That was the year that saw the losses of David Greene, David Pollack, Thomas Davis, Odell Thurman, Fred Gibson, and Reggie Brown—all would see time in the NFL.
The forecast for the 2005 season was conservative, but, no one expected Georgia to challenge for the SEC East. Why? Well, for one, the Florida Gators were returning a loaded team led by, talented junior quarterback, Chris Leak and Tennessee was expected to be quite good as well.
So, how close is 2009 to 2005? Let’s take a look, shall we?
In 2005, the sure-fire starter was D.J. Shockley. He had waited patiently and been loyal to the Georgia red and black, despite the fact that he could have bolted for another school and become a no-doubt starter.
Most fans felt pretty good about D.J. carrying the mantle because he would bring some mobility to the position which opened up the playbook a bit more and gave way to the possibility of a more explosive offense on the field.
That said, if D.J. were to be injured, we were in trouble.
Sitting behind him was Joe Tereshinski; a nice guy with a ton of pedigree behind his name, but, he should never have been a starter.
Fast forward to 2009..
Like Shockley, Joe Cox waited a long time for his chance to start at Georgia. He won’t bring the arm that Stafford had, but he will bring the leadership.
Further, something Shockley never had to be concerned with as the no. 1 guy was his position as the no. 1 guy. Joe T. was never a threat to unseat Shockley.
Cox, on the other hand will be looking over his shoulder a little bit as both Logan Gray and Aaron Murray will likely find a way onto the field this season.
2005 saw no quarterback depth but 2009 certainly has it in spades.
In 2005 the offensive line was going to be stellar, thanks in large part to the unexpected return of offensive guard, Max Jean-Gilles.
Add to that the solid play of Daniel Inman and Russ Tanner and D.J. had the benefit of a great line to offer him the protection he needed to get the job done.
Fast forward to 2009..
Joe Cox sees the best offensive line the Bulldogs have seen in years. There is depth, experience, and All-American talent from one end to the next.
The return of Trinton Sturdivant and the continued emergence of the versatile Clint Boling give Dawg fans confidence that Cox too will have the time needed to find the targets he’s searching for on the field.
Further, the incoming skill-level of freshmen Dallas Lee and Chris Burnette, promises little drop-off during o-line rotations.
2005 had Dawg fans holding their breath in hopes that we remained injury-free. 2009 offers a little breathing room.
In 2005 the running backs were led by the speedy, elusive, and always shifty Thomas Brown.
He was as good a pass-catcher as he was a runner and, once he got loose, he was hard to bring down.
It was often said that, pound for pound, he was the strongest man on the field. A beast, no-doubt.
Behind Brown were Danny Ware and Kregg Lumpkin. Both were bigger than Brown, but Ware had some issues with ball security and Lumpkin wasn’t long off an ACL injury.
Together the three had the potential to be great and supply the 1-2-3 punch the Dawgs would need to get the job done.
Fast Forward to 2009..
Again there is a three-headed monster, but none of the guys hoping to wear the crown this season have proven they can be reliable out of the backfield.
Caleb King is likely the starter but his play has been, largely, unimpressive thus far—both Carlton Thomas and Richard Samuel offer better options for a solid run game, but it’s clear that the run game will be a different animal this season.
2005 didn’t see a team trying to replace a superstar, 2009 does.
In 2005, the wide receivers were dealing with the loss of both Reggie Brown and Fred Gibson. Both were full-time starters for the Dawgs the season prior.
Hoping to replace them were Sean Bailey, Bryan McClendon, and A.J. Bryant—all had talent, but none offered the flash of Gibson or the solid play of Brown.
2009 sees the return of A.J. Green, one of the best receivers in the nation and second to no one in the SEC.
He will get extra attention this year, that’s for sure, but he will have the benefit of Michael Moore on the other side of the field.
Moore won’t be Massaquoia but he showed he has the ability to make the big play.
If he can’t fill the bill, the Dawgs need only look to 2009 signees Orson Lynch and Marlon Brown for the answer as both will bring speed and great hands to the receiving corps this season.
Also, if you are looking for a wild card, look no further than Branden Smith, a two-way player who is certain to see some time on the field this year because of his speed and vertical leaping ability.
In 2005, there was no depth at wide receiver, 2009 promises to be flush with talent, albeit unproven, at the position.
In 2005 the defensive line and the linebacking corps were solid. The line lost David Pollack but Quentin Moses promised to be an ample replacement for no. 47.
He would be aided by the play of defensive tackles Kedric Golston and Gerald Anderson; big fellas with a nasty streak.
The defensive line of 2009 is still searching for a playmaker at defensive end, at least for the first couple of games (Justin Houston is suspended for two games), but the defensive tackle position is set with Jeff Owens and Geno Atkins supplying one heckuva 1-2 punch from the interior.
Better still is the addition of Kwame Geathers, the 6’6″, 320 lbs. wunderkind who is quick enough to play on either side of the ball and promises to find his way into the rotation of the defensive line early this season.
The linebackers were good in 2005 with Tony Talyor and Danny Verdun-Wheeler leading the way for the Dawgs.
Rennie Curran is the 2009 team’s monster, he was all over the ball last season, and promises to do even more damage this season with a more stout defensive line leading the way.
2005 saw some special talent and solid production. 2009 sees potential but still needs some guys to step-up and make a legitimate contribution if the defense is to be successful.
The 2005 Bulldogs were thought to be an 8-3 team that had an outside shot at a low-end bowl appearance.
They went on to a 10-2 record and could have been, some say, 12-0 if not for close losses to both Florida (14-10) and Auburn (31-30) that year.
They played in the Sugar Bowl where they nearly survived an early blow-out by the West Virginia Mountaineers and D.J. Shockley left Georgia more beloved than ever.
2005 wound up being a very special season for a team that, not many, felt was able to mount a serious challenge in the SEC.
Fast Forward to 2009..
What will these Dawgs do? Can’t wait to find out.