Georgia’s preseason meme, for the win:
… seven players have all left the Georgia program since the end of last year. Taken one by one, none of their departures is a back-breaker.
But take a step back, and all this offseason attrition could end up pretty important. In fact, it could be very bad for a program that badly needs a bounce-back year.
The SEC currently doesn’t have plans to switch to flag football, so it’s safe to assume injuries will be a factor for Georgia this season. And there are few areas that the Bulldogs can afford to lose anybody.
Paul Westerdawg frets about that here. He makes a very good point about the 2010 class, by the way. (And it could be worse. Does anybody remember how Gates got his last-minute offer? Thanks, Da’Rick.)
Okay, so offensive depth in more than one area is so shallow as to be almost bone dry. There isn’t much more they can do about the offensive line situation except hope for good luck in the injury department and for one or two of the incoming freshmen to turn out to be serviceable backups.
At the skill positions, though, they can be a little creative. Bobo should have a few new interesting parts to move in and out with some of the Dream Team cast. There’s a lot of flexibility in sets and formations with which he can experiment with all that quality depth at tight end. Bruce Figgins is an intriguing option. But mainly I don’t see how the coaches can avoid committing Branden Smith to the offense more this season than ever before.
As for Crowell, it’s hard to say what the future holds this year. I think Georgia’s offense tends to function better when the running game features a primary back like a Musa Smith or Knowshon Moreno than when there’s no clear-cut starter. If Crowell could average 80 yards per game rushing – a number that would likely rank in the top ten in the conference, but isn’t an insane goal – it would stabilize the offense and make the play action which is the Dawgs’ bread and butter call an easier sell. But Georgia’s made two SECCG appearances with a cast of thousands at tailback, too. Brush off what Richt did in 2003, if you like, but it remains in my opinion his best coaching job and a lesson for what Georgia can pull off this season with a similar effort.
Ultimately, like 2003, I see this season’s prospects coming back to the defense and Blair Walsh’s foot. I think Richt would be quite pleased to return to an era of winning ugly 16-13 games against the likes of UAB as long as those were along the road the team took back to Atlanta. (A few blowouts against some of the cupcakes on the schedule which allow for copious substituting wouldn’t hurt anyone’s feelings, though.)
And that’s why I’m starting to think the most significant thing to emerge from the Boise State game won’t be the win or loss, but how much the Broncos score.