Reader poll: will Georgia be better in 2014?

It’s June.  The start of preseason practice is still the better part of two months away.  We’re in the dog days of the blogging calendar, in other words.

So let’s have a reader poll.

Naturally, I’d like to hear your reasons for optimism or pessimism, so take some time to lay them out in the comments.

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68 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

68 responses to “Reader poll: will Georgia be better in 2014?

  1. RaleighDawg31

    I say yes. Hard to be optimistic about a defense with a secondary like ours, but you have to think just having guys in position and knowing what they’re supposed to be doing will be an improvement over last year. Plus, we get all 50 of the guys that were injured back. Also, the schedule’s more manageable.

  2. HahiraDawg

    I voted ‘no’.
    They may not be any worse but I base my vote on four reasons:
    1) AM to HM. HM may be very good, but AM was special.
    2) Say what you will about addition by subtraction regarding our DC but there is always a one year transition challenge to a new system.
    3) Our backfield may be great, but our OL will reduce it to adequate or slightly above
    4) I’m too old, been burned one too many times. Let me be pessimistic and pleasantly surprised than optimistic an disappointed, again. Besides, ain’t his the Georgia way?

    • Regarding #2, my brother-in-law is an FSU fan, and I was saying the exact same thing to him this time last year, not to expect much from their D bc they had lost a ton to the draft, and there’s always a one year transition with a new DC. Then Pruitt went out and totally proved me wrong. So I’m cautiously optimistic that while he’s not gonna make us dominant in year 1, he can at least make us competent. And at this point, I’ll take that. :)

      But I definitely can’t argue with #4, we’ve definitely been conditioned to expect disappointment!

    • Carlton Thomas

      Agree 100%. O line takes a step back, and QB takes a leap back. TE hardly exists right now, and our WRs are frail (not untalented, but somewhat unhealthy).

      Year 2 of Jenkins was underwhelming, hopefully year 2 of Floyd isn’t.

      Placekicking looks good, but until I see on-field improvement I continue to fear punts, kickoffs and returns.

      At the end of the day Mason’s playing time situation is similar to Shockley’s, but his talent is closer to Cox or Tershinski than Murray or Stafford. I’m thinking he’ll turn in a season on par with Greene’s freshman campaign.

      We might end up with a better record, but I don’t think we’ll be a better team.

      • gastr1

        His talent might be closer to Shockley’s or Greene’s, though, too, no?– players who were good in college but weren’t pro-level talent like AM and MS were? He’s gotta be better than Tereshinski–that’s an insult.

    • Cojones

      Voted yes, but can’t disagree too much with your conservative view, Hahira. Your first three pts are well taken. Carlton, I think that players will recover to their former playing capability, but your last sentence puts everything into proper perspective for this post.

      If we win the first two games then I think that the odds are better than 50% that we can run the board. That would mean that we have an adequate D. That means probable selection to the 4-team NC slate. You heard it here first, Dawgies.

      • Daniel Simpson Day

        Voted yes too, but…If we win the first two games, we’re SC state champs!

        • Mayor

          Wait, wait….Georgia first has to get past the Buccaneers of Charleston Southern on November 22 in order to claim that title. :)

  3. DawgPhan

    New coaches always seem to get a little upside surprise so I am expecting that on defense and maybe a little regression on injuries. The combo should be enough for an improvement.

  4. ugalestat1

    I hope we can’t possibly be as unlucky with injuries this season as we were last year. That alone will make us better in my opinion. No hand waving on defense before the snap will be an improvement as well. I am not saying the Dawgs are a lock for the playoffs but definitely better than 8-5.

  5. we will be better. i don’t think we ever fully understood the depths of grantham’s suckage.

  6. law dawg

    Better solely based on health. There will be a drop off from AM to HM, but Aaron’s weapons were limited by injury and, fingers crossed, Hutson will at least have a better receiving corps and deeper backfield to work with. Defense just can’t get much worse. Yeah, it’s a transition year, but last year looked like a transition year, to put it nicely….

  7. Gravidy

    I voted “yes” based only my hope for a little better luck on the injury front, a little more effectiveness for the defense, and a LOT less utter suckage on special teams.

  8. simpl_matter

    I’m guessing 2 to 4 loses. Strength of the DL & LBs will mitigate our secondary weakness. Multitude of weapons on offense should keep defenses honest. Mason establishing his tempo is critical, I think we’ll see a HUNH often. With Hicks at TE/H and our stable of backs, our running game should be the best in the country.

  9. I vote yes. The offense will score points assuming all of the injured players return close to full speed. The defense will be better but not Alabama/LSU good yet. Richt wouldn’t have made the Ekeler hire if he thought special teams didn’t need a fresh look, and special teams should improve with one of the country’s best FG kickers. Injuries just have to regress to the mean. I don’t think we make the playoff, but a return trip to Atlanta with a playoff berth on the line isn’t unreasonable. I think 10-2 (USCe on the road & the Aburrn sociology majors at home) with an early January warm-weather bowl destination is a reasonable expectation.

  10. Breezeword

    I vote yes. True, AM to HM is atleast some drop off, but we should see a better receiving core with those back from injuries. We should also see a better running back corp for the same reason plus new recruits. Even with an o line that could be less effective, I believe the boost in the backfield and receiving corp along with a steady Mason, will hold us from an offensive drop off.

    Defense can’t get worse. D Line and Linebackers should see a great deal of improvement. So expecting the same from the secondary as last year with a drop off in SEC quarterbacks, then the defensive should trend a hair better.

  11. Vindex

    I voted Yes, based on regression to the mean with regard to injuries, and actually I do think we’ll see an improved D. Aside from our players’ major problems with Grantham’s overall schemes, there were times last year when their tackling looked a lot like 2008-2009, the infamous “soft years” of Willie’s Decline & Fall. Jump & Bump, anyone? I am with the No-Place-To-Go-But-Up School on this one.

  12. Cousin Eddie

    I said yes.
    The D will be slightly better as long as we field 11 guys who have and idea of their assignment but I would expect an improved D by the end of the year. While Mason is no Murray, very few are or could be, he is well above average with a excellent supporting cast. With a renewed focus on ST play I expect a few games that were close loses to flip the other way. I don’t see loosing to uSC, again, but UF, for the same reason as the win at uSC, and possibly to Mizz.

  13. paul

    My assumption is that we’re in a bit of a ‘back to basics’ mode this year. On defense for obvious reasons and on offense at least until Mason gets fully comfortable. My thought is that keeping it simple may work to our advantage. If Gurley and Marshall stay healthy we can ride that train. Then our defense really only has to be just good enough and make a few critical plays. Dooley and Erk had some pretty good years with just that philosophy. Might it still work? We may be about to find out. The wild card, in my opinion, is Mason. I believe him to be far more than adequate or serviceable. I think we may be comparing him to DJ by the end of the year.

    • Lamont Sanford

      Mason has been in the Offense for waaaay too long for it to be back to basics playbook. Haven’t Richt and Bobo both said that he could make all the plays?

      • paul

        My point being that as long as toss sweep left and toss sweep right are working we don’t need to fix what ain’t broke. Based on Richt’s comments, we probably won’t. As I said though, I believe Mason to be much better than an adequate or serviceable quarterback. I think most of us will be more than pleasantly surprised by his skills once he settles in.

  14. sniffer

    Here’s to Pruitt doing at UGA what Johnson did at Auburn…in his first year.

  15. Husky Jeans

    I think better, if we’re speaking strictly in terms of win/loss record. I had to look at the schedule first, and here are my thoughts.

    August 30 Clemson Athens, Ga. — Win.
    September 6 Open
    September 13 South Carolina Columbia, S.C. — Loss.
    September 20 Troy Athens, Ga. — Win.
    September 27 Tennessee Athens, Ga. — Win.
    October 4 Vanderbilt Athens, Ga. — Win.
    October 11 Missouri Columbia, Mo. — 50/50…I think we go 1-1 with MO/Arky
    October 18 Arkansas Fayetteville, Ark. 50/50
    October 25 Open
    November 1 Florida Jacksonville, Fla. — Win
    November 8 Kentucky Lexington, Ky. — Win
    November 15 Auburn Athens, Ga. — Loss
    November 22 Charleston Southern Athens, Ga. — Win
    November 29 Georgia Tech Athens, Ga. — Win

    Based on those predictions, I think we’re looking at a 9-3 regular season.

    • Why do you think Arky is a 50/50 proposition?

      • Husky Jeans

        It falls right after the trip to Mizzou, is a lengthy trip for the team, and it’s our sixth game in a row. I could see it being an early kickoff (noon eastern/11:00 am central), which could play into a sloppy effort. I admittedly still have a hard time thinking that Ark is as bad as they have been the last two years. I figure they have to be a little better under Bielema in year 2.

        • Debby Balcer

          I Arkansas family and you are much more optimistic about their team then they are. I don’t see us losing to them. I also don’t think SC is going to be a loss 50/50 maybe. They lost a game changer in Connor Shaw without him hey would have lost to Mizzou. They also had major losses to the NFL.

          • Husky Jeans

            From my observations, outsiders are always more optimistic (or maybe the better term would be “less pessimistic”) than a myopic fanbase, so I’m not sure Arky fans would be a fair barometer. :) In any event, I don’t think we’ll lose to Ark either, and maybe “50/50″ didn’t accurately convey my meaning. I just see it as a dangerous game based on timing and because it’s a road trip. Ultimately, I think there are 3 losses sprinkled in our schedule. If we win 10+, I’m very happy. If we win less than 9, I’m disappointed.

    • PTC DAWG

      I can’t see predicting AU as a loss, nor 50/50 on Arkansas.

    • simpl_matter

      Missouri lost all their receivers and their best running back, Mauk can’t do it all. If we lose to Arky, I’m setting something on fire. Ditto for Auburn. We win at least 2 out of those 3 games.

  16. Tim

    I voted yes because I’m an idiot who never learns that his teams CAN’T not let him down at some point. At least since 1980.

  17. Slaw Dawg

    The 2014 Dawgs will be better as a team and have a better record than the 2013 Dawgs because: (1) easier schedule–I don’t care what they’re saying, this year’s Clemson won’t be = to last year’s by several degrees; SC, Vandy and Mo will also all be weaker; and we swap LSU for Arky; (2) Loss of Murray will be balanced–probably not completely, but enough–by healthier receivers (surely to God!) and a running back corps that I still can’t quite believe; (3) while I remain a Pessimist on the DBs, the front 7 will be something to see; (4) ST’s (surely to God!!) will be much improved. Not to say we’ll get out unscathed, but I think a couple of regular season losses is about right. I’d like to predict something even better, but like others here, I’m just too snake bit to be very optimistic.

  18. PTC DAWG

    Barring massive injuries, I will be shocked if we don’t finish better this year than last.

  19. AthensHomerDawg

    I think Mason is gonna do just fine. He threw for nearly a 1000 yards in less than 3 games. That ain’t bad. Kid could have used a little more help in that Nebraska game. imho. He’ll get plenty of reps with the first team. Receivers will get use to the way he throws. He’s got a quick release and I think Bobo will get him ready. I’m looking forward to it. There certainly isn’t anyone else that is ready to step up.

    • Cojones

      Nervousness by Mason is the only reason to get nervous in the fan base. It was obvious in the bowl game, but I consider that the experience was and is the best medicine.

  20. Highlands Dog

    Gurley is the kind of guy that comes along once every 25 years. He can carry the team and win almost every game. We probably lose only to Florida and Auburn. Gators will be vastly improved and will find a creative way to win it. Mason will not be able to overcome the Auburn defense. See us at 11-2.

    • Mayor

      Florida?–No way!! Boom might already have been fired before the WLOCP.

      • Cojones

        Agree on the outcome, Mayor, but have to say FU will do every and anything to win this year. If all their talent is healed, HD may well be respecting them rightly.

        Is there someway we can decide on pts and get a friendly bet up?

  21. georgiajeepn

    I think we lose the South Carolina game away and the reason is that is one tough place to play and it is early in the season before the defense gets established. Clemson is iffy also unless the offense just overwhelms early. Missouri away worries me also. Arky? Not so much. Florida will always be a battle so a toss up there also. The one thing I am certain of is we WILL beat Auburn this year. We were dominating the series and almost beat one of their best teams in Auburn history on their own field even with all the devastating injuries we had. It will not be close.
    I see us with 3 losses at the end of the season and USCe winning the eastern crown then getting bombed by Bama in the SECCG.

    • Cojones

      Do you really think that, after two weeks preparation, Richt will not have noise-conditioned this team? Many who went through that experience are back to help the newbies on our team. They will be ready for the noise experience.

  22. Deutschland Domiciliary Dog

    Clemson should be down a notch on offense from last year, though we will be too.

    We shouldn’t lose to Mizzu or Vandy this time, though we could beat both of them but lose to South Carolina and Florida instead.

    Don’t count Missy State, Tennessee, and Kentucky as wins just yet, though we really should beat all three. Four, counting the nats. Plus, of course, the cupcakes.

    That leaves Auburn. Hard to know there, but they cannot possibly be as lucky this year as last.

    Losses to all four of Clemson, South Carolina, Florida, and Auburn puts us right back where we were last year, though we really should’ve beaten Nebraska.

    All in all, I’d say we should be marginally better this year (or, at least, less unlucky).

    Beat three or more of the Gamecocks, the Gators, and the three sets of Tigers and we should have a really good year. The Colombian games, as well as at Jacksonville, and home against Auburn should tell the season’s tale.

  23. Chuck

    Yes, because
    1) Healthier (fingers crossed)
    2) schedule
    3) special teams actually existing
    4) putting a lot of faith in Pruitt. His task seems daunting, but he does have
    a history making a silk purse out of what could be a sow’s ear

    • CannonDawg

      Chuck’s summary looks pretty good to me. If the special teams have a net positive effect (or at the very least neutral) and if the defense plays harder and smarter, then we’ll be fine. There’s nobody on the schedule we can’t beat, and last year’s truckload of injuries were an aberration. Our secondary still concerns, especially early. Carolina bothers me the most; Florida and Auburn could also be troublesome. I’m saying 10-2 but not winning the East.

  24. Derek

    Doesn’t take a special year to improve over last year. If they can stay healthy it would be hard to do any worse. I think our defense will be better simply because qb play won’t be what it was in 2013. Key games are at the 2 Columbias. Winning the first one keeps us on track for big things. Winning the second might be necessary to keep from sliding back into mediocrity. We could be looking pretty sweet rolling into Jacksonville if we can post big offensive numbers on the road. This could be the most explosive offense we’ve ever had if mason can reliably throw the deep ball. If teams have to play soft on the corners and keep one or more safeties back Gurley (and everyone else) will run for days. I’m most optimistic because of Gurley. That guy gives us a chance every week no matter who or where we are playing. Mason and Gurley have to remain healthy if we are to do anything special.

    • Reservoir Dawg

      Plus one on the Columbia traps. 10-2 is a real possibility. 9-3 could happen if Driskel (with a little help from the zebras) can carry the FU offense. Their defense could be mighty scary.

  25. Athens Dog

    I voted yes because at present we’re undefeated……….

  26. MBK

    I’m not sure why people think the OL will be worse than last year; I think it’ll be better. During spring practices most of the buzz was that the OL could be more physical/athletic; at the close of practices it became clear the coaches were settled on 4 OL starters, and 1 spot is still in play. Everyone is freaked out that the whole line isn’t settled. But that last spot will go to either an experienced guy (Beard), or more likely a promising, physical young OG that not long ago everyone was gushing about (Kublanow). This past year’s OL was not great; and I don’t see much reason to have less confidence this coming year. Pyke’s emergence is huge.

    And honestly I think the D will be solid. Not great, but solid. The young secondary can lean on the very experienced front seven. And Pruitt’s track record on quick turnarounds is about as good as it good be.

    IMO two questions will define this season for UGA: 1) Does HM take care of the ball (he has a lightning quick release but he’s prone to floating passes at times…. I’m worried about INTs (despite none this spring). 2) Does TG3 stay healthy? If HM is a reliable game manager, and TG3 is healthy, we can play with anybody this fall.

  27. Lawdawg567

    I don’t see us as an 8-5 program, so regression to the mean.

  28. Marietta Dawg

    From where we stand today I see us better this year for the following reasons:

    1-Healthier (we hope)-especially if TG is healthy the whole year.
    2-Schedule lines up better. Really like the opener at home and then a week off before SC and then another week off before FLA. The breaks are spread nicely.
    3-Keeping it simple on D will work
    4-Special teams improvement

    Overall, I see us beating Clemson in the opener. Just don’t see their QB being able to go on the road in his first start in front of 90,000 and beat a good SEC team. The SC game is a toss up. How well Mason handle himself at Williams-Brice? Could definitely see losing that one if O-line can’t protect which forces a bunch of 3 and outs but I could also see us riding TG and doing enough to get out of there. USC takes a drop by losing Conner Shaw. He was a baller. Not sure how well Dylan will do.

    Mizzou on the road scares me but it does seem like they’ve lost a good bit.
    But they should be pretty fresh for us as their schedule is pretty easy early with the exception of SC on the road then a bye before us. TN looks like a win but that’s been a close one of late. Arkansas is not a worry for me. Gators are always tough but it’s just hard to see them being good enough on O to beat us. I like us to beat Auburn. I’d love to say 11-1, or 12-0 but I’ve been around too long to know better. I’m saying 10-2. No idea where the losses come from but I’m sure we will find a way to put 2 on the record. Hope I’m wrong. I guess if you’re optimistic every year then one year you will be right. Is this the year?

  29. Macallanlover

    Yes, at least record wise; I think 9-3 with 8-4 being a disappointment. I don’t think we will be a better team this year, comparing full strength to full strength, just can’t be with the loss of Murray and Lynch. Too many questions to see this as a championship team now but if things go well for us, and we are due some good fortune, we could make Atlanta….and who knows what could happen there? I don’t see anyone in the conference who looks to be substantially better than us as I see it in early summer.

    • sniffer

      Mac, I agree, this doesn’t look or feel like a championship season. But, IMO, neither does SC of FLA.

      I would also add, no one, NO ONE, picked Auburn to win the West, let alone play in the BCS CG. Strange things do happen.

  30. The defense and special teams have no where to go but up. And I suspect Mason is going to surprise a lot of people. It wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up being even better than Murray.

    The OL could drag us down, but they do have a chance to be pretty good. I’m guessing they’ll at least be about like we have been .. mediocre. And that should be barely good enough. As usual.
    ~~~

    • Cojones

      Your Mason comments are backed up by Barrett Sallee in Bleacher Reports last Fri. You can pull it up again at Mr. SEC today. No doubt in his mind that Mason will have a breakout year(best in the SEC) because of his own skills and backed by an Offense to die for.

  31. Rebar

    I think we’ll be better. A healthy Gurley makes everyone breathe easier.

  32. WarD Eagle

    Part of me says no because of Aaron Murray.
    Part of me says yes because Bobo will ride the back of a good running game.
    Part of me says maybe because the new QB might be awesome.

  33. Bulldawg Bill

    Why is everyone so worried about Mizzou? Last year’s team beats Mizzou if the secondary knows their assignments. If we lose to them it won’t because of the secondary, IMO.