Most Bulldog fans know about new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and how the defense will have a slightly different look this season compared to the previous years with Todd Grantham.
But could the same changes come for the offense?
Mike Bobo is still the coordinator and has shown no indication that the Bulldogs are going to change things on offense. In fact, he has said, according to Matt Maddux of al.com, that he’s going to focus on running the ball to help Hutson Mason get comfortable with the offense.
Mason is the new starter for Aaron Murray, who is now with the Kansas City Chiefs. But Mason has in-game experience and has the tools to take the Bulldogs to the SEC Championship. However, he comes from a high school program (Lassiter High School in Marietta, Georgia) that ran the spread offense, and he looks more comfortable when the offense is more uptempo and spreading the ball around.
So could the Bulldogs feature a spread offense package this season?
Other than Mason at quarterback, there are some other things to look at when it comes to the Bulldogs and their offense for this season.
The first aspect is the receivers. According to the official depth chart, which can be found in the media guide, the Bulldogs have three receivers starting in the base offense. Michael Bennett is the starting X receiver, Chris Conley is the starting Y receiver and Reggie Davis is the starting Z receiver.
That will all change this year because Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley will be back from ACL injuries they suffered last season. And because the receiver position is very deep, there’s a chance the Bulldogs could run a lot of three- and four-receiver sets, so they could not only spread the ball around and score points quickly, their efforts could also take pressure off of running back Todd Gurley, who will be a focus for every opposing defense.
One of those four receivers could also be the H-back, which is something Bobo added to the offense this year. The starting H-back will be Quayvon Hicks, but newcomer tight end Jeb Blazevich has cross-trained to be an H-back as well, according to Gentry Estes of 247Sports (subscription needed).
Quayvon Hicks, Jay Rome, and Jeb Blazevich will all work at H-Back position. Looks like UGA will be in more of spread type offense this yr— Trent Smallwood (@UgaRecruitingBI) July 30, 2014
The Bulldogs will still have their power sets, which will include the tight end and fullback. But Bobo mentioned that the Bulldogs were in a one-back set 74 percent of the time last season (via dawgsonline.com). So the H-back is not brand new to the Bulldogs, but it will be featured more than it has been in the past.
The last aspect is the defense. As it was mentioned earlier, the defense looks to be improved from last year with the addition of Pruitt and the return of eight starters. But they will still have some growing pains, especially at the start of the season when the Bulldogs face Clemson and South Carolina. So instead of UGA running the pro-style offense where it relies on the run first, it will likely have to sling the ball around more than normal, which does favor Mason because that’s the style he’s used to playing.
The Bulldogs are not going to change their style of offense, especially with Gurley carrying the load. But because of all the other skill players they have on offense and the emphasis on the H-back, there’s a chance that spread offense will be used more in Athens to keep the opposing defenses on their toes.