QB David Greene (PHOTO CREDIT - Dale Zanine)

2003 Statistics

Coach: Mark Richt
32-8, 3 years
2003 Record: 11-3
at Clemson WON 30-0
at Louisiana State LOST 10-17
at Tennessee WON 41-14
at Vanderbilt WON 27-8
UAB WON 16-13
Florida LOST 13-16
at Georgia Tech WON 34-17
vs. Louisiana State LOST 13-34
Purdue WON 34-27

2003 Final Rankings
AP-7, Coaches-6, BCS-12

2004 Outlook

If it weren't for LSU, maybe the Bulldogs and not the Tigers would have been hoisting the Sears trophy. As it stands, Georgia has the talent and the drive, led by seniors Greene and Pollack, to bring the SEC Championship back from Baton Rouge. Accomplish that and an Orange Bowl invitation won't be far off. The motivation from the two LSU losses should help when they get the Tigers between the hedges in October. That gives the secondary a month to find its playmakers and the O-line time to prove that a marginally rocky year's experience has paid off. Greene is smart enough that he won't require a long time in the pocket to read blitzes and find the open man. With a healthy backfield and Gibson out to prove he's back to form, the offense will not be shut down. The best hope for the opposition will be to outscore them, a mission impossible for all but the most poised offenses that can expose holes in the secondary and in the middle of the line, a daunting task at least. If the tackles plug their gaps, the defense will again be top-five in every major statistical category. Posting 23 scoreless quarters was a staggering accomplishment, though to put it in perspective, the Bulldogs gave up almost twice as many points in the second half as in the first. Considering Georgia was rarely coasting to blowouts with third-stringers, this is a bad omen for a team that would've been undefeated in the regular season had they not allowed two last minute game-winning drives. Returning 16 starters and depth at almost every position ensure that, if the Dawgs stay healthy, (and that's a big if,) they will play better down the stretch in big games and be among the frontrunners for not only an SEC title, but a national championship.

When a team plays in a conference championship game for the second straight season and only starts four seniors, there is inevitably a lot to be excited about for Bulldog fans. Complacency becomes the biggest concern for coach Mark Richt entering spring practice, but having been part of the 90's dynasty at Florida State, Richt won't let either his players or his staff settle for a ho-hum 11 win season. Georgia has all the tools in place to improve; but when your last two seasons have ended with a top six finish and back-to-back SEC East titles, improvement requires breaking through for a championship season.

Projected 2004 record: 9-2
QB - 4.5 DL - 4.5
RB - 3 LB - 4.5
WR - 4 DB - 4
OL - 4 ..

Passing: David Greene, 438-264-11, 3307 yds., 13 TD

Rushing: Michael Cooper, 156 att., 673 yds., 6 TD

Receiving: Reggie Brown, 49 rec., 662 yds., 3 TD

Scoring: Kregg Lumpkin, 7 TD’s, 42 pts.

Punting: Gordon Ely-Kelso, 66 punts, 39.0 avg.

Kicking: None

Tackles: Thomas Davis, 139 tot., 89 solo, 8 TFL

Sacks: David Pollack, 7.5 sacks

Interceptions: Odell Thurman, 2 for 125 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Tyson Browning, 9 ret., 15.9 avg.

Punt Returns: Bryan McClendon, 1 ret., 11 yds.


LB Odell Thurman (PHOTO CREDIT - Jimmy Cribb)

The Red team defeated the White team 21-0 in front of perhaps one of the largest attended spring games in recent memory. Wide Receiver Fred Gibson led all receivers with two touchdown catches. David Greene landed two touchdown passes for 131 yards while Tommy Wilson also connected for 51 yards and a touchdown on 2-of-3 passing for the Red Team. The game remained scoreless after the first half, but the Red Team posted the first points of the afternoon at 5:26 in the third quarter when Wilson connected with Gibson on a 47- yard touchdown pass. Redshirt freshman Brandon Coutu connected on the first of his two successful point-after attempts. On their next possession, the Red Team scored on a 64-yard pass play with Greene finding Gibson in the end zone with 1:39 remaining in the third quarter. The Red Team's final scoring drive came with 5:27 remaining in the ball game when Greene connected with Bryan McClendon for a 9-yard touchdown reception and 21-0 advantage. Freshman quarterback Blake Barnes was 6 for 6 passing for 36 yards in his debut for fans in attendance.


D. Greene, 11-13, 131 yds., 2 TD
B. Barnes, 6-6, 36 yds.
J. Tereshinski, 5-17, 43 yds.


D. Ware - 43 yds.
K. Lumpkin - 38 yds.


F. Gibson, 5 rec., 129 yds., 2 TD
AJ Bryant, 3 rec., 22 yds.


T. Battle - 7 total

OFFENSE: Michael Johnson-WR, Ben Watson-TE, Robert Brannon-TE, Damien Gary-WR, Billy Bennett-K
DEFENSE: Ken Veal-NT, Bruce Thornton-CB, Decory Bryant-CB, Robert Geathers-DE (NFL), Sean Jones-ROV (NFL)

The hype around D.J. Shockley dissipated after his season-ending knee injury returned job security to fifth-year senior David Greene. With any controversy quelled, Greene responded by matching a school record 176 pass attempts without an interception and finishing second in the SEC in total offense, despite an injury-plagued supporting cast. Having 40 career starts under his belt makes Greene as much a "sure thing" as any QB in the nation, boosting him near the top of pre-season Heisman lists. Greene's maturity guarantees he will protect/respect the football, especially in crunch time (as he has only 11 second-half turnovers for his career). The one worry are Greene's statistical drop-offs (more INTs, less TDs) from his sophomore to his junior campaign, in part because of his young O-Line, but also resulting from too many passes sailing high on his receivers. If his Outback Bowl MVP performance is any indication, Greene will be back to form and will be a nightmare for defenses on third down. Pending Shockley's rehab, he is the back-up; though, any complications opens the door for RS sophomore Joe Tereshinski or super-prep A.J. Bryant and his astounding 4.3/40 speed. This position is perhaps the strongest, up and down, of any I-A team.

Running Back
Going an entire season without a back breaking the century mark for the first time in over 30 years was less a cause for concern and more a current illustration of the balance and depth in the Bulldog backfield. While Richt might hope for a star to emerge this spring, more likely three and even four backs will share the workload, led by RS sophomore Michael Cooper. Cooper is a balanced "tweener," lacking the raw size of powerful sophomore Kregg Lumpkin or the elusiveness of smallish scatback Tyson Browning. Tony Milton actually topped the depth chart before a leg injury sidelined him for the season and should return to the mix depending on his health.
Former walk-on Jeremy Thomas returns at FB, though, expect more two TB sets so as to get all of their talent on the field. Blocking and pass-catching will decide playing time among the bunch, but, either way, Georgia will offer a host of different looks to opposing defenses.

Wide Receiver
Injuries decimated what could have been the Bulldogs' strength, and now, with the departures of Damien Gary and Michael Johnson, senior FL Fred Gibson must stay healthy to give Greene an early go-to target. Even with his bad finger and a nagging hamstring, down the stretch Gibson showed flashes of the brilliance that had him toying with an early NFL departure. His size and speed give him the versatility to run any route, and he should eclipse his three TD grabs. Senior SE Reggie Brown starred in the Outback Bowl and is the speedster to stretch defenses, allowing Gibson and sizeable sophomore Sean Bailey to work underneath. Juniors Bryan McClendon and Mario Raley add depth and athleticism, but little experience. With a pistol like Greene, or with any of the QBs for that matter, both newbies are poised and should eventually emerge to give the air game its needed dimensions for the ladder part of the Dogs' campaign.

Offensive Line and Tight End
Most teams would be drooling to have all five starters back on the O-line, unless of course that group was the weakest unit on the team. Not to say that with overwhelming potential and a few hard knocks, the group won't gel into one of the better units in the SEC. Still, after watching Greene hurried on practically every play in losses to Florida and LSU, the now-junior-laden line must mature quickly to at least slow down the pass rush (47 sacks allowed).

With guards Josh Brock and Reggie Weeks already sidelined and a potential shoulder surgery on the way for Bartley Miller, the unit might not be on the field together and healthy until late August. Fortunately, the Bulldogs return lettermen to back-up every position so depth won't be a problem. 62 combined starts and the experience of an SEC title game in every season guarantees this group increases its 3.4 yards per carry season average by at least half a yard. Being embarrassed constantly motivates most of us to somehow change. This unit will have to be just that, a group; however, if you're looking for potential stars, watch monster tackles Max Jean-Gilles (6'4", 365) and Daniel Inman. Big target Leonard Pope (6'7") and converted wideout Martrez Milner look to fill long-time starter Ben Watson's highly-utilized role at TE.

Georgia's offense will bag its play-not-to-lose mantra in exchange for a more balanced and wide-open attack. Few quarterbacks loft the deep ball with the touch of Greene, and so, considering Gibson's leaping ability, a big play will never be far away. Expect the offensive-minded Richt to frequently cycle fresh legs into the backfield. This is to dually establish a more dominant ground game and to utilize the option of throwing to backs (like Browning) in the flat. The big question marks are health and the O-Line. Odds are that Sanford Stadium will not resemble the infirmary it became, and that all-important big-game experience will translate into a solid, if not dominant line. If this is the case, the Dawgs will control the clock on the ground while providing time for Greene to hit the deep routes via well-set up play-action. Richt should be giddy with this many toys at his disposal, and the indecision defenses will encounter if he plays with them wisely.


OT Max Jean-Gilles (PHOTO CREDIT - Dale Zanine)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB David Greene-Sr (6-3, 230) D.J. Shockley-Jr (6-1, 194)
FB Jeremy Thomas-Sr (5-11, 238) Des Williams-So (6-1, 245)
TB Michael Cooper-So (5-11, 215) Kregg Lumpkin-So (6-1, 211)
Tony Milton-Jr (5-11, 200)
WR Reggie Brown-Sr (6-1, 195) Bryan McClendon-Jr (5-11, 180)
WR Fred Gibson-Sr (6-4, 196) Sean Bailey-So (6-1, 170)
TE Martrez Milner-So (6-4, 249) Leonard Pope-So (6-7, 250)
OT Daniel Inman-So (6-7, 321) Dennis Roland-Jr (6-9, 317)
OG Josh Brock-Jr (6-3, 284) Nick Jones-So (6-3, 272)
C Russ Tanner-Jr (6-4, 290) Randall Swoopes-So (6-2, 300)
OG Bartley Miller-Jr (6-4, 301) Fernando Velasco-So (6-4, 327)
Darrius Swain-Jr (6-2, 318)
OT Max Jean-Gilles-Jr (6-4, 340) James Lee-Fr (6-5, 280)
K Andy Bailey-Fr (6-2, 214) ..
Martrez Milner....Mar-TREZ
Max Jean-Gilles....Jean-GIL-is
Fernanco Velasco....vel-AS-ko
Darrius Swain....DARE-i-us



Defensive Line
Georgia lost one DE early to the NFL Draft, just not the one everyone expected. While Robert Geathers will be missed on one side, the return of senior David Pollack alone boosts Georgia's line into the elite of the SEC. While the Lombardi Award finalist's sacks were down to 3.5, Pollack fought through enough double-teams to still lead the Bulldogs with 32 hurries. The attention thrown his way opens gaps for the trio of run-stopping junior tackles, of whom the starters average 6'4", 317. Kedric Golston has the most starts and will fight to be the centerpiece if he is 100%. Senior Will Thompson will likewise need to recover from injury after missing all of 2003; if healthy, along with sophomore DE Quentin Moses, they form a pair of 235lb athletes who will shut down the corner (and anything outside) opposite Pollack. In case August practices weren't going to be heated enough, enter two of the nations' top DE recruits in Brandon Miller and Charles Johnson to round out such a deep line that a few position switches may be necessary for all the talent to be optimally utilized.

After losing all three starters to the NFL in '03, the Bulldogs will enjoy the opposite end of the spectrum with senior Arnold Harrison and juniors Odell Thurman and Tony Taylor, all back from starting almost every game. This least-publicized Bulldog unit nevertheless accounted for over 250 tackles and solidified the middle of the nation's second best scoring defense in their first year on the job. Thurman can fly around the field and posted double-digit tackle games in seven of his last eight, as well as leading the team in TFLs (18.5). He should be somewhere on most preseason All-American lists. Taylor has the size and speed of a safety. His coverage ability is the perfect complement to Thurman's ball-hawking. The underrated Harrison makes up for a relative lack of speed with frightening strength and will intimidate receivers over the middle. Danny Verdun-Wheeler is a star-in-waiting behind this talented group whose game experience will translate into reading plays quickly and wreaking havoc in opposing backfields. Underneath routes and big plays will be few and fewer, respectively.

Defensive Back
Decimated may be too dramatic a word to describe the Bulldogs' secondary. However, losing a pair of senior corners, coupled with the early departure of born-with-a-sixth-sense-for-the-ball rover Sean Jones to the NFL, signals a rough transition period ahead. Junior safeties Thomas Davis and Greg Blue have their work cut out if they are to fill Jones' role as the takeaway magnet and ultimately lead the Bulldogs back to the top of the SEC in turnover margin. Count on Davis to be the difference-maker after leading the team with 138 stops. The former linebacker already has a reputation as one of the biggest hitters in the SEC and has Jones' penchant for the big play (blocked FG, INT, two FFs, TD return). Blue and CB Tim Jennings gained valuable experience unfortunately thanks to late-season injuries to starters. But with a wide-open battle at the other corner, there are question marks everywhere. While some of the aggressiveness may be gone, expect the Bulldogs to still play press coverage, relying on the presence of a dominant front-seven to compensate for the inexperience behind them.

Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder knows his secondary will be a relative weak spot. Getting pressure from a defensive line without having to blitz will key the Bulldogs' defensive schemes. Having Thurman free to roam the middle will disrupt opposing running games, though matching the scant four rushing TDs allowed might be a stretch. Teams will have to attack them vertically, allowing Pollack and company to tee off and double their 18 sacks. As scary as it sounds, everything is in place for this defense to be improved, assuming a shut-down corner emerges and takeaways remain the defense's calling card. Early foes have to strike hard and heavy, before this crew solidifies and again dominates with confidence and swagger.


DE David Pollack (PHOTO CREDIT - Dale Zanine)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Will Thompson-Sr (6-3, 240) Quentin Moses-So (6-5, 249)
NT Gerald Anderson-Jr (6-2, 318) Darrell Holmes-Jr (6-2, 280)
DT Kedric Golston-Jr (6-4, 300) Ray Gant-So (6-2, 268)
DE David Pollack-Sr (6-3, 276) Marcus Jackson-So (6-2, 261)
SLB Arnold Harrison-Sr (6-3, 225) Danny Verdun Wheeler-So (6-2, 235)
MLB Odell Thurman-Jr (6-1, 230) Jarvis Jackson-So (6-2, 208)
WLB Derrick White-Jr (6-2, 233) Tony Taylor-Jr (injured - out for season)
CB DeMario Minter-Jr (6-0, 185) Thomas Flowers-Fr (5-10, 183)
CB Tim Jennings-Jr (5-8, 172) Mike Gilliam-Jr (5-7, 180)
ROV Greg Blue-Jr (6-2, 208) Tra Battle-So (5-11, 170)
FS Thomas Davis-Jr (6-1, 220) Olaolu Sanni-Osomo-So (6-1, 211)
P Gordon Ely-Kelso-So (6-2, 227) Lee Jackson-Jr (5-9, 179)
Kedric Golston....KED-drick
David Pollack....PAH-luck
DeMario Minter....De-MAR-io
Gordon Ely-Kelso....EE-lee KEL-so
Danny Verdun Wheeler....Ver-DONE
Tra Battle....Tray
Olaolu Sanni-Osomo....
Oh-LAH-loo SAH-nee Oh-SO-mo




Gone is the record-setting leg of Billy Bennett whose NCAA career FG mark of 83 becomes the target of his heir apparent, sophomore Andy Bailey. The scholarship kicker gave Bennett a run for his money last spring and has all the physical tools. But his lack of game experience means he will have to earn Richt's trust on the job. Expect more pooch punts and fourth down calls early on.

If only a kicker could emerge as quickly as redshirt sophomore Gordon Ely-Kelso did. After leading the SEC with 31% of his punts inside the 20 and ten over 50yds, Ely-Kelso's job is secure. He will be one of the best in the SEC and will look even better if the Bulldogs' punt coverage is once again well coached.

Return Game
As at kicker, the Dawgs lose a record-setting special teamer. Punt returner Damian Gary's departure will most likely give every speedster a shot at replacing him during the spring. Tyson Browning and Kregg Lumpkin provide the same one-two punch on kickoff returns as in the backfield and could pull double-duty on punts. This area is ostensibly a "work in progress" until fall, or beyond. The Bulldogs' version of Beamer-ball has produced 16 blocked kicks under Richt, but Thomas Davis must again fill Sean Jones' three-block void, this time as the leaper behind the line, if that trend is to continue. Mark our words - Georgia will win a game or two with their (truly) special teams.



David Green was declared the team's Offensive MVP this spring…Backup DJ Shockley did not participate in contact drills or live situations so it may be difficult to gauge how far he has matured. Staying healthy is the main concern as Shockey is the likely 2005 starter. That goal was accomplished. Scouting reports say Shockey's touch on the ball has really improved and the light appeared to finally come on…Kregg Lumpkins has solidified the starting TB spot and has shown why he is capable of revamping the Bulldog rushing attack. However, backfield backups Michael Cooper, Tony Milton and Albert Hollis have all been recovering from injuries and did not see much action. Freshman Danny Ware has moved into the #2 spot for now with the injuries and led all rushers in the spring game…The returning starter at fullback, Jeremy Thomas, has been suspended for the first two games of the season for unspecified reasons. Des Williams will start in his place, but is not quite ready to be a fulltime starter...FL Fred Gibson appears to be fully recovered from the nicks and bruises that nagged him all through the 2003 season. Gibson had very little difficulty blowing past UGA spring coverage…A.J. Bryant has been moved from QB to WR and made enough of an impression to make the move permanent. Bryant was voted the team's biggest offensive surprise of the spring…While OT Max Jean-Gilles has been getting some preseason consideration for All-American status on the outside, he has worked a decent amount at guard this spring, too. With the steady improvement of his tackles (Dennis Roland, Daniel Inman and Ken Shackleford), Mark Richt has come out and said if the starters were listed only a day after the spring game, Jean-Gilles would be at guard.


Starting LB Tony Taylor will miss the 2004 season after tearing a ligament in his knee during the spring game. Losing Taylor is a serious blow to the Dawg defense after he started in 12 games last season and finished with 82 tackles…In a related matter, Jamario Smith, who played in nine '03 games at FB, has been moved to linebacker. He missed much of spring due to injury…Junior Greg Blue is considered by many to be the team's biggest hitter…Coaches have also been singing the praises of freshman CB Paul Oliver.


In the kicking competition prior to the spring game, Brandon Coutu beat out Andy Bailey 5-4. Don't look for the kicking duties to be settled until possibly the last scrimmage before the September 4th opener.

WR - A.J. Bryant
DB - Drew Williams