Barnhart: Dawgs under the radar

Tony Barnhart has been a college football writer for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution for 21 years. He talks about the Bulldogs' chances for 2005 in this interview.

"I think (Georgia) is one of those teams that has a chance to sort of fly under the radar. A lot of assumptions are being made about Georgia based on all of the great players they lost. There are a couple of keys here:"

"1. Is the offensive line going to be back as good as… I've been told it is going to be as good as it was in 2002. If that's the case, that's a big if, but if that's the case then a lot of other things are going to fall into pace – there's not so much pressure on D.J. Shockley, and all of those running backs are going to be able to do what they want to do. Leonard Pope is going to be able to be more efficient. To me it all starts with the offensive line. If they are as good as advertised, then a lot of Georgia's concerns on offense will be addressed."

"2. How does Shockley play now that he knows that it's his team? Now that he knows that he's in control, now that he knows that he is going to play every single possession….My sense is that he is going to play well, but we don't know."

"On the defensive side of the ball, I don't think there is any question about the talent that is still there. The question I have is: are they going to have the inspirational leader like a David Pollack or Thomas Davis. These were guys that inspired the rest of the guys to play at a higher level. Who is going to fill that role – that's what I don't know."

"The other thing is: how will Georgia's defense be without Brian VanGorder? That's the X-factor. Willie Martinez is a good football coach, but no two people are alike, so you don't know what the mentality of the defense is going to be."

"Those are the kinds of questions that I have about Georgia, and of course – as always – the schedule, so we'll see."

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