By Brandon Daniel @Brandon_Rant on May 7, 2014
There has been a shake-up for the Georgia Bulldogs this offseason. There will be new starters at quarterback, three offensive line positions, and a new defensive coordinator in Jeremy Pruitt calling the shots. There is talent in Athens on par with the rest of the nation, enough to make Georgia a serious playoff contender in 2014. Which players need to step up for the Bulldogs to make a deep run?
There is no receiver on Georgia’s roster as talented as Malcolm Mitchell. He has the speed, route running skills and confidence to be a top-five receiver in the SEC. As good as the Georgia offense was last season, losing him and then Justin Scott-Wesley left the Bulldogs void of big-play threats on the outside. Mitchell needs to be healthy and back to form in 2014 for the Bulldogs to fire on all cylinders.
Floyd hit the scene last season and wowed everyone with his physical talent. He is an absolute beast at OLB. Georgia needs for him to transition his talent into serious production. For Jeremy Pruitt’s defense to succeed in his first year, Floyd needs a double-digit sack year. With his physical tools and playing opposite another tremendous talent like Jordan Jenkins, 2014 should be a breakout year for Floyd and a painful one for opposing QBs.
Georgia’s secondary was much-maligned in 2013. The dismissal of Josh Harvey-Clemons, leaves even more holes to fill in 2014. With the year Swann had in 2012, many thought last season may have been his final in Athens. However, he struggled for most of the year and never lived up to the hype. With inexperience all around him, Pruitt and Mark Richt need Swann to be the lockdown corner his talent is capable of, or 2014 could be a long year.
Theus came to Athens two-seasons ago and made his way into the starting lineup as a true freshman. Last season was an up-and-down one for the big man as he battled most of the year to keep a starting job. Entering 2014, he seems to have solidified the left tackle job, but Georgia will need him to be the dominating force he was expected to be when they recruited him. Otherwise, Hutson Mason could spend a lot of time on the ground.
Gurley is without a doubt the key to Georgia’s success in 2014. He is a legitimate Heisman candidate and has ability to impact a game like no other player on Georgia’s roster. If he is the top back and does what he is capable of, Georgia will be tough to beat. If he finds his way to the ceremony in New York, it’s tough to see any way the Bulldogs aren’t in the playoffs by the end of the season.
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