Last season, Georgia’s offense was the talk of the town: Aaron Murray was returning for his fourth season as the Bulldogs starting quarterback, Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley were going to provide a nearly unstoppable 1-2 punch at running back, and the wide receiving corps—led by the talented and speedy Malcolm Mitchell—was going to give secondaries fits all year long.
Well, we all know what eventually happened to those prognostications: injuries and gaffes, on both defense and offense, left the team on the wrong side of the BCS’s final picture, and a late season injury to Murray left behind a bad taste in the mouths of many a Bulldog faithful.
Fast-forward to another spring and, to this point, it has been all about the defense. Its potential, as well as its newly energized, newly focused, and newly installed staff; a staff that includes a man with multiple BCS rings already—new defensive coordinator, Jeremy Pruitt.
However, even with all the fire surrounding a new defense, the offense will still steal a fair share of the headlines this spring, and there is at least one guy who hopes that some of those headlines return him to the conversation in a much more relevant way—wide receiver Jonathon Rumph.
Rumph’s first year didn’t fair out the way he wanted, but he’s focused and ready to turn his attention to breaking the starting rotation this year—and with Mitchell out for the spring and Scott-Wesley still recovering from an injury, Rumph will certainly have his chances.
Even more, his early connection with new starting quarterback, Hutson Mason, should certainly pave the way for a successful spring should Rumph do what he needs to do, both on and off the field; recall the two made an early connection in last season’s spring game, where Rumph snagged a 20-yard touchdown from Mason, en route to a two touchdown day.
There’s no doubt the talent is there, and Rumph admits that, even beyond the injury issue there was the matter of him taking the responsibilities of his position more seriously. He could no longer just rely on his physical ability, he needed to play smarter as well, and he says he didn’t necessarily come in with a clear understanding of how important that truly would be for him:
Where I feel like I’m better is being more flexible, understanding the plays, understanding the concepts of the offense, understanding the defense. Being a receiver ain’t just about playing offense. It’s about recognizing defense too. I feel like my knowledge is getting better. My technique is getting better, but I’ve still got a lot to work on. (Gentry Estes, Dawgs247)
This will be Rumph’s final season, so he’ll need to seize every potential opportunity that comes his way. Play time is over…it’s time to play some ball.