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Georgia coach Kirby Smart wont have much to worry about with the 2018 nonconference schedule.

5 takeaways from Georgia football’s 2018 schedule

Cy Brown

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A deeper look at Georgia football’s 2018 schedule

We got our first peek at UGA’s 2018 schedule when the Georgia football Twitter account tweeted out an image of next season’s slate before deleting it about 15 minutes later. There’s been no official statement on the validity of the tweet, but considering it came from UGA football’s official account, chances are it’s legit. (You can view the entire schedule in the tweet below.)

But considering the cat’s out of the bag and there isn’t a ton to talk about in the buildup to Samford, I figured we’d take a quick look at some takeaways from the 2018 slate of games.

1. This is the weakest out-of-conference slate in recent memory. 

The immediate thing that jumps out with this schedule is the weakness of the nonconference games. Austin Peay, Middle Tennessee, and UMass ain’t gonna drive fans to the box office. No big nonconference games were expected, but it’s still disappointing to see after Georgia fans’ showing in South Bend.

2. South Carolina moves back to the front of the schedule. 

Georgia faced South Carolina in the first month of the season for quite a spell before the game was moved to the middle of the schedule the last two years. I’ve always enjoyed the SEC opening game against the Gamecocks so I’m happy to see it return. Now fans just have to hope that old burn from Steve Spurrier doesn’t ring true next season.

3. We’ll have a month without football in Athens.

The home schedule is already pretty weak, and it isn’t helped by the fact the Dawgs take a month-long road trip. The Bulldogs play their sixth game of the season on Oct. 6 against Vanderbilt in Sanford Stadium before hitting the road for the rest of the month. They don’t play between the hedges again until Nov. 11. If you’re looking to make plans to leave Georgia for a spell next fall, October looks like the time to do it if you don’t want to miss any home games.

4. Dawgs fans have another chance to prove traveling bona fides with a trip to Baton Rouge.

Georgia fans earned a lot of cred for painting South Bend red. LSU fans probably won’t be as willing to depart with tickets as Notre Dame fans were, but it’d be great to see another sea of red in Louisiana for Georgia’s biggest road game next season. It’s not nearly as rare for Georgia as a trip to South Bend, but a game in Baton Rouge is another that should be on every college football fan’s bucket list.

5. The schedule picks up in 2019.

Business will pick up after next season’s relative lull in good home and out-of-conference home games. The 2019 schedule not only features Notre Dame making the return trip to Athens, but Texas A&M also comes to town for the first game between the Dawgs and Aggies since A&M joined the SEC. Between those two games, 2019 is shaping up to be one of the best home slates in quite some time.

Georgia using more RPOs

One of the bigger surprises from Georgia this season is the scheme the offense is running. The Bulldogs used nearly 20 formations against Notre Dame and are relying on the shotgun much more than most folks anticipated. And part of that change involves catching up with the times in college football and running more run-pass options. Here’s Seth Emerson of DawgNation on Kirby Smart and Jim Chaney’s newfound use of the RPO:

One way is using more run-pass options, where the quarterback can decide at the last moment whether to keep handing off, or bring the ball back and pass it. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it results in a fumble, as it did in the first half at Notre Dame, when [Jake] Fromm tried to pull the ball back and muffed it. But other times it can be a way it keeps the defense at bay for a critical few moments, as Chubb pointed out.

“It helps. Because Jake he has the option to not give me the ball, or not give whoever the ball, and pass the ball somewhere else,” Chubb said. “It can keep the defense on their heels about not biting on the run too much, because it can hurt them in the pass.”

Does Georgia have a title-winning pass-rush?

Georgia’s pass-rush was lights out in the win over Notre Dame, and the more you look at the pass-rushers’ performance the more impressive it becomes. Ian Boyd of Saturday Down South went in-depth on Georgia’s three momentum-swinging sacks in the win on Saturday. Try to read that and not be pumped up about what Mel Tucker and the defense have in store the rest of the season.

How Georgia almost missed on Jake Fromm

Add this to the list of reasons Georgia fans will look back in anger on former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheim: He almost cost the program Fromm. From Mark Schlabach of ESPN:

It was cold and windy on the day Schottenheimer watched Fromm throw, and his father admits it wasn’t a great workout. About three days later, [Jake’s father Emerson Fromm] pulled Jake out of school and took him to Athens to meet with Schottenheimer and the rest of Georgia’s assistants. Emerson said Jake was immediately turned off by Schottenheimer’s first question: “Do you have any other offers?”

Jake had already received scholarship offers from more than a dozen schools, including Cincinnati, Kentucky, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Penn State and South Carolina.

“Jake is pretty quick,” Emerson said. “He either likes you or he doesn’t. When Schottenheimer asked him that, it just really turned him off. Jake was just disinterested after that.”

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