Some random thoughts and beliefs before the opener on what I expect this season (no doubt I’ll abandon plenty of them as things progress):
- Mason brings a different skill set to the table than the one his predecessor did. But I’m pretty confident that Bobo will be very good at scheming around his new QB’s strengths and weaknesses. So I think Mason will put up numbers that will at least be serviceable. What I don’t know yet is whether he can match Murray’s will to drive the team against top opponents in crunch time that we finally saw emerge in the 2012 SECCG.
- Last night demonstrated that there isn’t a complete team in the SEC East this season. What lessons does Georgia draw from that?
- As we saw last season, the offensive line doesn’t have to be dominant for the offense to be successful. But greater consistency would be huge. I don’t think Theus is going to be a step down at left tackle, because Gates never was suited to play that spot anyway. But the other tackle spot worries me. So does Burnette’s departure.
- I think Floyd, Jenkins and Carter are going to be pass rushing beasts. And no one will be happier about that than their mates in the secondary.
- Speaking of the secondary, I assume we’re about to find out that playing fundamentally sound football trumps talent. What I don’t know is by how much.
- Outside of Marshall Morgan, you could tell me anything about Georgia’s special teams and I’d probably believe you. It shouldn’t be hard for the return teams to improve, but that doesn’t mean they will. And I’m not sure Collin Barber has gotten over the effects of the concussion he suffered last season.
- The guys I have the most faith in are Gurley and Marshall (duh). The kid I have the most hope for is McKenzie.
- The change in scheme from Grantham to Pruitt that I think will have the biggest payoff for the defense is the redefining of the role of the Star defender and the associated removal of a linebacker in obvious passing situations.
- I’m really intrigued by how well Quayvon Hicks manages to handle his increased responsibilities this season. I also wonder if we’re about to see the most diminished role for the fullback that we’ve had under Richt.
- As much as I’d like to see a pass rusher emerge on the d-line, I’ll be happier if those guys can do their jobs as well against the run as they did for much of last year.
- I hope Mitchell and Scott-Wesley get back soon, but for some reason I feel strangely pessimistic that’s going to happen. And I’m keeping my fingers crossed as to Jay Rome’s health.
- There are a lot of ifs you can point to, but the if with the biggest upside for Georgia this season is if this team can swing back from being in the hole with turnover margin.
- I think there are at least a couple of losses on the schedule, because it’s hard for me to discount the flaws in too many areas early on. But I agree with Bill Connelly that Georgia has the highest ceiling of any team in the East. If the coaches manage the rehab job faster than I expect, look out.
Anything you guys want to add?