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Georgia wide receiver Dominick Blaylock makes a first down catch against South Carolina during the second quarter in a NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Columbia. “Curtis Compton / Curtis

Dominick Blaylock highlights what the Georgia football offense badly needs

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Dominick Blaylock highlights what the Georgia football offense badly needs

Prior to the game against Missouri, Dominick Blaylock had just 56 receiving yards over the previous two seasons. The recovery from his two torn ACL injuries had been methodical, far from what we saw his fellow 2019 signee George Pickens do last season.

But Blaylock himself recognized that following his three reception, 42-yard performance against Missouri, he’s starting to feel like the wide receiver who made big touchdown catches against Auburn and Florida.

“As of right now, everything is back to normal. I’m feeling great out there,” Blaylock told reporters on Monday. “I’m feeling back to freshman year type-me Dom right now.”

Given the long layoff in his football career, Blaylock is just glad to be back out on the field. He saw 12 snaps against Missouri, yet he finished with more receiving yards than any of Georgia’s other wide receivers.

Getting a more reliable version of Blaylock would greatly help Bennett and the Georgia passing offense. Georgia’s top two pass catchers on Saturday were tight ends Brock Bowers and Darnell Washington. Ladd McConkey hasn’t been himself in the previous two games, while Kearis Jackson also had a drop on Saturday.

The group has struggled at times to create separation, forcing Bennett to make more tight-window throws. Blaylock, along with junior Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, are more than comfortable winning in those situations. But the same can’t be said for every receiver on this team.

Bennett completed 24 of his 44 pass attempts on Saturday, good for a season-low 54.5 completion percentage. It was also his worst game in terms of yards per attempt at a 7.1 clip.

“I think he’d be the first to tell you he didn’t play his best game. That’s not all Stetson’s fault,” Smart said. “That’s some of my fault, putting a lot on him on the road. That’s some of, Coach Monken will take some of that. We all take it as an offensive staff and a head coach, some responsibility of maybe we’re asking him to do too much.

“I thought he did a good job of what we asked him to do. He does have to be more accurate.”

Bennett did admit as much after the game as well and that he has to execute better. Getting Blaylock to return to form helps with that task.

Adding Arian Smith and AD Mitchell back into the mix would help even more.

“We have to have some depth at that position and some guys make some plays at those positions,” Smart said.

Smith made his debut this past Saturday, catching one pass for seven yards. He didn’t take the top off the defense, but as he gets healthier and becomes a bigger part of the offense, his speed should become a significant factor for Georgia.

He’s capable of out-running opposing defensive backs, as Smith is the fastest member of the Georgia team. Not only does that allow Bennett to take some deep shots, but it also will pull safeties further back. This should help the Georgia running game run into less crowded fronts while also opening things up in the intermediate passing game for Bowers, Washington and other Georgia receivers.

“He got back and he made a play tonight, showed some confidence,” Smart said of Smith on Saturday. “We need him. I mean, if he had been coming along at this point — I’ve just got a lot of hope for him, and then the injury pulled him away again. And now he’s back out there and we’ve got to find a way to get AD [Mitchell] and back. And we’ve just got to get healthy at wideout.”

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