2004 Georgia Bulldogs Football Season Preview

<b>Head Coach:</b> <!--Default NodeId For Mark Richt is 1249317,2004--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:1249317]>Mark Richt</A> (32-8) <br><br> <b>Last Season's Record:</b> 11-3 (6-2 SEC, Eastern Division Co-Champion, No. 7 AP, No. 6 ESPN/USA Today) <br><br> <b>Last Bowl Appearance:</b> 2004 Capital One Bowl (34-27 victory over <A HREF=http://purdue.TheInsiders.com>Purdue</A>) <br><br> <b>Key matchup(s):</b> Oct. 30, @<A HREF=http://florida.TheInsiders.com>Florida</A> <br><br>

Star Power: David Greene, QB, SR, 6-3, 230; David Pollack, DE, SR, 6-3, 276; Thomas Davis, FS, JR, 6-1, 220; Odell Thurman, LB, JR, 6-1, 230; Max Jean-Gilles, OG, JR, 6-4, 340.

Notable Additions: Will Thompson, DE, SR; A.J. Bryant, WR, FR, Peach County, 6-2, 185; Brandon Miller, ATH, FR, 6-4, 225

Notable Subtractions: Bennett, PK (NFL); Ben Watson, TE (NFL)

Notable Returnees: Fred Gibson, WR, SR; Reggie Brown, WR, SR; Kregg Lumpkin, RB, SO; Michael Cooper, RB, SO; Gerald Anderson, N, JR; Kedric Golston, DT, JR

2004 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
09/04/04Georgia Southern
09/11/04@South Carolina
09/18/04Marshall
10/02/04Louisiana State
10/09/04Tennessee
10/16/04Vanderbilt
10/23/04@Arkansas
10/30/04@Florida
11/06/04@Kentucky
11/13/04@Auburn
11/27/04Georgia Tech
Offensive Overview: With conference and national expectations throw on Georgia this pre-season, the Bulldog's offensive line will likely determine how far they will go. David Greene, Fred Gibson, Kregg Lumpkin, and the rest of Georgia's skill players are talented enough to get the Bulldogs in position to win the SEC, or even the national title. However, if the offensive line struggles the way that it did last season, Georgia will be in trouble in big games. Beating LSU, a team that gave Georgia two of its three losses last season, in early October would do wonders for the confidence of the offensive line. In 2003, the offensive line was lost against the Tigers. Head Coach Mark Richt thinks the unit will improve. If they do, and David Greene has time to throw, Georgia will be difficult to beat.

Defensive Overview: The Bulldog defense compares favorably to any other SEC school and to most defenses in the country. They are Georgia's best asset in 2004. One new twist to the defense is that teams will no longer be able to concentrate on David Pollack's pass rush alone. The return of defensive end Will Thompson (after sitting 2003 out with a torn ACL) to the starting lineup, as well as the development of Kedric Golston and Gerald Anderson in the middle, means that Pollack will be free of excessive double teams. Thompson's return from injury and Georgia's impressive linebackers give its defense plenty of skill up front. But if the front four can't get the job done, Georgia's linebackers can. Odell Thurman might be the best linebacker in the SEC and Arnold Harrison has come a long way in a short time at the position. Even though the Bulldogs lost starting linebacker Tony Taylor in the spring game, they still have plenty of skill and depth at that position. In the secondary, safety Thomas Davis might be an All-American by the end of the year. If the cornerbacks provide adequate protection it will be a challenge to find a weakness in the defense of coordinator Brian VanGorder.

Special Teams Overview: Georgia's kicking game rivals its offensive line in terms cause for concern. Andy Bailey and Brandon Coutu, neither of whom has ever kicked in a college football game, will fight for the place kicking job. Punter Gordon Ely-Kelso also needs to improve for Georgia to have a legitimate chance of winning the national title. The potential is there for Georgia's kicker to play well, but the must perform under pressure.

The Bulldogs will play in the Orange Bowl if... Greene gets time, Pollack makes trouble, and the kicking game is consistent. Georgia has to figure out a way to beat Florida; that is the key to the season.

TheInsiders.com 2004 College Football Preview
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