Well, with the start of fall camp next Thursday, the Georgia Bulldogs will have to settle 4 positions of question before the Bulldogs kickoff in Clemson.
Georgia Will Have to Replace Sanders Commings and Shawn Williams
Will Georgia find the guys to replace All-American FS Bacarri Rambo, standout SS Shawn Williams, CB Sanders Commings, and CB Branden Smith? Mark Richt and Todd Grantham have brought in a solid recruiting class in 2013 and have signed a myriad of defensive backs including the impressive Tray Matthews, Reggie Wilkerson, Brendan Langley, Quincy Mauger, and others.
Georgia still has returning talent in CB Damian Swann, CB Sheldon Dawson, CB Devin Bowman, FS Connor Norman, SS Corey Moore, and S Josh Harvey-Clemons, but Damian Swann is the only one with a lot of experiance. Tray Matthews from Newnan, GA enrolled early and has impressed UGA coaches. Matthews played on the 1st team defense in the UGA Spring game and will almost certainly get the starting nod from the get-go.
Josh Harvey-Clemons will play safety on defense and star in the nickel package. Sheldon Dawson looks like a guy that can fill the cornerback spot opposite Damian Swann. Dawson played on special teams for the Dawgs in 2012. Will he be the starter in Week 1?
Another big issue in the secondary is depth, and guys will have to step up to the plate. Overall, the Bulldogs will have to find quality guys to fill the holes left by their talented predecessors in order to have a successful 2013.
2. Defensive Line
Georgia Will Have to Replace DT John Jenkins Who Was Drafted by the New Orleans Saints
Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and new defensive line coach Chris Wilson will have some meat on the D-line to replace in 2013. 300 lbs. nose tackles John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers have both left to the NFL. DE Abry Jones and DE/LB Cornelius Washington are gone.
Georgia has to fill the holes left by these players in order to thrive in the SEC. Georgia returns DE Garrison Smith, DT Mike Thornton, DE Sterling Bailey, DE Ray Drew, and DE John Taylor who redshirted in 2012. Georgia brings in DE Toby Johnson and DLs John Atkins, Davin Bellamy, Chris Mayes, and De'Andre Johnson.
Many of these guys should get playing time in 2013 and will provide needed depth that the Bulldogs didn't always have in 2012. Chris Wilson has to finalize his defensive line rotation before the opening battle in Clemson.
3. Special Teams
PK Marshall Morgan Has to Be More Consistent in 2013
Oh for the days of Billy Bennett and Brandon Coutu! Georgia's kicking game has been off-and-on to say the least. Freshman Marshall Morgan came to Georgia as the #5 kicker in the nation. Recruiting services can be wrong. Last season, Morgan missed 4 extra points and 5 field goals. Fortunately, Georgia didn't have to kick a lot of field goals because of a very productive offense.
There is going to be a time though that the Bulldogs will have to rely on their place kicker making a field goal. Just ask why Georgia lost to Michigan State in OT in the 2012 Outback Bowl. Although many make fun of kickers, its a very critical position. Look at LSU-Alabama in 2011, Stanford-Oregon in 2012, etc.
To make things worse, Morgan was arrested for "Boating Under the Influence" and may miss some playing time because of this. Despite the Morgan Issue, Georgia has to find a consistent kicker in 2013 whether it be Morgan, Sophomore Patrick Beless, or maybe even Freshman QB Brice Ramsey who also played kicker in high school.
Punting is definitely more stable under Collin Barber. Barber averaged a meager 41.5 yards per punt last season, though, which has to improve.
Georgia has reliable kick and punt returners in PR Rhett McGowan and KR Malcom Mitchell even though Mark Richt would like to see some more explosive returns.
One area Georgia really worked on in the offseason of 2012 was special teams defense which vastly improved.
Above all, Georgia has to fix its special teams play, or it could be a long 2013.
4. Running Back
RB Todd Gurley Had An Excellent 2012 Season
Well, Georgia had a dynamic rushing game in 2012. True Freshman Todd Gurley amassed 1, 385 yards and 17 touchdowns while fellow Freshman Keith Marshall added another 759 yards and 8 touchdowns. Georgia should have the most dynamic running back duo in the nation in 2013.
The only question about this position is depth. After Gurley and Marshall, there is inexperiance. Who will fill the #3 spot at RB in 2013? Will it be Veterans Brandon Harton and Kyle Karempelis? Or capable newcomers in A.J. Turman and Brendan Douglas. This will be a question that running back coach Bryan McClendon will have to answer.