Continuing to look ahead, here are ten reasons why the Bulldog Nation should be looking forward to the fall of 2010.
10. Bacarri Rambo starting at safety
As I have stated on many occasions, I did not enjoy having Bryan Evans as a starting safety for the Georgia defense. His complete lack of coverage and tackling skills made him a near waste of space on the field. When Rambo took the field in 2009, the defense seemed to improve. Can't wait for #18 to be in there a lot more next season.
9. Strength of Schedule = Weak
For the last few years, we have been set forth with gauntlet like schedules while Florida and other schools have danced through cakewalk games. Next year, Georgia finally has a schedule that should allow for the development of young players early in the season and allow us to enter big games like Florida not exhausted and beat up. Our out of conference schedule includes Louisiana-Lafayette, Colorado, Idaho State, and Georgia Tech with Arkansas and Mississippi as our west opponents. This is a lot easier than last year when we had Oklahoma State, Arizona State, and LSU included in the schedule.
8. A Healthy Offensive Line
Once again, this season began with a constant shuffle on the o-line after Trinton Sturdivant got hurt. Late in the season, the line really gelled with Boling, Glenn, Jones, and the Davis boys. Aaron Murray (or whoever is QB) should hopefully have more time to make his reads this fall.
7. The Best Kicking Duo in America
Drew Butler won the Ray Guy Award as the nation's best punter and Blair Walsh was a finalist for the Groza. It doesn't get much better than that.
6. A New Man Under Center
Let's face it, Joe Cox did not perform like a fifth year senior this year. While he was fantastic at times, a fifth year senior quarterback should not throw 15 picks, particularly some of the ones he threw that directly led to scores for the other team (see the Kentucky game). Whether it is Murray, Mettenberger, Gray, or Mason, we will have a new leader at QB who we can get behind for the next few years. With a solid line, two great running backs, and a ton of receiving weapons, there should not be too much pressure placed on the new starter.
5. A New Philosophy on Kick Offs
With Fabris gone, hopefully we will abandon the directional kicking and let Walsh kick it deep. Despite still using directional kicks, Walsh lead the SEC in touchbacks this season. I expect him to do it again in 2010.
4. AJ Green's Final Season
While he will only be a junior, we all know next fall will be AJ Green's last in Athens. The kid has way too much talent to pass up the first chance he gets at the NFL. Despite missing 3 games this fall, he seemed to single handily carry Georgia to victories this year. He is the most talented wideout Georgia has ever had and I plan to enjoy every minute he is on the field next fall.
3. The Dynamic Duo: King and Ealey
Caleb King and Washaun Ealey proved down the stretch why they were both highly recruited players out of high school. Georgia's offense average over 200 yards a game running in the second half of the season and I expect the success to continue next year. Remember how great a duo Thomas Brown and Knowshon Moreno were in 2007? I think these guys can be even better.
2. Weapons on Offense
In addition to King and Ealey, Georgia will have an insane amount of offensive firepower at their disposal next fall. They have two of the best offensive tight ends in the SEC in Aron White and Orson Charles and a receiving corp that includes AJ Green, Tavarres King, Rontavious Wooten, Marlon Brown, a returning Kris Durham, and incoming freshman Da'Rick Rogers. Add in the fastest man on the team, Branden Smith, and the possibilities are endless. Georgia returns a total of 10 of 11 starters on offense.
1. The Return of the Defense
We all have wanted it and now Willie Martinez is finally gone. While Coach Richt is still searching for the right man for the job, we can be clear that the Georgia defense will have a new look in 2010. Soft zones and four man rushes are hopefully a thing of the past. I want the return of the junkyard dawg defense.
So that is my list. Let me know what makes you excited for the 2010 season.