Bulldogs face toughest opener under Richt

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

As Georgia gets set for what Mark Richt said Tuesday would be its toughest opener since he took the job in 2001, here are a few nuggets heading into Saturday’s trip to Oklahoma State:

  • Richt doesn’t sound worried about the leadership on this team. “I’m just anxious to see if our leadership is as good as I think it is when adversity hits in a game,” he said.

  • The Bulldogs have been extremely pleased with their top two defensive ends, Roderick Battle and Demarcus Dobbs. Richt said Dobbs is in the best shape of his career and has practiced very well this preseason. As for what’s behind Battle and Dobbs at defensive end, Richt said, “There are a bunch of young guys trying to prove they can get it done.”

  • Richt pointed out that for all the talk you hear about teams wanting to be balanced that Oklahoma State is the essence of balance offensively. The Cowboys were the only team in the country last season to average 240 yards rushing per game and 240 yards passing per game.

  • Even though fifth-year senior Joe Cox is going into his first season as the starting quarterback, Richt said the Bulldogs won’t hold anything back. “The good thing with Joe is that he knows the system, and we don’t have to sugarcoat anything we do with him. We might do what he does best, but we can do everything we want to with him schematically.”

  • Look for a handful of freshmen to play big roles in the passing game. Marlon Brown is listed No. 3 at split end behind Michael Moore and Tavarres King, but could be the third receiver on the field when the Bulldogs go to a three-receiver set. Orson Charles and Arthur Lynch are both in the rotation at tight end. Cox said the Bulldogs would use their tight ends a lot more than they have in the past.

  • There could be as many as 10 true freshmen who make the travel roster this weekend. On defense, cornerback Branden Smith will be one to watch. He’s running second team right now.