Over under sideways down

Team Speed Kills kicks off its week of review of the Georgia program with this post by Year2.  There’s little to disagree with in there, but I did have a question after reading this:

… So what does Georgia look to get from this season? By going with the senior Cox at quarterback, the coaches are signaling they want to win this season despite nearly every other position on offense looking like a “building towards next year” scenario.

Interesting point, although I think the decision to pencil Cox in as the starter is more complex than that.  But what I’m curious about is this:  when does a program cross the line into what constitutes a rebuilding year?  In Georgia’s case, is losing Massaquoi, Moreno and Stafford enough to make 2009 qualify as such?

Steele shows Georgia returning fifteen starters this season, by the way, which ranks slightly above the middle of the pack in the conference.

For what it’s worth, I have my doubts that anyone with the program sees 2009 as a year to rebuild, even quietly.  I base that not so much on Joe Cox, as I do on the whirlwind courtship and signing of Brandon Bogotay.  I don’t see that as the move of a head coach who’s playing for a season down the road.

Your thoughts?

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Over under sideways down

  1. It’s not a rebuilding year from anybody from the inside the Georgia fan base or the Georgia team’s perspective. I think fans have put a lot of faith that freshmen receivers Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten will be instant significant contributors of the Georgia passing game. I also think many people just assume that Orson Charles and fellow freshmen tight end Arthur Lynch will just fill in without a hitch for suspended tight end Bruce Figgins and basically Georgia’s somewhat void of talent at tight end if you were to take away those three. We are also assuming that Joe Cox is the man at quarterback and is the second coming of Shockley who was MUCH more talented than he was. We are all assuming that both lines will be better now that they are healthy.

    Nobody in the Bulldog nation is talking about the chance of failing.

    I think part of it is that fans like me still believe that if Georgia were healthy last year on OL/DL or just in general, the season would have been significantly different. I think a lot of us want to believe that a healthy o-line/d-line would be the difference and not the two superstars- Stafford and Moreno or a polished senior wide out in MoMass. We are all assuming that everything will be better. I think if I was not a Georgia fan, I think I would be wondering who would start first- Aaron Murray for Georgia or Matthew Stafford for the Detroit Lions? If they stumble out of the blocks, that is a very legit question.

  2. Jferg in NC

    i definitely don’t see this as a ‘rebuilding’ year….but it’s definiely an ‘identity’ year IMO. By identity year, i mean that Georgia is searching for an identity. With no “stars” on this team, both the media and fans wonder what type of team we’ll see this year. Will it be old-school Georgia football that wins with a nasty D? Will the offense move the ball well enough to let the D rest? Will all, some, or none of the young ‘uns step up and be solid contributors this year? Will we have a running game to set the tone or will we have to run it to keep ‘em honest for the passing game? More so than any other year in recent memory, this team is a big question mark on offense and defense–(but the D ? has more to do with execution than talent). however, i don’t see us winning less than 9 games. and truly believe in my red-colored glasses that we’ll win 11 (including bowl).

  3. I see it sort of as rebuilding by Georgia’s standards. Looking at the big picture of college football, UGA is way over on the “reloading” end of the spectrum.

    However, no one knows which tailback (if any) will emerge from the pack. I’m not sure who behind Green will step up at receiver (and if it’s Moore, he’ll be gone next year). The linemen have all played a lot thanks to injury, but also thanks to those injuries, they haven’t played a lot together (which is just as important).

    The comment about Cox was more saying that it’s a sign the coaches aren’t just going to concede the East to Florida and do nothing but prepare for 2010. I personally would never want the team I root for to just dismiss the idea of playing a 5th year senior at QB for younger guys. Phil Steele is the only person even implying that Georgia could take the division (with his “dark horse national title contender” talk), with everyone else giving them no shot. It’s just notable to see that the UGA coaches aren’t in that mindset too, no matter how obvious it would figure to be.

  4. joe

    I don’t think our coaches see it that way…ever.
    They have said and proven they will put out the best 11 on offense and defense every week.
    Most have Georgia discounted because of no Stafford or Moreno. Let’s just say this, guys like Stafford have a once in a decade arm. There are QB’s in the NFL who will NEVER be able to throw like him. That’s a fact. Moreno isn’t necessarily a once in a decade talent but he made his holes last year.
    The biggest thing we have going for us is our OL/DL will be more than solid. Without the OL or DL doing it, nothing happens. It doesn’t matter who is running the rock, if the OL is solid and can open holes, give the QB time and stay healthy, the sky is the limit. It starts and ends on the LOS.

  5. Joe

    A team that has been in the top 10 in recruiting for the last 5+ years does not rebuild.

    If the defense simply returns to a competent level, this will be a Top 10 team. The defense does not have to be great, just better than average. They have the talent to do that, but can Willie coach them up?

    If, at the end of 2009, we look back and say this was a “rebuilding” season, I have a sneaking suspicion that we will have a new defensive coordinator in 2010.

  6. G.O.B.

    It’s not about “rebuilding,” it’s about “redeeming.”

    I think our players and coaches are concerned with restoring the legacy of a Georgia program under Mark Richt that exceeds expectations — as in ’02, ’05 and ’07 — and moving past last season, which fell woefully short of expectations. This program has a lot to prove, and I don’t think anyone involved is willing to wait until 2010 to start trying to prove it.

  7. If you’ve got 15 returning starters and a legacy of top-10 recruiting classes, “rebuilding” shouldn’t be in your lexicon.

    I do think “repositioning” works as a descriptor, though. Whereas last year’s team was one where the star wattage was concentrated at the skill positions, this one is the inverse — the names most familiar to fans and the media are on the lines.

    It’s a different look, and that’s not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing. Both Alabama ’08 and Auburn ’07 seemed to fit this model.

    What no one can know until the games are played is whether we’ve got a guy (or several guys) who can be transformative to the team, i.e., inspire those around them to play out of their minds. Tebow, Vince Young, David Pollack and DJ Shockley are examples. Stafford and Knowshon, for all their individual abilities, didn’t do that — and I suspect it’s easier to replace yards than leadership. On defense, my money’s on Curran and Owens. Cox could be that guy on offense. But, as I said, we won’t know until toe meets leather.

  8. NM

    We lost three games last year, each of them embarrassing (either the score or the opponent). A rebuilding year, to me, implies losing more games than last year, and I would be shocked to see that happen.

    If we beat the teams we should beat, there are only a handful of games that should be in question; assuming we don’t pull a 2006, we should finish no worse than second in the East. (Is either of those statements arguable?) I can’t imagine any team anywhere that would say, “Hmm, we can definitely finish second in our league, we can challenge for first, I think this is time to throw in the towel and prepare for next year.”