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The 'Dawgs of Spring, Part III: Matthew Stafford

I'd like to join the rest of you in congratulating DawgSports proprietor T. Kyle King on the birth of his daughter, Elizabeth Rose King (a/k/a Scout, a/k/a E.R.K.). It's about darn time that the name of the defensive guru behind Georgia's 1980 national championship was monogramed on baby items. Congratulations to Kyle, Susan and Thomas!

We've been talking about the players to keep an eye on during spring practice. So far our conversation has focused on the non-marquee positions of tight end and defensive end. But perhaps the 'Dawg most worth keeping an eye on is squarely in the spotlight: quarterback Matt Stafford.

Admittedly, the offseason has previously been a time for Staff to catch up on his unorthodox weightlifting regimen. This year however, Stafford appears to have come into spring practice in excellent shape, and is focused on some concrete goals, including completing 62% of his passes.

That's a laudible goal, especially when you consider the correlation between #7's completion percentage and the success of the Georgia football team in 2007. In 13 games, Stafford only had three games with a completion percentage lower than %50. Admittedly, one of those was the Georgia Tech game in which Stafford completed 14 of 29 passes for a 48.3% rate. The other two however were the losses to Tennessee and South Carolina (in which Kegasaurus Rex connected on a gut wrenching 19 of 44 passes).

Stafford loses his go-to deep threat and leading receiver in Sean Bailey along with Mikey Henderson, the guy who helped make Stafford a hero in Tuscaloosa. He'll have MoMass, Kris Durham, Demiko Goodman, Tripp Chandler, Tony Wilson and Kenneth Harris returning. As a group, those receivers have either been maddeningly inconsistent (Massaquoi, Chandler, Harris), generally unproven, or susceptible to injury. They are going to need a mature field general who can get the best out them in big games. Matt Stafford has proven that he has a great arm. Now he needs to prove that he's ready to lead by consistently playing up to his ample potential. The blue chip prospect from Dallas is now fully halfway through his collegiate career in the Classic City. It's time for Matt Stafford to become the quarterback we've been waiting on him to be.

Admittedly, he'll benefit from having Knowshon Moreno in the backfield from the beginning of the season, which should relieve some pressure. But if (Heaven forbid, we dare not think it, it's too vile to even contemplate, etc. . . .) something should happen to that wonderful counterdancing tailback of ours, somebody's going to have to step up and make the offense go. That somebody is Matt Stafford.