It is quite understandable that the narrative surrounding the Georgia Bulldogs, both from within and without, is so focused on "what could have been." Being stopped five yards shy of a ticket to Miami and watching a rare confluence of defensive talent get consistently overpowered are two things that are hard to either ignore or forget.
But Spring is in the air and that means Spring football, and that means hope. Hope that when a new team loaded with fresh faces takes that field in August it's that beginning of a new era of SEC dominance and national relevance for the Georgia Bulldogs. And for me, that hope breeds frequent musing and many hypotheticals. So here are some of the less likely outcomes I have cooked up since national signing day, in order of increasing unlikelyhood.
5. Ryne Rankin takes the reins at inside linebacker.
Rankin isn't a freak athlete, but he is the son of a coach and knows what it takes to succeed. Being an early-early enrollee will do wonders for the prospect from Orlando; having gotten on campus early enough to participate in bowl practices alongside Jarvis and 'Tree
and John Jenkins is an experiences that is invaluable. It isn't just that he has already been in the weight room and playbook for two months already, but has already been in his first fight and gotten some tutelage for Sacman himself. I am boldly predicting that Rankin capitalizes on every opportunity and earns the starting spot beside Herrera at the start of the season.
4. Davin Bellamy is a special teams stud, taking the "foot" out of the opposing football team.
Davin forgoes his year of redshirt eligibility to be a stud on special teams. He is a team player and has the raw athletic ability to be Dekalb player of the week in basketball. Coming off the edge, Davin's long 6'5" frame paired with a quick first step and closing speed could make for an absolute weapon blocking kicks. I am being bold and predicting at least 2 blocked field goals, 2 blocked punts, and he blocks the opening kickoff of the second half in Jacksonville.
3. The Bulldogs are well represented in New York come December.
It is no secret that Aaron Murray is coming back, with the aim to shatter some records, hopefully win a championship, and be a serious Heisman contender. And the with boon of the ailing, imaginary Erin Murphy the fifth year senior is a favorite to earn a ticket to New York. There is also the strong possibility that either Gur or Shall of Gurshall fame snaps off a season for the ages between the hedges and earns a spot as well. The darkhorse to land a Heisman finalist bid is Jordan Jenkins, the outstanding backup to Jarvis last year had a season that was statistically comparable to Manti Teo. JJ2.0 has all of the physical tools to be the playmaker that the original JJ was for the Bulldogs last season, the question is seeing if Jenkins can be as clutch as Jarvis and make the huge plays and hard hits that Jones just seem to have a knack for at the right time. I am boldly predicting that at least two Athenians get invites to New York as Heisman finalists.
2. The duo of Faton and Marshall shine.
We all know that bringing in an athletic back up quarterback to create a change of pace for the offense can have a huge impact. Geez, I'm sorry, here. Ok anyway, I think that Bobo will be creative and utilize the incredible talent of Faton Bauta. (Credit: Chuckdawg) In the model of the above pictured Tebow's 2006 freshman season, Tim had somewhere around 110 offensive snaps. Now it might seem like apples and oranges, because Tebow was taking snaps in place of Chris Leak and not a player of the caliber of Murray. But I believe that there are several advantages to giving Faton some reps. It will keep opposing defenses guessing and making the difficult job of preparing for the offensive attack of the 2013 Georgia Bulldogs that much harder. It will utilize Faton's skill as a thrower and runner (Tebow had 5.3 yards per carry and 8 TDs as a direct snap fullback). And Keith Marshall would be vicious as the runner in a pistol formation. Say 75 plays are ran for Bauta and Marshall in the pistol. 30 are given to Marshall and he runs for an average of 9.3 yards per pistol carry, making for 279 yards. Bauta runs on 35 pistol plays, averaging 5.9 yards per play, making for 206 yards. On the remaining 15 pulls Bauta pulls back to thrown, he connects on 9, and based on the big play potential of such throws he averages 29.9 yards per attempt, gaining 149.5 yards. That would make for a grand total 634.5 on 75 snaps. And 7 touchdowns, just cuz. I boldly predict that Faton and Marshall will be a legitimate part of the offense.
1. Gurley goes off against the Tigers-es, earning a solo nick name.
Todd Gurley will be dubbed "Tigga Trigga" after four showings against the various Tigers next season, all of which will be "murderous". The Clemson Tigers' defense has experience in a speedy back, having practiced against the recently departed Andre Ellington for three years, but are unprepared for the power Gurley brings in combination with speed. The Tigers are amped up for the start of the new season in their building, but Gurley takes the wind from their sail with multiple 50 yeard runs. Murdered Tiger count: 1. The bayou variety of big cat comes to Athens, and are unprepared for the rage building in Todd's heart when he smells tiger between the hedges and goes for 150+ and two touchdowns on a regressed but still substantial defense. Murdered Tiger count: 2. The Tigers of Missouri are first time visitors to Athens, and Gurley returns the opening kickoff to the house as a warming present, setting the tone for a day of domination. Murdered Tiger count: 3. The legacy of Tigga Trigga is sealed on the plains when Gurley goes for 200+ in two and a half quarters in south Alabama. Murdered Tiger count: 4. I am boldly predicting the Gurley for 850 total yards and 8 total touchdowns against the Tigerses.