Monday Mailbag

Jonathan Branch tackles questions in the 2013 version of the Dawg Post mailbag.

PayneHall leads off with a zinger: Did the media beat reporters also get drug tested this week?

Yes, and I tested positive for excellence. Talladega Nights references aside, no, we did not. I would've been upset if someone woke me up early for that. I like my sleep. On the other hand, some football players did get an early wake up call, a cup and a trip to the restroom last week as part of a random selection. Some folks I spoke to beforehand knew that a test was imminent, however.

PayneHall follows with another: Dare to predict which incoming players will be redshirted? By implication, who will definitely play?

I believe most of the early-enrollees will play. Based on depth, I think here's a very early look at the players that are possible (or likely) candidates for redshirt (as of now):

Brice Ramsey

Brandon Kublanow

Josh Cardiello

Jordan Davis

Devondre Seymour

Paris Bostick

DeAndre Johnson

Shaun McGee

Rico Johnson

Aulden Bynum

Uriah LeMay

Quincy Mauger

Reggie Davis

The rest are strong candidates for playing time, if only in a minor special teams role. Bostick and Mauger could avoid redshirt because of the inexperience and depth at safety.

Pcbeachdawg has a few questions: 1) With Georgia missing on a lot of high profile in-state talent last year, what do we do differently this year so that doesn't happen this season?

In reality, there's not a whole lot Georgia can do differently and stay within the rules, but what they do could be done a little better or more. A couple of things they could do more of: winning and marketing.

The Bulldogs should continue winning as they've done the last two seasons; that shouldn't be a big problem. Meanwhile, the marketing strategies should be turned up a notch. Georgia needs to make its presence felt at every corner of the state. I'm talking billboards in Chattanooga, Valdosta, Columbus, Atlanta. Use social media to its full effectiveness. Sure, both seem like desperate measures, but they are critical in the 2013 recruiting world. Auburn put a billboard smack in the heart of Vienna, Ga., and many scoffed at the idea. But guess what? It worked. There's no reason for Georgia not to put one right across the street if they want to win the battle.

These days, teenagers stay connected and have shorter attention spans. The more of their attention you can occupy, the better you're doing and the more likely they are to hear something they like. That may could help them strengthen the border and keep top in-state talent at home.

2) If signing day was today who are the top 5 players that UGA signings instate ?(in your opinion, when it's all said and done, who are they?)

I'll go out on a limb, but in their best-case (while being realistic) scenario: Lorenzo Carter, Korie Rogers, Nick Chubb, Dontavius Russell and Elisha Shaw.

3) Does UGA sign Sony Michael? I believe so. Your thoughts?

Yes, as of right now, I believe Michael will be a Bulldog come Signing Day 2014. He could be ready to pull the trigger with a commitment as early as this spring, and I would not be surprised at all if he decides on Georgia.

SuwaneeDawg03 has several questions: 1) Did Dean get so mad he spewed his diet Coke all over his purple shirt when people kept talking about the drug test?

Not a doubt in my mind, that definitely happened.

2) Any rumblings on two basketball topics: Tony Parker commiting to the G and a new recruiting specialist on the staff?

Hearing a lot about Tony Parker likely transferring. Georgia appears to be in good shape to be Parker's destination. He has not enjoyed his time at UCLA so far, and if he transfers, he will be looking to move close to home to be near family.

I have not heard anything about a recruiting specialist, but I will keep my ears open.

3) Are any of the offensive linemen that weren't in the rotation last year stepping up and seeming like they can be counted upon in 2013?

Austin Long is getting plenty of work, but he was in the rotation last season. I think Xzavier Ward is a guy that could see some additional playing time this season. It's tough to say, though, because of how young the line was last season. The group should be stronger this season as a whole, so it could be more difficult for a new guy to work his way into the rotation.

4) Will Aaron Murray accomplish his quest for a title as it was one of the main reasons he returned for his senior year? (yes, I am putting you on the spot.)

You certainly are, Suwannee. I don't think I am ready to commit to an answer on this, though. Is that cheating? I guess, but I honestly cannot say one way or the other.

Do the Bulldogs have the potential to win the SEC? Yes.

A national championship? It's definitely possible.

Will they? Time will tell.

One title I do believe is very realistic is another SEC East championship. So, um, hopefully I get credit for answering this one?

Aspendawg asks a couple questions: 1) Not much mention of Rumph so far in the practices or scrimmages. Is he hurt, or just struggling to crack the line up?

He has a lot to learn. Coach Ball stays on him during practice. There's a lot of potential in Rumph, and Ball will do his best to bring that out of him. It's tough to make noise amongst this receivers group because it is so deep and talented. That gives Murray a number of different targets to whom he can throw the ball. Rumph should be fine by the time August rolls around, but right now, his head is spinning like the rest of the early enrollees.

2) Seems Sheldon Dawson is really turning the light on this spring and making some plays; with the hamstring injury is he out for the G-Day game?

Dawson was receiving rave reviews for his performances during the first few practices. He followed that up with three interceptions in the first two scrimmages. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Dawson will have to miss G-Day and likely the rest of spring practices (including the ones after G-Day) due to a pulled hamstring. That shouldn't take away from the progress he's made and confidence in him that he's earned from coaches this spring.

GEORGIAN poses three questions: 1) Who are the players stepping up on the Defense in the Spring?

Dawson, as I mentioned in the question above. Also, Ray Drew and Sterling Bailey appear to have stepped up this spring and find themselves battling for a starting job at defensive end. Head coach Mark Richt likes Ramik Wilson's improvement, and it seems James Deloach has performed well this spring, too.

2) How does Sheldon Dawson match up to Shaq Wiggins, and Brendan Langley?

Dawson is a physical corner with good ball skills who likes to hit but also has plenty of speed to stay with receivers. Langley has more length than both Wiggins and Dawson. Wiggins is probably the best true cover corner; he may be short but he can stay in a receiver's hip pocket and mirror him step-for-step. All three should see the field this fall. Dawson will likely be penciled in as a starter at corner along with Damian Swann, but Wiggins and Langley could both play nickel corner from Day 1.

3) Who do you see returning punts and kickoffs next year?

I think Malcolm Mitchell will be back returning kicks. I believe J.J. Green could find a role returning punts, but if not, look for Mitchell to be back for punts as well.

That's all for this week.

G-Day is Saturday, so if you have any questions before or after, send me a PM or post them on the porch, and I'll answer them in the next issue of the Monday Mailbag.

Until then, have a great week.

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