The Georgia Bulldogs’ offensive unit in 2013 is expected to look more like an unstoppable force than a mere collection of 11 players. Defensively, however, coordinator Todd Grantham loses superstar linebackers Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree, defensive tackle John Jenkins, defensive back Shawn Willams and several other key players.
Obviously, the first steps towards rebuilding the defense into a unit that can stop the high-powered offenses in the rest of the SEC begins with the kickoff of spring practices. Grantham not only understands that, but after interviewing for a couple of NFL coordinator roles early in the offseason, he is excited to get down to the nitty gritty in Athens.
“We’ve got some guys who have been here for a while that it’s their turn to show what they can do (along with) some guys that came in midyear,” Grantham said. “As coaches we’re excited about that.”
Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution provides details on the situation as well as to who could be stepping up and into a starting role come fall.
“Georgia is looking to replace starters at both safety positions, cornerback, inside linebacker, outside linebacker, defensive end and noseguard and will have at least nine of last year’s defensive players will be in NFL camps this summer,” writes Towers. “[Grantham] has downplayed the talent bleed, pointing to the return of ‘eight or nine’ players who have started at least one game. Whether or not they are of the ilk of the group that just left — which includes projected early-round NFL draft picks Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree and John Jenkins — remains to be seen.
“Redshirts such as noseguard John Taylor and career backups such as linebacker Ramik Wilson, defensive linemen Ray Drew and Mike Thornton, cornerback Devin Bowman and safety Corey Moore will battle with incoming freshmen and transfers to fill the voids.”
The Bulldogs came within five yards of beating Alabama in the SEC title game last season. The win would have sent Georgia to Miami for the chance to obliterate Notre Dame for the crystal ball. With record-setting quarterback Aaron Murray, the entire offensive line and running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall all returning, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo with have more firepower to work with than just about every team in the country.
If Grantham get bring his defense up to speed, this team will make another run at an SEC crown — and possibly the BCS championship as well.