As Gurley goes, so goes Georgia?

Checking the online odds for the winner of this season’s Heisman Trophy, I notice that Todd Gurley is the only running back getting better than 10-1 right now.  He’s fourth overall, behind Winston, Mariota and Miller.

Now, I’m no fan of the Heisman and I doubt a running back’s chances to win it these days are that good (between the crab legs and his legs, my money’s on Mariota right now), but what I’m curious about is how far Todd Gurley can carry the Dawgs this year.  What kind of season will Georgia be having if Gurley remains a serious candidate for the Heisman throughout 2014?

My guess is a pretty damned good one, at least East Division champs and top five nationally going into the SECCG.  What say you guys?

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59 Comments

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59 responses to “As Gurley goes, so goes Georgia?

  1. uglydawg

    Yes. I have said a few times that Georgia will be a top three team as some point in the season (I’ll qualify that..Gurley must remain healthy and there can be no more losses to the defensive backfield). Problem is…if UGA is number three and Alabama and say, Auburn or any other SEC team are numbers one or even two..the Dogs won’t get to go to the big dance.

  2. Timphd

    If Gurley is a true Heisman candidate, that will probably mean the total running game (Marshall, Chubb, Michel,et.al.) is strong enough to keep Gurley fresh. If that’s true, the passing game, especially play action, could get rolling too. I’d feel pretty good if you told me both facets were clicking. That should keep us in every game and keep the national rating high. Of course it could be a shoot out every week if the secondary can’t get stabilized. Have to pray that Pruitt comes through I guess.

    • uglydawg

      Timphd..that’s it. You summed it up well.

    • McTyre

      You nailed it. Even if TG weren’t injury prone, smart SEC program with depth spell their top backs which can hurt stats. More worried about Mason’s ability to keep elite Ds honest than anything else. His footwork and accuracy in 2013 looked poor for a supposed student of the game and Yr 4 player.

      • Sorry, didn’t see this before I posted my comment below. But yes, same line of thought, teams rest their top RB’s now instead of feeding them the ball all game long.

    • Dog in Fla

      Here he comes to save the day, Mighty Pruitt is on the way.

  3. sniffer

    I didn’t realize how pessimistic I am about ’14 till the Mayor pointed it out yesterday. Seems a lot like ’13 to me. Green secondary, solid LB’s, and strong DL. Questions on the OL, stable of receivers and strong RB’s. Difference is we are needing Gurley to do what Murray did last year.

    Like last year at this time, most of us thought we could do some serious damage to that schedule and finish 12-0 or 11-1. Same with this season. I’ll split the difference and say we finish 10-2, lose to FL and AU and Gurley rushes for 1200 yards and carries us to a victory over…..tech.

  4. hassan

    Defense has to hold to avoid the shootout. Mason has to be as good as advertised to keep the air game a factor. Otherwise, they just stack the box and make us one dimensional.

    Gurley can still have a monster year and we have 6 win season. If we can’t keep the other guys from scoring at will, who cares if he grinds out 180 yards and 4 TD’s per game…especially if it takes 8 minutes to score. The Box score will look like Tech’s.

    • hassan

      Don’t get me wrong though…I really like our chances with him healthy.

    • If Georgia’s having a 6-win season, Gurley won’t be in the Heisman discussion regardless of how well he performs.

      • Mayor

        Correct. I posted on a similar topic yesterday–the upcoming season depends in large part on the outcome of the first 2 games. If Georgia wins those 2 games the Dawgs will be highly ranked and Gurley will be a Heisman contender. If the Dawgs lose both, likely we’ll be looking at 6-8 wins and Gurley won’t win any awards no matter how well he does.

      • hassan

        Agreed. These days top Heisman contenders come from top contending schools. More so for QB’s though. It would be really tough for a player to seriously get in the mix if his team isn’t on the top end of things in the W/L column.

    • 81Dog

      Nothing opens up the passing game like a punishing ground game. If our backfield stays healthy, that should help HM a lot. He doesn’t have to be the second coming of John Elway; he just has to be solid. He showed a lot of grit in the Tech game, and I thought he showed a lot of grit in the bowl game, too (drops and a stellar defensive effort kind of doomed us there).

      If Mason can perform at the level he showed in the second half of the Tech game, and we get a little bit of improvement on defense (you’d think that’s possible if our guys just know where to line up each play, wouldn’t you?), UGA is going to be a tough out.

  5. I do hope Gurley has a good enough season to at least be a finalist. I think part of what works against RB’s in the Heisman race now is you just don’t see the “workhorse” mentality anymore, teams spread their carries out. If our entire corp of RB’s is healthy, then realistically Todd shouldn’t get more than 20 carries a game, which would be 260 carries for the season if he played in the SECCG (not counting bowl/playoffs, since the trophy is handed out before those). Mark Ingram did win it with a similar number of carries, but prior to that the last two pure RB’s to win it were Ron Dayne (337 carries in 1999) and Ricky Williams (391 carries in 1998). I’m not counting Reggie Bush because he contributed in a lot of ways besides rushing with his receiving and kick return abilities.

    You just don’t see guys get those types of carries anymore (which is a good thing for their future), which I think is a big reason why you rarely see RB’s win it anymore. Even in a more conventional offense like ours, we just don’t feed the rock to the big fella like teams used to do.

    But yeah, if Todd is at least still in the discussion at the end of the year, that can only be good news for us. I don’t see how he can still be in the discussion and us not at least be in the SECCG.

  6. GurleyMan

    Agree completely. Look at his impact in 2013: We lose him for 3 games and we drop two of those and scrape the other one out in OT.
    A Heisman season for Gurley can do so much for our team. Wit him performing well, I wouldn’t expect anything less than an SEC East title and a shot in the SECG.

  7. John Denver is full of shit...

    Gurley is the man and he will carry this team, but if we are top 5 in the country and in the SECCG than I would think Huston Manson must have played like Tom Brady.

    • Dog in Fla

      Thinking of HM and

      “Speaking of AJ McCarron…During my visit to Indianapolis in February for the NFL Combine, I ate dinner one night with three coaches including Cincinnati Bengals quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese. I vividly recall asking Zampese, “How do you know that AJ McCarron is not the next Tom Brady?” His response: “You don’t.”

      In the fifth round, the Bengals drafted McCarron.”

      http://coachingsearch.247sports.com/Article/NFL-Draft-recap-The-most-interesting-stats-and-observations-28586771

    • 202dawg

      More like Tee Martin. He doesn’t have to break records, but the D needs to show up (for once)

      • Well Done

        Food for thought. Ironically Tee Martin was drafted in the 5th round with the 163rd pick. Our Aaron Murray was picked in the exact same round with again the 163rd pick. Bothwith similar size and weight. If you look at Martin’s stats in 1998(SECC and NC year) they are similar to Murray’s in 2013. Where Murray really showed out stat wise was in 2012. If we could have stayed healthy in ’13 we would have blown teams up. Like Bluto pointed out and Conjones likes to pontificate about… we have been snake bit. Whether you buy into the Bobo haz a crayon meme or not … 2013 was a season where Bobo colored outside the lines using crayons that he had never used before and had no real idea just how they would perform. He had a lot of faith in Murray’s ability and he keep UGA in games with fewer veteran personnel than our opponents. Just sayin’

        http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/aaron-murray-1.html
        http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/tee-martin-1.html

  8. If Gurley is healthy all year he’ll be in NY. I agree a RB probably won’t win it as it’s clearly a QB award at this point, but he’ll be there. As for your question as to what it would take for him to win it, first and foremost UGA has to win the SEC. Going 10-2 or even 11-2 and losing in ATL won’t cut it as the voters still tie the award to winning. If UGA makes the playoff—let’s just ignore the void in the secondary and dream—and Gurley is healthy all year, you can expect close to 1,700+ total yards and probably 12-15 TDs.

  9. Macallanlover

    Gurley may be the best running back, he possibly could even be the best player (although I don’t think there is ever a way to determine that), but the award will almost surely go to one of the current top 10 whose team has the most dominating team performance that ESPN features and talks about. I don’t see anyway TG can win with UGA having less than an SEC Championship. I think that favors Mariota, but it will be more about Oregon, not him specifically. Heisman is basically “mission impossible”.

    Won’t happen, but I would love to see the Heisman silliness dropped and have more attention to the top performer on a position basis. I know we already have that but the marketing would have to change, not enough pizzazz around those awards currently

    • Yeah, the Heisman hasn’t been about the best player, or the most “outstanding player” in quite some time, and lately it’s become a pretty-boy show.

      But occasionally the best player wins it. I thought Manziel was the best player the year he won. But it’s a shame an award like that can’t go to the best player, or at least one of them. With today’s circus requirements, that rarely happens.
      ~~~

      • uglydawg

        The HM should be redefined as going to “the best offensive skilled position player” in college football. That would be much closer to the truth.

      • Macallanlover

        Sure, one of the best players has always won it, but some others didn’t those same years simply because of what position they play, and what team they are on. The mission statement of the award is too broad, imo, to be confirmed most every year (Herschel was an exception, but even he got robbed in 1980. Peyton was also robbed, imo.)

        Johnny Cash was flamboyant and talented to be sure but I don’t think he was the best. That one TD throw in Bryant Denny determined that award. If you read the mission statement of the award, I a

        • Macallanlover

          Oops, computer froze on me and I hit the wrong key. To finish: I also question whether Manziel represents the best example of character expected of amateur athletes as stated in the Committee’s criteria, or some similar verbiage.

        • Several have won it who weren’t in the Top 10, IMO, not if you consider ALL of the best skill players. Take into account all positions, and there would be more winners that didn’t make that cut. Just the way I see it.

          But I absolutely agree with your point.

          I do think Johnny Football was the best player his freshman year. He had a quickness and burst, an extra step of speed and flash, that he didn’t have last year. And I think that edge, combined with everything else, is what separated him that year.
          ~~~

  10. Slaw Dawg

    A 9 win regular season may be enough for Gurley to be in NY. If our secondary is as porous as it’s beginning to appear it may be, then our O may have to put up mucho points and yardage. If TG is responsible for a high percentage of that, even semi-intelligent Heisman voters may be sufficiently wowed by his output to overlook the losses. Some TD receptions and a couple of “Superman” TD leaps wouldn’t hurt his chances, either!

    • 202dawg

      “…porous as it’s beginning to appear it may be…”

      Now how in the world can you determine that in the middle of May?

      • Slaw Dawg

        Well, 202dawg, I’m just an evidence driven guy, so I base the “may be” on last year’s results + loss of Clemons, Bostick and Wiggins + Langley to WR + Coach Pruitt’s clear dissatisfaction with his D backs.

      • Ed Kilgore

        Slaw Dog said “appear” and “may.” I think that’s fair given last year’s performance and the talent we’ve lost or that “may” be suspended or injured. Hope springs eternal, but right now my major source of optimism for the secondary is that we “may” have a king-hell pass rush which will limit our vulnerability to the passing game. It would also be nice if our offense scores 40 points a game, which is probably more likely than a shutdown secondary.

  11. sUGArdaddy

    Gurley is the best player in America. While he won’t get the carries to have 2,000 yards, he might add 400 yards receiving and 5-8 more TDs off screen passes, which became deadly the last half of the season. I still say we should have thrown a screen the last play versus Auburn and see if those guys could tackle him with a couple blockers in front and a full head of steam by the 5-yard line, but I digress.

    If he’s healthy, we’ll be pretty darn good. The point above is valid. We dropped 2 of 3 and almost lost another while he was out, all to teams we should have beat. If he’s healthy the whole year last year, we’d have played in Atlanta, despite all the other injuries.

  12. I just want to see Gurley be the best he can be. If that happens, you’re probably pretty close as to where Georgia might end up.

    One thing’s for sure, if Gurley is 100% (as running backs go) and gets his speed back, Georgia will be very hard to beat. Opponents will need a little help from Georgia. In the past 8 years, they’ve generally gotten it.

    But I hope I’m right in viewing the 2014 changes as a first step toward fielding a team that doesn’t beat itself. Because the toughest opponent in our recent history has been none other than Georgia.

    Quit doing that, and we will be very tough to beat, with any solid RB. A juiced Gurley would only make us that much tougher. If we survive the early games and get into the meat of the schedule that way, our best opponents will not be licking their chops to play us anymore.
    ~~~

  13. Russ

    If Gurley isn’t a Heisman finalist, I hope its because we’ve rotated 4 backs all season to average 350 ypg rushing.

    If Gurley stays healthy and is a Heisman finalist, we’ll be dancing in January.

  14. Sam

    Unfortunately, I don’t think our OL is going to be good enough for TG to generate Heisman type numbers. OL is right up there with the secondary for me as the main worry spots for next season.

    • I’m hoping they have a little extra juice to them when they know Gurley is getting the ball. There seems to be a little bit of a psychological thing for offensive linemen when they’re blocking for a top RB. How many times have you seen in games where the starting RB is churning out good yardage every time he gets the ball, then the backup RB comes in, and the first time he gets the ball, he gets stacked up 3 yards deep in the backfield? Not because made a bad read or anything, it’s like the OL just relaxed all of a sudden. OL’s just seem to block better when they know the guy behind them is a playmaker.

      • Skeptic Dawg

        So explain Houston and Theus last season? Were those two not impressed with Gurley nor Marshal? Neither played worth a plug nickel last year. I agree with Sam’s point above. The offense will only go as far as the OL allows them to go, which I see as 8 or 9 wins. 8 or 9 wins means Gurley is closer to Shreveport than New York.

        • Well Done

          Worth a plugged nickel Maybe it’s attitude? And Leadership?

        • Ed Kilgore

          I dunno. The scary thing is how much Gurley accomplished last year at what looked like 50% power. Aside from awards or even the team’s performance, I’d like to see him truly at his best.

  15. Heisman is just as much a media show as anything these days. Not sure how Gurley will fair with that. But if he stays healthy all year, we should be looking at a pretty good season . . . and a really fun year to be a Dawg fan.

  16. Will Trane

    How Hutson Mason goes will determine how Gurley goes.
    How the off season goes determines how both go. Because at present they are going…somewhere else in alarming numbers since first of the year.
    Just how many more transfers can CMR and staff take. Rest assured every team in SECED will be more improved, that would include UK.
    The coaches and playeres had better focus on where they could end up in the division. Dawgs bring back an inexperienced QB in SEC and SECED.
    Think for many of us the trophy preseason talk and hoping is meaningless for these guys. Wonder how much they really have moved their game since the Nebraska folly.

    • sniffer

      Will, are you sure about the improvement of every team in the East? Florida is likely to improve but beyong the Gators, i don’t see where or how every team in SECED will be more improved, that would include UK.
      What examples of improvement in the division would you offer?

      • Mayor

        FWIW I agree, sniffer. I do not see improvement at UT, where they lost the entire O-line. Maybe UK is improved and will go from 2 wins to 3 wins. The Gators, hell they won 4 games last season–they can maybe improve to 6 wins (really that’s all I see for FU). The SEC teams to worry about are Mizzou, USCe and the Barners. And Clemson OOC.

  17. W Cobb Dawg

    “…I doubt a running back’s chances to win it these days are that good…”

    I disagree. RB’s have done pretty good lately, even when substituted regularly – see Ingram & Richardson. Just have to have a good overall team and win games. I think Gurley is better than Ingram or Richardson, who benefitted from much better OLs.

  18. Doggoned

    If we win out, at least through the Florida game, Gurley would be in the running. This all assumes that if we are winning all those games, he is putting up good numbers.