How has Hutson Mason developed in his first season as the starting quarterback?
“He has done okay. When he’s struggled it has hurt Georgia’s chances to win (South Carolina, Tennessee and Florida). When he has played well (Arkansas, Missouri and Kentucky) Georgia has run away with ball games.
Hutson Mason is shown in action as a senior.
Mason is important. If he doesn’t play well Georgia is going to be in some real trouble against Auburn. He struggles to complete balls down the field. Frankly, he’s not what many of Mark Richt’s quarterbacks have been in terms of skill. But he’s got a great offensive line and a few good running backs so that helps him.”
2. What makes Todd Gurley such a special runner and what type of impact will his return have on the offense this week?
“His legs. He’s powerful in that area. Many running backs have strong shoulders and torsos, but what Gurley has is the ability to make explosive plays with his legs. He can see things, too, that many running backs miss.
“He has got great cut-back ability. He is going to have a big impact because he is going to start and likely get the ball 25-30 times in some form or the other (and not necessarily on offense exclusively).
“He’s as good a running back as there has been in the country the last decade. He’s special.”
3. With Auburn being the top rushing team in the SEC how does Georgia’s defense match up with the Tigers in that area?
“Not great for Georgia. The Bulldogs, at one time, were pretty effective against the run, but they’ve really not done well there in the last two weeks. Florida used a power game to run on Georgia. Kentucky used its quarterback. Neither of those offenses are as good as Auburn’s--not even close.
“Georgia has shown that it can stop the run. In fact, that was a strength. We will see if that returns to form this weekend in Athens or not.”
4. UGA is traditionally strong on special teams play. After being down in that area in 2013 how much improvement has the 2014 team made?
“They have really gotten better in special teams this season, but twice that group has failed them. Those failures (missed FG vs. South Carolina and Florida; fake FG for a TD vs. Florida) have cost Georgia in its two losses. The return game has been good to excellent for Georgia. With the exception of those two missed field goals, Marshall Morgan has been impressive. The punt game is the shakiest of the special teams groups this fall so Georgia has tried its best not to punt.”
5. If the Bulldogs can get to the SEC Championship Game is this team capable of beating the champion from the West, whoever that may be?
“Sure. Georgia can beat anyone in the country in a one-game situation--particularly with Gurley on the field. I’m not sure which West school the Dawgs match up with the best, but getting there involves beating Auburn first and foremost. There is a path, a small and unlikely one, where Georgia can still get to Atlanta without a win against Auburn--but that seems nearly impossible. Then again, we saw nearly impossible come true at the end of this rivalry last season.”