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My Take: Injuries the story for many

Wide receivers Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Malcolm Mitchell. Running backs Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall, Dominique Swope, and Steven Jackson.
    Maybe even quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Jerick McKinnon.
    That reads like a ballot for the first-team, All-state-of-Georgia-pro-and-college offense, but it’s far from that.
    It’s just a small sampling of the injury report from teams that were hopeful of a Super Bowl, a BCS national championship and an 8-0 conference record, respectively.
    The Atlanta Falcons, Georgia Bulldogs and Georgia Southern Eagles all had high hopes for huge seasons in 2013. Now, here they sit, with a combined record of 10-11.
    The Falcons (2-5) were supposed to, at the very least, get to the NFC championship game and hopefully make it to the Super Bowl.
    Now they’ll be lucky to finish .500.
    The Bulldogs (4-3) were, at least, supposed to dominate the SEC East and earn a spot in the SEC championship game, if not earn a bid to play for the national title. Now, they’ve got to get past Florida and Auburn just to have even a  outside shot at a conference championship. And they still need help from Missouri.
    And the Eagles (4-3), while ineligible for any kind of postseason due a transition to the FBS, were at the absolute, very least, supposed to exit the Southern Conference without losing to Wofford and Samford.
    But it’s hard to win without Julio Jones (1,198 yards, 10 TDs in 2012). It’s hard to win without Gurshall (a combined 2,144 yards, 24 TDs in 2012). And it’s really hard to win without Swope (1,246 yards, 16 TDs in 2012).
    That’s a lot of potential Pro-Bowlers and All-Americans. And it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The point is that football folks spend a lot of time talking about schematics, philosophies and coaching. Run to set up the pass? Pass to set up the run? Shotgun or under center? Spread or protect? Hurry up or use the clock?
    The debates are endless.
    But, it’s a pretty sure bet that with guys like Jones, Gurley, and Swope, it doesn’t matter how you get them the ball or where they line up, they’re going to produce and their team will be better for it.
    Mike Smith, Mark Richt and Jeff Monken have proven, at the very least, to be competitive head football coaches. Their combined overall record as head coaches is 212-84, so obviously they’re doing something right.
    It’s a safe bet that if there wasn't an injury epidemic travelling around the state of Georgia, in 2013 they’d be more like 16-5 this season instead of 10-11.
    A good coach can only take a team so far. If 2013 is any indication, you need great players if you’re going to have a great team.

    Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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