If the Georgia Bulldogs want to have a successful 2011 season, they are going to have to run the ball with more success, because they were ranked 10th in the SEC in rushing offense. They expect that to change this season with the addition of freshman Isaiah Crowell.
But they also need to stretch the field with a big-play wide receiver since A.J. Green will not return for his senior season. Last season, Green played in nine games and averaged 94 yards per game with nine touchdowns, which is impressive to say the least.
The Bulldogs also lose Kris Durham, who was a standout possession receiver, averaging 20 yards per catch and 60 yards per game.
So with the two top receivers not returning, who are going to be the players that step up for the Bulldogs?
Tavarres King, who was the team’s No. 3 receiver last season, has been the No. 1 receiver during spring practices. Last season, King caught 27 passes for 504 yards. King is not as explosive as Green, but he has more experience compared to a majority of the receivers on the roster and has worked hard this offseason to get himself physically and mentally ready to be a leader.
Another player to watch for is Marlon Brown, who has the ability to become a big-time player for the offense.
Brown did not have a big 2010 season, with only 11 receptions for 133 yards and one touchdown, but according to reports, he has had a great spring practice and has really caught the eye of head coach Mark Richt.
Another player to catch the eye of Richt during spring practice is redshirt freshman Michael Bennett, who could be the next Kris Durham, standing 6'3" and 202 pounds.
Rontavious Wooten and Israel Troupe are veteran guys that are very reliable. They won’t likely be the starters when the season begins, but they will provide quarterback Aaron Murray security if things are not going great during a game.
One of the new signees that could make an instant impact is Chris Conley, who enrolled at Georgia in January. Conley will not likely see a lot of playing time this year, but with him learning the system at this point in the offseason, he will already have a leg up on the rest of the competition when the new signees come in.
So by the looks of the way spring practice is going, King, Bennett and Brown are the three guys that could step up in 2011. Are they going to be as dynamic as Green was the last three years? Probably not, but they don’t need to be because all this offense needs to do is to make sure they are able to move the chains and not make costly mistakes.
But if one of the three has a breakout year and lights a fire in the offense with his play, it should be a very good year for the Bulldogs and the Bulldog nation.