Getting Beyond Stafford and Moreno

BIRMINGHAM – Joe Cox wasn't sure what to expect when he arrived at the Wynfrey Hotel for SEC Media Days on Thursday, but there was one question he figured he would hear early and often.

"I figured a lot of questions would just be about how we're going to come back this year after losing so many guys, about everybody's expectations," Cox said. "Our expectations haven't changed. We know a lot of people are probably overlooking us, and that's probably the best thing for us. It's made us have a good offseason."

Georgia's expectations may not have changed, but the perception of the program by the great majority of the media members in attendance Thursday had.

A year ago, Mark Richt and his Bulldogs contingent came to Hoover as the consensus No. 1 team in the country, fresh off an 11-win season and with star quarterback Matthew Stafford and running back Knowshon Moreno the backbone of what figured to be an offensive juggernaut.

This year, Moreno and Stafford are gone – both were selected in the first round of the NFL draft – and so are the hefty expectations that Georgia failed to realize last season. The way Richt sees it, that's a good thing.

"Everybody expected us to win ‘em all because we had two guys that everybody considered stars, and then maybe subconsciously our guys thought, we can count on these guys," Richt said. "Now that they're gone, I think our team understands the only chance they hace is to play together, work together, earn it as a team. They've done a great job of buying into that."

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