2013 Forecast: Georgia brings high-efficiency offense to Death Valley

Georgia's Todd Gurley runs the ball past Alabama's Robert Lester in the second quarter of the SEC Championship in Atlanta on Saturday.

Photo by Nathan Gray

Georgia's Todd Gurley runs the ball past Alabama's Robert Lester in the second quarter of the SEC Championship in Atlanta on Saturday.

Breaking down the Bulldogs...

Georgia Quick Profile

Plays Clemson: at Memorial Stadium, Aug.31 at 8 p.m. (ABC).

2012 Record: 12-2 (7-1 SEC, T-1st in East)

Coach: Mark Richt (118-40 career record, 69-32 against SEC [2-0 vs. Clemson], 13th year at Georgia).

Offense (2012 ranks): Pro-Style (Total offense: 22nd/Rush offense: 43rd/Pass offense: 30th)

Defense (2012 ranks): 3-4 (Total defense: 32nd/Rush defense: 77th/Pass defense: 8th).

2012 Special Team Ranks: Net punting – 56th/Kickoff returns – 55th/Punt returns – 74th/Punt return yardage defense – 102nd/Kick return yardage defense – 37th

2012 Misc. stats: Turnover margin – 20th/Fewest penalties – 96th/First downs – 58th/First downs allowed – 34th/Third down efficiency – 17th/Red zone efficiency – 29th/Red zone defense – 18th/Time of possession – 97th.

Depth Chart Breakdown – Returning starters (2012 stats)

QB – 1: Aaron Murray (6-1 210, senior; 64.5 cmp%/3,893 yards/36 TDs/10 INTs).

RB – 1: 1. Todd Gurley (6-1 218, soph.; 222 carries-1,385 yards-17 TDs-6.3 YPC) 2. Keith Marshall (5-11 216, soph.; 117-781-8-6.5).

WR – 1/3: 1. Malcolm Mitchell (6-1 192, junior; 40 catches-572 yards-4 TDs-14.3 YPR) 1. Michael Bennett (6-3 204, junior; 24-345-4-14.3) 2. Rantavious Wooten (5-10 179, senior; 15-187-2-12.5) 1. Jonathan Rumph (6-5 215, junior) 2. Chris Conley (6-3 205, junior; 20-342-6 TDs).

TE – 1: 1. Arthur Lynch (6-5 258, senior; 24-431-3 TDs-18 YPR) 2. Jay Rome (6-6 265, soph.; 11-152-2-13.8).

OL – 5/5: LT Kenarious Gates (6-5 318, senior, 26 career starts); LG Dallas Lee (6-4 300, senior, 21 career starts); C David Andrews (6-2 295, junior, 14 starts); RG Chris Burnette (6-2 322, senior, 24 career starts); RT John Theus (6-6 309, soph., 14 career starts).

DL – 1/3: DE Garrison Smith (6-3 297, senior; 57 tackles, 1 sacks, 2 TFL); NT John Taylor (6-4 335, redshirt fr.); DE Ray Drew (6-5 284, junior; 23 tackles, TFL).

LB – 1/4: OLB Jordan Jenkins (6-3 257, soph.; 31 tackles, 5 sacks, 8 TFL); ILB Ramlik Wilson (6-2 234, junior; 6 tackles); ILB Amarlo Herrara (6-2 245, junior; 70 tackles, 3 TFL); OLB Chase Vasser (6-3 231, senior; 19 tackles, 4 TFL).

DB – 1/4: CB Damian Swann (5-11 189, junior; 53 tackles, 2 sacks, 3.5 TFL, 5 PBUs); SS Corey Moore (6-2 214, junior; 14 tackles)*; FS Tray Matthews (6-0 194, freshman); CB Sheldon Dawson (5-11 181, soph.).

K – 0/1: Patrick Beless (Redshirt fr.)/Thomas Pritchard (Redshirt fr.)*

P – 1/1: Collin Barber (Sophomore; 41.5 YPP/19 inside the 20).

KR/PR – 2/2: Malcolm Mitchell (6-3 204, junior; 16-360-22.5 YPR).

*Depth chart for at least game one due to suspension(s).

Georgia Identity

1. One-two punch – You can’t judge Georgia’s offense by yards per game because of its molasses-slow pace. The Bulldogs are quite efficient (No. 1 in the nation in adj. efficiency actually) – led by its sophomore “Gurshall” duo. They have two backs, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, who averaged over six yards per carry (only five backs in the SEC top-20 averaged that). Gurley led the SEC and was seventh in the nation with 49 runs of 10 or more yards and eighth in the nation in 20-plus runs (15). Marshall made the most of fewer carries with a 9.7 “highlight” yards per carry (explained in the link). They, combined with a veteran o-line, will be hard to handle and it sets up the other highly-effective part of the Georgia offense.

2. Big-play passing game minus a target – Senior Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray was the only signal-caller to average 10 yards per pass (10.09) last season nationally. Murray was third in 20-plus yard passes (62) and second in 30-plus yards completions (33) – tied with Tajh Boyd with 41 less pass attempts in one more game. Gone though is top ’12 receiver Tavarres King, who made up up 26 percent of the 20-yard and 36 percent of the 30-yard connections.

3. Young ‘D’ Dawgs have to step up – Georgia loses its top four 2012 tacklers, top-three in tackles for loss and leader in sacks. Linebacker Jarvis Jones alone takes 85 tackles, 14.5 sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss to the NFL with him. But it’s not like they’re not talented – Georgia regularly rakes in top recruits and they have a returning upperclassmen starter in the ranks on the d-line, at linebacker and in the secondary. The secondary will get the biggest test come Aug. 31, which is sure to start at least two underclassmen, and will be working on building depth on its heels against the Clemson hurry-up spread.

Odds & Trends: Georgia is on a run of five-straight wins in the series – the latest in 2002 (31-28 in Athens) and 2003 (30-0 in Clemson). Georgia is tied for fifth (22) and Clemson seventh (21) in wins the last two seasons. The Tigers are the only non-SEC team to defeat three ranked SEC teams in the last two seasons. Clemson has three of the only seven non-conference wins over ranked SEC opponents in that span. Currently, Georgia is a slight favorite – Clemson hasn’t been a home underdog since 2010, when they lost twice in the situation (Miami and South Carolina). Georgia is 8-1 as a road favorite over the last three seasons and 0-4 as a road underdog in that span. Clemson has won 13 of its last 14 home games and is 12-1 in home openers since 2000.

2013 Schedule: 8/31 @Clemson; 9/7 S. Car; 9/14 Bye; 9/21 North Texas; 9/28 LSU; Oct. 5 @Tennessee; Oct. 12 Missouri; Oct. 19 @Vandy; Oct. 26 Bye; Nov. 2 Florida (Jacksonville); Nov. 9 Appalachian State; Nov. 16 @Auburn; Nov. 23 Kentucky; Nov. 30 @Georgia Tech.

2012 Results: Buffalo – W 45-23; @Missouri – W 41-20; Florida Atlantic – W 56-20; Vanderbilt – W 48-3; Tennessee – 51-44; @S. Car – L 35-7; @Kentucky – W 29-24; Florida – W 17-9; Ole Miss – W 37-10; @Auburn – W 38-0; Ga. Southern – W 45-14; Georgia Tech – W 42-10; Alabama – W 32-28; Nebraska – W 45-31.

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Comments » 1

clemvol writes:

And the Clemson Offense that the Clemson Defense practices against everyday is somehow different. I don't think so. One of the huge differences for this game will be the 12th man. Don't sit on your hands fans. If you do then stay home. The Georgia defense has to practice against their offense also. So the home field is important. Don't let the playes down and don't be quiet for one second while and if the Georgia offense gets on the field. It's time for all of us to put up or shut up. Get ready if you want to play for real.

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