Last week, I gathered some Georgia Bulldogs bloggers/writers around the roundtable and we’ve discussed who starts at quarterback for Georgia this fall, who will step up at wide receiver and what is the biggest concern on defense. Today, we conclude our roundtable with a look at expectations….
Here’s the roundtable committee:
BernieDawg- Bernie’s Dawg Blawg
Greg Poole- Bulldawg Illustrated
Senator Blutarsky- Get The Picture
Tyler Dawgden- Georgia Sports Blog
Question: This could change but right now what is your gut feeling on what makes this season a successful one for Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs?
There’s more answers than questions, finally. I’m one who has been critical of the administration. If I’m typing it from my little blog here and there, I can’t imagine how frustrating it’s been for coaches to see how little support was being given, both commensurate with the money football brings in and compared to rival programs. This is the first season we’ll be able to say that the administration wants to win as much as the fans do, and as much as the coaches expect to. It will be interesting to see that mindset, an overall feeling of support and raised expectations, filter through the summer workouts, camp in August, and ultimately the season as a whole.
Coach Richt is a polarizing dude. I’ve never disagreed with those fans that expect more from the program, just in where the blame lies ultimately. Now all that is just noise from years past. It’s time to put up or shut up. No excuses.
A. The defense has to play 12 solid games. Coach Pruitt should have been able to get across the message of the Florida debacle. Georgia cannot have any more games characterized by a no-show defense.
B. Coach Sale has to find a center. Hunter Long, Dyshon Sims or Brandon Kublanow has to step up and provide the leadership and performance to anchor the offensive front. I look for Sims to establish himself with Long and Kublanow providing depth.
C. Quarterback: UGA needs a QB who can deliver, at minimum, as good a season as Hutson Mason gave us last year in terms of mistake-free play.
Two things lead me to believe that Faton Bauta is the man to provide it:
1- Like Mason, Bauta is a student of the game. He is smart and he has matured in the system.
2- Unlike Mason, he can run – giving Schottenheimer and added dimension to his play calling.
Of course, Richt may announce Ramsey as the starter for the first game as many, if not most, people think and I would not be surprised nor disappointed.
Park is going to have to have an All-America summer to get back in the running but he may be capable of doing just that.
It will be fun to watch.
Win the SEC East, for starters. Given Georgia’s cross-division schedule, if the Dawgs do that, I like their chances going from there.
The East is there for the taking. We have the best running back in the conference, excellent depth at RB, a more experienced offensive line, better starting defense player for what the coordinator likes to do, and two of the most explosive defensive players in the conference. The one question is can we be the team that gets better all season like we did in 2012? Because if we do, the schedule sets up nicely for us, with us having a couple of games to get game speed reps for the QB and young players before we face a South Carolina team that just baffles me. Then we have another warm up before we have Alabama in Athens. Beyond that, I honestly have no idea what to expect from the rest of the East. Tennessee looks to be better, but can they be that much better? Same goes for Florida.
The bigger problem is Missouri faces Arkansas, which should be better offensively, but way worse defensively, and Mississippi State, which will need a miracle to be better than they were last year from the West. Georgia faces Alabama and Auburn. That is a huge swing for the Tigers, IMO.
The downside for this team is that we could lose to Alabama, then go to Knoxville feeling sorry for ourselves and fall apart. Then we are probably looking at a 7-8 win season. However, if the QB situation shakes out favorably and we don’t have significant injuries at skill positions, I think the Dawgs are in the thick of things for the SEC East. The upside being in the discussion for or picked for the playoffs.
So to me, if we are in the SEC East race the whole season, beat four of Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Missouri, and Auburn, I’m saying it is a good season. If we win all those and embarrass Tech, it is a great season.
Here’s the last four seasons under Richt…
10-4 (7-1) Lost SEC Championship Game; Lost Outback Bowl
12-2 (7-1) Lost SEC Championship Game; Won Capital One Bowl
8-5 (5-3) Lost Gator Bowl
10-3 (6-2) Won Belk Bowl
With looking at that, obviously the minimum expectation is to win ten games. Georgia has questions on offense at quarterback and at center but on defense I don’t think we have seen this much talent in the front seven in quite some time and we aren’t likely to see it again soon. The big question is if Georgia can overcome youth at some spots.
The dates to circle early are 9/19 against South Carolina, 10/3 against Alabama and a potential let-down game (especially if Georgia were to beat Bama) against Tennessee on 10/10.
For this to be considered a successful season for Georgia, based on where the rest of the SEC East is…I think Georgia needs to go to the SEC Championship Game and once Georgia is in that game anything can happen, we all know Georgia is due to win one of them.