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Meet Joe Cox: Georgia quarterback

JOHN HELSLEY Modified: August 25, 2009 at 1:11 pm •  Published: August 25, 2009

photo - Georgia quarterback Joe Cox takes over for Matthew Stafford, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.  (AP Photo)
Georgia quarterback Joe Cox takes over for Matthew Stafford, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. (AP Photo)
So, Cowboys fans, feeling good about Georgia’s loss of quarterback Matthew Stafford to the NFL?

Finding comfort in the fact that his replacement is Joe Cox, a fifth-year, career backup?

Don’t get too comfortable.

Remember, Mark Sanchez parlayed his one year running the Southern Cal offense into the No. 5 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Closer to home, Texas Tech’s trio of one-year wonders – Cody Hodges, Sonny Cumbie and B.J. Symons – all took turns leading the Big 12 in passing earlier this decade.

And there’s D.J. Shockley, who spun his one turn as the Georgia quarterback into the 2005 SEC championship.

Could Cox become a similar single-season sensation, with a breakout planned in the season opener against Oklahoma State on Sept. 5 in Stillwater?

"I don’t know the critiques he’s being given by the commentators or the scouting reports,” said Bulldogs left tackle Trinton Sturdivant, "but when we look at him, we look at a ball player.

"And when we look at him, we’re ready to play.”

OK, so Cox is not Stafford, the No. 1 overall pick in last spring’s NFL Draft. And at 6-foot-1, 198 pounds, he’s not particularly imposing.

Neither are Cox’s career stats: 58 pass attempts, 33 completions, 432 yards, five touchdowns. In the Big 12, that’s a good day.

Still, it may be dangerous to assume a significant dropoff from Stafford to Cox.

"I don’t know about a huge dropoff, but it’s going to be hard to fill those shoes,” said Cowboys linebacker Patrick Lavine, almost salivating at the thought. "There’s a good reason Stafford was the No. 1 pick in the draft.

"I still consider (Cox) a rookie quarterback. There’s nothing like starting off behind center. It’s a totally new experience. I’m glad. I’m ready.”

Cox can claim one career start, a win over Ole Miss, although that was three years ago as a redshirt freshman. His greatest moments as a Bulldog also came that year, when he stepped off the bench to lead a 14-13 rally past Colorado, throwing two late touchdown passes.

Otherwise, he’s handled mostly mop-up duty behind Stafford.

From that, however, there’s also something the Dawgs are drawing from.

In last season’s lopsided loss to Florida, with Georgia trailing by 46 points, Cox was thrown into the fray late.