ATHENS — Georgia football looks to have one of the most powerful and effective offensive lines in college football in 2022, and that bodes well for the Bulldogs’ run game.
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Coach Kirby Smart has said each of his offenses will be built around playing to the strengths of its personnel, but the one thing that will be a constant is UGA’s ability to run the ball when it needs to.
It hasn’t been as easy or automatic, however, as one might think.
The Bulldogs ranked just sixth in the SEC in rushing last season with 190.9 yards per game on the ground.
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Smart has yet to produce a consensus first-team All-SEC running back in his six-year tenure, and UGA did not have a running back listed among the four who earned honors in 2021, and the five named in 2020.
D’Andre Swift (2019) and Nick Chubb (2017) were first-team picks by the coaches, but second-team picks on the AP vote. Chubb was the most recent Bulldog running back to be a consensus first-team pick, back in 2014.
Alabama has been the SEC’s “RBU” of late with Brian Robinson (2021) and Najee Harris (2020) making first-team appearances.
Is he a track guy playing football, or a football guy who runs track?
However you want to describe rising junior receiver Arian Smith, it’s clear the Bulldogs’ strength and conditioning staff need to get him properly prepared to handle a football season.
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Smith’s injuries have been well-documented, but so has his great success. When healthy, Smith ranks among the most explosive players in college football
The problem is, Smith has missed more than twice as many of Georgia’s games (17) than he has played (8) over the past two years.
But when Smith does stay healthy enough to play, the numbers has shown incredible speed that has led to eye-opening numbers: Per PFF, Smith has caught four deep passes for 182 yards and 3 touchdowns despite running just 16 routes!
3. Amarius Mims, please
The 6-foot-7, 330-pound Mims played in seven games last season and enters his second season aiming to win significantly more playing time.
A consensus 5-star, Top 10 player out of Bleckley County, Mims showed improvement last season but wasn’t able to breakthrough.
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The Bulldogs are deep and experienced on the offensive line, and playing time does not come easily. The practices are competitive and intense, and offensive line coach Matt Luke insists on execution along with athleticism.
Mims could be on the verge, but he faces stiff competition across the board, with the Bulldogs bringing back seven offensive linemen with starting experience.
KM Squared, Preseason 2021 conversations