zach Mettenberger was kicked off the team. Last week Aaron Murray was named #1 on the depth and Logan Gray was placed at #2. With Georgia's current depth incoming freshman Hutson Mason, who won't enroll until the fall, will be #3 on the depth chart.

According to David Hale at the Bulldogs Blog Gray approached the coaches about a position change to Wide Receiver in January but was convinced to stay at quarterback and compete for the starting position. On Monday Logan met with Mark Richt and is deciding on whether he should continue his career at Georgia or transfer to another school. This leaves us with a bunch of questions. If Logan stays does he stay at back-up QB full time or does he move to Wide Receiver and become the emergency back-up QB? If he stays at QB does the Georgia coaching staff entice him stay by putting him in a D.J. Shockley type role ensuring that he plays in every game? If Logan decides to transfer then who else is going to get reps at QB? I feel for Logan because you know that he's been working hard to be the best player that he can and has been dreaming about playing for Georgia and playing QB so you know it's a hard decision for him.

Let's talk about the best case scenario first. Let's say Logan stays. If Logan stays is he going to stay solely at QB or do Richt and Bobo go ahead and get him involved in the offense in other ways (such as receiver). If he stays does Richt put in a package (that they talked about doing last year but it never came to fruition) that maxamizes Logan's skills as an athlete and get him in games for a series or two. Or does Logan solely move to receiver and Hutson Mason becomes the #2 QB with Logan serving as the emergency #3. So many questions. The one thing we know is that we play football in the SEC and the odds of a starting QB, especially a freshman, making it through a season unharmed is not likely.

That brings us to the worst case scenario which is Logan transferring. If Logan transfers then that immediately puts our current depth chart at 1 scholarship QB with Aaron Murray and a second scholarship QB in Hutson Mason coming on board in the fall. In this scenario it's clear that we need somebody else, possibly more than one person, who can step in and play QB in a pinch. Someone with Hines Ward type versatility. The guy that pops into mind immediately is Brandon Smith because he ran the Wild Dawg position last year a little bit so he could run an option read type offense. It would be really hard for a guy like Smith to do this because he's just a sophomore and he also has the task of learning new Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham's 3-4 defense. Long-term this could make Georgia all that more intriguing for big-time recruits like Christian LeMay and Nick Marshall but short term Aaron Murray is going to be walking around campus in a bubble and have a full time security guard detail so nothing happens to him.

I will note that there is at least one source that is saying that Logan has confirmed he will transfer. It will continue to be a very interesting and now very nerve racking summer for UGA football.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Georgia Bulldogs picked in the 2010 NFL Draft

Despite not having any players picked in the first two rounds, the University of Georgia still had 5 players picked in the NFL draft this year.

Rennie Curran, LB, Tennessee Titans, Round 3, Pick 33

I was a little surprised to see Rennie picked before Reshad Jones and Jeff Owens but he definitely deserves it. It's a shame we can't see Rennie line up in Grantham's 3-4 but think he will fit in just fine with the Titans. ESPN blogger Paul Kuharsky compares him to undersized LBs Gary Brackett and Sam Mills. Sounds like the Titans really like him and he should start out on Special Teams with a chance to earn some playing time at LB. Before the Falcons picked Spoon I was thinking Rennie would be a really good pick for the Falcons in the 3rd, 4th or 5th round.

Geno Atkins, DL, Cincinnati Bengals, Round 4, Pick 120

I was again surprised that Atkins went before Owens. Not because Atkins doesn't deserve it but because I had actually heard that Owens was being looked at for a late first round pick at one point so I figured at minimum he would be gone by now. This looks like a good fit as the Bengals need depth at this position. I don't know if Geno will ever be a star but I think he can be a very productive guy in the right system. Tim Tucker from the AJC reported that the Bengals did not interview or work Geno out so they must have really liked what they saw on film.

Reshad Jones, S, Miami Dolphins, Round 5, Pick 163

Reshad has to be disappointed that he didn't go until the 5th round. I really wish he would have stayed around for his final year because I think Scott Lakatos could have done wonders for his game. Reshad is a guy that has a ton of talent and showed flashes of greatness but ultimately was never coached up while he was on campus. ESPN blogger Tim Graham thinks Reshad could find his way into the starting line-up as the Dolphins have some issues at Safety. The Dolphins moved up in the draft in order to get Reshad so it's clear that they like him and really valued him at this position.

Jeff Owens, DL, Philadelphia Eagles, Round 7, Pick 243

Owens falling to the seventh round was a shock to me. Owens can definitely play in the NFL. I think this one could end up being a steal for the Iggles.

Kade Weston, DL, New England Patriots, Round 7, Pick 258

I'm really happy to see Kade picked. I believed we would have 3 DL taken and I was right. Kade has to be happy that he ended up with a quality franchise like the Patriots. Hopefully he can catch on and have a successful career.

Also per his twitter account it seems that WR Michael Moore will be teaming up Matthew Stafford and try to make the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent. Mark Weiszer also noted on twitter that S Bryan Evans was signing with the Cincinnati Bengals and CB Prince Miller with the Baltimore Ravens.

Friday, April 23, 2010

UGA Post-Spring Depth Chart Round-Up

Mark Richt released the post-spring depth chart on Thursday afternoon. You can take a full look at it here. Here are my thoughts on each position:


Aaron Murray (6-1, 206, RFr.)
Logan Gray (6-2, 192, Jr.)

This was the big question mark and with the dismissal of Zach Mettenberger most of us thought that Murray would be the choice. The biggest issue at this position is lack of experience and depth and those are huge issues. Naming Murray the #1 starter is big because he will get more and more reps when practice resumes. Richt and Bobo need to make sure Logan is ready to play because I would be shocked if Murray made it through an SEC schedule unscathed. Incoming Freshman Hutson Mason will also need to get familiar with the playbook ASAP. Hopefully Aaron Murray can channel his inner David Greene.

Shaun Chapas (6-2, 245, Sr.)
Kevin Lanier (5-11, 209, RSo.)

Injured players were not listed but Fred Munzenmaier is the back-up to Chapas. The combination of Chapas and Munzenmaier is one of the best 1-2 Fullback combinations in all of college football.

Washaun Ealey (5-11, 205, So.)
Carlton Thomas (5-7, 180, RSo.
Dontavius Jackson (5-10, 205, RSo.)

Caleb King is not listed here due to injury but he is the co-#1. Ealey finished last year with 717 yards on 5.7 ypc. King finished with 594 yards on 5.2 ypc. I feel really good about our running backs. Both Ealey and King really found their way towards the end of the year last year at the same time the offensive line started to mesh. Outside of Alabama I like Ealey/King as much as anybody else's 1-2 punch in the league. I think Carlton Thomas could make an impact this year in the return game. Branden Smith also had 17 carries for 211 yards last year (12.2 ypc) and 2 TDs so expect him to get in every once in a while.

Split End
Tavarres King (6-1, 180, RSo.)
Kris Durham (6-5, 209, Sr.)
Marlon Brown (6-5, 200, So.)

King was our 2nd leading receiver last year in terms of yardage as he caught 18 passes for 377 yards. Durham was injured last year but caught 13 for 199 in 2008. I really like both of these guys and Marlon Brown has a lot upside. I also think Rantavious Wooten will line up opposite A.J. Green as well as Orson Charles used as a receiver some this year.

A.J. Green (6-4, 207, Jr.)
Rantavious Wooten (5-10, 170, So.)

If A.J. Green can stay healthy he's a Heisman type player. He had a Heisman highlight reel that rivaled any other player in the country last year. When he lines up against the other team I'm confident that he's better than any player that the other team can match up against him. As a freshman he led the team in receiving yardage with 963 yards and last year he had 53 for 808 yards but was sidelined with injuries. Wooten was a very pleasant surprise last year with 10 catches for 197 yards and 2 TDs. I think Wooten could have a very productive year this year. Israel Troupe is another guy who could have an impact that is not listed due to injury.

Tight End
Orson Charles (6-3, 230, So.)
Aron White (6-4, 236, Jr.)
Bruce Figgins (6-4, 260, Jr.)
Arthur Lynch (6-5, 250, So.)

This is another position that I think we have the quality and depth of anybody in the league. Orson Charles is an absolute stud and I really like that he's listed as a first teamer. It means he's progressing into becoming a complete TE. Not only did he accidentally knock over a Florida National Championship Trophy and shatter it as a High Schooler but he also showed flashes last year of being a big time play maker. Charles had 23 receptions for 374 yards at 16.3 ypc and 3 TDs. Plus, he's been waking up early and voluntarily training with the ROTC. Aron White had a good year last year and put up 13 receptions with 4 of those being TDs last year. Figgins is coming off of a redshirt year last year (partially due to suspension)  and he and Lynch can play in this league. I just don't know how much they will see the field with Charles and White playing in front of them. I also expect Charles to play some at the receiver position.

Left Tackle
Clint Boling (6-5, 304, Sr.)
Jonathan Owens (6-4, 294, RSo.)

Left Guard
Cordy Glenn (6-5, 328, Jr.)
Dallas Lee (6-4, 296, RFr.)

Ben Jones (6-3, 300, Jr..)
Chris Burnette (6-2, 290, RFr.)

Right Guard
Chris Davis (6-4, 295, Sr.)
Ben Harden (6-3, 300, Jr.)

Right Tackle
Josh Davis (6-6, 300, Sr.)
Kolton Houston (6-5, 270, Fr.)

Georgia finally has a good line. I thought they would be strong on the line last year but they didn't play well up front until the end of the year. This depth chart does not include injured guys like Trinton Sturdivant, A.J. Harmon, Tanner Strickland and Austin Long. On paper it looks like we are going to be able to have a stable line for Aaron Murray and we will be able to open holes Caleb King and Washaun Ealey. Now we just have to worry about holding onto the football!

Just going through the offense makes me excited for next season to get here sooner! I like our skill set at every position but QB and that's due to inexperience. If Murray has a good year we could contend for an SEC title with this offense. If he has a decent year we could still make a good respectable bowl.


Left End
Abry Jones (6-3, 290, So.)
Brandon Wood (6-1, 286, Sr.)

DeAngelo Tyson (6-2, 294, Jr.)
Kwame Geathers (6-6, 326, RFr.)

Right End
Demarcus Dobbs (6-2, 274, Sr.)
Kiante Tripp (6-6, 275, Sr.)
Nick Franks (6-2, 250, Jr.)

The defense is where the fun begins because honestly there is a lot of competition for spots on this side of the football. The front three could be the weakness of this team since Jeff Owens, Kade Weston and Geno Atkins are all moving on to the NFL. Richt sees Justin Anderson (who is moving from OL and is injured) plugging in and playing at the Nose Tackle and he sees Jeremy Longo playing at one of the end positions. Dobbs has proved in the past that he can make plays and Gathers has a big upside. Dobbs had 4.5 sacks last year, 18 QB pressures and caused 3 fumbles which was the most on the team. Georgia also has 5 4-Star Freshmen coming in that are listed as DE/DL and they should push for playing time. I think Garrison Smith and Mike Thornton will push for playing time.

Sam LB
Cornelius Washington (6-4, 248, RSo.)
Darryl Gamble (6-2, 250, Sr.)

Will LB
Justin Houston (6-3, 259, Jr.)
Reuben Faloughi (6-5, 232, RFr.)

In the 3-4 these guys will be playing down on the line some and out in coverage on other plays. Justin Houston is our best defensive player and has been a DE for us during his career. Houston had 7.5 sacks last year in 10 games. I'm a little surprised that Washington is listed ahead of Gamble but it is probably because Gamble just started getting some reps at OLB. Washington started 1 game at DE for us last year but got more playing time as the year progressed and ended up with 4 sacks and was credited with 15 QB pressures. He has a lot of upside. Gamble is a guy that I think will end up playing a lot at multiple linebacker spots. He talked earlier this spring about learning the OLB position so he never has to come off the field. Incoming 4-Star Freshman T.J. Stripling could also push for playing time here.

Mike LB
Akeem Dent (6-2, 233, Sr.)
Mike Gilliard (6-2, 200, So.)
Akeem Hebron (6-1, 223, Sr.)

Christian Robinson (6-2, 216, RSo.)
Marcus Dowtin (6-2, 220, Jr.)
Richard Samuel, 6-2, 222, Jr.)

I was a little surprised that Gamble was listed in with these guys as I thought he would get a lot of playing time inside. Out of these guys Dowtin had the best year last year as he finished 3rd on the team in total tackles despite only starting 4 games. I think Samuel, who was our starting running back last year, might redshirt so he can learn the defense and acclimate. He entered school very early and is still very young. I wonder if incoming Freshman Alec Ogletree could play one of the inside backer spots in this defense or if he will play secondary like he did in HS. We definitely have talent at our LB positions I just wonder who will get the playing time. I definitely have confidence in Warren Belin and Todd Grantham to pick the best guys and put them in positions to succeed.

Brandon Boykin (5-10, 185, Jr.)
Branden Smith (5-11, 175, So.)

Vance Cuff (5-11, 177, Sr.)
Sanders Commings (6-2, 214, RSo.)
Jordan Love (6-0, 185, RFr.)

Boykin has the ability to become one of the top corners in the league this year. He was 4th on the team in tackles last year and 2nd in interceptions as a sophomore. Branden Smith is probably the most athletic and explosive guy on the team and I expect him to take a big step up this year. Cuff had one of the best springs of any player so if he beats out Smith then that means he can play. I feel comfortable with the corners that we have. Scott Lakatos is even teaching them to be....gasp....aggressive and jam guys at the line of scrimmage.

Strong Safety
Nick Williams (6-2, 219, Jr.)
Quintin Banks (6-2, 213, Sr.)
Shawn Williams (6-1, 195, So.)

Free Safety
Bacarri Rambo (6-0, 210, RSo.)
Jakar Hamilton (6-2, 196, Jr.)

Richt said not to read to much into the placement of players at Safety so it's possible that Rambo could end up starting at one Safety and Jaker "Hitman" Hamilton at the other. And that's what I expected coming into this year. Rambo played very well last year. He didn't start any games but had 25 tackles, 2 picks and made the hit of the year that saved the Auburn game for us. Hamilton is a JUCO kid that has a huge upside. I also expect Freshmen Alec Ogletree to come in and challenge for playing time this year.

When I look around the defense I see guys that can make plays (Justin Houston, Brandon Boykin, Darryl Gamble, Cornelius Washington, Bacarri Rambo, Jakar Hamilton, Branden Smith, Demarcus Dobbs) and I see incoming Freshmen that can make an impact. The biggest key for us is how quickly Grantham can get the defense installed and get the team understand the concepts he's teaching. Grantham, Belin and Lakatos have been a breath of fresh air on defense. I just hope it translates in year one on the field.


Drew Butler (6-2, 203, Jr.)

Blair Walsh (5-10, 185, Jr.)

Hands down we have the pest punter/kicker combination in College Football. And our new coaches are actually going to let Walsh kick the kickoffs deep this year!

When does the season start? I'm ready for some football!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Football Focus

Freshman Bryn Renner announced today that he's leaving the baseball team to focus on football. Nationally ranked baseball prospect out of high school, Renner plays back-up to starter T.J. Yates. He was 15-21 with 184 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the spring game. Butch Davis said it's Yates' job to win or lose. Renner was the sixth QB in his class and is said to be the future of the program. This should make for an even more interesting position battle during the summer.

UGA Off-Season Re-Cap

There were differing thoughts on how the University of Georgia would fare going into the 2009 season. I was optimistic going into the season but we finished a disappointing 8-5 with heart breaking losses to Kentucky and LSU and beatdowns at the hands of Urbin Meyer and that Kiffin guy. The offense, led by Joe Cox, was wildly inconsistent during the year but may have found an identity when Caleb King and Washaun Ealey ran roughshot over Georgia Tech in the regular season finale. The defense was the vein of Georgia fans existence in 2009 but Mark Richt has cleaned house and brought in 3 coaches that look to make a great impact on Georgia in the short (and hopefully long) term. This year is another year of unknowns for Georgia. We will be inputting a brand new defense scheme and turning over a lot of starters and on offense we will be starting with a new Quarterback for the second time in as many years. Let's take a look at what has transpired so far this busy off-season for Georgia.

Quarterback Battle

This has been one of the most talked about position battles in all of college football this off-season. Going into the off-season Georgia had 3 returning players competing for the position. Junior Logan Gray was the only returning player to have taken any snaps in college and those were few and far between (5 of 12 for 31 yards and 2 INTs). Gray is most well-known, to the confusion of many Georgia fans, as the player we use to fair-catch deep punts. Gray is a tremendous athlete and was heavily rumored this off-season to switch positions to Wide Receiver. Gray is thought of more as a change of pace quarterback and not a guy who is going to step up and be the number one guy. During the spring scrimmages Gray finished 23 of 42 (55%) for 280 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT. Redshirt Freshman Aaron Murray out of Tampa has been the odds-on favorite to replace Joe Cox since the season ended. From all reports Murray is very workman like in his approach to the QB position and has been approaching the position since last year and preparing as if he was the starter. Rivals ranked him as the #3 QB in his class and as a junior in High School he passed for over 4,000 yards with 51 TD and 7 INT and also ran for over 900 yards. As a senior in HS he broke his leg in the middle of his senior season but came back and played hurt and help them win a state championship. In the 3 spring scrimmages Murray finished 31 of 53 (59%) for 380 yards with 3 INT and 2 TD. The last contender Zach Mettenberger was the least heralded kid of the 3 but also the one with the highest upside due to his arm strength. Unfortunately Mettenberger made some very poor decisions off the field and it led to him being dismissed from the team. Statistically Mettenberger also had the strongest spring of any of the 3 QBs and had been gaining a lot of momentum with the fans base but ultimately was dismissed from the team. So it's a two man battle between Murray and Gray with Murray looking to have the highest up-side. Freshman Hutson Mason will be on campus in the fall but I think he would be better served redshirting and learning the offense. The loss of Mettenberger has made UGA more attractive to big-time 2011 QB recruits Christian LeMay and Nick Marshall.


This off-season Mark Richt made one of the most difficult but also easy decisions of his career when he parted ways with much criticized Defensive Coordinator Willie Martinez. Richt then made the biggest hire of his coaching career when he grabbed Dallas Cowboys defensive line coach Todd Grantham to coach the Dawgs defense. Grantham wasn't the first guy Richt looked at but it feels like he might be the best fit. In addition to Grantham, Georgia made a couple of huge hires in Vanderbilt linebacker coach Warren Belin and Connecticut defensive backs coach Scott Lakatos. From everything I'm hearing these guys are really bringing in solid techniques, strong fundamentals and high energy. Grantham is moving the team from the 4-3 to the 3-4 and we look to have a much more aggressive and physical style of play on the defensive side of the ball. The big concern for me is that in our current society we expect immediate turnaround and if the defense struggles early you will have an outcry from the lunatic fringe that we got the wrong guy. Right now I feel good about the secondary and the linebackers but I'm a little concerned about the defensive line (we are losing 3 NFL caliber defensive linemen in Jeff Owens, Geno Atkins and Kade Weston). I'm intrigued by what the defensive depth chart will be when it is released later today.

Off-Season Issues

Georgia has had 2 big issues this off-season and it has ended with both individuals kicked off the team. The first was with QB contender Zach Mettenberger getting arrested for underage drinking and position of false identification. Several weeks later he would be kicked off the team for reasons that Coach Richt would not share but 680 the fan's Chuck Oliver took a stab at (check out the link earlier in this blog). Defensive End Montez Robinson was also booted from the team from repeated issues. He was a troubled kid with a high up-side that Georgia took a chance on and obviously did not pan out. There was a third instance involving suspected racism in a cab that was quickly jumped on and unnamed Georgia players were accused but it was later found out that back-up RB Dontavius Jackson actually played the role of peacemaker in the situation.

It's been a very busy off-season at Georgia. Expectations are always high and Mark Richt has helped to raise those expectations by performing at a high level since he's been at Georgia. Last year was a 8-5 rollercoaster ride of a season. This year we are breaking in a new defensive scheme and a new QB. It will be another interesting and potentially wild ride this year and I am looking forward to it.

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