Georgia Bulldogs 2012 - Pre-season outlook

It is almost time for things to get cranking. Media Days are over and players will report soon to start fall camp. What will this edition of the Georgia Bulldogs look like, and what will the season bring? Georgia seems poised to have a huge year. Plenty of starters return, especially on defense, and there is talent and depth all over the field. There are some big questions looming, however, and the answers to those questions will be the difference in a good year and another trip to the SEC Championship Game.

Offense: I blame Bobo for this offense. In 2011, UGA scored 448 points, which ranks #2 all time (2002 - 450). Aaron Murray set the school record for TD passes with 35.

Offensive Line: Let's talk about the 800 pound gorilla. UGA loses 3 starters from an OL that did not perform at a very high level last year. We are counting on a true freshman who is not on campus yet to play left tackle in the SEC. To say this is an area of concern is to understate it terribly. There is talent and there are guys who can play, but this group will have to come together for UGA to have any chance. As much as I would like to do an entire book on the problems with UGA's running game, I will just say this: until we decide to come off the ball and knock the defense back, we are going to be a mediocre running team.

Running Back: The second area of concern. The top guy from last year is gone and the two guys with experience are 1. a converted LB who moved to FB in the spring and will move back to RB in the fall and 2. a guy whose performance so far would have to be termed underwhelming. Samuel is a great guy and DGD, but he just isn't a TB - he is a great athlete playing a position he was not meant to play at his level. Maybe Malcome finally has his head on straight, maybe he doesn't. He could be a pretty good back if he does. There are also two incoming freshman that are very talented and could be good. Marshall is fast and runs hard and enrolled early, so he has been in the playbook and on the field, which gives him a good chance of seeing early PT. Gurley is a little bigger, maybe not quite as fast, but there were a lot of people saying they thought he was better than Marshall by the end of their senior year.

Wide Receiver - this is the most talented and deepest WR group UGA has ever had. How many teams would list Conley fourth on the depth chart? King, Brown, Bennett, Conley, Scott-Wesley, and Wooten are all great athletes who can make plays all over the field. They won't even miss Mitchell.

Quarterback - Murray is one of the best in the country. If he just works on tucking the ball away and eliminates the weird fumbles, he will be great. I think it is a curious move for Mason to redshirt this year. I guess he is counting on Murray leaving early and having two years left to play, but I think it gives Lemay a big advantage of seeing the field more often and gaining experience and getting more practice reps. I don't have any inside information, but it feels like Mason was "asked" to step aside so Lemay could develop.

Defense - These boys are playing big boy football now. Grantham has the full package in place and the horses to run it.

Defensive Line - with Jenkins, Geathers, and Abry Jones on the DL, UGA would have more than 1,000 pounds of beast upfront. Scheme against that. Throw in CW, Drew, and Garrison Smith (who really came on late last year) and you have size, strength and depth up front.

Linebacker - again, more size, more speed, depth and talent. Ogletree is special, Robinson and Gilliard are underrated, and Herrera and Wilson would start for just about every other team in the SEC. Did I mention Jarvis Jones? I can't wait to see him on the field again.

Defensive Backs - Malcolm Mitchell was UGA's best WR last year. So good, in fact, people forget he was recruited as a CB and filled in at WR due to a lack of depth. Now he will be in his natural position and will make this backfield even better than it already is. Rambo is NFL caliber , Williams is getting there. Commings and Smith are as good at CB as anyone in the SEC. The only question is how many games some of them miss. When they are all there, they will be fantastic.

Special Teams - I hate to even think about this. We are terrible at covering kicks and will have two true freshmen kicking and punting. This may the area that keeps us out of the race for the SEC East.

The season in brief:

Buffalo -easy win, good scrimmage to start things off

at Missouri - this game will be electric, UGA with a slight edge

Florida Atlantic - another easy win

Vanderbilt - tough test, UGA should win

Tennessee - UGA wins

at South Carolina - this is the showdown that could decide the east. USCe with homefield advantage.

Kentucky - UGA rolls

Florida - until we prove otherwise, Florida gets the nod.

Ole Miss - nice late season cupcake

at Auburn - toss up as always

Georgia Southern - UGA wins (scheduling genius to have this game here)

Tech - UGA wins, as usual.


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