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Georgia Football: 5 Backups Critical to the Bulldogs' Success in 2014

Brian JonesContributor IJuly 13, 2014

Georgia Football: 5 Backups Critical to the Bulldogs' Success in 2014

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    USA TODAY Sports

    There are many factors for a team to win a conference and a national title. The star players have to play at a high level consistently, the team has to remain relatively healthy, and luck has to be on their side.

    But as good as the starters need to be, the backups have to be just as effective because they are only one play away from being part of the No. 1 group.

    And that is no different for the Georgia Bulldogs. As much as they need players like Todd Gurley and Ramik Wilson to be at an all-star level, the reserve players will have to do their jobs and more to help the Bulldogs win the SEC.

    Here are five backups critical to the Bulldogs' success in 2014.

RB Keith Marshall

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Gurley will be vital to the team’s success, but Keith Marshall will be just as crucial because every team will do whatever it takes to stop Gurley.

    Marshall had a strong 2012 season backing up Gurley as he rushed for 759 yards and eight touchdowns. He was on his way to repeat the same success last season, but he suffered an ACL injury in the Tennessee game.

    Marshall will be ready to go at the start of the season, and if he’s the Marshall of 2012, then Georgia's run game will be the best in the country.

WR Justin Scott-Wesley

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Like Marshall, Justin Scott-Wesley is coming off an ACL injury and will be another skill player that will play a major role in the offense.

    Scott-Wesley is a bona fide deep threat, and if Hutson Mason and Co. want to take pressure off Gurley and Marshall, they will need to throw it deep.

    Scott-Wesley came onto the scene during the 2013 Capital One Bowl, catching three passes for 67 yards. He actually started in four games last year before he was injured in the Tennessee game.

    If Malcolm Mitchell is healthy, he will start along with Michael Bennett. But Scott-Wesley will be a vital reserve player and will see a lot of action this season.

TE Jordan Davis

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    247 Sports

    Jordan Davis did not play a down last season because he redshirted. That won’t be the case this season because there are no other tight ends behind Jay Rome.

    However, both Rome and Davis have been injured this past spring but both should be ready to go at the start of the season. Davis is a talented player that has good size and has the potential to be another great tight end for Georgia. He will have his chance to shine when the Bulldogs kick off at the end of August.

DE Ray Drew

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Ray Drew was a starter last year, but because of the new defensive coordinator and defensive scheme, he has been pushed back as a reserve.

    Drew tallied six sacks last season, and with this being his senior season, he will look to better those stats, despite not getting as many snaps as he did in 2013.

    However, in order for the defense to improve, they will have to get after the quarterback, and Drew is the best defensive lineman when it comes to rushing the quarterback.

    And if he’s able to get off to a hot start, he could be the starter before the second half of the season.

S Quincy Mauger

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    USA TODAY Sports

    With the loss of Josh Harvey-Clemons and Tray Matthews, the safety position is a huge question mark coming into the 2014 season. This means that Quincy Mauger, who started in seven games last season, will have to take his game to another level.

    Mauger had a modest 2013 season as he recorded 42 tackles, one forced fumble and one interception. His best game was against Georgia Tech in which he had eight tackles.

    The secondary as a group is an unknown because of the lack of experience. The young players in the unit will have to grow up quickly, and because Mauger got plenty of experience last season, he will be looked at as one of the leaders of the group.

     

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