Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Quick look at 2014

For what it's worth...

Few days ago Travis Haney looked at which teams stand a good shot at national significance in 2014. Despite a new quarterback, he's pretty fond of Georgia.
Ken Ward
The Bulldogs won the SEC East each of the past two seasons, they're something akin to co-favorites this fall -- and yet 2014 might be their best title shot of the four years.
"As long as those backs are there," one coach in the SEC told me, "they're not going anywhere."
The backs, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, are sophomores this season and will be draft-eligible juniors next year. It hasn't been pointed out enough that both are North Carolina products; in a highly contentious recruiting state, they could have gone just about anywhere. And they chose UGA.
Even with Aaron Murray's seemingly eternal stay in Athens coming to a close, and he'll be missed, having two NFL-caliber backs will ease that loss. As freshmen, they averaged a collective 6.3 yards a carry (339 carries) and a touchdown every 13.5 carries.
What does that do? Among other things, it's why Georgia's passing game averaged nearly a yard more per attempt than any other team in the country. One thing leads to the other.
Defensively, a number of newcomers are expected to see the field this fall, but they'll be seasoned vets by this time next year. Expect linebacker Jordan Jenkins and safety Josh Harvey-Clemons to be 2015 draft targets and safety Tray Matthews and linebacker Reggie Carter to be rising stars in the league.
We'll know a lot more about the guys listed in that last paragraph after about a month into this season. But it's easy to see most of Haney's future enthusiasm comes from the tailbacks. He alludes to the uniqueness of having two talented guys at the same position and from the same state go to the same school in a different one altogether. Glad we get to enjoy that a couple more seasons.