The other big questions Georgia football faces entering the 2020 season
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The other big questions surrounding Georgia football entering the 2020 season
By this point, everyone is well aware of the intrigue surrounding the Georgia offense. Will new quarterback Jamie Newman and offensive coordinator Todd Monken be able to turnaround an offense that can best be described as mediocre last season?
Naturally, this is going to be a huge talking point this offseason. ESPN labeled it as Georgia’s biggest question for the 2020 season. The word “dark ages” was used to describe Georgia’s offense last season, and the task Newman and Monken must face could be what turns Georgia back into a College Football Playoff participant.
But Newman and Monken aren’t the only question marks surrounding this Georgia team in 2020. We knew the wide receiver position would be a big concern in 2019. But it’s clear not enough was made about the change over from Jim Chaney to James Coley.
Below we ask some of the other big and equally important questions about the Georgia football team entering next season.
Will Zamir White step into the lead role at running back?
For the first time since 2012, Georgia does not return a rusher who had at least 500 rushing yards in the previous season. In addition to the departed D’Andre Swift, Georgia also must replace its second-leading rusher in Brian Herrien as well.
White figures to get the first crack at doing, as he did in the Sugar Bowl. He ran for 92 yards and a touchdown in that game against the Baylor Bears.
Ever since he first arrived at Georgia White has had huge expectations, likely building to this moment. He’s also had two ACL injuries and he’ll be playing behind a line that must replace four players with starting experience next season.
White won’t be the only running back Georgia can turn to, as the Bulldogs will also have James Cook, Kenny McIntosh, Kendall Milton and Daijun Edwards to turn to as well.
Georgia needs to get more out of its passing game next season. But so long as Kirby Smart is still the head coach, Georgia is going to rely on its running game to grind teams down. Look for White to be the first one who gets a crack at becoming the next great member of ‘RBU.’
How will Dominick Blaylock‘s ACL heal?
A lot has been made of George Pickens and his potential for next season. Given his performance in the Sugar Bowl, it’s easy to see why.
But one man will not be able to lift up the entire wide receiver room. Pickens isn’t the Incredible Hulk even if he plays like him sometimes. He’s going to need some help.
Georgia does have a variety of options to get some other passing catching production. It is bringing in five wide receivers as a part of the 2020 signing class, led by three top-100 prospects in Marcus Rosemy, Arian Smith and Jermaine Burton.
While expectations might be high for them, none offer the promise and potential of what a healthy Blaylock can give the offense.
In 2019, Blaylock finished second on the team in touchdown catches and led the team in yards per reception. He also has injury concerns given he tore his ACL in the 37-10 defeat to LSU.
Blaylock has had surgery on the torn knee and is expected to be ready to go by the start of fall camp. But not all ACL injuries heal the same, as some take longer than others. Having a healthy Blaylock would make things easier for everyone on the Georgia offense.
His presence alone could really help pull the Georgia offense out the “stone age.”
What will the offensive line look like?
Following the departures of Andrew Thomas, Isaiah Wilson, Solomon Kindley, Cade Mays and Sam Pittman, Georgia 2020 offensive line is going to look drastically different. Sure we have an idea of what the group might look like next season given the return of Trey Hill, Ben Cleveland and Jamaree Salyer.
But how well the unit performs is up for debate. Matt Luke will have a lot to work with, especially if he lands the signatures of Sedrick Van Pran-Granger and Broderick Jones. Talent shouldn’t be an issue, nor should Luke’s coaching ability. These are the reasons why this isn’t a bigger question heading into next season.
The best offensive lines though shine because the five players are able to work and shine as one. Georgia is going to need to get that out of this group next season.
The Bulldogs still figure to have one of the better offensive lines in the country. Would going from a great offensive line to merely a good one stifle any potential growth we would see next season? That is something Monken, Luke and this position group will have to answer next season.
Will the depth on the defensive line be tested?
Georgia will bring back Jordan Davis, Travon Walker and Malik Herring from last season. Julian Rochester is another year removed from his ACL injury and the Bulldogs signed 5-star defensive tackle Jalen Carter in the 2020 recruiting class.
Though it won’t be so simple to assume this group gets better next season. For as much top-end talent as this group possesses, it also saw five seniors depart. Tyler Clark was the most disruptive defensive lineman, last year, while Michael Barnett also gave Georgia key snaps at the nose tackle position.
Georgia will have the likes of Bill Norton, Tymon Mitchell and Zion Louge to turn to as depth pieces, as all three signed as members of the 2019 recruiting class. Smart and Dan Lanning like to rotate a number of bodies across the entire defense. This keeps players fresh and allows the Georgia defense, in theory, to be more rested come the end of games.
But with unproven depth across the line, will Georgia’s stout run defense be able to shine like it did in 2019? The Bulldogs gave up just two rushing touchdowns all season. If the starters from this unit get injured, which tends to happen in a violent game like football, it will be cause for major concern for this group.
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