ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart indicated sophomore receiver George Pickens “should be fine” to play at noon Saturday at Kentucky after reports surfaced he was limited earlier this week in practice.
“George should be fine, he’s in and out based on being dinged up a couple of times,” Smart said on his Wednesday SEC coaches teleconference call. “But we have a lot of guys that way.
“But he practiced (Tuesday).”
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The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (3-1) are expected to rely heavily on their run game against the Wildcats (2-3), who are coming off a 20-10 loss at Missouri that saw them out-rushed 220-95 and yielding a gaudy time of possession edge (43:10 to 16:50).
But Pickens remains a power player in the Georgia offense, even as new offensive coordinator Todd Monken looks for creative ways to get him involved in the offense.
Indeed, Smart has acknowledged that much of what the Bulldogs have evolved into has as much to do with what opposing defense take away — Pickens, obviously, identified in every defensive game plan.
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“I think (offensive identity) is a little bit based on the defenses you play, I don’t think you solely control yourself,” Smart said. “Who is healthy, what you are capable of, what they play against you, how defenses play us dictate where we run how much we run.
“You want to be balanced and be able to throw the ball when you want to throw and run when you want to run. It’s not real complicated, but sometimes it’s hard to do because the other team makes it complicated.”
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Smart indicated earlier this month, that applies to Pickens, too.
“George does a really good job, and we certainly have to find ways to get George the ball,” Smart said on Oct. 12. “Some of it is dictated by what the other team does, and some of it is dictated by what we have to do.”
Here’s a chart showing the number of times Georgia has thrown to each of its receivers, along with their reception totals and yardage:
(Targets, players, catches, yards, avg. per catch)
34 Kearis Jackson, 21 catches, 323 yards, 15.38 avg.
22 George Pickens, 13 catches, 130 yards, 10.77
21 Jermaine Burton, 8 catches, 111 yards, 13.88
9 James Cook, 6 catches, 111 yards, 18.5
8 Demetris Robertson, 7 catches, 53 yards, 7.57
7 John Fitzpatrick, 5 catches, 46 yards, 9.2
7 Kenny McIntosh, 4 catches, 51 yards, 12.75
4 Tre’ McKitty, 3 catches, 57 yards, 19.0
4 Marcus Rosemy 3 catches, 30 yards, 10.0
4 Zamir White 3 catches, 19 yards, 6.33
4 Matt Landers 2 catches, 27 yards, 13.5