Michael Collins from our sister FanSided site, Dawn of the Dawg, was kind enough to answer a few of our questions about the 2014 Georgia football team…
1. Hutson Mason redshirted his junior year for this chance to be the starter. He’ll replace one of the most prolific passers in SEC history – what are the expectations for him going into the year?
I don’t think anyone has unrealistic expectations of Hutson Mason. Nobody believes he’ll just step in and become Aaron Murray. That’s just not reasonable. What is expected is that he play within himself, and just do what he does best. There are some things he actually can do better than Murray, and some things he can’t. As long as he doesn’t try to become the team’s savior, he’ll be fine. He’s got great leadership qualities and a very talented supporting cast around him.
2. A lot of UGA fans were happy to see Todd Granthem leave for Louisville. With eight returning starters on defense and taking the national champs’ DC, will we see better play on that side of the ball?
Absolutely. Grantham was a thorn in the side for many in the Bulldog Nation. He was a much different coach than his predecessor, Willie Martinez, and that brought about an initial change for the better. But as the years progressed, the defense became more and more disorganized and undisciplined. The players who remain have already commented how Jeremy Pruitt is bringing about a stability and simplification that had been much needed. There will be growing pains to be sure, but overall I think you’ll see a better defense.
3. The South Carolina game has been huge every year, but for two teams at the top of the East the winner hasn’t won the division since 2010 – is that the game circled on the calendars of Bulldog fans?
I wouldn’t say it’s circled, but it definitely has gained a lot of importance over the years. UGA owned SC for a while, and over the past seven seasons, the pendulum has swung more in the Gamecocks’ direction. Both teams recruit in the same areas, and of course, UGA fans have absolutely no love for Steve Spurrier. Most fans realize that even if the winner doesn’t necessarily win the east, the game plays and important part in deciding who does win it.
4. Aside from the amazing running backs, is there an area of this team you expect to really excel?
The linebackers are going to turn a lot of heads this year. Collectively, UGA probably has the best linebacker group in the nation, with two guys in Amarlo Herrera and Leonard Floyd who may duke it out for the Butkus award. Then you have Ramik Wilson and Jordan Jenkins, who will certainly be all-conference if not all-Americans.
5. What is the weakness for this Georgia team?
The weakness has to be the secondary. With the poor coaching that has gone on with that group over the past few seasons, along with 3 potential starters either transferring or being dismissed (Josh Harvey-Clemons, Shaq Wiggins and Tray Matthews), Pruitt will be scrambling to set up his secondary. But the talent is there, and he’s the coach that knows how to bring out all their potential. Thankfully the excellent linebackers can cover up some of those warts.