College Football Preview: The 2014 Georgia Bulldogs
2014 College Football Preview
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Overview: The Georgia Bulldogs finished with a subpar 8-5 record and lost their bowl game for the third time in four years. Georgia still has issues in winning the big games, as it lost three of its five matchups against ranked opponents. However, last season was a year that included tons of injuries and suspensions for Georgia. If it wasn’t defensive backs missing time due to off-the-field issues, Georgia’s star running back and wide receiver were injured and missed a chunk of the season. The Bulldogs are hoping for improvement this year.
Offense: Even with quarterback Aaron Murray gone, everybody knows this offense runs through running back Todd Gurley. Easily the best running back in the country, Gurley still rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns despite missing three games. A heavy dose of Gurley and sidekick Keith Marshall is going to keep Georgia’s offense afloat this season. At wide receiver, Georgia returns seniors Chris Conley and Michael Bennett, all while expecting a healthy Malcolm Mitchell. As long as new quarterback Hutson Mason is able to manage the game well, Georgia’s offense can remain one of the best in the SEC.
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Defense: Last season, Georgia allowed 29 points per game, which was good for 10th in the SEC. There’s a new defensive coordinator in place and Jeremy Pruitt has a lot of work to do quickly if things are going to turnaround. The good news is that Georgia’s pass rush should remain with Leonard Floyd and Rey Drew returning for another year. This was a front seven that finished second in the SEC with 33 sacks. The concerns for Georgia’s defense remain in the secondary, and those concerns don’t go away with the losses of Josh Harvey-Clemons, Shaq Wiggins and Tray Matthews. Georgia always has the talent to plug and play, just expect there to be a few hiccups like there were last season.
Special Teams: Kicker isn’t an issue after Marshall Morgan made 22 of his 24 field goal attempts. Collin Barber returns at punter after averaging more than 44 yards per kick.
Outlook: Georgia’s schedule isn’t a cakewalk and we’ll find out just how good this team can be in its first matchup against Clemson. However, besides the secondary, Georgia is about as a complete team as you can ask for on paper. The Bulldogs have a loaded offense led by the best running back in the country. Defensively, Georgia can rush the passer as well as any team you can find. That’s a recipe for success in the SEC. If Georgia can learn how to win the big game, throwing some money down on a future bet is well worth it.