With the season opener less than a week away, what can we say at present about the Dawgs in ’07? There’s a great amount of talent on the field and in the coaching staff, but there’s significant inexperience and uncertainty to go with that.
I’ve got more questions than answers at this point. Here are ten that went through my head this weekend waiting for the start of the season:
- How much of a difference will Stacey Searels make in 2007? For my money, the biggest question of the year. As Paul Westerdawg notes, a comparison of this year’s offensive line to that of 2003’s may not be an apt one in that the glue that held the ’03 team together (defensive stalwarts like Pollack, Thurman and Davis) isn’t there – at least not apparently right now – for the offense to rely on in ’07.
- Is this the year the receivers show up? Coach Eason is getting tough with this bunch about holding onto the ball as a requirement to earn playing time. On paper, the depth looks impressive, but the reality is that each of Georgia’s three starters at the position have question marks in that one is coming off of a serious injury, one is seriously undersized and one was a bit inconsistent last year. Georgia wants to throw some four and five WR looks out there this year. Will it be a credible threat?
- Is Marcus Howard big enough to be a starting DE in the SEC? On paper, I’m hesitant to believe a sub-240 pound DE can hold up in this conference. But the game ain’t played on paper. That being said, there aren’t a lot of schools in the conference that start similarly sized guys at the position.
- Which offensive coordinator has the greater success against Georgia’s defense – OSU’s Larry Fedora or UF’s Dan Mullen (/Urban Meyer)? Perhaps this will be the definitive laboratory test for HP’s “Gang of Six” theory this year.
- Will the stars align in Jacksonville? All the whining about the weather and site neutrality aside, the Gators have as many holes to fill as Georgia this year. And for once the schedule is set up favorably for the Dawgs, as it’s Georgia that has the open week before the WLOCP this time.
- Is Rennie Curran going to be as good as I hope? I really like this kid. Forget the size; he just makes plays.
- How much does the offense improve under Bobo? As I pointed out previously, Georgia finished tenth in the conference last year in total offense. For Georgia to compete for a chance to return to Atlanta, Bobo needs to make that production rise by about 70 ypg. Given the inexperience of the offensive line, that’s a tall order.
- Can Knowshon Moreno pick up the blitz? He may be a gifted runner, but if he can’t be counted on to save Stafford’s body (especially early), he won’t play as much as we might like.
- How much will Stafford’s game improve? I don’t believe he has to be all-SEC for the Dawgs to have a chance. I do think he has to reverse his TD/INT ratio from ’06 and average at least 225 ypg passing for Georgia to contend. For the record, I think he’ll step up.
- Do Jancek and the linebackers step up? I have no idea. There’s lots of physical talent, no doubt. But there’s been a decline in production in this area ever since VanGorder departed. The now-ended Brandon Miller experiment at middle LB didn’t exactly increase my confidence, either.