Replacing record-setting quarterback David Greene after last season wouldn't be easy. Greene hit 59 percent of his passes for 11,528 and 72 touchdowns in his career. He set a Division I-A record for most victories by a starting quarterback with 42. Greene also set SEC marks for Career Passing Yards (11,528), Career Total Offense (11,270), Most Consecutive Passes Without an Interception (214 breaking his own old mark of 176) and Ratio of Attempts/Interceptionis in a Career (1:45.0l, 32 in 1,440). He also set numerous Georgia career records including Passing Yards (11,528), Total Offense (11,270), Pass Attempts (1,440), TD Passes (70), Pass Efficiency Rating (138.3), and Lowest Interception Percentage (2.22%, 32 in 1,440).
Who would be the guy? D.J. Shockley (6-1, 206, Sr.) came to Athens as a highly-heralded Elite-11 quarterback, named to the 2000 USA Today All-USA Second Team, the 2000 Parade Magazine All-America Team, the Superprep Elite 50, All America, and ranked as the top quarterback in the country. Yet D.J. served only spot duty, playing in mop-up roles and when Green was injured. With those kinds of accolades, it would have been easy to quit and transfer to another school. Shockley did consider such a thing, but loves the atmosphere at Georgia and stuck it out. The patience has won him a good deal of respect from his teammates, an important quality for a signal caller.
Head coach Mark Richt made up his mind about D.J. Shockley before last season was over, saying "We're going to build the offense around him, and I think everybody is going to be real pleased." Richt has said he will design plays to fit Shockley's style, such as faking a handoff to one side and keeping to the other. The playbook will be similar to the one Richt used at Florida State when Charlie Ward was the quarterback. When Ward ran Richt's offense at Florida State, defenses had to stop playing certain coverages because they knew Ward would recognize them and run for 20 yards, Richt said.
Shockley passed for one touchdown and ran for another in his college debut against Clemson in the 2002 season opener. He played in six games in 2003 before being sidelined with a knee injury. D.J. did come back and throw a 37-yard touchdown against Florida State in the Sugar Bowl that season. He completed 26 of 57 passes for 464 yards and 4 touchdowns last year.
When Shockley takes the field for Boise State, he will be one of the only players who have already graduated—he did that this past spring. So he has fulfilled his classroom requirements and will take classes for his master's degree this fall. How about his onfield performance? "Shockley's accuracy wasn't that good this spring," quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo said, but that has changed this fall. "D.J. was very sharp," Coach Mark Richt said after one practice. "Every ball was right on the money. He's throwing it really well, really well." "His accuracy has improved tremendously this camp," Bobo said. "I think that's just because he has relaxed some." Shockley threw touchdown passes to fullback Brannan Southerland and wide receiver Bryan McClendon as the Bulldogs worked out a coupe of weeks ago at Sanford Stadium.
If the Bronco offense is intent on stopping the run, and they are successful in doing so, it will be up to the first-year starter to come through. He obviously has the talent--can he handle the pressure? Further, if the Bronco defenders overpursue Shockley in the pocket, his athletic ability enables him to scramble for huge chunks of yardage. Clearly, he presents a lot of problems for Boise State Defensive Coordinator Ron Collins.
Many Georgia fans thought Barnes (6-3, 223, Fr.) would be the man this fall. He redshirted after winning numerous awards at summer football camps, including the Bowden Football Camp. Barnes has made great strides in a short time, grasping the offense, learning the complexity of the plays and his responsibility at quarterback for Georgia.
Joe Cox (6-1, 195, Fr.) provides depth. Playing in North Carolina, Cox threw for 3,983 yards on 237 completions of 373 attempts and 43 touchdowns.