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3 predictions for Georgia football’s trip to South Bend
UGA fans have had the Saturday Georgia-Notre Dame game circled on their calendars for years. It seems like it’s been the only game discussed by Dawgs fans for the last eight months. So considering all the talk about this game throughout the offseason, it just wouldn’t be right if I didn’t put a few predictions on record. Here are three.
1. Jake Fromm will play well (enough)
I expect the coaches to limit the decisions Fromm has to make in his first start. The offensive gameplan will focus on the run, and Fromm will throw short, simple passes to keep the offense in a groove and the defense honest. Kirby Smart won’t give him enough rope to hang himself with. I don’t think Fromm will play well enough to win the game for the Bulldogs. By the same token, I don’t think he’ll play poorly enough to lose it either.
2. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel will rush for at least 100 yards apiece
Georgia is a team that has the talent to dominate with the run. And although both Chubb and Michel showed flashes against Appalachian State, they never asserted a run-first identity. Partially in an attempt to limit what Fromm has to do, partially in an attempt to showcase the strength of this team, I expect the offense to pound the rock. As long as the game is close — which it should be throughout — Georgia will work to win the game on the ground. Given enough carries, Chubb and Michel are bound to break a couple big ones.
3. Georgia front-seven will be the difference in the game
In their Week 1 win against Temple, Notre Dame used one of the best offensive lines in the country, two speedy running backs, and an even speedier quarterback to rack up 422 yards rushing. RBs Josh Adams and Dexter Williams as well as QB Brandon Wimbush all have potential to go the distance on the ground at any time. Making contact with the RBs around the line of scrimmage and keeping the QB from hitting the edge will be key to stopping the Irish offense from moving. And stopping the Irish offense from moving could be the difference between winning and losing in South Bend.
One good way to get ready for the game with Notre Dame is to check out Seth Emerson’s DawgNation mailbag. This week features a bunch of questions about Jake Fromm, as well as some about the offensive line, Dominick Sanders’ bid to “punish” Notre Dame, and Irish tailbacks making long runs. But I wanted to point out Emerson had to say about freshman D’Andre Swift, who I think could turn into a major contributor for the team this season.
We spent a lot of time assuming that Isaiah McKenzie would be replaced by either Hardman, Crumpton or one of the tailbacks they’ve been practicing in the slot. And they still could, but Swift sure looked like the main option in the opener. Of course, 3 catches doesn’t exactly mean he’s a starter. Swift’s carry total was aided by Elijah Holyfield being suspended.
Still, it isn’t like Swift wasn’t highly recruited. He was, and I’m sure Smart and Chaney have been thinking for awhile about ways to incorporate him into the game plan. As I mentioned in the second glance on Monday, one of Chaney’s successes last season was pinpointing McKenzie as a potential weapon and finding ways to get him the ball, and he might be doing that with Swift now.
Planning for Notre Dame
Another good wrap up of what to expect from Notre Dame comes from Chip Towers and his weekly “Planning for the Opponent” post. On tap this week is talk of the Fromm factor, the battle in the trenches, stopping Wimbush, and special teams. Make sure you check it out.
Not shying away
Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated answered a question about the number of freshmen QBs breaking into two-deeps this season in his #DearAndy blog this week, and it featured this interesting bit about Fromm.
What’s interesting is that the quarterbacks who shy away from competition probably are going to find themselves on the bench. The best ones don’t seem worried about who else is in the quarterback room. For example, Tim Tebow and Cam Newton signed with Florida the same year. Jalen Hurts didn’t care who was on the roster at Alabama, and Tua Tagovailoa didn’t care that Jalen Hurts had performed well as a true freshman. Tagovailoa would have been Hurts’s backup this season even if Cooper Bateman and David Cornwell had stayed. The same goes for true freshman Jake Fromm, who will start for Georgia at Notre Dame on Saturday in place of injured sophomore Jacob Eason. I asked Kirby Smart on Monday if Fromm had expressed any depth chart concerns during his recruitment. Smart just chuckled. “I don’t think he ever cared,” Smart said. “He loved Georgia. The kid has loved Georgia since he was growing up and he has wanted to be a Georgia Bulldog all his life, so that is what he chose to do. It didn’t matter who was here. He is pretty confident in himself, and the best ones are.”
Cam Newton as always ready to roast Georgia
Cam Newton will take any chance he can get to take a shot at Georgia. He even used his little brother, freshman QB Caylin Newton, who led Howard to an insane upset over UNLV, as a tool to get in a UGA burn.
“I was teasing [former UGA linebacker] Thomas [Davis], I said, ‘Man, listen, Georgia needs a winner,’” Newton said. “And every Newton I know is a winner. They missed out on yet another one.”
Dawgs on Twitter
— Wes Blankenship (@Wes_nship) September 7, 2017
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) September 7, 2017
Do what you do pic.twitter.com/9ilIZhIG2Y
— lee fromm (@dylantylerjake) September 7, 2017
How Georgia fans will be walking around South Bend this weekend.
“So I put boots on my dog for the first time and she can't stop falling over” pic.twitter.com/Y8KsdlDy3T
— daphne (@tbhdaphne) September 7, 2017
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