[GEORGIA WOMEN] Perhaps the biggest coaching move in the offseason was Patrick Baker's decision to quit at Georgia and Steve Holeman's move from SEC rival Mississippi to replace Baker in Athens. Holeman has his work cut out, but with a new formation and hard work he hopes the Bulldogs will finally achieve their goal of winning the SEC title.
Holeman introduced a 4-3-3 formation that he hopes will put more pressure on opponents, and he is demanding a high work rate.
"Our best 11 might not be someone else's best 11," he says, "but we're going to have players who compete. It might not necessarily be the 11 most talented, but those that work the hardest."
Georgia's 1-1 tie with Florida State in preseason play is evidence Holeman's approach is working.
Georgia lost Carrie Patterson, its all-time leader in goals (44) and points (111), but returns its next seven-highest point contributors from 2009.
The key for the Bulldogs could be the return of SEC Freshman of the Year Laura Eddy to her playmaking position after playing on the Bulldog backline last fall.
England U-23 goalie Ashley Baker will take over for three-year starting keeper Michelle Betos.
Last year's Georgia team reached the NCAA Tournament for a record third year in a row but fell to eventual national champion North Carolina in the second round. Holeman wants the Bulldogs to go deeper in the tournament.
"This team hasn't won the SEC championship yet," he said. "That's something we're certainly capable of. Other Georgia teams in other sports have won conference titles but women's soccer hasn't. First and foremost, we're playing for a conference title. We've been close. We've been to the tournament final twice and dropped close games. I want to take this team further than they've been before – I want to go back to the Sweet 16 and move towards playing in a Final Four and playing for a national championship."