Another SEC East championship and an opportunity to take the conference outright is expected of the Georgia Bulldogs in 2013.
The spring game just gave us a glimpse of that potential for this season.
Obviously quarterback Aaron Murray is a strong focal point after tossing for 200 yards and two scores, not to mention a 66.7 completion percentage. After an impressive 2012 campaign, following that up thus far into the offseason paints a confident picture for the fall.
When autumn rolls around, expect Murray to be provided with another playmaking receiver in Jonathon Rumph, who really shined as he accounted for two receiving scores on Saturday. His impact creates great depth and balance, because the production of running back Kyle Karempelis (124 total yards) adds to Georgia's backfield options.
We know the Bulldgos will run the rock effectively and a slew of capable receiving targets will prevent opponents from constantly stacking the box.
As a result, the Dawgs will start contests off much more effectively and form a safe pocket for Murray to survey any coverage.
Elsewhere, the starting defense showcased its talent despite key losses in Jarvis Jones, John Jenkins, Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo to the 2013 NFL draft. David Ching of ESPN.com writes of the defense from coordinator Todd Grantham's perspective:
"The first drive, they got some points there and I thought there were some drives that were a little nervous and their eyes maybe weren't where they should be, but there were also some plays that they hadn't seen before," Grantham said. "But once we got into the normal flow of the game and the things that we've repped and it was things that they kind of knew, [they played well]."
Holding the red squad to just 17 points, Damian Swann and Co. also limited the starting offense to a mere nine first-downs and recorded six sacks.
While Swann had three defended passes, linebacker Ramik Wilson led the unit with eight tackles.
In short, with a core group of linebackers capable of filling running lanes and blitzing when needed, the Dawgs won't miss a beat next year. Now giving up some big plays certainly remains a concern, but there is also plenty of time to buff out the rough spots.
The red team saw dependable numbers from its defense, as linebacker Kosta Vavlas notched 12 tackles and John Taylor amassed seven tackles and two sacks.
Once again the Bulldogs possess sound depth across the board and are quite athletic to boot. Even better, injuries are not too extensive at the moment. David Ching also wrote of the banged up players on Saturday:
The Bulldogs experienced a couple of injuries during spring practice before Saturday -- most notably a hand fracture for senior offensive lineman Austin Long, a hamstring pull for sophomore cornerback Sheldon Dawson and a torn meniscus for junior receiver Malcolm Mitchell.
But Richt believed his team came out of Saturday’s scrimmage free of any major injuries. Defensive lineman John Atkins left in the second quarter with an apparent knee injury, but Richt did not believe it was serious.
Factor in a winnable schedule where Georgia faces South Carolina and LSU at home, and the Bulldogs won't see Alabama or Texas A&M unless either appear in the SEC title game. The spring game may just be an exhibition matchup; however, its essence displayed a snapshot of the young potential.
With the established talent of coach Mark Richt's starters, the Bulldogs will make another run at the outright conference title.
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