The G-Day game has been played and it’s now time for the coaches to evaluate and make decisions when it comes to the depth chart.
The offense will virtually look the same as last year, but there will be some minor changes because of injuries and transfers.
The defense will have a different look from last year and that includes a “new” position which was created for a player who is expected to do big things this season.
The Bulldogs do have two more spring practices this week, but after a successful G-Day scrimmage, it’s clear what the depth chart looks like moving forward.
Let’s take a look.
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Starter: Aaron Murray
Backups: Hutson Mason, Parker Welch
There is no debate about the quarterback position.
Murray will be entering his fourth season as a starter and has a chance to be the most prolific passer in SEC history.
Mason and Welch will back up Murray, and both have little game experience. Mason took the redshirt last season so he would have the opportunity to start for the Bulldogs in 2014.
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Running back starter: Todd Gurley
Fullback starter: Quayvon Hicks
Backup running back: Keith Marshall
Backup fullback: Merritt Hall
For the running back position, both Gurley and Marshall can be called starters because both are crucial to the offense’s success. Gurley will get the bulk of the carries, while Marshall will be a change-of-pace back just like last season.
Hicks came on strong this spring and has a legitimate chance of taking the starting fullback spot from Hall. Hicks won the post-spring practice award for Most Improved Player on offense according to The Red & Black.
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Starters: Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Conley
Backups: Michael Bennett, Justin Scott-Wesley
Bennett was the starter last season before he got hurt, and he is working his way back into the lineup.
But Conley has outplayed every receiver this spring and will be starting alongside Mitchell if Bennett is not ready to go for the season opener.
Scott-Wesley is another player who will have a chance to see a lot of playing time this upcoming season. The rising sophomore won the post-spring Coffee Hustle award for offense and is considered the fastest player on the roster.
Offensive Line/Tight End
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Starters: LT John Theus, LG Dallas Lee, C David Andrews, RG Chris Burnette, RT Kenarious Gates, TE Arthur Lynch
Backups: OL, Mark Beard, OL Watts Danztler, OL Xavier Ward OL Austin Long, OL Greg Pyke, TE Jay Rome, TE Ty Smith
This is honestly a crapshoot because the coaches have changed the offensive line constantly this spring due to injuries.
Theus did some work at left tackle this spring, so there is a chance that he could switch, as he played right tackle last season. Lee, Andrews and Burnette are in no danger of losing their jobs, but Beard and Gates will battle for the other tackle position, as both players alternated towards the end of last season.
The tight end depth chart is the same as last year. Both Lynch and Rome will see a lot of playing time, while Smith will work his way into the rotation as the season progresses.
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Starters: DE Garrison Smith, NT Mike Thornton, DE Ray Drew
Backups: DE John Taylor, NT Chris Mayes, DE Sterling Bailey
There should be a heavy rotation when it comes to the defensive line, but the only player who has a significant amount of playing experience is Smith.
Thornton is not as big as John Jenkins or Kwame Geathers, but he has looked solid this spring and is just as aggressive at the point of attack.
Drew is expected to have a huge 2013 season, and based on the way he performed in the G-Day game, it’s a possibility that could very well happen.
However, it will be a battle between him and Bailey for the defensive end spot.
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Starters: OLB Jordan Jenkins, ILB Amarlo Herrera, ILB Ramik Wilson, OLB James DeLoach
Backups: OLB Chase Vasser, ILB Ryne Rankin, ILB Reggie Carte, OLB Josh Dawson
Technically, the Bulldogs play with four linebackers. But this season will be a little different because they will have a hybrid player who will line up as a linebacker but play as a nickel corner (that will be discussed in the next slide).
Jenkins and Herrera return with a lot of experience, while Wilson is coming off a very strong spring season.
Vasser is also an experienced veteran who was the starter last season before losing his job to Jenkins. Rankin and Carter are two new guys who wowed the coaches this spring with their intensity and playmaking abilities.
James DeLoach will start at the other outside linebacker spot, but when the Bulldogs go to the nickel package, he will sit out in place for the nickle cornerback.
The 'Star' Position
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Starter: Josh Harvey-Clemons
Backup: Damian Swann
Harvey-Clemons will play the “Star” position, which is nickel cornerback but can also act like a linebacker/safety.
The rising sophomore told the Macon Telegraph that he will play this position depending on which team the Bulldogs are playing.
If they play a team that likes to throw a lot, Harvey-Clemons will play the “Star” role. But if they face a team that likes to run, then they will play their base defense.
Harvey-Clemons had a very strong spring season and was even named MVP on defense after the G-Day game.
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Starters: CB Damian Swann, CB Sheldon Dawson, SS Corey Moore, FS Connor Norman
Backups: CB Devin Bowman, CB Reggie Wilkerson, S Tray Matthews
Swann is the only player in the secondary who has a great amount of experience. The rising junior had a great spring and will be the leader for the unit.
Dawson got good reviews from his coaches during spring practice and should fit at cornerback well alongside Swann.
Moore and Norman played sparingly last year. Moore is expected to be the next Shawn Williams, while Norman can play either strong or free safety.
The one reserve who could be the starter by the beginning of the season is Matthews; he played well with the first team this spring and plays with no fear according to his teammates via the Ledger-Enquirer.