There always has to be that one player on each team that is going to surprise everyone. The player is talented but has had issues either staying healthy, being in a position to make plays or just playing consistent football.
For the Georgia Bulldogs, there are a number of candidates that could be the surprise player of 2014, but when it’s all said and done, fans, coaches, players and media members will look back at the end of the year and wonder what got into Damian Swann.
The secondary for the Bulldogs has been the talk of the entire preseason because of all the changes that have been made. But the one thing that has been constant is Swann because he has started in every game since the start of the 2012 season.
The only problem is Swann did not have a great 2013 season. After leading the team in interceptions in 2012 with four and also getting two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, Swann did not have one interception and did not create one turnover.
Many thought that last season would be the year Swann took the next step. But he struggled to get anything going for him because he did not have the experience surrounding him like he did in 2011 or 2012. He was caught up in helping players—like Brendan Langley, Quincy Mauger and Shaq Wiggins—so his game took a step back.
But that will not be the case this season, though, it’s true that he will have a different and younger cast around him and the entire defense will be different from what it was last season. But with defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt at the helm, he will put Swann in position to succeed.
Damian Swann with the one handed INT. that's how uga boys do ithttps://t.co/cTdhFmk1TT— Bryce andrew dixon (@dixonbryce) June 22, 2014
The problem last season for Swann was he was responsible for a lot of duties when he was on the field, and former defensive coordinator Todd Grantham had a scheme that was very perplexing. Now that Swann is working with Pruitt, things will be simpler for him and the entire unit, which will lead to more opportunities to make plays.
But for Swann, it’s not necessarily about making plays. Since he’s a senior and has started in every game the last two seasons, he has to provide stability to the secondary. And with Pruitt’s help and leadership, Swann will be able to do that, which will lead to the secondary being much improved.
Also, Swann does not want to end his career at UGA on a sour note. He wants to prove to the world that the 2012 version of him is still there and that not only he can lead the team in interceptions, he can create turnovers, shutdown receivers and get after the quarterback.
And if he can do that, the secondary will be better, which means the defense will be better, and that will lead to more wins for the Bulldogs.