The 2014 season has come to an end, and the Georgia Bulldogs were able to finish the season with a 10-3 record. Despite missing the SEC Championship and despite not having Todd Gurley for half the season, the Bulldogs showed they are still a team to watch in the SEC moving forward thanks to the play of young players such as Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Isaiah McKenzie, Brandon Kublanow and Leonard Floyd.
Watching the young players develop will be one of the things to watch this offseason. But is that one of the biggest offseason storylines for the Bulldogs?
Finding an Offensive Coordinator
One of the first things the Bulldogs need to do is find an offensive coordinator to replace Mike Bobo, who is now the head coach at Colorado State. Bobo was able to lead a Georgia offense that was first in the SEC in terms of points scored and points scored per game.
According to Seth Emerson of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, former Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper will interview for the open position this week. Roper is possibly the best fit because he uses a pro-style offense, which is the same style of offense Georgia has used for years.
However, another candidate to look at is Mike Bloomgren, who is the Stanford offensive coordinator. The Cardinal were ranked 77th in the country in total offense, but Bloomgren has history with Richt because when Richt was the offensive coordinator at Florida State, Bloomgren was a graduate assistant. Also, Bloomgren is the offensive line coach at Stanford and the Bulldogs need a new offensive line coach because Will Friend went with Bobo to Colorado State.
Hearing Kurt Roper interviewing for UGA OC job early this week. Western Kentucky's Tyson Heton also a possibility— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) January 4, 2015
It will be interesting to see whom Richt decides to go with. Roper seems like the likely choice, but the Bulldogs can go a different direction and hire somebody out of left field.
Replacing Hutson Mason
Once the offensive coordinator is in place, that person will have to find a new quarterback, as Hutson Mason will not be back. Brice Ramsey was Mason’s backup, and he was solid whenever he had a chance to get snaps. Ramsey finished the season with 333 passing yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Then there’s Faton Bauta, who was the backup for Mason in 2013. Bauta’s skill set is different because he’s built like Tim Tebow. But he’s strong and athletic, and he plays well in a pro-style offense.
Jacob Park will be coming off a redshirt season and probably is the most talented of the three. Park has a strong arm, has quick feet and makes good decisions. He has a good of a chance as anybody to be the starter, especially with a new offensive coordinator in the mix.
The Early Dawgs
Park was the only recruit last year to enroll early. That will not be the case this offseason, because eight of the committed players have now enrolled to get a head start.
Of the eight early enrollees, six are from high school, one is a junior college transfer and the other is a transfer from UAB (which shut down its football program after the end of the 2014 season).
The one early enrollee to watch from high school is Jonathan Ledbetter, a defensive lineman from Tucker, Georgia. Ledbetter has the size, speed and toughness to start in the defensive line this upcoming season. The defensive line itself was a mixed bag, to say the least. Adding a guy like Ledbetter will give them a chance to be much improved.
Another transfer to watch is former UAB linebacker/safety Jake Ganus, who was the leading tackler for the Blazers this past season. It will be interesting to see how he fits in with the defensive scheme. Ganus recorded 70 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and six sacks in 2014.
Marshall's Final Stand
One of the veteran players to watch this offseason is Keith Marshall. With Todd Gurley going to the NFL, it will more than likely be the Nick Chubb and Sony Michel show in 2015. But if Marshall can get healthy this offseason, he will be in the mix as well.
It has been an up-and-down career for Marshall in Athens. After a very successful 2012 season, Marshall missed nearly all of 2013 and 2014 due to various injuries. It’s important for him to have a productive offseason so he can end his career in Athens on a high note and give the Bulldogs another weapon in the run game.
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