HOOVER, AL – Last season it seemed that all of the pressure was on Georgia to win the SEC. Now Georgia won’t have to answer questions about how many seasons it will take to win the SEC. Now Georgia won’t have to talk about if they can win the SEC. Now Georgia does not have to deal with being the team that is supposed to win the SEC.
If not, then what now?
Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt has to replace all of his starting linebackers and offensive linemen from last year. He says that he will continue to rotate quarterbacks, although he said that David Greene is still the starter. And the Head Dawg is still concerned about beating Florida.
Richt described his three starting linebackers as “high energy players.”
“We've got Thomas Davis replacing Boss Bailey. He’s a very athletic, very fast, intelligent football player and has a lot of experience. He played some safety for us. We got him in at 190-something pounds; now he's at 220 or 225.”
Newcomer Odell Thurman will play the middle linebacker for Georgia. Richt said: “Odell Thurman at Mike linebacker and weighs probably 230 pounds. He runs very fast and is very physical.”
“Tony Taylor is at our will linebacker. He is a very instinctive player who has some experience,” he said.
Richt knows that the linebackers will have to learn fast to help the team win. “They are the ones who have to communicate to the perimeter and linemen ahead of them to make the adjustments we have to make,” he said.
One strength for Georgia is its defensive line, lead by All-SEC selection David Pollack. There has been some speculation that Pollack’s production could suffer because of the departure of Jonathon Sullivan.
“He had Sullivan drawing double teams last season. Only time will tell if someone can play like Jonathon Sullivan played for us last year,” said Richt.
Pollack added, “We’ve got some guys in the middle that can step up and play. It's hard to double up one guy with our defense because we've got so many talented guys out there."
Richt went on to add: “Never count out Pollack and his ability to lead and play like he's been playing."
Richt also said that he will continue to rotate quarterbacks in 2003. He acknowledged that it could be a difficult thing for both David Greene and D.J. Shockley, but that the team “believes in both of them.”
“All it takes is for one of those guys to say ‘this really stinks’, publicly or privately and you've got yourself a controversy. But they love Georgia and can handle the pounding from the media on the issue,” he said.
“I think that Georgia is going to have to have a good team,” said LSU’s Nick Saban. Saban’s Tigers were picked to finish 2nd in the SEC West behind Auburn. Auburn was picked by the media to win the overall conference crown. The Bulldogs were tabbed to win the SEC East.