Before the 2012 season began, many thought that Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall would make fans forget about Isaiah Crowell immediately.
The duo from North Carolina did that and more. They combined for 2,144 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns. They were a huge part in the Georgia Bulldogs winning the SEC East title for the second consecutive year.
With Gurshall coming back as well as quarterback Aaron Murray, receivers Malcolm Mitchell and Michael Bennett and the entire offensive line, the offense for the Bulldogs should be one of the best in the country.
This also means that the team will face enormous pressure to win the SEC East title, and it will be expected to be in the mix for the national title as well.
With Gurley and Marshall returning for their sophomore seasons, will they fall victim to the sophomore slump?
That is always a possibility, but that is also highly unlikely. In fact, both Gurley and Marshall have a chance to put up better numbers than they did last season.
With the return of Murray, the running back duo will be put in a position to make plays constantly. When a team has a four-year starter under center that can throw for 3,500 yards and 30 touchdowns, it makes a running back's job easier because they will not have to carry the load every single game.
Even if Murray did not decide to return for his senior year, the offensive line for the Bulldogs will be much improved because all five starters are back in the fold.
John Theus, Kenarious Gates, David Andrews, Dallas Lee and Chris Burnette paved the way for Gurley to rush for 1,385 yards and Marshall to rush for 759 yards. Add tight ends Jay Rome and Arthur Lynch to the offensive line, and the unit should have no problems making more holes for Gurshall.
But the real reason the two running backs won’t slump this season is they are not the type that believes their own hype. In fact, they stay away from the spotlight altogether.
In a report by ESPN, both Gurley and Marshall don’t go out and party like most 19- to 23-year-old men and women do while they are in Athens. They like to stay at home, get their school work done and watch movies.
Here’s what Marshall had to say about taking care of themselves off-the-field (via ESPN).
We’re both smart enough to the point that we know what not to do so that we won’t get in trouble. I feel like we’re mature enough. Anything could happen being at the wrong place at the wrong time, but we try to stay out of certain situations.
Here’s what Gurley had to say about the attention they get from fans when they go to places like Longhorn Steakhouse (via ESPN).
It’s cool and I just try to have fun with it. We’re just college students. It’s not like we’re getting paid to play football or anything. I don’t like [the attention] sometimes; people will tell you that.
Gurley and Marshall know they have to be better than they were last year if the Bulldogs want to reach their goals for the 2013 season. Everything they want to achieve is right in front of them, and they are doing and saying the right things to take advantage of the opportunities.
As mentioned earlier, the slump for the two is possible because a lot of things can happen in a season. In fact, there’s a chance both players could have lesser numbers than last year.
But even if the numbers don’t improve for both Gurley and Marshall, they will still be major players in the offense, which could very well be the most balanced and dangerous offense in the nation.
Which means the two sophomores will not have slumps attached to them; they will be called sophomore sensations by the end of the year.