Mark Richt's 5 Biggest Challenges for Georgia in 2013
In order for a college football team to win a conference and national championship, they have to play consistent football and be able to come together as one.
They also have to fight through adversity and no matter how good a team is, they will face challenges that will test their will to win throughout a season.
For the Georgia Bulldogs, it’s almost understood that they will have to go through some tough challenges in order to win the SEC title and have a chance to play in the BCS National Championship because of the conference they play in.
But at the same time, they also will have some obstacles within their own team that they will have to fight through as well.
Here are Mark Richt’s five biggest challenges for the Bulldogs in 2013.
No. 5: Beating South Carolina
Richt has won the last two SEC East titles. But in the process, he has lost to South Carolina the last three seasons.
Last year’s contest had to be the most disheartening for Bulldogs fans because UGA was completely dominated by the Gamecocks on offense, defense and special teams.
Both Georgia and South Carolina have been the two best teams in the SEC East the last three seasons. When they play each other in the second week of the season, Richt has to find a way to beat Steve Spurrier and company in order to have the inside track of the SEC title race.
No. 4: Getting Through the First Quarter of the Season
Speaking of the schedule, the first part of it is as tough as it comes for the Bulldogs and they have to find a way to come out of it virtually unscathed.
Not only do the Bulldogs have to face the Gamecocks in Game 2, they start the season against Clemson at Death Valley.
After a week off, the Bulldogs face North Texas because having another home contest against LSU.
There have been complaints about the Bulldogs schedule being too easy the last two seasons. There shouldn’t be any complaining now because Georgia knows that if they don’t come out the gate playing consistent football, there season will be over before it gets started.
No 3: Keeping the Offensive Line Healthy
The key to consistency is health and the Bulldogs need to have their key players healthy this season, especially the players on the offensive line.
Last year, the Bulldogs lost guard Dallas Lee halfway through the season. This spring, the Bulldogs did not have the services of John Theus and Chris Burnette because they were nursing injuries as well.
All five starters from last year will be back this season and all five should be 100 percent healthy.
The Bulldogs do have some solid backups, but if they want to be the best offense in the country and not put pressure on an inexperienced defense, the starting five has to maintain their health.
No. 2: Beating Florida
In reality, beating Florida will always be a challenge for the Bulldogs, not matter how good the team is.
Richt and his Bulldogs have defeated the Gators the last two seasons, but Florida head coach Will Muschamp assured the Gator Nation that the Bulldogs win streak won’t last long (via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution).
The truth is the Gators could have easily won the last two meetings against the Bulldogs had they made one more play in each game.
Regardless, Richt knows that his team will have his hands full when they go down to Jacksonville for the annual contest and will have to play a lot better than they did in 2011 and 2012.
No. 1: Getting the Right Personnel on Defense
The one thing that could hurt the Bulldogs this season is the youth of the defense.
There are a few players that have the ability to be great players, but with the Bulldogs losing 12 starters on defense from last season, this year’s group will have some growing pains.
So Richt and his staff have to make sure they have the right personnel at each position. They were able to fill most of the holes during spring practice with safeties Josh Harvey-Clemons and Tray Matthews, but they will have to finalize the defensive staring lineup during fall camp.
If Richt and his staff get the right players at each defensive position, there is no reason the Bulldogs can’t go back to the Georgia Dome for the third consecutive year.