Georgia’s offensive success in 2012 is well-documented.
In a 12-2 season that saw the Bulldogs win the SEC East and come within five yards of playing for a national championship, they scored a school record 529 points, hit the 40-point mark in eight games and averaged 37.8 points per game.
Those numbers are hard to top but the Dawgs look more than capable of one-upping themselves in 2013. The return of 10 starters makes it a good bet.
“It’s been a pretty balanced offense the past couple years between run and pass,” said quarterback Aaron Murray, who threw for 3,893 yards and 36 touchdowns a year ago. “If you stack the box, that’s fine with me, I’ll throw the ball all day long.
“I think that’s why we’ve been so successful, we are able to balance both and run and pass.”
UGA is deep at receiver, with Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Conley leading the way, and Arthur Lynch is a tight end who can catch, block and score.
One statistic pointed out during SEC football media days is that 2013 will mark the first time Murray has been able to hand off to a running back that started the year before.
Todd Gurley rushed for 1,385 yards and 17 TDs in his freshman campaign and is set to start at tailback against Clemson on Aug. 31. But the tailback post is hardly a one-man job in Athens.
Also toting the freight is sophomore Keith Marshall, who had 759 yards and eight TDs in 2012.
The duo is arguably the best rushing tandem in the nation — although you probably won’t get too much argument.
“Just the fact that we’re talking about Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall coming back, that gives me a lot of confidence in our offense,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “Great backs tend to make your blocking look better. Sometimes you don’t know if it’s the linemen blocking that make the back look good. I think there’s a little bit of both going on with us.
“Just to know you have a couple horses there that can carry the load, to know how hard they worked this off season is tremendous. For Murray, Murray knows that a great running back and great running game is his best friend. He’s got no problem going to those weapons.”
Richt adds that while Gurley and Marshall both strive to be the “ No. 1” back, they also know working together gives Georgia the best chance at success.
“I think both of them want to be what would be considered the lead back,” Richt said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. They also came in knowing who they were. They’re very good friends. They wanted to share the load. They wanted to not be in a situation where they had to carry 25 to 30 times a game. I don’t think they were interested in that.”
The starting offensive line is also in tact from the unit that paved the way to last season’s record numbers.
Center David Andrews, guards Chris Burnette and Dallas Lee and tackles John Theus and Kenarious Gates bring skill and experience to the road-paving crew.
“Potentially we could be very good; just because of the maturity level of our backfield, and also our offensive line,” Lynch said. “Anybody with half a football mind understands that when you dominate the line of scrimmage up front, and you have two guys in the backfield that could take it to the house at any time, the sky is the limit.”