ESPN-Georgia football-2019 preview
Kirby Smart enters his fourth season as Georgia head coach.

ESPN previews Georgia’s 2019 season, labels 2 biggest areas for growth

ESPN’s Bill Connelly dropped his preview of the entire SEC on Monday, as SEC Media Days get underway in Hoover, Ala. And the projections, like just about everyone else’s, expect big things for the Bulldogs.

The S&P+ has Georgia ranked as the No. 2 team in the country, behind only Alabama and actually ahead of the Clemson Tigers. Connelly also highlights have the Bulldogs are loaded with experienced depth at all but one position — wide receiver — and how stacked the roster is with blue-chip recruits.

But there is still room for improvement, as demonstrated by Georgia has performed against the Crimson Tide in each of the past two seasons. Connelly had previously identified new offensive coordinator James Coley and new defensive coordinator Dan Lanning as the people who could make the necessary tweaks to put Georgia over the top.

In his conference-wide preview, which you can read in full here, Connelly laid out the two areas where Georgia has to get better.

“Georgia’s red zone execution on offense was costly, and as Smart acknowledged this offseason, the defense was strong but not disruptive enough,” Connelly wrote.

Coley steps in for Jim Chaney as the offensive coordinator and play-caller, while Lanning takes over for Mel Tucker. This is the first year under Georgia coach Kirby Smart that Chaney and Tucker will not be his coordinators.

Georgia must also replace its top-five receiving leaders from a season ago. The Bulldogs also have must find a new cornerback, as Deandre Baker — who won the 2018 Jim Thorpe Award — now plays for the New York Giants.

But Connelly and his projections are still very high on the Bulldogs’ ceiling as it pertains to the 2019 season.

“If requisite growth takes place, the sky’s the limit. Per S&P+ projections, Georgia is a projected favorite in every game this fall, and only two games (vs. Florida, at Auburn) are projected to be within 14 points,” Connelly wrote.

Georgia does bring back quarterback Jake Fromm, running back D’Andre Swift and one of the top offensive lines in the country. Georgia also signed the nation’s No. 2 overall signing class in the country for 2019, led by outside linebacker Nolan Smith and inside linebacker Nakobe Dean.

Related: SEC expert breaks down Georgia ‘Great Wall’ offensive line

Fromm, safety J.R. Reed and offensive tackle Andrew Thomas will address the media along with Kirby Smart on Tuesday morning Hoover. A specific time has not yet been announced for the Georgia media representation, but DawgNation will have you covered on any and all news coming out of SEC Media Days.

The Bulldogs begin the 2019 season on Aug. 31 when they take on the Vanderbilt Commodores. That game will be set for a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff.

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