A Different Bunch of Dawgs
|Thursday, June 19, 2014, 9:35 AM- -|
Different Bunch of Dawgs
Clemson and Georgia battled to one of last season's greatest games when Clemson beat the Dawgs 38-35.
Clemson lost a lot of talent off of last year's team but this year when the Tigers make the trip to Athens, Georgia will look a lot different than the team Mark Richt brought to Death Valley last August too.
Georgia had a ton of injuries and struggled to an 8-5 season including a 5-3 mark in the SEC a year ago. The other reason Georgia struggled was the fact they gave up 38 to Clemson, 41 to Missouri, 31 to Vanderbilt and 43 to Auburn.
Richt hired Jeremy Pruitt from Florida State as his new defensive coordinator and there is some talent returning on that side of the ball. The Dawgs have seven returning starters including four linebackers that make up perhaps the best unit in the SEC. Amarlo Herrera, Ramik Wilson, Jordan Jenkins and Leonard Floyd were all four stars coming out of high school.
The only starter up front that returns is former four star defensive end Sterling Bailey, The secondary lost a couple of stars to suspension when Josh Harvey Clemens and Tray Matthews were booted from the squad. Damien Swann at cornerback is the only returning starter in the secondary. Georgia was so thin there it moved running back JJ Green to strong safety.
So Georgia will employ a new scheme with Pruitt coordinating the defense. Clemson fans should be concerned about Pruitt who helped FSU to a national title last year with a dominating defense. However, Georgia does not have near the talent the Seminoles had on defense.
Georgia will also look very different on the offensive side of the ball with four-year starter Aaron Murray gone from his quarterback role. Hutson Mason looked pretty good at times when he came in for Murray after the Tampa native tore his knee last season. That experience against Kentucky, Georgia Tech and Nebraska should help Mason.
Where Georgia will not look different is the scheme on offense. I would imagine offensive coordinator Mike Bobo's plan would be to get the ball in Todd Gurley's hands as often as possible. The monster tailback was banged up much of the Clemson game last year and missed three games with injuries but should be the feature back among perhaps the deepest group of running backs in the country.
The Bulldogs return talent at wide receiver where injuries devastated them a year ago. Also Jay Rome is a talented tight end that will be used to stretch defenses in the passing game.
John Theus moves from right tackle to left tackle and David Andrews returns at center but there are some holes on the offensive line.
So there will be some new faces in Athens this year on both sidelines but talent will be there as well. Here is a look at the recruiting rankings for each team's recruiting rankings according to rivals.com the last five years:
2010-Georgia 15 Clemson 19
2011-Georgia 5 Clemson 8
2012-Georgia 12 Clemson14
2013-Georgia 12 Clemson 14
2014-Georgia 7 Clemson 13
There will be plenty of answers to emerge between now and August 30 but I wanted to give you a quick overview of the next matchup with our great rivals from across the border.
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