Who is Georgia’s top freshman? ESPN writer makes an interesting selection
Around the Dawg House will bring you daily updates from what people and publications are saying about Georgia, from inside and outside of Athens.
Justin Fields as Georgia’s top freshman? ESPN says that’s the case
When you bring in the No. 1 class in the country, you’re going to have a lot of talented freshman. And Georgia clearly does, whether it be Justin Fields, Tyson Campbell, Cade Mays or Brenton Cox, the Bulldogs have seen a number of true freshman contribute early on.
But which one has been the best for the Bulldogs so far? According to ESPN, it’s been Fields, despite not playing as big as a role as either Mays, Campbell or freshman punter Jake Camarda.
“He may not have the snap-to-snap impact of other true freshmen on the team, but Fields is in a bit of a different situation,” ESPN’s Alex Scarborough wrote “He’s more than just the understudy to quarterback Jake Fromm. The former No. 1 overall prospect in the Class of 2018 is a weapon in the Bulldogs’ offense, and you can see his role expanding as the season goes on. Thus far, he’s completed 18-of-25 pass attempts for 200 yards, 2 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He’s also rushed for 140 yards and 3 touchdowns on 17 carries.”
Fields did play well against Tennessee but he’s still yet to start a game this season for the Bulldogs. Campbell and Camarda have started all six games and Mays has significant playing time in the past five games. Fields has certainly been the most interesting Georgia freshman to track from week to week, but to say he’s been better than Campbell or Mays is a bit much. While Campbell, Mays and Camarda have had their struggles, they’ve pretty consistently gone up against the other team’s top players. Fields has, so far, only done that against Tennessee.
But the fact that we’re able to debate which of the many Bulldogs has been the best freshman to this point is a sign of how loaded the 2018 class is and how bright the future is going to be for Georgia.
Kirby Smart gives another reason why the LSU game is a big deal
One of the unfortunate things about the conference expansion across college football is that it robbed some fans of games they used to see more frequently. Since one SEC West opponent, Auburn for Georgia, is locked in every year, it takes 12-years to cycle through the rest of the SEC West for home and away games. For example, Georgia last played LSU in 2013. There is not a single player on Georgia’s current roster that played in that game.
So part of the reason this LSU game has such a bigger feel to it, besides the fact that both teams are ranked in the top-15 in the country is that these two teams just don’t get to see each other that often.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart agrees with this thinking, as he explained on the SEC Coaches Teleconference.
“I think the reason this game is a big deal is because we don’t have a nine-game (SEC) schedule,” Smart said. “Georgia fans travel well, all SEC fans travel well. The more gap there is, the more demand there is on tickets.”
Earlier this week Smart came out in favor of a nine game conference schedule but added that it’s not his call to make.
“I’ve always been in favor or a nine-game schedule, (but) it’s not my decision to make,” Smart said following Georgia’s win over Vanderbilt. “I think it (would be) a good thing, but I think you will have teams with more losses. Does it affect a team getting in the playoff? I don’t know, but I know you have a lot more games to get up for, a lot more good rivalry games.”
As Smart alludes to, because of the current set-up, Georgia is not set to return to Baton Rouge until 2030, which is far longer than any Georgia fan would like to see.
Georgia has the best offensive line in the country
Georgia has had to rotate through a number of offensive line combinations, as Andrew Thomas and Ben Cleveland have both missed games due to injuries and Solomon Kindley suffered another one this past weekend against Vanderbilt. It does appear that Kindley will play though on Saturday.
But despite the constantly changing line-up and youth on the Georgia offensive line, it has still managed to be the best offensive line in the country, according to Pro Football Focus’ Gordon McGuinnes. Georgia comes in ahead of Wisconsin (No. 2), Oregon (No. 3) and Alabama (No. 4).
A big reason for the high ranking is because of Thomas, who has been the best offensive lineman in the country when he’s been healthy this season.
“With a PFF overall grade of 90.8, Thomas is the highest-graded offensive lineman in the nation, dominating both in pass protection and as a run-blocker,” McGuinness wrote. “From 105 pass-blocking snaps, he has allowed just two hits and three hurries, with no sacks through five games.”
Georgia’s offensive line has given up 8.0 sacks on the season, which leaves them tied for fifth in the SEC. When it comes to the ground game, Georgia is first in the SEC in yards per carry and rushing yards per game.
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