Georgia Bulldogs 2008 College Football Team Preview

By: Dwayne Bryant

Georgia is coming off an 11-2 season capped by a huge 41-10 win over Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl. The team returns eight starters on offense and seven starters on defense. Head coach Mark Richt owns the fourth-best winning percentage (.791) among active coaches.

Junior Matthew Stafford returns at quarterback for the Bulldogs. Stafford's numbers (4,272 yards, 26 touchdowns, 23 interceptions, 54.5% completions in two seasons) do not accurately reflect the amount of talent this kid possesses. The coaches spent the offseason working with Stafford on fundamentals.

Tailback Knowshon Moreno returns for his sophomore season. Moreno rushed for 1,334 yards last season, which stands as the second-best total by a freshman in school history. Moreno was also the second-leading rusher in the SEC.

The uncertainty on offense lies with an offensive line that will have new starters at four of the five positions. Four of the five starters will likely be sophomores. There are sure to be some growing pains with this young unit. Luckily for Georgia, they have a lot of talent at other positions that should keep this offense chugging along until this unit can jell.

The Bulldogs are extremely deep along the defensive line. Georgia has the capability to consistently rotate five tackles and six ends. Junior defensive tackle Geno Atkins is the cream of this crop. Georgia also has high aspirations for redshirt freshman Justin Houston, a converted linebacker.

The Bulldogs devoted much of the spring to working on their nickel package. The Georgia nickel package does not use a strong-side linebacker, so only linebackers Dannell Ellerbe (middle) and Rennie Curran (weak-side) see significant playing time.

The secondary is solid and returns three of four starters, including corners Asher Allen and Prince Miller, and strong safety C.J. Byrd. Sophomore Reshad Jones appears to be the new starter at free safety.

Freshman Blair Walsh appears to be the odds-on favorite to win the kicking job and senior Brian Mims is a solid punter who should have that job secured.

The 2008 Georgia Bulldogs have no shortage of talent. They'll likely go as far as Stafford and Moreno can take them. Georgia also has depth, especially on what could be a dominant defensive line. This team will be extremely tough if the offensive line comes together quickly and plays effectively.

But the Bulldogs have a very tough schedule. They have road games against Arizona State, LSU, Auburn and Florida (in Jacksonville). They also have a tough home game against Tennessee, who beat Georgia 35-14 last season. The only upside to having a schedule this tough is Georgia could lose a game (or possibly two) and still find themselves in the BCS National Championship game.

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