That’s the last sentence in Bill Connelly’s intro to his 2014 Georgia preview, and, brother, do I know where he’s coming from. Here’s the other part of that:
Georgia has incredible skill position talent, one of the best coordinator duos in the country, and a potentially dominant front seven. The Dawgs also have serious question marks at offensive line and defensive back.
That’s about it, plus a little something about special teams. Well, that and health.
Todd Gurley missed three games. Keith Marshall missed eight. Chris Conley (noted “Star Wars” fan filmmaker) and Michael Bennett missed two. Jay Rome missed five. Justin Scott-Wesley missed eight. Malcolm Mitchell missed 12.9.
That Georgia lost all of these players at one time or another and then lost Murray with two games remaining was incredible. More incredible: Georgia still ranked eighth in Off. F/+ and fifth in Passing S&P+. I’ve said this many times by now, but offensive coordinator Mike Bobo is absurdly underrated. (So was Murray, really, but that’s another story.)
The upside of injuries is that Georgia returns three running backs (four including CB-turned-RB-turned-CB J.J. Green) and four wideouts who have served as go-to options at one point or another. If Mitchell, Conley, Bennett, and Scott-Wesley can all hit 100 percent health at the same time, then … well, never mind Hutson Mason, I’m pretty sure I could throw for 3,000 yards with that group.
Bill goes on to opine that Georgia has the highest ceiling of any team in the East… but.
… if every East team performs to its maximum capability, Georgia finishes a couple steps ahead of everybody else.
The skill-position players and front seven are just loaded with exciting, experienced athletes. But the other units are somewhere between question marks and outright detriments, which makes Georgia a pretty high-variance team.
Which is why he leans towards South Carolina as the team to win the East. I can’t say I blame him. But it’s gonna be a wild ride if the injury bug doesn’t bite like it did in 2013.