2013 Georgia football's 10 things to know: Only a few more yards to go

Kevin C. Cox

The timing was almost perfect for Georgia in 2012. Can the Dawgs and their amazing offense overcome a green defense and a brutal early schedule to put themselves in position for another national title run? For more Bulldogs, visit Georgia site Dawg Sports.

Confused? Check out the glossary here.

1. What great timing

I have to update my examples. For a while now, one of my general truisms about college football has been that the way you eventually break through and win a national title is simply by continuously putting a strong product on the field and hoping the timing works out eventually. Sometimes it works out immediately and then stops (see: Bob Stoops). Sometimes it takes a while (Mack Brown). Sometimes it takes a long while (Tom Osborne, Bobby Bowden).

For years, this was my defense of Georgia head coach Mark Richt. To those who would inevitably say, "He can't win the big one," or question his ability to build an elite team, I would simply point out that if the 2002 Georgia team had played in 2001, 2003, 2006, or any other year that didn't see two undefeated teams in the national title game, Richt would have, at the very least, a BCS Championship runner-up line on his resume.

The timing just hadn't worked out yet for Richt in Athens. But in 2012, it did. Wow, did it.

Midway through the season, the narrative was pretty easy: The Georgia offense was breaking through, but despite Jarvis Jones' incredible play, the defense was explosively average. Georgia rose to fifth in the country in early-October but got its comeuppance in the form of a 35-7 loss at South Carolina. The Dawgs fell into the teens, and with a game against No. 3 Florida on the horizon, this appeared doomed to only be a 10-2 (or so) season with a January 1 bowl game against a Big Ten team.

But then Georgia beat Florida, and for a month, the Dawgs looked the part of an honest-to-goodness title contender, with an offense that was getting even better and a defense that had stabilized. And other teams kept losing. Georgia clinched the SEC East title, romped over Georgia Tech on Thanksgiving weekend, and found itself ranked third in the country with a shot at No. 2 Alabama in the SEC title game. Granted, "All they've got to do is beat Alabama..." is not typically a call for success, but damned if Georgia didn't look like it was going to do just that for a good portion of December 1.

2. What awful timing

After 28 minutes, Georgia led Alabama, 7-0. The Tide utilized a quick TD-INT-FG combination to go up, 10-7, at halftime. Georgia was surviving on defense and dominating on special teams, and when the Dawgs blocked a field goal and returned it for a touchdown, they suddenly led the best team in the country, 21-10, with under 22 minutes left in the game.

I'm telling you this as if you didn't already know what happened. This was kind of a classic game. Alabama came back -- of course it did -- and the teams traded scores until the end, when Georgia got one last chance to win the game.

As he had for most of the season, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo made some brilliant play-calls down the stretch, but after some wonderful late-season play and even more wonderful timing got Georgia to within a few yards of the national title game, a random, deflected ball and six damn seconds kept the Dawgs out of it. Sports, man.

2012 Schedule & Results

Record: 12-2 | Adj. Record: 11-3 | Final F/+ Rk: 6
Date Opponent Score W-L Adj. Score Adj. W-L
1-Sep Buffalo 45-23 W 47.6 - 24.7 W
8-Sep at Missouri 41-20 W 23.3 - 27.8 L
15-Sep Florida Atlantic 56-20 W 58.3 - 18.5 W
22-Sep Vanderbilt 48-3 W 55.4 - 23.6 W
29-Sep Tennessee 51-44 W 44.2 - 23.0 W
6-Oct at South Carolina 7-35 L 20.1 - 30.1 L
20-Oct at Kentucky 29-24 W 37.3 - 32.3 W
27-Oct vs. Florida 17-9 W 27.7 - 17.6 W
3-Nov Ole Miss 37-10 W 42.7 - 16.4 W
10-Nov at Auburn 38-0 W 37.6 - 17.8 W
17-Nov Georgia Southern 45-14 W 35.5 - 36.8 L
24-Nov Georgia Tech 42-10 W 47.0 - 20.2 W
1-Dec vs. Alabama 28-32 L 50.5 - 28.0 W
1-Jan vs. Nebraska 45-31 W 42.8 - 23.3 W
Category Offense Rk Defense Rk
Points Per Game 37.8 19 19.6 18
Adj. Points Per Game 40.7 2 24.3 29

3. Win the Cocktail Party

Over the course of the Mark Richt era in Athens, Georgia has struggled to get the best of Florida. He lost five of his first six against the Gators, and it has been a mark of progress that he has split the last six. The Florida-Georgia game is obviously a big rivalry, but for Georgia, it is an incredible spark, for better or worse, for the rest of the season.

Since 2005, the Dawgs have gone 3-4 versus Florida. Following their three wins, they have gone 12-0 with an average score of 39-14 for the rest of the regular season. Following their four losses, they have gone 12-5 with an average score of 32-23. After their loss to Florida in 2006, they lost to Kentucky. After their loss in 2008, they barely beat Kentucky and lost at home to Georgia Tech. They lost to Kentucky again in 2009, three weeks after the Florida loss.

But when the Dawgs win that game, they wreck shop for the rest of the regular season. They certainly did last year.

Adj. Points Per Game (first 8 games): Georgia 39.2, Opponent 24.7 (plus-14.5)
Adj. Points Per Game (last 5 games, sans Georgia Southern): Georgia 44.1, Opponent 21.1 (plus-23.0)

If we ignore the Georgia Southern game as the we're-only-paying-half-attention contest these late-season FCS games usually are, we see a team that went from playing great offense and above-average defense to one playing nearly perfect offense and great D. (These averages remain reasonably similar even if you include the GSU game.) Georgia took a 2007-esque leap following survival in Jacksonville, and it almost took the Dawgs to the national title game.

Offense

Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 22 1 9 1
RUSHING 43 11 16 9
PASSING 30 1 4 1
Standard Downs 1 5 1
Passing Downs 6 19 6
Redzone 1 5 1
Q1 Rk 3 1st Down Rk 2
Q2 Rk 19 2nd Down Rk 14
Q3 Rk 1 3rd Down Rk 2
Q4 Rk 31

4. Blame Bobo

Mike Bobo took over as Georgia offensive coordinator in 2006 and was almost instantaneously hated by a large portion of Georgia fans. More often than not, the offensive coordinator is the most hated coach on the staff, so this comes with the territory; but yeah, he was really not very popular.

I'll save the "Did he improve drastically in recent years, or were the haters just hating all along?" debate for others; all I know for sure is that he was pulling the strings for the most underrated offense in the country last year.

Georgia ranked fourth in Off. F/+ last season, first in Off. S&P+. The Bulldogs lost two key receivers and just kept throwing better and better as the season went on. Mix in an explosive run game and aggressive passing downs play-calling, and you've got one ferocious offense, one that perhaps didn't get its due in 2012 because Georgia operated at an extremely slow pace. But let's put it this way: If Georgia had averaged a Baylor-esque 82 plays per game, the Dawgs would have also averaged 581 yards, better than Louisiana Tech, better than Baylor, better than Texas A&M, better than Oklahoma State, better than Oregon. The Dawgs are the poster boys for pace adjustments.

Put as simply as possible, Bobo was the best play-caller in the country last year. He put his freshman backs in position to succeed, he leaned on his veteran quarterbacks, and he called some of the most well-timed screens you'll ever see. You've got this one against Missouri, for one, and pardon me while I embed this play in a post for about the 16th time this season (if only as an apology to Georgia fans for the Bama clip above):

Bobo had it going in 2012 -- I even loved that he didn't call timeout at the end of the Alabama game; when you've got the best defense on the ropes, don't let it regroup -- almost to the point where you wonder if his timing and play-calling were unsustainably great.

5. This might be the best offense in the country

Pace aside, this offense might be even better in 2013. Bobo was relying on a pair of freshman running backs and really did have to deal with a rotating supporting cast in the receiving corps. But freshmen turn into sophomores, and receivers get healthy.

Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, whose last names combine to rhyme with "Herschel," gained 2,144 yards and scored 25 touchdowns last year. Gurley was a strong every-down power back with some explosiveness, while Marshall was a homerun hitter with a little bit of power. They are basically the entire show this year -- the Nos. 3-5 running backs are gone, so if Gurley or Marshall gets hurt, more true freshmen are getting carries -- but what a show that is. Oh yeah, and basically the entire two-deep on the offensive line returns, with 101 career starts.

And if healthy, this receiving corps could be ridiculous, as well. Malcolm Mitchell has the potential to fill in for the explosive Tavarres King, Arthur Lynch was a revelation at tight end, Michael Bennett was in the middle of a breakout season in 2012 when he hurt his knee, four-star junior college transfer Jonathon Rumph joins the mix (along with two four-star freshmen), and if you want to get an idea for Chris Conley's potential, just watch the above clip a few more times. His technique is still a work in progress (but hey, whose isn't?), but that speed is just ridiculous.

Malcolm Mitchell. Sam Greenwood, Getty.

Quarterback

Note: players in bold below are 2013 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.

Player Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Comp Att Yards Comp
Rate
TD INT Sacks Sack Rate Yards/
Att.
Aaron Murray 6'1, 208 Sr. **** (6.0) 249 386 3,893 64.5% 36 10 26 6.3% 9.1
Hutson Mason (2011) 6'3, 202 Jr. *** (5.6) 18 30 254 60.0% 2 0 1 3.2% 8.1
Christian LeMay 6'2, 200 So. **** (5.9) 1 2 43 50.0% 0 1 0 0.0% 21.5
Parker Welch 6'3, 203 Jr. NR 3 7 39 42.9% 1 0 1 12.5% 4.1

Running Back

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Rushes Yards Yards/
Carry
Hlt Yds/
Carry
TD Adj.
POE
Todd Gurley RB 6'1, 232 So. **** (6.0) 222 1,385 6.2 6.5 17 +31.5
Keith Marshall RB 5'11, 219 So. **** (6.0) 117 759 6.5 9.7 8 +18.8
Ken Malcome RB 57 272 4.8 3.5 2 +2.6
Aaron Murray QB 6'1, 208 Sr. **** (6.0) 33 96 2.9 3.2 3 -4.6
Richard Samuel IV RB 18 65 3.6 3.2 0 -2.5
Christian LeMay QB 6'2, 200 So. **** (5.9) 16 67 4.2 4.2 1 -1.4
Brandon Harton RB 8 20 2.5 0.6 0 -1.9
Malcolm Mitchell SE 6'1, 190 Jr. **** (6.0) 5 17 3.4 10.0 0 -0.9
A.J. Turman RB 6'0, 205 Fr. **** (5.8)




J.J. Green RB 5'8, 183 Fr. *** (5.7)





Receiving Corps

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Targets Catches Yards Catch Rate Yds/
Target
Target
Rate
%SD Real Yds/
Target
RYPR
Tavarres King FL 68 42 950 61.8% 14.0 17.9% 61.8% 13.9 184.7
Malcolm Mitchell FL 6'1, 190 Jr. **** (6.0) 52 40 572 76.9% 11.0 13.7% 63.5% 11.0 111.2
Marlon Brown WR 40 26 461 65.0% 11.5 10.5% 70.0% 11.1 89.6
Arthur Lynch TE 6'5, 254 Sr. **** (5.8) 34 24 431 70.6% 12.7 8.9% 64.7% 12.9 83.8
Michael Bennett SE 6'3, 205 Jr. *** (5.7) 34 24 345 70.6% 10.1 8.9% 61.8% 10.1 67.1
Chris Conley FL 6'3, 206 Jr. *** (5.7) 32 20 342 62.5% 10.7 8.4% 65.6% 11.0 66.5
Rantavious Wooten FL 5'10, 176 Sr. **** (5.8) 27 15 187 55.6% 6.9 7.1% 81.5% 6.3 36.4
Todd Gurley RB 6'1, 232 So. **** (6.0) 20 16 117 80.0% 5.9 5.3% 55.0% 6.0 22.7
Rhett McGowan SE 6'0, 180 Sr. NR 19 12 150 63.2% 7.9 5.0% 36.8% 8.0 29.2
Keith Marshall RB 5'11, 219 So. **** (6.0) 18 11 91 61.1% 5.1 4.7% 44.4% 4.6 17.7
Jay Rome TE 6'6, 254 So. **** (5.9) 17 11 152 64.7% 8.9 4.5% 64.7% 9.0 29.5
Justin Scott-Wesley SE 5'11, 206 So. **** (5.8) 9 6 135 66.7% 15.0 2.4% 33.3% 18.9 26.2
Jonathon Rumph WR 6'5, 208 Jr. **** (5.8)








Blake Tibbs FL 6'2, 179 RSFr. *** (5.7)








Tramel Terry WR 5'11, 184 Fr. **** (5.8)








Reggie Davis WR 6'0, 159 Fr. **** (5.8)








6. A King-sized hole

Georgia loses so few weapons from last year's offense that I feel compelled to focus a bit on the biggest one.

As good as players like Bennett, Conley, Lynch, etc., looked last season, nobody could touch King's combination of efficiency (a perfectly solid 62 percent catch rate) and absurd explosiveness (22.6 yards per catch). King caught nine passes for 188 yards versus Kentucky, three for 104 versus Nebraska, and a ridiculous five for 142 versus Alabama, which is like 15 for 500 against a mortal defense. Mitchell could very well be a strong No. 1 receiver, but King was more than strong. He always had the explosiveness, but his efficiency improved dramatically in 2012; so did Georgia's offense.

Offensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 113.8 3.21 2.82 38.8% 76.7% 18.8% 98.3 5.3% 9.2%
Rank 16 19 96 67 19 58 65 75 99
Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Career Starts/Honors/Notes
Chris Burnette RG 6'2, 314 Sr. **** (6.0) 24 career starts; 2012 2nd All-SEC
Kenarious Gates LT 6'5, 327 Sr. *** (5.5) 26 career starts
Dallas Lee LG 6'4, 295 Sr. **** (5.8) 21 career starts
David Andrews C 6'2, 295 Jr. *** (5.7) 14 career starts
John Theus RT 6'6, 298 So. ***** (6.1) 14 career starts
Mark Beard LT 6'5, 300 Jr. *** (5.6) 2 career starts
Austin Long RG 6'5, 287 Sr. **** (5.9)
Watts Dantzler RT 6'7, 307 Jr. *** (5.7)
Hunter Long C 6'4, 312 So. *** (5.5)
Xzavier Ward RT 6'7, 278 So. *** (5.7)
Greg Pyke RG 6'6, 326 RSFr. *** (5.7)
Brandon Kubianow OL 6'3, 289 Fr. **** (5.9)
Josh Cardiello LG 6'3, 299 Fr. *** (5.7)

Defense

Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 32 29 23 35
RUSHING 80 22 15 35
PASSING 8 44 44 44
Standard Downs 23 25 22
Passing Downs 47 28 57
Redzone 20 19 18
Q1 Rk 25 1st Down Rk 20
Q2 Rk 46 2nd Down Rk 43
Q3 Rk 22 3rd Down Rk 30
Q4 Rk 19

7. Fear of Jarvis

I pointed out in last week's South Carolina preview how opponents tended to run a lot against the Gamecocks on passing downs for fear of Clowney obliteration. But opponents only ran 38 percent of the time on passing downs against South Carolina; they ran nearly 50 percent of the time on Georgia. Clowney may hit harder than Jones did, but Jones had an even larger impact on opponents' game plans.

We can talk about how good young players like OLB Jordan Jenkins will be, but as with King, you don't just replace Jones' ridiculous numbers (24.5 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks, SEVEN forced fumbles, four passes defensed in just 12 games). And you don't just replace the impact he has on play-calling.

Defensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 103.1 2.99 3.20 37.2% 73.3% 16.0% 125.9 6.8% 10.9%
Rank 46 74 58 45 97 103 25 14 9
Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Garrison Smith DE 6'3, 299 Sr. **** (5.9) 14 42.0 5.1% 2 1 0 0 0 1
John Jenkins NT 13 36.0 4.4% 2 1 0 1 0 1
Kwame Geathers NT 14 28.0 3.4% 5 1 0 0 0 0
Ray Drew DE 6'5, 276 Jr. ***** (6.1) 13 16.5 2.0% 1 0 0 0 0 0
Cornelius Washington DE 14 15.0 1.8% 3 0.5 0 1 0 1
Abry Jones NT 7 11.5 1.4% 1 0 0 0 0 0
Sterling Bailey DE 6'3, 282 So. **** (5.8) 3 0.5 0.1% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Mike Thornton NT 6'1, 290 Jr. **** (5.8)
John Taylor DE 6'4, 336 RSFr. **** (5.9)
Toby Johnson DT 6'4, 305 Jr. **** (5.8)

Chris Mayes NT 6'4, 321 So. *** (5.7)

John Atkins NT 6'4, 322 Fr. **** (5.8)

Linebackers

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Alec Ogletree ILB 10 87.0 10.6% 11.5 3 1 5 1 2
Jarvis Jones OLB 12 68.5 8.3% 24.5 14.5 1 3 7 2
Amarlo Herrera ILB 6'2, 244 Jr. **** (5.8) 14 51.5 6.3% 3 0 1 2 1 1
Michael Gilliard ILB 14 39.0 4.7% 2 0 0 1 0 1
Christian Robinson ILB 14 34.5 4.2% 7.5 1 0 0 1 1
Jordan Jenkins OLB 6'3, 246 So. **** (6.0) 14 24.5 3.0% 8 5 0 2 1 1
Chase Vasser OLB 6'3, 219 Sr. *** (5.7) 5 15.5 1.9% 4 0 0 0 1 0
Kosta Vavlas ILB 6'0, 214 Jr. *** (5.5) 14 7.5 0.9% 0 0 0 0 1 0
T.J. Stripling OLB 6'6, 237 Sr. **** (6.0) 14 5.5 0.7% 1 1 0 0 1 0
Ramik Wilson OLB 6'2, 232 Jr. **** (5.8) 10 5.0 0.6% 1 0 0 0 1 0
Josh Dawson OLB 6'4, 254 So. **** (5.8) 13 3.5 0.4% 1.5 0 0 0 0 0
James DeLoach OLB 6'3, 265 So. *** (5.6) 13 2.0 0.2% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Leonard Floyd LB 6'4, 220 Fr. **** (5.9)
Tim Kimbrough LB 6'1, 226 Fr. **** (5.9)
Johnny O'Neal LB 6'2, 225 Fr. **** (5.8)

Reggie Carter LB 6'1, 229 Fr. **** (5.8)



Ryne Rankin LB 6'1, 222 Fr. *** (5.7)

8. How well have you recruited, Coach?

We see a lot of four-star freshmen, redshirt freshmen, and sophomores on the Georgia roster here. But we also see a whole lot of empty space at the top of each unit. Georgia must replace four of its top six linemen, four of its top five linebackers, and four of its top five defensive backs.

And despite all of those upperclassman stars -- Jones, John Jenkins, Kwame Geathers, Alec Ogletree, Bacarri Rambo, Shawn Williams, Sanders Commings, Branden Smith -- this was still only a good, not great, defense for most of the year. Yes, there were suspensions and injuries involved, and yes the unit caught fire late in the year. But it caught fire mostly because of players who are now gone.

As high as I am on Georgia's offense, I'm equally wary of Georgia's defense. It will still pass the eyeball test by all means, and it might eventually find a high level of play, but look at the Dawgs' schedule below. Three of their four toughest games happen before October. Do you really, honestly think this defense will find an elite level of play that quickly with this many new pieces? I don't.

Secondary

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Shawn Williams SS 14 77.0 9.4% 5.5 1 0 4 1 0
Bacarri Rambo FS 10 60.0 7.3% 1 1 3 2 3 1
Sanders Commings CB 12 46.5 5.7% 1 0 3 2 0 1
Damian Swann CB 5'11, 178 Jr. **** (5.9) 14 43.5 5.3% 3.5 2 4 5 2 2
Branden Smith CB 14 21.5 2.6% 0 0 0 9 0 0
Connor Norman FS 5'10, 201 Sr. NR 14 11.5 1.4% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Malcolm Mitchell CB 6'1, 190 Jr. **** (6.0) 13 11.0 1.3% 0 0 0 3 0 1
Sheldon Dawson CB 5'11, 190 So. *** (5.7) 13 10.5 1.3% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Corey Moore SS 6'2, 214 Jr. **** (5.8) 14 9.5 1.2% 1 0 0 0 0 0
Josh Harvey-Clemons S 6'5, 212 So. ***** (6.1) 14 8.0 1.0% 1 0 0 1 0 0
Devin Bowman CB 6'0, 180 So. *** (5.7) 13 7.0 0.9% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Blake Sailors CB 5'11, 179 Sr. NR 14 5.5 0.7% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Marc Deas S 6'1, 217 Sr. *** (5.6) 14 0.5 0.1% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tray Matthews FS 6'0, 196 Fr. **** (6.0)

Reggie Wilkerson CB 5'11, 171 Fr. **** (5.8)

Shaquille Wiggins DB 5'10, 166 Fr. **** (5.8)

Brendan Langley DB 6'1, 188 Fr. **** (5.8)
Quincy Mauger FS 6'0, 200 Fr. *** (5.7)






Special Teams

Punter Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Punts Avg TB FC I20 FC/I20
Ratio
Collin Barber 6'2, 200 So. 60 41.5 3 28 19 78.3%
Adam Erickson 5'10, 171 Jr. 8 37.0 3 3 5 100.0%
Kicker Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Kickoffs Avg TB TB%
Jamie Lindley 54 62.7 23 42.6%
Marshall Morgan 6'3, 200 So. 38 63.2 14 36.8%
Place-Kicker Ht, Wt 2013
Year
PAT FG
(0-39)
Pct FG
(40+)
Pct
Marshall Morgan 6'3, 200 So. 63-67 5-6 83.3% 3-8 37.5%
Returner Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Returns Avg. TD
Malcolm Mitchell KR 6'1, 190 Jr. 16 22.5 0
Todd Gurley KR 6'1, 232 So. 7 34.7 1
Malcolm Mitchell PR 6'1, 190 Jr. 11 5.2 0
Rhett McGowan PR 6'0, 180 Sr. 9 8.3 0
Category Rk
Special Teams F/+ 53
Net Punting 57
Net Kickoffs 31
Touchback Pct 42
Field Goal Pct 110
Kick Returns Avg 54
Punt Returns Avg 78

9. Free points

Something else that will need to have improved quickly this September: place-kicking. Like A&M, Georgia had a freshman kicker who was rather scattershot in 2012, missing four PATs and quite a few long field goals. If Georgia fancies itself a national title contender, it will need every point it can get against Clemson, South Carolina, LSU, Florida and, perhaps, the SEC West champion in early-December. Don't blow free points.

2013 Schedule & Projection Factors

2013 Schedule
Date Opponent Proj. Rk
31-Aug at Clemson 21
7-Sep South Carolina 19
21-Sep North Texas 112
28-Sep LSU 3
5-Oct at Tennessee 44
12-Oct Missouri 39
19-Oct at Vanderbilt 49
2-Nov vs. Florida 4
9-Nov Appalachian State NR
16-Nov at Auburn 59
23-Nov Kentucky 90
30-Nov at Georgia Tech 38
Five-Year F/+ Rk 17
Two-Year Recruiting Rk 8
TO Margin/Adj. TO Margin* +11 / +11.7
TO Luck/Game -0.2
Approx. Ret. Starters (Off. / Def.) 13 (10, 3)
Yds/Pt Margin** -5.8

10. Wow, September

This is a Hagler-Hearnes schedule right here. Whatever Georgia's potential is in 2013, the Dawgs must reach it from the opening bell, or else they'll be Hearnes'd by late-September. There are plenty of wins to be found on the back end of the schedule, and I would be pretty surprised if this team didn't end up at least 10-3, but if they aspire to more than that, then on August 31 Malcolm Mitchell will have to be a full-on, Tavarres-esque No. 1, Jordan Jenkins will have to be capable of pulling a Jarvis Jones on Clemson's Tajh Boyd, a new set of big, imposing tackles will have to immediately play to their recruiting potential, and a young secondary will have to be ready for a steady line of fire from Clemson's incredible offense. And then, seven days later, Jadeveon Clowney comes to town.

Mark Richt is proof that patience can pay off. He was a victim of poor timing a decade ago, and he was the beneficiary of a patient athletic director when he was going 14-12 from 2009-10. Now entering his 13th year in Athens, he has in place a program that almost feels self-sustaining. The recruiting is great, the weapons are legion, the coordinators are good at their jobs, and unless fortunes drastically change (which happens from time to time), Georgia is set up for quite a few top-15 finishes moving forward.

But despite the offense, the combination of a green defense and a rough early slate will probably prevent the Dawgs from reaching last year's late heights. Richt just has to hope that, the next time his timing is right, Georgia can gain about five more yards.

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