Georgia football freshmen report: UGA 21, Kentucky 0

Georgia football-Kentucky-game time-tv channel-week 8
Freshman WR George Pickens earned his first career start against Kentucky on Saturday.

Georgia fell last week.

Raindrops (and plenty of them) fell this past weekend to soak all the narratives and game summations from Georgia’s 21-0 home win.

It marked the second shutout of the season for Georgia. It was also the second shutout of an SEC opponent of the Kirby Smart era. The night also meant the 11th time one of his defenses held a team to single digits during his time in Athens.

The Bulldogs played fewer players against Kentucky on Saturday than they did in any other Power 5 game this season. It was the first time this year that UGA fielded less than 60 players against an opponent.

How many freshmen (redshirt and true) still hit that soggy Sanford Stadium field? The charter for this post will be to break all of that down.

The Bulldogs played 58 players on Saturday. They sent 62 out on the field in the previous game against South Carolina. Let’s also quickly note that:

  • 14 of the 58 Bulldogs who played were freshmen (redshirt or true freshmen)
  • UGA started two of its redshirt freshmen in Azeez Ojulari (OLB) and Divaad Wilson (STAR)
  • The Bulldogs also started a true freshman (George Pickens) for the first time in 2019.
  • Georgia continued to start a 2019 signee in JUCO transfer DJ Daniel. It was his fourth straight start.
  • Kentucky saw just 46 of its players see action in that game

Want a clear takeaway from the freshman who played earlier this year?

The Bulldogs saw 13 of 61 play against Vanderbilt, 29 of 86 see time against Murray State, 30 of 86 log reps versus Arkansas State, 13 out of 60 against Notre Dame and 15 of 63 players at Tennessee and 15 of the 62 who took on South Carolina.

Tyrique Stevenson earned a pass defense on Saturday with some of his tight coverage on a few chunk balls thrown by Kentucky. He has played in every UGA game this season. (Bob Andres/AJC)

Who played against Kentucky (by classes):

  • Freshmen: 8
  • Redshirt freshmen: 6
  • Touchdowns by true or redshirt freshmen: 0
  • True or redshirt freshmen among the leading tacklers: 1 (Nakobe Dean)

Kentucky game freshman focus

Georgia played 14 redshirt or true freshmen. The big picture still tallies up to 24 percent of all the Bulldogs who played on Saturday. That equates to:

  • 0 of 1 QBs (1 QBs played in the previous game)
  • 2 of 6 RBs (5 RBs played in the previous game)
  • 3 of 5 WRs  (7 WRs played in the previous game)
  • 0 of 7 OLs (8 OLs played in the previous game)
  • 1 of 3 TEs (3 TEs played in the previous game)
  • 0 of 8 DLs (9 DLs played in the previous game
  • 2 of 7 ILBs (8 ILBs played in the previous game)
  • 2 of 5 OLBs (5 OLBs played in the previous game)
  • 3 of 12 DBs (12 DBs played in the previous game)
  • 0 of 1 PKs (No change versus the previous game)
  • 0 of 1 Ps (No change from the previous game)
  • 1 of 2 LSs (No change from the previous game)

Why did Georgia play fewer Bulldogs on Saturday: The main reason was due to injury. Lawrence Cage, Justin Shaffer and Travon Walker were not able to dress out. Brian Herrien returned and Matt Landers also did not show up on the participation report.

What that study has shown far this year: Georgia plays the same group of DLs, ILBs and OLBs regardless of the quality of the opponent.

True freshman OLB Nolan Smith has also played in every game so far this season. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

FRESHMEN BULLDOGS IN 2019

What’s more important? Snaps or starts? Both are important, but there is a reason why certain players start the game and stay on the field for the biggest plays. That’s because the coaches trust them to play winning football by what they have seen on the practice field.

There are common instances where the scheme fit based on each opponent allows for a different starting rotation as well.

Here is the weekly list of the true freshmen and redshirt freshmen that have started games in 2019.

  • Redshirt freshman TE John FitzPatrick (1 game)
  • Redshirt freshman WR Kearis Jackson (1 game)
  • Redshirt freshman OLB Azeez Ojulari (7 games)
  • Redshirt freshman DB Divaad Wilson (2 games)
  • Freshman WR George Pickens (1 game)

Who started against Kentucky (all freshmen): Ojulari, Pickens and Wilson.

How many different Bulldogs have played in 2019: 97

How many of those have been freshmen or redshirt freshmen: 34 (35 percent of all participation)

Freshman WR George Pickens earned his first career start against Kentucky on Saturday. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Overall participation in 2019

  • Redshirt or grad transfer seniors: 9
  • Seniors: 8
  • Redshirt juniors: 5
  • Juniors: 15
  • Redshirt sophomores: 14
  • Sophomores: 12
  • Redshirt freshmen: 11
  • Freshmen: 23
  • Of note: Georgia has seen six of its true freshmen play in every game this year. That’s out of the 23 freshmen who have played so far in 2019. (Lewis Cine, Nakobe Dean, Trezmen Marshall, George Pickens, Nolan Smith and Tyrique Stevenson.)

THE BIG PICTURE, PART I

Freshman Game Ball 

Freshman ILB Nakobe Dean had his best game as a Georgia Bulldog on Saturday night against Kentucky. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

ILB Nakobe Dean (Horn Lakes High, Horn Lakes, Miss.)

Dean earns this weekly “Freshmen Report” honor for the first time this season.

  • The Nakobe Dean stat line: 6 total tackles/ 4 solo tackles/1 forced fumble
  • The biggest play he made was: It came on special teams. Dean forced a fumble by punt returner Josh Ali that the Wildcats were able to recover at their own 29. He also tallied up four of his six tackles in the second half.
  • Final 247Sports Composite recruiting rankings: Nation’s No. 2 ILB and No. 19 overall (Was the nation’s No. 1 ILB at the time he signed with UGA.)
  • Former All-American: Yes (2019 Under Armour All-American)

There are a couple of elements to point out here from the day Dean had:

  • Led the team with his four solo tackles
  • Tied for the team-best total with his six total tackles

Why did he choose Georgia? Dean chose Georgia over a late back-and-forth and 11th-hour struggle which included a tug to stay home and play for Alabama or in-state Ole Miss. 

Notable time for other freshmen against Kentucky

  • Freshman WR George Pickens: Led Bulldogs in catches (4) and yards (35) while getting his first career start against the Wildcats.
  • Redshirt freshman Divaad Wilson: Finished his second career start for UGA with two total tackles.
True freshman ILB Nakobe Dean (17) was right in the middle of things on Saturday. He led Georgia with his six solo tackles. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

FRESHMEN SUPERLATIVES FOR 2019

There are a number of categories in which a redshirt or a true freshmen Bulldog is already leading the team in 2019.

  • Receptions in a game: 7 (George Pickens)
  • Receiving yards in a game: 112 (Blaylock)
  • Longest catch: 60 (Blaylock)
  • Longest TD catch: 60 (Blaylock)
  • Longest run: 62 (Kenny McIntosh)
  • Longest TD run: 62 (McIntosh)
  • Sacks (game): 2.0 (Ojulari
  • Sacks (season): 3.5 (Ojulari)
  • Tackles for a loss (game): 2 (Ojulari)
  • Interceptions (game): 1 (Lewis Cine and Divaad Wilson, tied for season-high)
  • Interceptions (season): 1 (Cine and Wilson, tied for first)

THE BIG PICTURE, PART II

NextGeorgia defense bought in to offense: ‘We’ve got each other’s backs’
Leave a Comment