Georgia Football: 4 Players Who Should See Their Roles Expanded in 2014
Head coach Mark Richt and the rest of the coaching staff are always evaluating. Spring practice is always a good time to evaluate because the coaches have a chance to see players in different roles and also see if they have progressed from last season.
For the Bulldogs to improve in 2014, some of the players will have to be leaders and make more plays than they did in 2013. There will be other players that will be asked to do more than what they did last year in order to have the best men possible on the field at all times.
So here’s a look at four players who should see their roles expanded in 2014.
There will be a new look to the offensive line this season and Watts Dantzler will be a big part of it.
He is not listed as the starter, but Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald said that he is the No. 6 offensive lineman and could see action at guard and center.
Dantzler appeared in all 13 games last season but has never been the starter. With three positions open, he will have a chance to be on the first-team offense before the regular season begins.
But no matter what happens, he will have to be a leader for the offensive line, since he’s a senior and does have experience in the system.
Another player that has experience in the offensive system is Quayvon Hicks, who played as a fullback last season and made six starts.
But not only will Hicks be playing fullback this season, he will get some looks at tight end, as he has been getting reps at the position this spring.
What offensive coordinator Mike Bobo wants is Hicks to be more of an H-back and be a guy who can block and run and catch effectively on a consistent basis, according to Seth Emerson of the Macon Telegraph. Hicks did well at fullback last season, but Bobo feels that he can be more effective closer to the line of scrimmage.
One of the players who have stood out on defense during the spring is Brendan Langley.
After playing nine games and making four starts at cornerback last season, Langley looks like he’s ready to take the next step. And the coaches seem to agree, as he has made his way onto the No. 1 group.
Langley tallied 12 tackles and two pass breakups last season. He started last season as the starter, but was replaced and did not start at all in four games.
But with Jeremy Pruitt as the new defensive coordinator, Langley is taking advantage of the opportunity to start clean and doing everything that's asked of him.
He could be the featured defensive back if he continues to impress the coaches.
But the featured offensive player in 2014 will be Todd Gurley.
Even with the injuries last season, Gurley still had 989 rushing yards and 441 receiving yards.
Because of his improvement as a receiver, Mason will be targeting Gurley in the passing game this upcoming season. But Gurley will have an even bigger role in the offense since Mason is not the most experienced quarterback, and he will have to rely on Gurley to be more of an impact player in the run game and though the air.
And if that happens, Gurley will be a Heisman finalist when it’s all said and done.
The bottom line is every player will have to play a bigger role this season than they did last season in order to achieve their goals. But Dantzler, Hicks, Langley and Gurley know they will have to do even more in order for the Bulldogs to succeed.
Players like Mason, J.J. Green, John Theus and Kolton Houston know more is expected of them. And even the younger players like Jacob Park and A.J. Turman will have to be on the same level as the veterans.
For the most part, this is the same team that was on the field in 2013. And because of that, every player will need to be playing at a higher level in 2014.