The defending SEC East Champion Georgia Bulldogs will hold their annual spring game on Saturday in Athens. Mark Richt has two things going right now, one is the “known commodity" which is the offense led by senior Aaron Murray. The other is the "unknown commodity" which is the new look Bulldog defense. Both units have had their wins during spring ball and Saturday's scrimmage will be a better introduction of both units to the fans. Depending on how Richt wants to showcase his team there could be plenty of fireworks with the Bulldog offense on display.
The offense is led by record setting quarterback Aaron Murray. He has had a very productive spring focusing primarily on expanding his grasp of Mike Bobo’s offense. Last spring was about cutting down the interceptions, this spring is about being the overall team leader. Having Malcolm Mitchell full time at receiver is a no brained in my opinion, but Chris Conley has had a terrific spring. Georgia lost some weapons last year due to injury and graduation, so this area has been a main focus for the spring. Justin Scott-Wesley is a guy who has made some plays this spring to potentially move into the rotation at receiver.
The offensive line has had some guys banged up with Chris Burnette out for the spring recovering from shoulder surgery and Austin Long fractured his hand again. Expect to see a lot of young guys up front for the Dogs. The first team line is likely Theus, Gates, Andrews, Leeand, and Beard. Todd Gurley has added some muscle to absorb the wear and tear of the SEC, while Keith Marshall is looking to become a better inside run threat. He often relied heavily on his speed to get to the sideline and seems to be more comfortable this spring in the run game.
The defense has to replace so many guys you almost feel like coordinator Todd Grantham is starting over. However early returns are stating that may not be the case because of the talent waiting in the wing it all starts up front where Mike Thornton has been a terror at nose. Georgia will likely have a five to six man rotation for the three defensive line spots. Garrison Smith, John Taylor, Ray Drew and Sterling Bailey all have shown they can play the end spots. Chris Mayes is the backup nose tackle.
The playmakers in the front seven will come from the linebacker spots. Jordan Jenkins replaces Jarvis Jones and has some experience. Amarlo Herrera and Ramik Wilson look to be the other two linebackers while athletic Josh Harvey-Clemons has emerged as a playmaker at the hybrid star position. Clemons can play safety or outside linebacker in a 3-4 look. The secondary returns Damian Swann at one corner but the other is wide open. Freshman early entry athlete Reggie Wilkerson is pushing Sheldon Dawson for that spot. The safeties should be Tray Matthews and Connor Norman with Corey Moore in the mix as well.
The Dogs have a lot of young guys flying around on defense and the depth should be solid for the fall. I don't think this defense will be as big or maybe as physical as last year's unit but I do think the overall speed of the group will be better. Offensively Hutson Mason looks rock solid as the number two behind Murray and heaven forbid anything happen to him at least Mason is looking more and more ready to play this fall. Georgia will have one of the best offenses in the SEC this fall and Aaron Murray is a legit Heisman candidate.