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Team Capsule; The University of Georgia
by bamafan4ever

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Nickname: Bulldogs
2006 Record: 9-4 (AP #23)
Head Coach: Mark Richt (7th year at Georgia, 61-17 overall)



Overview

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Matthew Stafford

When the Georgia Bulldogs roll into Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 22nd, 2007, the Crimson Tide may very well find itself battling one of the best offensive teams in the SEC in 2007. The Bulldogs will be young along the offensive line with the loss of three senior starters and their big TE Martrez Milner but Coach Mark Richt has had no problem recruiting blue chippers to fill those vacated slots over the last several years. Matthew Stafford, an SEC All-Freshman QB in ‘06, was 6-2 in his debut as the Bulldogs starter and looks to surround himself with speed and a lot of it in 2007. The Bulldogs will have its typical stable of running backs to call on this season with Kregg Lumpkin leading the way. Bulldogs fans have also been anxiously waiting for the red shirt to come off of Knowshon Moreno, possibly one of the best running backs in the country coming out of high school in 2005. Mohammed Massaquoi also looks to step up his game this season and lead a talented and speedy group of receivers for the Dawgs this season.

If there is one concern for Bulldog fans in 2007, it very well may be the loss of seven key starters on defense and the play calling of Defensive Coordinator and Secondary Coach Willie Martinez, whose conservative play calling doesn’t sit well with some of the Bulldog faithful. The Georgia spring game did nothing to diminish these fears either as the Bulldog offense simply dominated. Once again, previous strong recruiting classes will help the Bulldogs this fall but it will be difficult to replace the likes of Charles Johnson and Quentin Moses who will be playing on Sundays this fall.

The Bulldogs open the 2007 season with an SEC/Big 12 tilt against the 2006 Independence Bowl winner Oklahoma State and then open SEC play against their old nemesis Coach Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks. The Bulldogs will also have key road games in Tuscaloosa early in the season and then will travel to Knoxville for an Oct. 6th showdown against the Volunteers, who snapped their winless streak against the Dawgs in 2006. The Dawgs wrap up the regular season in Atlanta in their annual rivalry with ACC opponent Georgia Tech. One of the key games on the Bulldog schedule year in and year out will be against the defending National Champion Florida Gators. The “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” is slated for October 27th in Jacksonville, FL. Key home games for the University of Georgia will be in November when the Bulldogs host Auburn and look to avenge an upset given to them at the hands of the Kentucky Wildcats in 2006.

Offense

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Brannan Southerland

With only 25 combined career starts along the offensive line, it is obvious what the key will be for the Bulldogs to gain some measure of success in 2007. Helping the cause of protecting the golden arm of Matthew Stafford will be junior FB Brannan Southerland who could be one of the best blocking FB’s in all of college football. Southerland is also dangerous when he has the ball in his hands accounting for 10 rushing touchdowns in 2006 to lead the Bulldogs. Matthew Stafford looks to build on his freshman campaign where he threw the ball 256 times and completed 135 of those throws for 1,749 yards. Stafford as a freshman looked solid at times but also made freshman mistakes by throwing 13 interceptions however he only had one interception in the last 3 games where he saw action.

Return specialist Mikey Henderson also looks to make a larger impact as a receiver and will likely see action along with Mohammed Massaquoi who has yet to play to his enormous potential. Massaquoi accounted for 30 receptions for 366 yards in 2006 which is considered disappointing by most observers. Senior Sean Bailey will more than likely see more action in his final season as a Bulldog and will likely start opposite Massasquoi.

Running Back Coach Tony Ball will have an arsenal of both veterans and young talent in the Georgia backfield to choose from in 2007. Kregg Lumpkin will lead the Dawgs once again and led all Bulldogs in 2006 with 798 rushing yards on 162 attempts. Lumpkin also scored 6 touchdowns. Likely seeing action for Coach Ball this season will be red shirt freshman Knowshon Moreno. The 5’11” New Jersey product has great blocking ability and runs the forty in 4.48 seconds. It will also be interesting to see whether or not Coach Richt will forego the red shirt on true freshman Caleb King who is not only fast but has shown excellent ability to make defenders miss by his ability to accelerate at full speed out of a cut. King was named Most Valuable Player at the 2006 U.S. Army All-American Combine.

Defense

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Kelin Johnson

There is no doubt that the 2007 Georgia Bulldog defense will be laden with talent but one look at the depth chart shows just how young these Bulldogs are. Gone from the Bulldogs 2006 edition are such standouts as Tony Taylor and Jarvis Jackson, who accounted for 4 sacks and 10 tackles for loss. SS Kelin Johnson returns for his senior season in Athens and can bring the heat when rushing the QB from his secondary position. Johnson tallied 60 tackles with 5.5 of those going for a loss. He was also responsible for 2.5 sacks and was credited with 2 interceptions. CB Paul Oliver has left the Bulldog team due to academics and will leave another open hole in a rather inexperienced secondary.

Georgia’s LB corps is largely inexperienced but will look to senior Brandon Miller for leadership. Miller will vacate his spot as a strong side linebacker and move to the middle where he will be used a stop gap against the run. Darius Dewberry and Dannell Ellerbe will also look to add some major substance to the Bulldog linebacker squad.

Bulldog fans are looking for improvement in play calling from Defensive Coordinator Willie Martinez. Many of the Bulldog faithful hold Martinez directly responsible for poor play calling in his bend but don’t break philosophy and would like to see more aggressiveness out the 2007 Bulldog defensive squad.


Special Teams

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Familiar to most SEC fans will be the fact that the Georgia Bulldogs will have one of the best place kickers in the league, this time in the form of Brandon Coutu, who was lost for part of the 2006 season due to injury. Punter Gordon Ely-Kelso was lost to graduation and the position is up for grabs.

Returning kick offs will be the quick Thomas Brown who returned one kick off for 99 yards in 2006. Mikey Henderson will likely get the honors of returning punts for the Bulldogs. Henderson returned two punts for touchdowns in 2006 averaging 14.7 yards on 25 punt return attempts in 2006.
 
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