We've been through a few of the game-changers in the race for the SEC East ticket to Atlanta as we've previewed the top three contenders, but there are some players who make a difference as part of a combination. A look at some of the most important rotations for 2013.
Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, Georgia: The "Gurshall" moniker might be dead now, but Georgia's two-headed running back attack still looks to be one of the best backfield tandems in all of college football. Last year, Gurley and Marshall combined for 2,144 yards and 25 touchdowns. They had a combined average of 6.3 yards per carry and rushed for 153.1 yards per game. In fact, with almost 1,400 yards in 2012, Gurley would be a star running back in his own right on most teams. That Georgia can also put Marshall out on the field and get that kind of production from him as well is the kind of thing that gives opposing defensive coordinators nightmares. If Aaron Murray can finish with numbers anywhere close to the ones he put up in a superb 2012 and
Gurshall the two backs can keep up their production, the Dawgs' offense is going to be nearly impossible to stop. Did we mention that Gurley also averaged 34.7 yards on seven kickoff returns last year?
Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson, South Carolina: Even if Steve Spurrier didn't like creating quarterback controversies to push his signal-callers, he probably would have had to consider running a two-quarterback system this year. That's because Shaw and Thompson bring different skill sets to the table -- skill sets so different, in fact, that Spurrier has floated the idea of having both of them on the field at the same time. Shaw was actually South Carolina's second-leading rusher in 2012, behind Marcus Lattimore, gaining 435 yards on 131 carries. With the running game looking to make up for Lattimore's move to the NFL, that kind of mobility under center could be valuable. On the other hand, Dylan Thompson appears to be better throwing the ball, though Shaw had the higher passer rating last season. And for all his talk of embracing the new need for running ability in a quarterback and a ball-control philosophy, Spurrier still likes to chuck the ball more than he likes doing just about anything else. Don't be stunned if Thompson ends up with more playing time than Shaw -- provided that both of them don't end up spending a lot of time on the field together.
Loucheiz Purifoy, Marcus Roberson and Jaylen Watkins, Florida: If there's one place where the Florida defense is not lacking for returning starters, it's cornerback. In fact, this trio is so good that there's talk of moving at least one of them to safety this year. Roberson broke up a team-leading 12 passes and had two picks in 2012, Watkins broke up eight passes with three interceptions and Purifoy broke up five passes and forced three fumbles last year and is getting the most All-American buzz of the three this year. The trio also accounted for just shy of a third of Florida's tackles last year. If Will Muschamp can figure out how to fill the potential holes at safety, he could have one of best secondaries in the division, and almost certainly the best among the three contenders.