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Five ‘Would you rather’ questions for Georgia football for this upcoming season
Would you rather have a 1,000-yard receiver or two 1,000-yard rushers?
One of these two things has started to become a trend for Georgia football. The other has happened once in the entire history of the program.
In each of the last two seasons, Georgia has had two different 1,000-yard rushers. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel accomplished the feat in 2017 and D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield did it in 2018.
As far as the 1,000-yard receiver, it happened with Terrence Edwards in 2002 and that’s it. AJ Green never did it. Hines Ward didn’t either.
For the 2019 season, Swift seems like a sure bet to get to the 1,000-yard mark once again. As for a second running back, it will come down to either Zamir White’s health or how much of a workload Brian Herrien is given.
Among the wide receivers, Jeremiah Holloman should be seen as the best bet to break the 1,000-yard mark. While incoming freshmen George Pickens and Dominick Blaylock have a lot of potential, Holloman showed he’s ready for a bigger role in the Georgia offense. As a sophomore — despite playing with four pass catchers who were drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft — he finished with 24 catches for 418 yards and 5 touchdowns.
The verdict: Two 1,000-yard rushers. Yes, Georgia’s passing attack should have a better statistical season this year as Jake Fromm returns as a junior. But the Bulldogs might have the best offensive line in the country and they should pave the way for Swift, Herrien and White. And, when you’re winning in the fourth quarter you are going to be running the ball more than throwing it.
Would rather have a Heisman Trophy finalist or the defense finish with 40-plus sacks?
Georgia hasn’t had a Heisman Trophy winner since 1982 when Herschel Walker took home the award. It hasn’t had a player place in the top-3 since Garrison Hearst did it in the 1992 season. For the 2019 season, Fromm and Swift both have strong odds and narratives as potential Heisman Trophy winners.
As for the defensive total, Georgia was one of the worst pass rushing teams in the Power Five last season when it came to sacks. Outside of the now departed D’Andre Walker, nobody had more than 2.0 sacks. As a team, the Bulldogs finished with 24 on the season. Only Vanderbilt had fewer.
Georgia has brought in a ton of talent at the outside linebacker position, with the likes of Nolan Smith and Jermaine Johnson potentially acting as impact players in their first season with the program. Kirby Smart has talked at length about creating more havoc plays this offseason. Racking up more than 40-sacks would certainly indicate that Georgia has accomplished that goal.
The verdict: 40-plus sacks. It actually would be great to see Fromm and/or Swift truly get the national attention and acclaim they deserve. But the Heisman Trophy is an individual goal while 40-sacks will take a team effort. Not to mention the teams that played for the national championship last year finished with at least 45 sacks.
Would you rather have more games where the offense scores 40 points or more or the defense gives up 10 or fewer points?
Georgia will be breaking in a new offensive and defensive coordinator this year, as James Coley takes over for Jim Chaney and Dan Lanning replaces Mel Tucker.
Last season, Georgia finished in 14th in the country in points per game with 37.9 a game. They were tied for 14th in points allowed per game with 19.2.
The offense has a lot fewer questions about it, as the Bulldogs only really need to replace their production at wide receiver. The defense has more holes to fill, specifically with cornerback Deandre Baker now in the NFL.
In 2018, Georgia had seven games with more than 40 points, while it had only three games where it surrendered 10 or fewer points.
The verdict: Defense gives up fewer than 10. Georgia won a lot of its big games a season ago without scoring more than 40 points, such as Kentucky, Auburn and Florida. And it should be pointed out that the offense wasn’t exactly the problem in the last two losses to Alabama.
As good as quarterback Trevor Lawrence was a season ago for Clemson, the Tigers actually had the No. 1 scoring defense in the country. That certainly helped ease the potential load the offense had to carry.
Would you rather sign two 5-star running backs or sign the greatest offensive line class of all-time?
We had to do at least one recruiting question. Georgia is in good standing with the nation’s No. 1 running back Zachary Evans and No. 3 running back Kendall Milton. Running back is a major position of need given that Herrien will be gone for sure after the 2019 season and Swift seems likely to leave for the NFL draft after his junior year.
On the offensive line, Georgia already has one of the top classes in the country at the position. And if the Bulldogs could land their last two targets, they have a very legitimate case of putting together the greatest offensive line recruiting class of all-time. Sam Pittman has been regarded as one of the best offensive line coaches in the country, and this 2020 recruiting haul could end up being his masterpiece,
The verdict: The greatest offensive line class. I know Georgia is already ‘RBU’ and landing Evans and Milton would feel like landing Chubb and Michel all over again. But Georgia is still going to have White, James Cook and Kenny McIntosh on the roster next year. Even if Georgia gets just one 5-star running back, the Bulldogs will be plenty set for the 2020 season.
On the offensive line, Georgia could possibly lose four projected starters from this year’s line should Andrew Thomas, Solomon Kindley, Ben Cleveland and Isaiah Wilson elect to enter the NFL draft. Being just ‘RBU’ isn’t cool. You know what is cool? Being ‘RBU’ and ‘OLU,’ which the 2020 recruiting haul could set up.
Would you rather lose one regular season game but beat Alabama in the SEC championship game or go unbeaten and beat a non-Alabama team in the SEC championship game?
The last time Georgia beat Alabama was in 2007. Smart hadn’t even been named Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator yet. Meanwhile, for all of Alabama’s success this decade, none of its past four championships have come following an unbeaten regular season.
And given how close Georgia has come to beating Alabama, a win over the Crimson Tide this season would be a clear sign of progress.
As for running through Georgia’s gauntlet of a schedule, it would mean the Bulldogs once again beat the likes of Florida, Auburn and Tennessee, as well as additional victories over Notre Dame and Texas A&M.
The verdict: Beating Alabama. Winning an SEC championship would be a great season no matter what happens along the way. It should almost certainly mean a spot in the College Football Playoff. But if it plays out like a 2017 situation, where a one-loss Alabama doesn’t play Georgia for the SEC championship, you know Alabama fans will still chirp about how the Bulldogs can’t beat Saban.
Conquering Alabama would mean a lot more to the Georgia football program than possibly playing the first College Football Playoff game in Atlanta.
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#ICYMI: Aaron Schunk and Emerson Hancock were each named All-Americans by Baseball America.
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