The panel of analysts on ESPN’s College GameDay hit upon all of the hot-button Georgia football topics early on the last regular-season episode of 2019.
Those topics included Georgia’s offensive struggles, whether or not the Bulldogs can score enough points to cover the spread against Georgia Tech, not having to prepare for the triple-option versus the Yellow Jackets this season and wide receiver Lawrence Cager’s ankle injury.
“The Bulldogs offense, they have been playing good, not great lately. (They) Scored 21 points against Auburn, 19 points against (Texas) A&M,” ESPN analyst Desmond Howard said. “But they play a Georgia Tech defense that gives up an average of 30 points per game. You got the Bulldogs favored by 28.5. I think they’ll cover today. I’m going Bulldogs big over Georgia Tech.”
College GameDay’s host Rece Davis mentioned that Kirby Smart and first-year Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins spent one year together on the Alabama coaching staff and jokingly asked if for that reason, Smart would take it easy on Collins.
Howard took it as a serious question, though, and answered with a resounding no because “style point matters” for Georgia’s fight to get into the College Football Playoff.
Former Bulldogs linebacker David Pollack then brought up how the Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry changed for the Bulldogs this year with Collins replacing long-time Yellow Jackets head coach Paul Johnson. Under Johnson from 2008-18, Georgia Tech ran the triple-option, which always presented defenses a very unique challenge.
Pollack never had to face Johnson’s triple-option at Georgia, but he spoke as if he knew from experience how difficult it was to prepare for it one week before Championship Saturday.
“You know how excited Kirby (Smart) is to not be playing the triple-option this week before the SEC Championship Game? Everybody in that locker room is like, ‘Oh, thank you Jesus!'”
Howard countered that thought with what’s probably more likely to be on Smart’s mind and that’s not having Cager for his offense.
“But how worried is he (Smart) that he doesn’t have his top receiver now? Lawrence Cager is out, and he’s going to miss not only this game, but the SEC Championship Game too,” Howard said. “Like I said, they’ve been playing good, not great. They have a fantastic defense, an outstanding defense that will keep them in any game, but at some point, Jake Fromm and that offense is going to have to score more points.”
Later on during the show, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit called not having Cager for the next two weeks “a major blow” for Georgia’s offense.
“They’ll be fine today, but next week in Atlanta, (not having Cager) is a concern,” Herbstreit said.
Georgia and Georgia Tech will kick off in Atlanta at 12 pm ET Saturday.