SEC Football Q&A: Will the Winner of Georgia vs. Florida Go to Atlanta?
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Every Thursday on The SEC Blog, we will feature questions from the Bleacher Report inbox, Twitter and email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Q&A got pushed back to Friday this week due to NFL draft and BCS meetings coverage.
You have SEC questions, and I have SEC answers. Thank you, everybody, for your questions this week. And if I didn't get to them, they will still be saved and used in the future.
And we're off:
@barrettsallee in your humble opinion, does the winner of the Florida/Georgia game go to Atlanta this year?— Brody (@BrodyFLA15) April 22, 2013
Actually, no, I think it will be the winner of the Week 2 matchup between Georgia and South Carolina.
Georgia's offense will return almost completely intact and will benefit from the return of a healthy Michael Bennett and junior college stud Jonathon Rumph at wide receiver. This is the same offense that finished last season ranked fourth in the SEC in total offense and was five yards away from securing a spot in the BCS National Championship.
The big question is on defense, where the Bulldogs are replacing 10 key contributors. But the future looks incredibly bright in Athens, as linebackers Jordan Jenkins and Amarlo Herrera are budding superstars, as are safeties Tray Matthews and Josh Harvey-Clemons.
If Georgia can withstand that early-season schedule that pits the Bulldogs against Clemson, South Carolina and LSU all before Oct. 1, they'll not only be in the title discussion, they'll be the national title favorite.
I'm buying South Carolina as well. I love running backs Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds, think rotating quarterbacks can play well considering the different skills that Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson possess, and love the front and back end of the Gamecock defense. Plus, I love the South Carolina schedule that features Georgia in Week 2, Mississippi State and Arkansas out of the west, and an open date before the SEC finale versus Florida in Columbia.
Florida, on the other hand, is still suffering from a glaring weakness—the lack of playmakers outside on offense. Until that gets solved, I'm not buying the Gators quite yet.
@barrettsallee What three runningbacks in the SEC do you see having a breakout year?— tyler steele (@thisisdecaf490) April 20, 2013
I mentioned South Carolina's Mike Davis and Texas A&M's Brandon Williams in my "players who have laid the foundation for superstardom this spring" column along with Tennessee's Alden Hill. But I think Hill will still split some time with Rajion Neal.
Florida's Matt Jones, however, will not split time in the Gator backfield.
Jones showed us he has what it takes to be a superstar against Florida State last fall, rushing for 81 yards and a touchdown against the nation's third-best rush defense. Head coach Will Muschamp loved the progress made by Jones this spring, and Jones is listed as Florida's top running back on the depth chart following spring practice.
The lack of playmakers outside coupled with the ineffectiveness of quarterback Jeff Driskel will force Jones to be the workhorse of the offense, and he will shine in that role.
As for Davis and Williams, most people know them more from the respective quotes from their head coaches rather than what they've done on the football field. That will change in a hurry once the season starts. Both are big enough to run between the tackles but quick enough to be home run hitters outside.
@barrettsallee more desperate need for breakout receiver, Tennessee or Florida?— Richard Johnson (@RagjUF) April 26, 2013
Florida, just because the Gators have more on the line from a national perspective than Tennessee will have in 2013.
Muschamp said during the post-spring SEC coaches' teleconference that he's going to move Loucheiz Purifoy back to his original position at defensive back for the first 12 practices of fall camp, so that he can evaluate his batch of true wide receivers.
"He's going to play offense for us," Muschamp said. "How much depends on those first 12 or 14 practices and how we develop at the position."
That's an indicator of just how desperate the situation is in Gainesville. Purifoy—Florida's starting right cornerback—will play offense in some way, shape or form. That switch isn't due to suspensions like it was when the Georgia wide receiver flipped from offense to defense at the start of last season, but due to ineffectiveness.
Tennessee is in a rebuilding year, and while they need a stud wide receiver to balance the offense, it's not as pressing of an issue as it is in Gainesville.
Do you have a question for next week's Q&A? Send it to SEC lead writer Barrett Sallee via the B/R inbox, on Twitter @BarrettSallee or at email@example.com.
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