Georgia defensive back Richard LeCounte (2), Georgia inside linebacker Monty Rice (32), Georgia defensive back Eric Stokes (27), Georgia defensive end David Marshall (51), Georgia defensive back Tyson Campbell (3) during the Bulldogs’ game against Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Their top-flight defense they will field this season gives them every opportunity to return to Atlanta for a fourth straight year. That defense will be needed while a slew of new faces get things figured out on offense. Gone are Jake Fromm and Deandre Swift, along with four starters on the offensive line. Smart has recruited well, but that talent is unproven entering the season.
The lack of spring practice hurts the Bulldogs more than most for that very reason. Pair that with a new offensive coordinator in Todd Monken, whose air raid roots are a far cry from the offensive scheme in Athens for, you know, forever, and it will be interesting to watch how well they execute on that side of the ball, especially early in the season. Wake Forest transfer Jamie Newman is the expected starter at quarterback, and the RPO-laced offense Monken likes to implement is something he learned a lot about in his three years at Wake. He is surrounded by talent in the back field with Zamir White and James Cook, just to name a few of Kirby’s 5-star running backs on the roster. The receiver position is in good shape with budding superstar George Pickens and speedster Demetris Robertson.
The depth at wideout is questionable, but again, Smart has recruited so well that we may learn a few names we weren’t familiar with that end up hauling in passes in what promises to be an offense that spreads the ball all over the field.
On defense, the Dawgs are once again stacked. They have to replace a lot up front, but have a rather large anchor to build around in the 6-foot-6, 330-pound Jordan Davis at nose tackle.
The linebacking corps may be the best in the country, while the secondary, led by preseason All-American Richard LeCounte, is nothing to sneeze at either. Incoming freshman sensation Kelee Ringo is the kind of talent that can start immediately out of high school at corner, but he could end up getting redshirted because the Dawgs are so loaded at that position. On special teams, the man who made glasses cool, Rodrigo Blankenship, is gone at placekicker, but they seem to grow kickers in Athens, so I expect freshman Jared Zirkel to fit the status quo at that position. Bottom line is that points won’t come easy against these Dawgs. The question is, can they score enough on offense to take advantage of that?
The way I see it, there are only three games on the schedule Georgia has any business losing, and one of those comes on the road in week three against the team every Dawg fan wants to beat more than any other, Alabama.
That’s a tough draw, but even if they lose that game, and I’m predicting they will, don’t be shocked if they get a rematch in December. By then, maybe the offense will be ready; game three is just too much of a stretch for me. If the Dawgs do win in Tuscaloosa, they may erect a statue of Kirby the following Monday.