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3 Georgia football players who need big games in Week 1
It’s game week, ladies and gentlemen. That means it’s time — for the moment, at least — to stop pontificating about the expectations for the season as a whole and look forward to the task at hand: Appalachian State.
So, to start this first game week of 2017, we’re going to look at three players who need to have a big game against the Mountaineers. These players don’t necessarily need to have a big game to beat Appalachian State, but they do need to help the Bulldogs beat the Mountaineers emphatically, create some momentum and assuage some of the fears about this team’s weaknesses. I’m not including any offensive linemen on this list, because, at this point, it kind of goes without saying that big games from multiple linemen, or lack thereof, will have more influence on the success or failure of this team than any other group of players. So, let’s get into it.
Terry Godwin — Georgia is desperate for a true No. 1 receiver, and by all accounts, Godwin seems the most likely to fill that need. Carving out a spot as Jacob Eason’s top target can help the passing game create an identity it never established last season. Eason’s another player who, obviously, could have earned a spot on this list, but I went with Godwin because if he has a big game, chances are good Eason will, too.
J.R. Reed — The starting lineup of the secondary was thrown into question with the injury of Malkom Parrish. With him in doubt to play in the season opener, Smart has been forced into a game of musical chairs in the defensive backfield, and a good game from Tulsa-transfer Reed could make the music stop. If he establishes himself as capable of starting at safety, which by all indications he is, Aaron Davis then can devote more time to the cornerback position, giving the secondary a bit of extra depth on the edge.
Rodrigo Blankenship or David Marvin — One of these two will be Georgia’s No. 1 kicker, and at this point, it really doesn’t matter who. All that matters is that one is up to the task of giving Georgia a consistent scoring threat when the offense stalls inside the 30, and that he begins establishing himself against the Mountaineers. The less time this competition takes, the better things will be for the Bulldogs. Because if the Notre Dame or Mississippi State games end up being close, you don’t want any indecision from Kirby Smart when it comes time to trot out a kicker for a game-winning field goal.
An update on Georgia’s punter situtation
Kicker isn’t the only special teams position that has tight competition. There’s also been a battle for the starting punter job, which graduate transfer Cameron Nizialek seems to have won, at least for the first week of the season. According to legendary Georgia kicker and current student-assistant coach Kevin Butler, who spoke about the punter situation on Bulldog Roundtable on AM 680, Georgia fans will be happy with the punt unit this season.
“I think everybody is going to be overjoyed this year to see us punt and actually see the ball go up in the air and go downfield,” Butler said on the radio show. “That’s our key, and that’s what we’re excited about.”
He also gave a name for the second-team punter gig, and it isn’t Marshall Long, who was the No. 1 punter in most games last season.
“Marshall Long is kind of battling back from a tough knee injury last year,” Butler said. “So, Bill Rubright, our freshman preferred walk-on out of Marist High School [Atlanta], has stepped up to kind of assume that second-team punter right now.”
Lamont Gaillard outlines OL goals
Chip Towers of DawgNation interviewed presumptive starting center Lamont Gaillard (that’s GILL-yard), who provided this interesting note on what the goals for the offensive line are this season.
“All of us just want to be better,” Gaillard said of the group. “I’ve said that plenty of times, but it’s up to us to bring that pride back to Georgia that our offense can block and we can run the ball. … [The goal is] is not give up big plays, not give up sacks, for our running backs to have 100 yards a game. That’s what we want.”
Too many cooks
Wilson Alexander had a fun story in The Telegraph about a program set up by Georgia football’s nutrition staff that allows them to cook their own meals in the team’s nutrition lounge. It’s a cool piece that you should take a moment to read, but here’s the big takeaway: Nick Chubb stinks at cooking omelets.
“Nick Chubb,” Godwin said. “Nick cannot make an omelet. It breaks. It completely breaks. He just turns it into scrambled eggs. It’s horrible.”
Dawgs on Twitter
Only 6 more days until kickoff! One for each of DJ Shockley's UGA-record TDs vs Boise St. in 2005. pic.twitter.com/4qAd2OCW8G
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) August 27, 2017
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) August 26, 2017
— Georgia New Media (@Hunkerdown_UGA) August 27, 2017
That’s how you tote the rock.
SO MUCH SKILLS! pic.twitter.com/S5Cyf21Oyb
— Adorable Dog (@Lifewithcutedog) August 26, 2017
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