Georgia Football: Can Hutson Mason Take Dawgs to the 2014 SEC Title Game?

Brian JonesContributor INovember 28, 2013

ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 23:  Quarterback Hutson Mason #14 of the Georgia Bulldogs throws a pass during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Sanford Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

The Hutson Mason era begins on Saturday as the Georgia Bulldogs square off against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

Mason, who is a redshirt junior, has seen action in a total of 10 games since 2010. However, Mason has looked solid every time he has stepped on the field, especially last week when went 13-of-19 with 160 yards, one touchdown and one interception against Kentucky.

With Aaron Murray out for the remaining two games with a torn ACL, fans will get a little preview of what to expect for the 2014 season with Mason under center. And with that in mind, the question now is whether or not Mason is capable of leading the Bulldogs to next year’s SEC title game.

Nov 9, 2013; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Hutson Mason (14) throws a pass against the Appalachian State Mountaineers during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Georgia defeated Appalachian State 45-6. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TOD
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

When the 2014 season begins, Mason will be walking into a really good situation. He will lose three offensive linemen in Dallas Lee, Kenarious Gates and Chris Burnette, but the top reserves, Mark Beard, Watts Dantzler and Kolton Houston, should return.

Also, Mason will have a very good group of receivers to work with. It’s uncertain if Malcolm Mitchell will return next year, but Michael Bennett, Chris Conley, Reggie Davis and Justin Scott-Wesley will be back for the 2014 season. And let’s not forget about tight end Jay Rome, who will be back from an ACL injury he suffered a few weeks ago.

But the most important pieces returning that will help Mason be successful are Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley.

Marshall will be 100 percent after suffering an ACL injury back when the Bulldogs played Tennessee. Gurley has also had his share of injuries this year but has played well the last two games and is on his way to having 1,000 rushing yards this year.

Both Gurley and Marshall are dangerous when healthy, and if those two are on their game consistently, Mason will be able to make all the plays needed to win.

But even if he didn’t have all the weapons returning, Mason would still be able to have success next year.

Throwing the ball with accuracy and avoiding mistakes are two things that Mason does well. In the 10 career games that Mason has seen action, he has only thrown one interception. Here’s a closer look at Mason's year-by-year numbers.

Hutson Mason's Career Stats

The way the Bulldogs run their pro-style offense, they like to run the football and run off play action. And when it comes to the quarterback, Mark Richt likes to have someone out there who makes good decisions. Based on what Mason has done in his limited time on the field, he can do all the things the coaching staff has asked him to do.

But one of the things that has kept Mason going is his drive.

Since 2009, it has been quite a journey for Mason. The Bulldogs offered Mason a scholarship late in the process after he set a Georgia state high school record for passing yards in a season (4,560) as well as touchdowns (54).

Since 2010, Mason has sat behind Murray, waiting patiently for his time to shine. He got a chance to prove what he could do last week, but if he can get a win against Georgia Tech playing the entire game as well as getting a win in the bowl game, fans will start to take notice of the signal-caller from Marietta, Ga.

Mason has the support, talent and drive to be a very good quarterback in 2014. It will be a tough task for him to win the SEC East because of teams like South Carolina and Missouri, but based on what Mason has done the last three years in terms of preparation, he is ready for what lies ahead of him.