QB David Greene

2002 Statistics

Coach: Mark Richt
21-5, 2 years
2002 Record: 13-1
at South Carolina WON 13-7
at Alabama WON 27-25
at Kentucky WON 52-24
vs. Florida LOST 13-20
at Auburn WON 24-21
Arkansas WON 30-3
Florida State WON 26-13

2002 Final Rankings
AP-3, Coaches-3, BCS-3

2003 Outlook

In 2003, Georgia was the SEC's most complete team. The Bulldogs had the league's top scoring offense and the best scoring defense (4th nationally), along with more all-conference players (nine) than any other team. Mark Richt went from second-guessed to second coming, thanks to Georgia's first SEC title in 20 years and biggest bowl victory in the same.

With 2002 over, much of the air has come out of the Georgia balloon. First, the SEC champs were a senior-dominated squad to begin with. Eleven players on the two-deep depth chart ran out of eligibility, including seven starters (including the entire line) on offense. Then, a quartet of juniors - Chris Clemson, Johnathan Sullivan, Musa Smith and Ben Watson - compounded the difficulty by leaving Athens early for the NFL. Although Watson subsequently withdrew his declaration, the loss of the other three combines with the graduation departures to leave Georgia very thin in specific dimensions on both sides of the ball.

The 2003 schedule-maker did not do Richt and the Dawgs any favors, either. Georgia must travel to Clemson, LSU, Georgia Tech, and Tennessee, plus the traditional game against Florida in Jacksonville. Although plenty of talent remains on the team - Greene and Gibson could well be the conference's best throw and catch combination - the SEC is a tough conference to break in 12 new starters.

That means there is little expectation on this squad, something which helps in developmental stages. They aren't supposed to do too well, not like 2002. But all great teams are built on defensive foundations, and finishing 15th in total offense lays down a good one for 2003. This crew has the potential to shut down opponents if these young LBs can get in gear with the veteran secondary.

Richt is a very good coach, and - barring injury - his players are too good for Georgia to free-fall. Although the Dawgs may not get a chance to defend their conference title, they are still plenty good enough to defeat archrivals Florida and Georgia Tech. On the heels of the SEC title, euphoric Bulldog fans would probably accept that as a solid season and move happily to the Peach or Citrus Bowls.

Projected 2003 record: 11-1
QB David Greene
CB Tim Jennings
LB Odell Thurman
QB - 5 DL - 4.5
RB - 3.5 LB - 3.5
WR - 5 DB - 4
OL - 3.5 ..

Passing: David Greene, 379-218-8, 2924 yds., 22 TD's

Rushing: Tony Milton, 82 att., 314 yds., 0 TD's

Receiving: Fred Gibson, 43 rec., 758 yds., 4 TD's

Scoring: Billy Bennett, 26-33 FG, 52-52 PAT, 130 pts.

Punting: none

Kicking: Billy Bennett, 26-33 FG, 52-52 PAT, 130 pts.

Tackles: David Pollack, 102 tot., 58 solo

Sacks: David Pollack, 14 sacks

Interceptions: Kentrell Curry, 4 for 145 yds.

Kickoff returns: Fred Gibson, 19 ret., 24.2 avg.

Punt returns: Damien Gary, 34 ret., 13.5 avg.


ROV Kentrell Curry
OFFENSE: J.T. Wall-FB, Terrence Edwards-WR, Jon Stinchcomb-OT, Alex Jackson-OG, Ian Knight-C, Kevin Breedlove-OT, Kareem Marshall-OT, Musa Smith-TB (NFL)
DEFENSE: Boss Bailey-SLB, Tony Gilbert-MLB, Jonathan Kilgo-P, Johnathan Sullivan-DT (NFL), Chris Clemons-WLB (NFL)

written by Collin Mickle

Quarterback David Greene, the SEC's leader in 2002 passing efficiency, returns for his junior campaign. Greene makes up for so-so arm strength with excellent accuracy and a thorough knowledge of the offense. He is also likely to be much more relaxed in 2003, since head coach Mark Richt appears to have decided to end the two-quarterback system that saw Greene lose playing time to sophomore D.J. Shockley.

A case can be made that Greene was also one of the luckiest players in the conference. Protected by an all-senior offensive line, he could stand calmly in the pocket before releasing a pass to the SEC's all-time leading receiver, or he could hand off to the conference's second-leading rusher and let him do the hard work. Although Greene is a very talented player, he undeniably benefited from a supporting line that was the best in the league. Hopefully, Greene was not spoiled by the experience. The road gets rockier in 2003, with the departure of all five starters on the offensive line, as well as All-SEC wideout Terrence Edwards and All-SEC tailback Musa Smith.

Greene will have an excellent group of targets this season. Georgia will have one of the SEC's top receiving corps. Junior Fred Gibson is an excellent athlete who has improved at every step in his career and will be Greene's top target, and one of the SEC's top wideouts. Opponents will double-team Gibson at their own risk, however, thanks to his capable set of running mates in seniors Michael Johnson and Damien Gary (27 catches as the fourth receiver). At 6-3, Johnson will team with the 6-4 Gibson to give Georgia the tallest starting pair of wideouts in the SEC. Gary will operate from the slot, where his notable speed and quickness can be used to the greatest advantage.

As a redshirt sophomore, Tony Milton had 82 carries as departed All-SEC RB Musa Smith's backup. Milton is built in the traditional mold of a Richt-tailback. Unlike the more powerful Smith, Milton is a shifty, quick player with the ability to make plays in the passing game - much like former Richt protégés Warrick Dunn and Travis Minor.

Despite the plethora of returning talent, Georgia's offense will not be able to do much if the offensive line cannot gel quickly. The all-senior 2002 O-line combined for 144 career starts. All five players have since departed, and their replacements - Dennis Roland, Josh Brock, Russ Tanner, Bartley Miller, and Max-Jean Gilles, all sophomores - have a combined four starts, three by Brock. The group averages 6-4, 306 pounds and does have plenty of potential. They also have three seasons of eligibility in which to develop that potential together. However, the absence of an experienced player means that veteran defensive fronts may give the line problems. The line's inexperience will also make it harder on Milton, who does not have the build to break tackles in the backfield. Key will be the TE and FB. Either/both could provide that extra blocking or ball handling when needed.


WR Fred Gibson


Returning Starters in bold
QB David Greene-Jr (6-3, 230) D.J. Shockley-So (6-1, 195)
FB Jeremy Thomas-So (5-11, 258) Chris Hickman-Fr (5-11, 248)
TB Tony Milton-So (5-10, 200) Michael Cooper-Fr (5-11, 223)
WR Michael Johnson-Sr (6-3, 220) Reggie Brown-Jr (6-1, 195)
WR Fred Gibson-Jr (6-4, 196) Damien Gary-Sr (5-10, 178)
TE Ben Watson-Sr (6-3, 255) Martrez Milner-Fr (6-4, 255)
OT Daniel Inman-Fr (6-7, 315) Dennis Roland-So (6-9, 309)
OG Josh Brock-So (6-3, 295) Ryan Schnetzer-So (6-3, 296)
C Russ Tanner-So (6-4, 290) ..
OG Bartley Miller-So (6-4, 304) Reggie Weeks-So (6-4, 295)
OT Max Jean-Gilles-So (6-4, 348) Jake Hooten-Jr (6-4, 322)
K Billy Bennett-Sr (5-8, 175) Gordon Ely-Kelso-Fr (6-2, 212)



written by Collin Mickle

The Georgia defense was the team's strong suit in 2002. The unit, which finished first in the SEC in scoring defense and fourth in total defense, lost only four starters, and returned several outstanding players, including junior defensive end David Pollack, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

Pollack will look to turn in another superlative season after a breakout 2002. In his first year as a starter, the former fullback had 102 tackles and 14 sacks, forcing teams to change their game plans to account for him. Also returning on the defensive front are end Will Thompson and hole-clogging NT Ken Veal, a 311-pounder who excels at taking on blockers and freeing Georgia's linebackers to make plays.

The only newcomer to the starting lineup up front will be sophomore tackle Kedric Golston, who played both interior positions as a reserve. Golston was one of the nation's top freshman defensive linemen. He will have to pick up his game, however, in order to make up the loss of Sullivan's 18.5 stops-for-loss.

Georgia does return its entire defensive backfield. In 2002, pass defense was their weakest area as they finished ranked ninth in the conference. But, like many great run-stopping teams, passing was their opponents' only vestige. Senior cornerbacks Decory Bryant and Bruce Thornton combined for just three interceptions in 2002, but the numbers are misleading - opponents averaged just a single passing touchdown per game. Thornton and Bryant's talents also allowed defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder to play his safeties closer to the line of scrimmage in run support. Thanks to that strategy, safety Sean Jones recorded 91 stops in 2002. Senior rover Kentrell Curry also plays well against the run. Curry is also the segment's biggest ball-hawk. The secondary did improve markedly in the team's final three games, picking off four passes and holding Georgia Tech, Arkansas, and Florida State to an average of just 147.6 yards through the air. Finishing 34th ranked in all I-A for pass efficiency defense is something on which to hang their hats, regardless. They will obviously only get better.

First-team All-SEC defensive tackle Jonathan Sullivan and linebacker Chris Clemons declared for the NFL draft, forcing Brian VanGorder to replace four starters instead of two. Their departure also call into question Georgia's ability to stay strong on defense to make up for the expected early struggles on offense.

With Sullivan's departure, all three starting linebackers from 2002 are gone. Sophomore Thomas Davis, who started games at safety and linebacker in 2002, will have the task of replacing playmaking all-conference strong side 'backer Boss Bailey, who led the team in tackles. Davis is a versatile player with good speed who may be slightly undersized for a career on the strong side. Time will tell. He is an excellent blitzer, recording two sacks against FSU in the Sugar Bowl. Sophomore MLB Derrick White played in all 14 games as a reserve, but finished with just 19 tackles on the season. Sophomore Tony Taylor will take over Clemons' weak side linebacker position.

This middle layer of defense is evidently key - LB corps can make or break the entire effort on this side of the ball. The other defensive parts are too strong to be the source of any problems that may occur. They represent the same vital role on D as the O-line does for their half - most 2003 shortcomings will be easily traced back to them as a source.


DE David Pollack


Returning Starters in bold
DE Will Thompson-Jr (6-3, 240) Robert Geathers-Jr (6-3, 270)
NT Kedric Golston-So (6-4, 295) Ken Veal-Sr (6-1, 305)
DT Darrius Swain-So (6-2, 325) Gerald Anderson-So (6-2, 325)
DE David Pollack-Jr (6-3, 278) Marcus Jackson-Fr (6-2, 255)
SLB Thomas Davis-So (6-1, 220) Arnold Harrison-Jr (6-3, 224)
MLB Odell Thurman-So (6-1, 225) Derrick White-So (6-2, 223)
WLB Tony Taylor-So (6-1, 220) Derrick Holloway-Jr (6-4, 228)
CB Decory Bryant-Sr (5-11, 195) DeMario Minter-So (6-0, 185)
CB Bruce Thornton-Sr (5-10, 195) Tim Jennings-So (5-8, 164)
ROV Kentrell Curry-Sr (6-1, 198) Greg Blue-So (6-2, 200)
FS Sean Jones-Jr (6-2, 212) Olaolu Sanni-Osomo-Fr (6-1, 195)
P Gordon Ely-Kelso-Fr (6-2, 212) Lee Jackson-Fr (5-9, 181)




Placekicker Billy Bennett was Georgia's ninth All-SEC selection, voted onto the first team after setting a conference scoring record for kickers with 130 points. The total was the second-most in SEC history, behind former Alabama running back Shaun Alexander, who scored 144 points in 1999. Bennett returns for his senior season with 278 career points - 75 points shy of Kevin Butler's school record 353.

Punter Jonathan Kilgo, a three-year starter, exhausted his eligibility. His replacement, sophomore Lee Jackson, has not attempted a punt in his Georgia career.

Damien Gary is likely to be back as the top punt returner. Fred Gibson will be the incumbent kickoff returner, but they might make him yield his job so he can save his energy for offense. Georgia's coverage teams were solid, allowing 18.3 yards per kickoff return. Net punting could improve, but with a new foot in the mix, the coverage here has their work cut out for field-position needs.


Suspensions, suspensions, suspensions...
The suspensions involving nine players, who were declared ineligible for selling championship merchandise, have been cleared with the NCAA. All players are now active and ready to start the fall campaign.

Other suspensions for unrelated infractions are still in tact:
RB Tyson Brown - 3 games
WR Mario Raley - 2 games
CB Tim Jennings - 2 games
CB DeMario Minter - 2 games
FB Chris Hickman - 1 game
LB Jemario Smith - 1 game
CB B.J. Fields - 1 game

The opening road game at Clemson on Labor Day weekend is shaping up as a battle of attrition for the Dawgs.

The Georgia O-line was afflicted by injuries, as nearly every game-tested O-lineman was sidelined. Some foresee new freshman or sophomores earning the vacated spots…RB Michael Cooper has threatened to transfer if he does not see bountiful game time. Currently, Milton and Tyson Browning are 1 and 2 (respectively) on the chart, but Browning will miss the first three games of the season with a suspension for violating team rules… A WR to catch people's eyes this year is Cedric Haywood. He reminds me of a (faster) Reidel Anthony type who can make things happen before, during and after the catch. The school announced Wednesday that Randall Swoopes, who was a strong candidate to win a starting job at center, will transfer to Georgia Military College "by mutual agreement.'' According to the release, Swoopes may be allowed to return to Georgia after next season.

The secondary could be missing as many as six DBs at season's start due to the above mentioned rules violations and suspensions…Mark Richt said David Pollack has completely dominated every practice. "It seems like he can whip anybody we got on any down", Richt says. He should be set for another monster year, probably his last…DT Ken Veal had a very good spring, disrupting the middle of the field and shackling anything that came his way… MLB Odell Thurman has been a defensive stalwart, and will give the 'Dawgs a solid MLB and should be the team's defensive MVP this season- he is that good…