Dawn of the Dawgs - My 2012 Primer
Here we are counting hours instead of days until the Dawgs 2012 campaign is underway. Disney Dawgs are predicting a run at the MNC. Doomsday Dawgs are expecting mediocrity. Realistic Dawgs know that with a little luck and a lot of health, this bunch of Dawgs can run the regular season table and then face their biggest test of the year in the SEC Championship Game against Alabama or LSU. Count me in with this group.
I can't remember a more favorable schedule and I hope it continues to drive Darth Visor batshit crazy as the season unfolds. Georgia avoids the top heavies from the West - Alabama, LSU and Arkansas. In the east, Tennessee is still unproven under Derek Dooley but have that cocky California kid with the bottle-rocket arm back at Quarterback. Florida is morphing into something, but we have no idea what that may be and from the current stench wafting up from the swamp, this years Gators may be as clusterfucky as last years. Vanderbilt gave us a scare last year, making the game in Athens this year a bit more "personal." Ask Auburn what happens when it becomes particularly personal. Of course, the Auburn and Tech games continue to be "personal" as always. There are several games that our scout team could win.
The biggest concern on the schedule is South Carolina. They are pretty good, they are in the east and we play them at the cockroach. I would dare venture a guess as what to expect in that game, but fortunately it won't happen for more than a month. So we will have a better idea before we go there to ruin Spurrier's season. Another concern is the early road trip to the other Columbia to play SEC newcomer Missouri. However, at the rate that they are losing offensive linemen, we should occupy their backfield like a pack of dawgs on a meatwagon.
I don't think I will ever again go to the WLOCP expecting a win. But, I am expecting that we will go into the game as the favorite. In fact, we should be the favorite in every game with the possible exception of the South Carolina game. Last season, we were favored in every game except Boise, SC and LSU. If we can win the games in which we are favored this season... we will be back in Atlanta for the SECCG and we just might be 12-0. So, I am saying that 12-0 is entirely possible for this team. But, it is a long season and the football isn't round. So, there is most likely a stumble somewhere in this schedule. If it doesn't happen in the low country Columbia, we will be back in the SECCG.
Defense wins championships. Truer words were never uttered. This season, we will see our defense back to playing at the level we became accustomed to when Brian Van Gorder was onboard. Back when we won every game except one in which we scored more than 20 points. This is the type of defense we expect and our offense should be more than capable of delivering more than 20 points per game. In fact, I will boldly predict that we will not lose any games this season in which we score more than 24 points. (Is that bold?) Todd Grantham has elevated our level of play on the defensive side of the ball and in the process, he has elevated our high hopes for a special season. I don't think there is too much hype about this defense. It will be special and will put us in position to win every game. There is depth all over the place, especially at linebacker. This may be the best two-deep on defense that I can recall at Georgia.Then, we have some new guys to contribute that we haven't seen much from yet like Ray Drew and Josh Harvey-Clemons.
The offense looks to be no less than adequate and quite possibly explosive. It will all come down to the play of our new-look offensive line. Aaron Murray must eliminate bad plays and lead the offense. We know he can make most of the throws and the talk is that he is now well ahead of last year with making calls and checks at the line of scrimmage. He has a good cast of receivers despite losing his top two targets from last year and our running backs have a ton of upside despite the loss of Crowell. I expect some growing pains early as the o-line learns to gel and as the new backs, Gurley and Marshall, get their feet wet in SEC play. Fortunately, we have that favorable schedule that appears to have plenty of built in space for early season growth. Again... assuming we escape from Missouri without a fail.
We have to replace our punter and kicker. Meh... we will be ok in those departments if not great.
There is plenty of reason for optimism. Now it is time to go watch that translate into exciting victories for what could be a magical season.
Well, I have to catch a flight to Dublin to watch Navy beat Notre Dame on Irish soil. I hope to check in from the Emerald Isle, but if I don't... Go DAWGS. GATA!