Georgia Bulldogs: The Pressure Cooker is On, But Who’s In It?

Leonard Floyd won’t sneak up on offenses this season, but is he prepared for the notoriety? Photo: 247Sports

There are plenty of reasons to get excited about 2014. Let’s touch base on a few, shall we?

For one, in case you missed it (and if you’ve perused even one Georgia Bulldog article in the last 6-months, it’s not likely you could), there’s a new defensive staff in town.

The tumultuous tenure of Todd Grantham ended mercifully, and without too much additional fanfare, ushering in a new era of hope and, more importantly, the possibility of seeing something better on the football field.

Second, the arrival of the aforementioned new staff brought cohesion to a staff that seemed bitter and even broken at times last season. There doesn’t seem to be a coach in Butts-Mehre who isn’t on the same page with his fellow co-worker.

And lastly, if all the chatter is to be believed, there are no more overly entitled, egotistical, immature, unfocused players running around making things less than ideal in the Georgia locker room. If nothing else, it’s certainly been a bit quieter lately…*knocks on wood*.

That said, there are still those who aren’t ready to buy into the hype. They want to see the product before they get all giddy and such; and a lot of their decision to “get giddy” will hinge on the respective performances of those guys for whom the spotlight, brought about by expectation, looms largest.

Hutson Mason

So much has been written and said about Mason.

His decision to wait.

His desire to finally step on the field, as the starter, and lead this football team.

His knowledge of this offense, after waiting four-long years behind Aaron Murray.

The fact that he isn’t “Aaron Murray”.

It’s all been said, done, and then said again.

And while there are more than a few who are looking for Mason to simply not screw things up—just hand it to No. 3, keep it simple, and don’t turn the ball over—you can bet Mason is looking to be more than “Buck Belue 2.0″. He didn’t wait all that time behind Murray to be a footnote in Georgia Bulldog history; he wants to make a difference on the football field.

And while no one will expect him to be Murray, he’s certainly looking to be the very best version of Hutson Mason—and you can bet he’ll be carrying the weight of that into games one and two.

Todd Gurley

Heisman Candidate.

Heir to Awesome.

Unstoppable Force.

Beast.

If you don’t believe Gurley has a target on his back this season, you’re nuts. Gurley knows he’s going to be the guy everyone looks to unseat and make look bad. And after struggling with injuries last season, he knows everyone will be waiting to see if he’s still got the goods to be “that guy” from start to finish.

That said, many feel Gurley is as focused as he’s ever been—with an eye firmly towards the NFL—and he knows that a couple of big performances, in weeks one and two, could be just the kickstart he needs to put together one very magical season.

Jeremy Pruitt

All those rings…Lawd!

If there was ever a guy who arrived like a white knight to save the kingdom, it’s Pruitt—or at least that’s the bill of goods you’ve been sold as a Georgia fan.

However, the truth is brutal: the talent is there, but it’s not to Pruitt’s liking.

The system is proven, but it’s not going to be flawless after just one spring and a summer.

Pruitt will take the love parade now, but he’ll take his share of lumps too.

Even so, the good news for him is this, he has nowhere to go but up.

Leonard Floyd

It’s only year two for the pass rushing phenom, and the question has to be, can he avoid a sophomore slump?

Last year, he was a holy terror. No one could stop him, and no one knew who the hell he was, or where he came from; unlike Jordan Jenkins, Floyd’s prowess wasn’t nearly as publicized, on a national level (despite being one of the most buzzed about prospects in the class of 2013), but by the time the regular season came to a close, he was the guy whose name was on the tip of everyone’s tongue—and the preseason “Watch Lists” certainly have taken notice.

He won’t sneak up on anyone this season, that’s for sure, so this will be the year we’ll all truly have the chance to see what he’s made of.

 

 

 

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I am not a 'journalist' by trade, nor do I present myself as such. I am just a wife, mother, and Georgia Bulldog fan who likes to write about two of her favorite things: the Georgia Bulldogs and college football. I write. You read...it's a give and take experience.

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