It seems that the gloom, doom and despair we’ve heard the past few weeks is ever-so-slowly changing to a slight touch of optimism by some Dawg fanatics.
One of the biggest things I’m hearing is about this kid John Jenkins, the huge nose tackle who has played ball at Gulf Coast Community College, coming in and saving the day for our defense.
The question I pose is: Will this one kid really make the difference on defense?
First of all, I sure hope so. We’ve noted the need for a big stop-gap on the defensive line. If we’re going to play the 3-4, or some variety of it, then we need that guy clogging up the middle. Maybe this is the opportunity we need to allow our backers to make plays.
However, I remain unconvinced that fixing this one problem will cure our woes. I haven’t bought into the hype that our LB core will be as exciting as others claim. Maybe it will, and maybe I’m still chewing on sour grapes.
Beyond the recruiting class, folks are mighty excited about the changes in the S&C program. Again, I hope that the excitement holds true, but I remember hearing how incredible the mat drills were, how folks like DP were puking on the side, and how the UGA mat drills set the bar a mere 5 years ago. Now, all of a sudden, those are outdated and we saw the need for changes.
I admit that I am no expert when it comes to S&C (one look at me will guarantee that), but the S&C program wasn’t that big of a problem in 2007, and we had largely the same men running the program. But maybe it will, and a few months with Joe T. Jr. will make a big difference between the hedges this fall. I admit we needed changes, but until I see what the results are, I’m not buying in 100%.
The final cause for optimism I’ve heard concerns the schedule. Folks are saying “if we can get through the first two weeks, we’ll be sitting on high ground.” The problem there is getting through the first two weeks. I’d say at this point we’ll be lucky to start 1-1. Don’t shoot me for saying it, but in 2010 Boise State would have beaten UGA. I hope we get to where we need to be to open 2011 with a win, but based on what I saw in the Liberty Bowl, we’re going to need some serious reckoning to get a W in our first two games.
But looking past the first two games, you still have a schedule that isn’t as easy as people are saying. Tennessee is not going to be an easy win in 2011. They did the opposite of UGA in 2010, and they’ve seemingly bought into the program there. Mississippi State proved last year that they’re not an easy win. And you’ve still got Florida and Auburn. I would have loved the 2011 schedule with the 2007 team, but with the 2011 breed of Dawgs, I’m just not convinced.
Forgive my pessimism, but I’m not ready to jump on board with the optimists just yet. 2011 will likely be the first time in recent memory where we enter a season that I don’t feel like we can run the table, but I was burned in 2010 and will not make the same mistake again this soon.
Here’s to hoping Richt does what I am worried he can’t. IF we start out 2-0, then watch out. But if we lose to Boise in week 1, then cover your heads, because the vultures will be circling.