Georgia offense

Last year the Georgia Bulldogs led the SEC in big-time offensive weapons. This year the Dawgs lead the SEC in big-time offensive question marks.

Mark Richt's 2008 team featured college football's No. 1 quarterback (Matthew Stafford), its No. 1 tailback (Knowshon Moreno), its No. 1 freshman receiver (A.J. Green), a breakout senior wideout (Mohamed Massaquoi), an NFL-caliber fullback (Brannan Southerland), a top-notch tight end (Tripp Chandler) and an elite left tackle prospect (Trinton Sturdivant).

Green is the only member of that illustrious group who's sure to be suiting up for the Dawgs this fall.

Stafford (3,459 passing yards) and Moreno (1,400 rushing yards) were first-round NFL Draft picks. Massaquoi (58 catches, 920 yards), Southerland and Chandler also have moved on to the pros. Sturdivant is coming off a knee injury so severe that it caused him to miss the '08 season and spring practice.

Georgia has talented players waiting to fill the voids, of course, but they don't appear to be as talented as the guys they're replacing.

Senior Joe Cox steps in for Stafford after throwing just 15 passes in mop-up duty last year. Cox completed 11 balls for 151 yards and 2 touchdowns but how will he perform under pressure?

Caleb King inherits the tailback role but he has been a career underachiever, rushing for just 247 yards as Moreno's understudy last fall. King might lose the top job to fabulous freshman Washaun Ealey, who rushed for a mind-boggling 49 touchdowns as a prep senior last fall.

Green returns after catching 56 passes for 963 yards (17.2 per catch) and 8 touchdowns last fall but you have to wonder: How effective will he be now that he doesn't have Stafford throwing to him and Massaquoi on the other side to keep defenses honest?

The best bet to fill Massaquoi's role in '09 is Michael Moore, who caught 29 balls for 451 yards (15.6 per catch) last fall.

The heir-apparent to the bullish Southerland is Shaun Chapas, a 6-2, 236-pound junior.

Succeeding Chandler at tight end is Aaron White. At 6-4 and 230 pounds, White is 35 pounds lighter than Chandler and not nearly the blocker his predecessor was.

Bottom line: With Stafford, Moreno, Massaquoi, Southerland and Chandler on hand, Georgia averaged 426 yards and 31.5 points per game last fall. The Dawgs will be hard pressed to approach those numbers in 2009.


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