Georgia Football: 5 Bulldogs That Need to Have a Breakout Season in 2013
In order for any team to win a conference title or a national title, there has to be a player or two that has a breakout year.
For the Georgia Bulldogs, they have had a few players over the last few years to come out of nowhere and burst onto the scene. In 2011, it was Jarvis Jones that led the Bulldogs to their first SEC title appearance since 2005. Last year, it was the combination of Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley that gave the Bulldogs their closest chance of a national title appearance in nearly 30 years.
If the Bulldogs want to take the next step, they need at least five players to have a breakout season in 2013.
But who are the five that have to be on their game all season long?
No. 5: OL John Theus
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Theus did have a very strong 2012 season which is why he was named to The Sporting News and Phil Steele Freshmen All-American team.
But Theus had his share of mistakes, and in order for the offense to be more efficient, Theus will have to be more disciplined and more improved than he was last year.
Before the Capital One Bowl, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo told the Athens Banner-Herald that Theus already has natural strength, but he has to get stronger and the coaching staff has to keep molding him.
If Theus can do that, then he could be the Bulldogs' best offensive lineman by the end of the year.
No. 4: OLB James DeLoach
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DeLoach was one of the better stories of spring practice as he basically took over the Sam linebacker spot for an injured Chase Vasser and never let go.
After appearing in 13 games last year, DeLoach is now ready to be a key contributor to a rebuilding defensive squad.
He will have some big shoes to fill as he replaces Jones who will go down as one of the best linebackers in UGA history.
DeLoach will not be asked to notch 14 sacks, but he will need to be able to put consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks all season long. If that happens, opponents will have to keep a look out for him as well as Will linebacker Jordan Jenkins who had five sacks last season.
No. 3: WR Chris Conley
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Malcolm Mitchell and Michael Bennett will be marked men all season long because both players have the ability to make huge plays at any given point of a ball game. So Aaron Murray needs a viable third option.
That would be Conley who had six touchdown receptions last season and had a very strong spring season.
With Conley steadily improving each year, 2013 could be the season where he puts up some big numbers, which is needed because of all the playmakers the Bulldogs have, they need another playmaker to give opposing defenses fits and make the offense much stronger.
No. 2: S Josh Harvey-Clemons
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When the coaching staff creates a spot specifically for a certain player, then they expect the player to do big things for them the upcoming season.
That is what the Bulldogs coaching staff did for Harvey-Clemons who they virtually made the “Star” (or nickelback) position for him.
When Harvey-Clemons is not playing the “Star” position, he will see action at strong safety.
In order for the secondary to be successful in 2013, Harvey-Clemons has to be the player coaches, players and fans expect him to be, which is why he will see a lot of action on the field this season.
No. 1: DE Ray Drew
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When Drew signed with the Bulldogs two years ago, he was expected to be the next great defensive player.
But Drew has yet to start a game and is slated to split time with Sterling Bailey this season.
To his defense, Drew started out at linebacker his freshman year and move to defensive end last season. So he was looking for a home.
Coming off a very solid spring, this could be the year that the defensive end from Thomasville, Ga., takes that next step towards his progression. He is no longer going to move around and the Bulldogs need him to produce because of the depth they lost at defensive line with Jon Jenkins and Kwame Geathers.
If Drew can build off the spring he had, then there is no reason he can’t take the starting job from Bailey and be a productive defensive lineman for the Bulldogs this year.