ATHENS — Just when you thought you’d heard the last of the COVID college football craziness, the realization strikes that Uga will not be on the Georgia football sidelines!
What next, hedge removal?
Shhh…. don’t read that out loud. The NCAA or SEC officials might be listening.
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The good news for the Bulldogs is the field is still 100 yards long and 53 1/3 yards wide, and today Georgia will be playing football in Sanford Stadium weather permitting.
What to watch for?
C’mon, you already know…..
It’s most always the position of greatest speculation, as even the most novice fan can identify the player taking the snap and throwing the football is a pretty important person.
What most can’t appreciate is how much goes into each play — before the ball is even snapped.
UGA’s four scholarship quarterbacks — JT Daniels, D’Wan Mathis, Carson Beck and Stetson Bennett — all have different strengths and weaknesses.
The question is, which one does Kirby Smart and Todd Monken feel makes the team better. Who moves the offense when it’s 11 on 11? Who doesn’t turn the football over? Who communicates with teammates and keeps everyone on the same page?
Throw out the recruiting rankings, 40 times and warm-up throws.
Whoever is playing quarterback — the football equivalent of point guard — needs playmakers that can do special things with the football in their hands.
Smart said he wants explosive plays, and that means getting the ball into the hands of players who can make people miss in the open field and out-run defenders, or find a way to get open and prove consistent catching the football and making yards after the catch.
Two playmakers are down: WR Dominick Blaylock (knee, season), and Florida State grad transfer Tre’ McKitty (Knee, 3-4 weeks).
Receiver George Pickens is No. 1, as amazing catching the football and knocking down DBs with his run-blocking as ever.
James Cook is clearly a central figure in the offense with his ability to run and catch the ball. Cook said he gained a lot of weight — good weight — in the offseason. It’s his contract year, he’ll be in the 2021 NFL Draft barring unforeseen event or injury.
But how is Zamir White fitting in, having talked on his video about working to improving pass-catching skills.
And, is this the year Matt Landers finally lives up to the talent in that 6-5, 200-pound frame?
The defense needs playmakers, too, as it reaches for the sky and finds ways to improve on what was already the No. 1 unit in the nation last season.
More interceptions, more sacks, more forced fumbles — and all the while, still not allowing big plays or losing gap integrity.