ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart has emphasized several times in several ways that championship football requires all units working together.
Indeed, much of the Bulldogs’ offensive and defensive scheming is predicated on Smart and his staff analyzing strengths and weaknesses and arriving at core alignments and plays.
The sooner Georgia knows itself, the better, and that makes the Bulldogs’ 15 spring practice dates pivotal.
Here’s a way-too-early positional group ranking, an order that could be affected by an updated injury report or the emergence of a newcomer.
1. Offensive line
The lock: Junior left tackle Andrew Thomas, Outland Trophy candidate.
The question: Sophomore Cade Mays, where does he fit in?
2. Defensive backs
The lock: Senior safety J.R. Reed, team leader of defense.
The question: Sophomore Tyson Campbell, will skills match elite speed and ideal length?
The lock: Senior kicker Rodrigo Blankenship.
The question: Can Georgia adequately replace Mecole Hardman in return game?
The lock: Junior Jake Fromm, third-year starter, offense on his shoulders.
The question: How much of the offense can freshman Dwan Mathis pick up?
The lock: None.
The question: Can senior Tae Crowder become the playmaker Georgia lacked last year?
6. Running backs
The lock: Junior tailback D’Andre Swift, Hesiman Trophy candidate
The question (s): Will production match 5-star ratings of James Cook and Zamir White in 2019?
7. Receivers/tight ends
The lock: Junior receiver J.J. Holloman is the go-to target.
The question: Can graduate transfer tight end Eli Wolf fill the void left by Isaac Nauta?
8. Defensive linemen
The lock: None.
The question: Will sophomore Jordan Davis become an SEC dominator?