“Every year you’re starting over again…”

Yes, yes, we’ve all heard what a daunting task Todd Grantham faces this season replacing so many starters from last year’s defense.  But here’s something that should give you hope.

It’s rare that Georgia has had to replace so many starters on one side of the ball under coach Mark Richt, but not unprecedented. In fact, the two seasons under Richt in which Georgia returned fewer than four starters on a given side rank among the most notable in his 13-year tenure.

According to information provided by Georgia’s sports communications office, the 2003 Bulldogs returned just three starters on offense and that team went on to win its second consecutive SEC East title. Four years later, the 2007 Bulldogs returned three defensive starters and went 11-2 record and finished second in that season’s final Associated Press Top 25.  [Emphasis added.]

Geez, no pressure, Coach, but if Willie could do it…

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9 Comments

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9 responses to ““Every year you’re starting over again…”

  1. Alkaline

    That’s not really a fair comparison. Of course players that had spent less time in the “bend but don’t break” system would represent an improvement year-to-year!

  2. Ginny

    Looking at that chart a couple things popped out at me. Everyone complained about that 4-loss season in 2006. Puts things a little more in perspective when you see that we only had 11 returning players. In the same token, how the hell did we lose 7 games in 2010, and man, what a waste 2008 was. I blame Willie.

  3. Interestingly enough, both sides that returned few starters were mediocre, and both were carried by the other side of the ball throughout the season. That 2003 defense was star-studded to say the least, but the offensive line probably caused David Greene psychological distress. The 2007 offense had breakout years from Knowshon and Stafford, but the defense didn’t exactly light things on fire (except Colt Brennan).

    The 2013 offense could be very similar. If an outstanding Florida defense can win 11 games and go to the Sugar Bowl without a functioning offense, I think Georgia can with a superstar offense and a very young, but talented defense. They just have to be good enough from the start because the schedule is so front-loaded.

    • The ’07 defense improved greatly once somebody told Jancek to get his head out of his ass and start Rennie Curran.

      • Joe Schmoe

        This was the point I was going to make. We might see a lot of parallels to 2007 on defense this year. If you recall. The defense was very mediocre until they forced a late turnover to save the vandy game. They then turned into a pretty dominant unit for the rest of the season. I think the D will take some time to gel this year but will end up being really good by year end. That’s what makes the tough sept slate so important. Make it through largely unscathed and it could be a very special season.

  4. The annual wholesale exodus of college athletes is what makes college football different from NFL.

  5. Macallanlover

    I think we get the term “starter” out of porportion in CFB. Unlike the NFL, these athletes are at a stage where their development both physically and in their comfort with the system can expand/explode quickly. We recruit very talented young men who get tons of experience at practice and in game situations in a year’s period of time. I fully expect players to suddenly “appear” every year throughout all of CFB and make an impact, moreso at schools like Georgia because we are always around the Top 10 in recruiting the best athletes. Johnny Football wasn’t even assured of being a starter last year until mid-August.

    Part of my optimism about the UGA defense for this season is because there are players who will step up and surprise to the upside. Things are never as gloomy, or bright, as fans make it appear. Few #1s at the start of the season are still there in December, and there are dozens of units who come out of nowhere to make an impact. Predicting CFB in the Spring only slightly harder than doing so in laate August….you just don’t know. My only prediction is that the defense will be better than the doomsayers are whining about, and the offense will be less impressive than the sunshine pumpers are proclaiming. In other words, stay tuned for the season to find out how everything turns out.

    • W Cobb Dawg

      Good point. Jordan Jenkins and Damian Swann emerged as game changers last season, as did Garrison Smith late in the season before. I have no doubt we’ll see 3+ defensive players make major strides this year.

  6. AlphaDawg

    Didn’t we also win the Fulmer Cup on 07?