Future of Georgia offense full of unknowns

A lot of question marks seem to be looming over the Georgia offense.

The Bulldogs answered one of those questions when they announced tight ends coach John Lilly would be calling plays for the Belk Bowl. But even that begs another—if not several—question: what does a Lilly-led Georgia offense look like?

And even bigger, what does the future of the Georgia offense look like?

“The cool thing for a lot of guys on this team is now it’s a level playing field for everybody with a new coach coming,” senior quarterback Hutson Mason said. “Everyone’s got an equal opportunity to go out there and show the new coaches, new staff what they can do. For some guys that benefits them a lot.”

With multiple offensive senior starters capping off their Georgia careers with the Belk Bowl, next season opens up not only several spots but also a lot of opportunity.

“It’ll be interesting because you lose Chris (Conley) and you lose Mike (Bennett) so your number one guy coming back will be obviously Malcolm (Mitchell). There is going to have to be some guys stepping up,” Mason said. “With a whole new offense coming in, it may take those guys a little while to learn that system and to build that chemistry. They’re still going to have to find out who their quarterback is going to be.”

Mason said as far as the 2015 quarterback battle goes, they are all “freshman in a new offense,” having to learn whatever the new coach will bring to Georgia. He emphasized that should Georgia continue the pro-style offense, there is a lot of stress on the signal-caller.

Along with the quarterback position, the receiver positions are a little foggy going into the 2015 season. Junior Malcolm Mitchell will be the most veteran member of the Georgia receiving corps and likely to be the next go-to.

“Malcolm is going to be the guy. We’ve got guys that’ll be competing for spots like Blake (Tibbs), Shakenneth (Williams),” senior corner back Damian Swann said. “Now is going to be time for those guys to learn a lot and try to go out and play some big boy football”

But Swann wouldn’t say who he thinks could snag a receiving spot, worrying it may put too much pressure on his teammates in the coming offseason.

Mason has high hopes for the competition among offensive players and believes that it creates a “championship type of atmosphere” when players have to compete for the No. 1 spot, rather than inherit it. Mason said the competition keeps guys from settling in complacency and encourages them to constantly improve.

With a bird’s eye view, Mark Richt said that, though there will be personnel changes, the identity of the Georgia offense won’t alter much.

“We’re going to continue to do what we do offensively as far as we are going to be very serious about running the football, we are going to be very serious about play-action pass, going to be very serious about being able to drop back and throw the ball as good as any body,” Richt said. “The skillsets that we’ve recruited for, they have nothing to worry about because they are going to get used to their fullest.”

When it comes to giving hints at next years depth chart, plain and simple, Richt said that his “mind is not down the road yet.”

He’s got a game at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, and that’s about all he’s focused on.

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