Murray will be a key part of the Georgia offense again.
Thanks to Mark Richt losing control and allowing a crime wave unprecedented in the history of college football to sweep through the city of Athens, the Georgia roster should be treated as temporary. But here in the real, non-sportswriter-meme world, we know a few things about which players are likely to have an impact on whether the Dawgs can repeat as SEC East champions in 2012.
BIGGEST RETURN | QB Aaron Murray
No surprise here. Murray didn't take two steps fully forward in 2011 -- his quarterback rating and completion percentage dipped while his interception percentage increased from 2.3 percent in 2010 to 3.5 percent in 2011. But Murray was asked to take on a larger share of the offense (just a shade over 42 percent of Georgia's plays were Murray passes last year, up from 39.7 in 2010), and he did so successfully.
After all, the quarterback's touchdown percentage also jumped pretty dramatically, from 7.0 in 2010 to 8.7 last year. And the results speak for themselves; after a 6-7 season two years ago, Georgia ended up winning the SEC East in a 10-4 campaign last year. Georgia will likely take a mirror image of Murray's statistics from the last season if they can also finish the year atop the division.
BIGGEST LOSS | RB Isaiah Crowell
Yes, he had a tendency to get injured at the most inopportune times, but Crowell was also a major part of the Dawgs' success in 2011 and the only player who ran the ball more than 82 times (if you don't count Murray's 87 runs, some of which were sacks). His loss was, um, unexpected. There are some options here for Georgia, including Richard Samuel and Brandon Harton, last year's third-ranked rusher in terms of yardage. But Samuel and Harton combined for 487 yards and two touchdowns on 135 carries (3.6 ypc). Crowell rushed for 850 yards and five touchdowns on 185 carries (4.6). So there could be some drop-off here.
BREAKTHROUGH POSSIBILITY | DL John Jenkins
Jenkins, a JUCO transfer, started seven of Georgia's last nine games in 2011 and was named a "Newcomer of the Year," whatever that is. While watch list nominates are a dime a dozen nowadays, Jenkins is on at least three of them. In 2011, Jenkins had 28 tackles, six tackles for loss, three sacks and 10 quarterback hurries. He also forced two turnovers -- one fumble and one interception.