2012 stats: 222 carries for 1,385 yards and 17 TDs
2013 projected: 225 carries for 1,410 yards and 20 TDs
Why he’s worthy: Georgia’s star running back Todd Gurley almost wasn’t a running back. Upon signing, he was considered more of an insurance policy for Isaiah Crowell and Keith Marshall, with some talks about him moving to safety. Fast-forward to Crowell’s dismissal, and Gurley became a full-time running back who blew up in fall camp.He isn’t just the best running back in the SEC; he’s the best overall back in college football. His team-high 222 carries finished only second to Florida’s Mike Gillislee, and his 1,385 rushing yards finished second to only Johnny Manziel. Gurley also finished tied for second with 17 touchdowns in one of the most impressive seasons by a freshman running back.
So, what does he do for an encore? It will truly be tough to duplicate his freshman output, and I think he and Keith Marshall will share more carries. But he, along with Marshall, make UGA’s offense so explosive. Throw Aaron Murray in there, along with a slew of offensive linemen and wide receivers, and we’re asking ourselves whether Georgia has the best offense in the country.
Gurley is the type of back who just bullies defenders. He breaks tackles and is a smooth operator in the open field, with speed to burn. He’s the total package.
8.31.13 | at CLEMSON
9.7.13 | SOUTH CAROLINA
9.21.13 | NORTH TEXAS
9.28.13 | LSUAll three of the SEC East contenders this year have brutal opening months, and the only reason Georgia’s isn’t a slam dunk for the hardest is because the other two slates (particularly South Carolina’s) arguably just as hard. Still, this isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. First up is the revival of the historic rivalry with Clemson, which could very well be a Top 10 team. So could South Carolina. So could LSU. The only thing that’s going for Georgia is that the North Texas game is a nice break between the Gamecocks and the Tigers, and the final three games of September are at home. Normally, you would say that coming out of this kind of a month with a 3-1 record is a success, but that might not be enough in the SEC East this year, particularly if the loss isn’t at Clemson.[Team Speed Kills]
Georgia’s running backs:
The Best Case Scenario
With Michael Bennett back, Malcolm Mitchell playing wide receiver full time, and a pair of tight ends who could each be among the top 5 in the conference at the position, Georgia’s offense might be pretty good without Gurley and Marshall. But the accumulation of other weapons makes things easier on them. I do not think it is out of the question for the tailback tandem to rush for a combined 2600 yards.
The Worst Case Scenario
On the other hand, Gurley and Marshall aren’t sneaking up on anyone this season. Teams will almost certainly be willing to sell out to stop the run against those two. Because of that it’s entirely possible that their production could actually decrease this season. That being said, such a strategy would be music to Mike Bobo’s large, play-action loving ears. The tradeoff for bringing a safety up to stop the run is giving Malcolm Mitchell single coverage on the outside. That’s not a bad deal for us. So, yeah, even the bad news here is pretty darned good.
“Hutson is very, very capable right now,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “He’s very ready to go. Very similar to when David Greene was playing and D.J. Shockley was right there with him. Obviously D.J. did a great job, won an SEC championship in his senior season in 2005. It’s hard to be that No. 2 guy. Hutson has been a tremendous warrior for us in a lot of ways. He knows he’s one play away, God forbid for Aaron’s sake and Georgia’s sake, but he’ll be ready. Hopefully we can get him in some games and really get him ready for his opportunity next year as well.”Richt and Bobo haven’t indicated any plan to use two quarterbacks a la Greene and Shockley. Mason will likely get his time for snaps in games when Georgia has pulled away.
Spurrier joined The Jim Rome Show and said he was surprised by that level of praise.“That was a little strong right there,” Spurrier said. “Obviously, Jadeveon is probably the best defensive lineman in college football. I think everyone agrees with that. But when you start putting linemen in there with quarterbacks, receivers and running backs, I don’t know what he’s trying to say. If he’s trying to fatten up Jadeveon’s thinking, I hope it doesn’t work.
Over the last month, Clemson’s overrated Sammy Watkins and Carolina’s not-overrated Clowney have both tried to engage some UGA players in the war of words.Sammy Watkins claims that Clemson will “beat the mess” out of UGA next month. I very much liked Garrison Smith’s response in an espn interview last week in which he said that he hadn’t heard those comments (yeah right), and then he responded by only saying “guess it’s good he has confidence”. When Clowney said that UGA and Murray are scared of him, all that Richt and Murray said in response was that Clowney is indeed a great player, and perhaps the “best player on the planet”. Word is still out on if Clowney will be able to get his head into his helmet this fall.[View from Milledge]
Straka qualifies for US amateur:
UGA golfer Sam Straka qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship after finishing second at a qualifying event held at Athens Country Club.Straka shot a 3-under-par 137 over 36 holes; a two-under 68 on Monday and a one-under 69 on Tuesday.
Sepp Straka, twin brother of Sam and fellow UGA golfer, shot a one-under 139 and finished tied for fifth place.
Sepp Straka competed against the other fifth place finishers, Jimmy Beck III and Austin Langdale, for one of two alternate spots. Sepp Straka bogeyed on the playoff hole while Beck and Langdale hit birdie and par, respectively, to earn alternate spots.