Last night we of course had to watch Bama roll on to another national title, all the while wondering what it would have been like seeing the Dawgs there. I got a little sick in the beginning think about my friends and I sitting in that stadium One thing I've been noting since the end of our season, which certainly hinged on Aaron Murray's return, is that Georgia will have an eerily similar dynamic mirroring Bama this year.
As Bama entered the 2012 off-season they had some key departures, mainly on defense losing six players to the first five rounds of the draft. They also lost other defensive components, but these six defensive players made up the core of their departure. They also lost Trent Richardson, who was their feature back. Prior to the season starting the media gave a great deal of love to other teams like Arkansas, LSU, USC, and others due to the fear Bama had lost too much. Bama was certainly in the mix as a national title contender but was not a unanimous odds on favorite. What the country failed to ignore amongst all these departures is what Bama would be returning in 2012, which looks a lot like Georgia's forecasted line-up in 2013, and provides the pedigree needed for a national championship.
Offensive Line - Bama brought in a veteran offensive line with minimal attrition not only with starters, but in the depth department. This proved to be the anchor of their team and allowed them to impose the necessary gameplan. Likewise, Georgia returns all five guys up front who certainly came into their own this year.
Quarterback - AJ McCarron had experience under his belt and returned under center including obvious big game experience. Georgia has even more of an advantage here with the announcement of Aaron Murray coming back at the helm. He's got the obvious stat lines, more experience including 2 SEC title games, and a whole offseason to eye his mission.
Running Backs - Trent Richardson was a hell of a player and departed, yet Bama was left with a compliment of underclassmen backs who provided a solid 1-2 punch in the bruising Eddie Lacy, and speedy TJ Yeldon. Georgia will have a similar compliment next year with the progression of the already proven Todd Gurley and his compliment of Keith Marshall, both now with a year of successful SEC experience to build on.
Wide Receivers - Bama has never really had a standout receiver aside from Julio, and plays more of a wide receiver by committee. Georgia may have more of a feature target in Malcolm Mitchell, but also returns a nice batch of wideouts who operate under the same philosophy.
Defense - Obviously this is everyone's big concern headed into the off-season, but I'm sure was even more daunting to Bama last year. Not only did they lose most of their defense, but some generational type players similar to our losses of Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogeltree. Prior to the season starting anyone outside of the Tide or SEC pundits probably couldn't have named more than 2-3 starters that would line up for the Tide this year. Similarly Georgia sends the majority of their defense out of Athens this year and will rely on a talented batch of fresh faces. What Bama did have, and hopefully what Georgia will build on, is the development and success of a functioning defensive scheme. Sure some of the numbers got sloppy at points in the season, and some would say they underperformed, but I've liked the progression I've seen under Grantham. My hope is that this carries over and while the players on defense next year may not be household names yet, they will operate successfully under a system that has provided a top defense over the past two years.
Coaching - Amidst all of the turnover in the SEC, Bama was able to retain it's top coaching components in a veteran head coach (Saban), veteran DC (Smart), and veteran OC (McElwain). Similarly Georgia has avoided any coaching attrition and brings back the most veteran SEC head coach, a DC who's been implementing a similar scheme, and an OC who ended a great deal of the knocks on him providing one of Georgia's most potent offenses in ages.
Understand I'm not getting ahead of myself and there are so many outside factors that play into where you end up at the end of the season. I'm merely saying that Georgia has a similar pedigree as they enter the 2013 season with probably a more potent offense than Bama. It's just another thing to look forward to, and possibly an indication that things could look better as far as finally getting over our biggest mythical hurdle next year. Georgia 2013 could look a lot like Bama 2012 in style, personnel, and experience, and that's not a bad thing.
On to the offseason.