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Monday, June 22, 2009

Richt: No Stars in 2009

The focus of Georgia's offseason has largely been the loss of Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno. Mark Richt, however, thinks the bigger obstacle was all the focus on Georgia's two superstars last season.

So as the Bulldogs move into the third week of voluntary summer workouts, Richt said there's a distinctly different mentality among the players without Stafford and Moreno aboard.

"They've really decided that they have to come together as a team and work their tail off and get after it," Richt said. "You can't sit there and rely on a Stafford or a Moreno to carry the team."

The departure of Stafford and Moreno -- both of whom were selected in the first round of the NFL draft -- along with receiver Mohamed Massaquoi means there aren't a lot of known quantities on offense for Georgia in 2009, but a healthy offensive line could make that a moot point.

While Richt says there was clearly too much focus on the team's offensive stars last season, in some cases there weren't many other options. With an offensive line littered with fill-ins learning on the fly, the offense was often forced to go with what worked. There weren't many chances to improvise.

When the protection broke down, Stafford relied on the receivers he trusted most. With the second-string tailbacks struggling in pass protection, Richt was forced to keep Moreno in the game nearly all the time down the stretch.

With a healthy and deep corps of linemen, this year, things should be different.

"I really believe that if the offensive line matures the way we expect it to, we won't need as many heroics," Richt said.

But the pressure won't just be on the offensive line this season, and the new focus must extend beyond the offense. This year, Richt said, things will be different everywhere from the players on the field to the fans in the stands to the stories in the newspaper.

"Last year was one of the toughest years because the Bulldogs fans and the media were focused on those two guys," Richt said. "But this year everybody understands that that's what it's going to take to be successful. The star of the team is the team."


Jonny said...

Sounds nice...but our offense wasn't the problem. The defense was the problem. So if its that our defense that was too focused on Stafford/Moreno, that seems to be a bigger problem. Looking forward to the season.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking the exact same thing, Jonny. Maybe Walsh was focused on Stafford/Moreno and that caused all the out of bounds kickoffs?

Mike In Valdosta said...

I wish the upcoming season's "Narative" would be defined by journalists, or even bloggers, after the season has begun. Thank God I do not have to deal with off season questions from the curious public, of which I am one of the most curious.

I would stick to the "all I know is we open with one of the best teams in the country at their place. We will be lucky to survive." If there is one thing CMR could learn from Dooley, that would be it.

Hobnail_Boot said...

Uh.. coach? Didn't you go on ESPN and complain that Moreno wasn't getting enough attention for his play against Central Michigan?

Just saying..

Travis Milledgeville GA said...

Jonny there were problems all over the whole team last season beginning with Stafford. He can throw it a mile but there aint no telling where it is gonna land. He is overrated never had any faith n the guy Good luck in the NFL is all I can say. One other thing the rest of the team wasn't ready. I give the dawgs a much better chance this year cause right now we have a team full of standouts wonder who's gonna step up to the plate.

Jonny said...

You're right Travis...throwing for 400 yards and 5 touchdowns against GT is the reason we lost and is completely overrated. I am so glad that guy is gone.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see if Richt can get back control of the team this year.

I personally believe it's a good thing that Stafford is gone. Let him be Detroit's headache. I'll give him maybe 5 years before he totally washes out. No more than 3as a starter.

To the person that claims "Offense not the problem" One just has to look at the Alabama and Florida game to know that offense and team leadership were a big problem.

rbubp said...

I am glad that a few others have picked up on the "we can't handle the attention" theme. Nothing says "this program is not ready for elite status" more than claiming you don't like your stars getting attention or you would rather not be number 1 in the polls.

It's all just too much pressure!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for the:

Well "Fill in the blank team" did not have any stars and were in a similar situation and they won the national title. :-)

In any case, I'm looking forward to this year's team. I think we'll see just how good of a coach Richt is.