Georgia's Gurley Is Going To Have A Monster 2014
by Cody Bellaire
Aug 31, 2014 6:19 PM EDT
We all remember watching Georgia's Todd Gurley tear up SEC defenses during his freshman season when he ran for over 1,300 yards and scored 17 touchdowns. So last season, in Gurley's second year, the bar was set high and he was expected to have a record-setting season. Unfortunately for him and Georgia fans alike, Gurley was constantly battling injuries and ended up missing three games. He finished with just under 1,000 yards and still managed to score 10 touchdowns.
Regardless of his injury-plagued 2013 season, Gurley is considered one of, if not, the best running back in the country and he is going to have one of the best seasons in the history of college football — if he is able to stay healthy, of course.
Gurley came out of Tarboro High School in Tarboro, N.C., and was considered the No.7 running back in the 2012 class according to 24/7 Sports. He combines the ever-so-coveted ability to run by defensive backs and run over linebackers. He is a 6-foot-1, 230-pound grown man who has a knack for finding the hole and hitting it hard.
With a quick burst, Gurley is able to burst through gaps and explode through holes. But it is his quick feet and agility that allow him to get upfield and hit the second level of the defense more often than other running backs. Gurley can also lay the wood with his imposing frame and filthy stiff arm. To make matters worse for opposing tacklers, he has massive legs and a high motor, essentially making him impossible to stop. This is why he is considered the top back in the country, but it is not the only reason that Gurley will have such a ridiculous season this year.
There are two other factors that will play a role in Gurley's monster 2014 season.
A New Quarterback
Aaron Murray has gone to the NFL, which means the Bulldogs will have a new starting quarterback in Hutson Mason. The senior from Marietta, Ga., finally gets the chance to take the reins and lead this team to a SEC title. This bodes well for Gurley because the Georiga offense will be focused on him for the majority of games. In order to make Mason feel comfortable, Georgia has to pound the ball on the ground to give him a fair shot in the passing game. I understand that teams will be keying on Gurley, but Georgia has to establish its run game in order to open its passing game. If Mason is able to make the most of his chances, defenses will unload the box and Gurley will rack up a lot of yards on the ground.
The Bulldogs' Defense Will Keep Them Ahead
Georgia returns 10 starters from a ho-hum 2013 defense that allowed an average of 29 points per game. Granted, it was a defense that was put on the field a lot more than most teams due to Georgia's high-powered offense. Regardless, the defense is going to be strong and will be tough to score on. Georgia's defense will be able to preserve leads and allow the Bulldogs' offense to continue pounding the ball on the ground in order to kill the clock. The defense will also give the offense more series by forcing opposing teams offenses off the field quicker than last season.
Gurley may have missed three games last season, but there are no serious red flags when it comes to his physical health. If he remains healthy, Gurley will be fed the ball often, and with a strong defense, Georgia will find itself in numerous running situations in order to bury other teams' defenses.
Gurley will accumulate a ridiculous amount of yards on the ground in 2014, so don't be surprised to see him holding the Heisman Trophy come December.