2008 record: 10-3 (6-2 SEC, T-2nd East)
Head coach: Mark Richt (82-22, 8 years)
Returning Starters: 14; 7 offense, 6 defense, punter
Leaders on Each Side: Offense: AJ Green, Defense: LB: Rennie Curran
Matthew Stafford is gone. Knowshon Moreno is in the NFL, as well. Without the heavy hitting offensive tandem, what can the Bulldogs muster up between the hedges come Saturdays this fall?
Head coach Mark Richt expects a lot, and it begins with the production of senior signal caller Joe Cox. Richt said that there would not be much of a fall out from the production of Stafford to Cox, firm in his belief that the first-time starter has the talent and knows the offense as well as any.
Cox will have plenty of help at wide out from A.J. Green, one of the nation’s most explosive freshman in 2008. Fellow rookie Caleb King led the charge behind Moreno in his debut, so the ground should be there as well.
If the defense can hit in stride, the Bulldogs could give Florida a fight in Jacksonville. If the unit comes out as it did in 2008 against Alabama and Florida – not to mention the Capitol One Bowl against Michigan – then defensive coordinator Willie Martinez will have plenty of questions to answer.
Joe Cox – 6’1”, 198, Sr.
Logan Gray – 6’2”, 192, So.
If it weren’t for Matthew Stafford, Joe Cox would be a household name around the SEC. Yet, the senior held a playbook on the sideline for the last three years, waiting for the time to come when he would take over the calls from under center.
With Caleb King - who rushed for 247 yards on 61 carries behind Moreno last fall - in the backfield, the running game should develop nicely.
When Cox does throw, expect the target to be Green. The two have built a nice relationship this spring, and Richt expects that Cox’s successes will hinge on the pair’s production.
Caleb King – 5’11”, 210, So.
Washaun Ealey – 5’11”, 205, Fr.
Caleb King had a breakout freshman campaign, and expect the Norcross-native to come back with more of the same this year.
King landed just 61 touches last fall, scoring his lone touchdown in the Bulldogs September 6 romp of Central Michigan. With Moreno out of the picture, King will likely reach that number of carries by the time Georgia moves into conference play – and he will hand the non-conference scrap up duties to someone else.
Washaun Ealey, a four-star and the nation’s No. 15 running back in 2009, should get the looks behind King.
A.J. Green - 6’4”, 207, So.
Tavares King – 6’1”, 176, Fr.
Michael Moore – 6’2”, 207, Sr.
Tony Wilson – 5’11”, 214, Jr.
Mohamed Mossaquoi is gone, and Kris Durham is lost to injury. Yet, the Bulldogs feel rather confident in the receiving corps – thanks to A.J. Green, of course.
As a freshman, the South Carolina-native hauled in a team-high 56 passes for 963 yards and eight touchdowns. Because his production in the Capital One Bowl loss to Michigan – one catch for 12 yards – was a letdown, the Bulldogs expect that the sophomore will come out swinging.
Michael Moore caught 29 passes for 451 yards in 2008, the third-best mark on the team. Paired up with freshman Tavares King, the Bulldogs should be able to spread defenses out when Cox gets going.
Clint Boling – 6’5”, 297, Jr.
Cordy Glenn – 6’5”, 331, So.
Ben Jones – 6’3”, 294, So.
Chris Davis – 6’4”, 296, Jr.
Justin Anderson – 6’5”, 328, So.
The front five for Georgia are all returning starters. One better, three men on the two-deep have recorded starts in the past.
That makes for quite the experienced unit, and it begins at left tackle with Clint Boling. If Trinton Sturdivant gets to full strength by the fall, Boling would slide to guard.
The unit is one of the strongest in the conference, which is a welcomed bonus given that Cox will be making his first run as a starter.
Demarcus Dobbs – 6’2”, 282, Jr.
Jeff Owens – 6’3”, 306, Sr.
Geno Atkins – 6’1”, 287, Sr.
Rod Battle – 6’4”, 259, Sr.
Geno Atkins, who registered 34 tackles last fall, is the leading man on the front line. Atkins pairs up with Jeff Owens, who 2008 due to a knee injury, in the middle.
On the outside, Demarcus Dobbs and Rod Battle will get the starting nods. Dobbs recorded a pair of sacks out of a reserve role, while Battle registered 14 tackles in a starting role. Battle remains the biggest question mark on the unit, and his health will be monitored closely as the fall approaches.
Darryl Gamble – 6’2”, 247, Jr.
Akeem Dent – 6’2”, 226, Jr.
Rennie Curran – 5’11”, 222, Jr.
Defensive coordinator Willie Martinez will be counting on his linebacker corps to come through as the strong suit of the side – no matter the loss of Darrell Ellerbe.
Akeem Dent moved to the inside to replace Ellerbe, with Darryl Gamble finding his starting spot in Dent’s vacancy. With 5-foot-11 Rennie Curran on the opposite end, the Bulldogs have one of the top units in the conference.
Curran led the team with 115 tackles last fall, while Gamble and Dent combined for 106 stops.
Prince Miller – 5’8”, 196, Sr.
Brandon Boykin – 5’10”, 182, So.
Reshad Jones – 6’2”, 212, Jr.
Bryan Evans – 5’11”, 190, Sr.
Reshad Jones, who grabbed five interceptions and registered 76 tackles last fall, leads the charge in the secondary. Making the move from cornerback, Bryan Evans will line up at free safety.
At cornerback, Prince Miller and Brandon Boykin will get the starting nod. Miller was big for the Bulldogs last fall, while Boykin will be making his first starts. If Boykin can’t get the job done, Sanders Commings will nab the second spot.
Blair Walsh – 5’10”, 183, So.
Drew Butler – 6’2”, 202, So.
Blair Walsh returns at kicker hoping to put his 2008 campaign – highlighted by four misses inside 40 yards - behind him for good. With the departure of Brian Mimbs, Drew Butler takes over the punting duties.