No one should have any doubt in the ability of the Georgia offense. Easily one of the best in the nation they will have to lead this team to get marks in the W column. Last year the offense set records for points scored and yards gained and the funny thing is they might set new records in both categories this year. Virtually the entire offense is returning except for one wide receiver, Tavarres King. However, the team shouldn't be too worried about that because they have more than enough ample talent to step up in his place. But what really makes this offense run isn't the wide receivers anyways, it's the quarterback / tailback combo.
Quarterback Aaron Murray has already set the school record for touchdowns with 95. He also has 10,091 passing yards which currently has him second behind David Greene for a school and SEC record. He's only behind by 1,438, think he'll get that this year? The tailback tandem of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall serve the Georgia Bulldogs very well. Georgia ran the ball an average of 40 times a game last year, that is a huge number. Why would they run the ball so much as the game moves towards a more pass oriented style? Because Mark Richt understands that you play to your strengths and he has a system. When you run the ball well it opens up your passing game. Not only because the safeties get lazy and cheat up a little bit but also because there line beats up the defense which slows the pass rush. Gurley is a thick-legged runner who excels at getting north and south and pounding opposing defenses. He ran for 1,385 yards as a freshman. Only the great Herschel Walker can claim better numbers than that at Georgia. As a perfect complement to a bruising style they also have Marshall who excels at making plays on the edge. He is explosive and showed it by averaging 6.5 YPC last season, 15th in the nation.
Sometimes there is not much more you can do than just deal with some tough times and it looks like now may be that for the defense. Graduation and early departures to the NFL have hit this unit hard. One of the biggest concerns this team has will be replacing nose tackles John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers. Players like Thorton and Mayes can play the position well, but they won't give the team the same production. The defense likely won't win any awards this season but they do have two very promising players. First is Jenkins starting linebacker. He inherited the starting job due to the departure of Jarvis Jones. He's only a sophomore but he is already one of the top playmakers on this unit. The other is FS Troy Matthews. He enrolled early and participated in spring practices. He looked very impressive coming in as the No. 72 ranked prospect in the country. Many predict he'll step in as the starter on day one and perform well. He is more physically developed than most freshman which should help him hold up against bigger bodies.
There was a lot of NFL caliber talent on the defense last year, but their production level didn't really reflect that. Was it just one of those years or is the coaching not getting the most out of the talent they have available? This defense needs to just be able to hold its own and the offense can win any game on any Saturday. They definitely have a chance to beat Alabama should they meet in the SEC Championship game. The first two games against Clemson and South Carolina will go a long way into providing insight in to how this team will perform down the stretch.