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Why Jake Fromm is going to bounce back and more we learned about Georgia football
Quarterback: Jake Fromm did not play well against South Carolina. He turned the ball over four times, including three interceptions. After the game on Saturday, he admitted he has to play better.
And when Kirby Smart was asked about how Fromm has handled the fall out from the loss, the Georgia coach said his quarterback seems to be in good spirits.
“He’s been great. He’s been helping those wideouts, challenging them, just as he was before,” Smart said. “Challenging them outside, giving them looks like we know they’re going to get. Hard corners, and trying to get them more physical guys at the line, pressing them and things like that. So we can simulate those looks a little better. But Jake’s been great.”
One only has to look back one year to see about Fromm’s ability to bounce back from a poor performance. The now junior quarterback struggled mightily against LSU, as he completed less than 50 percent of his passes and was intercepted twice. But when Fromm next took the field against Florida, he completed 70 percent of his passes while tossing three touchdowns and zero interceptions. To that point in time, Fromm followed up his worst performance as Georgia’s quarterback with his best.
The Wildcats did keep Fromm in check last season when the two teams met, as he completed 14 of his 20 attempts for only 113 yards. The corresponding 5.7 yards per attempt was Fromm’s lowest mark of the season.
Running back: Georgia running back D’Andre Swift did not hold back when speaking on the Georgia offense earlier this week.
In his interview, which you can watch below, he touched on what the entire Georgia offense needs to do better, as well as the changes he would make to open up the Georgia offense. Swift is the SEC’s fourth-leading rusher with 573 yards and is first in yards per carry among players with at least 50 rushing attempts
Wide receiver: It’s been said just about everywhere, but the Georgia wide receivers have to play better, specifically against physical defensive backs.
The position group struggled against man coverage, as highlighted by some stats dug up by Jordan Rodgers of the SEC Network.
🚨SOUTH CAROLINA DOMINATED IN MAN COVERAGE vs Fromm🚨
vs Man: 8/26 (30%) 1 TD 2 Int
vs Zone: 20/25 (80%) 1 Int (off WR hands)
SC made it tough on Fromm all day. All completions in Man were contested. Have to find WR that can separate consistently vs man!
UF plays man well 🧐
— Jordan Rodgers (@JRodgers11) October 14, 2019
Georgia wide receiver Kearis Jackson met with the media on Wednesday and expressed that he still has confidence in the wide receiver room as a whole.
“We are a very talented room. Of course, we are down guys right now,” Jackson said. “But the room is very talented. For us to come back and guys to step up. We are getting a lot of reps; we are still talented enough to go out and perform the way we are supposed to perform.”
Jackson is someone that Georgia could turn to for more production, especially now that he has healed from a hand injury he suffered in the season-opener against Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs could also target the likes of Dominick Blaylock and James Cook more, as former Georgia wide receiver Terrence Edwards advocated for on Thursday’s episode of DawgNation Daily.
Offensive line: The offensive line also took its fair share of criticism after the defeat to South Carolina. The position group did struggle against South Carolina, as it gave up three sacks. The Georgia ground game also had its worst yards per attempt number — 4.02 — of the season.
The Georgia offensive line has had to reshuffle itself due to a number of injuries. Justin Shaffer will miss the Kentucky game due to a neck injury. Solomon Kindley’s status for the game is unknown as he is dealing with an ankle injury.
The injuries have moved Cade Mays to the left guard spot, where he repped with the first team during Georgia practices in the lead up to the Kentucky game. The right guard spot has been manned by Ben Cleveland, with Trey Hill remaining at center, Isaiah Wilson at right tackle and Andrew Thomas at left tackle.
Mays welcomes the challenges this group has faced following the South Carolina loss, and vowed the unit will have a better showing against Kentucky.
“We are looked at one of the best, if not the best groups in the entire country,” Mays said. “We just have to go out and prove that every Saturday. If we don’t everyone who is saying that does not matter.”
The Kentucky rush defense is one of the worst in the SEC, as the Wildcats give up an average of 173 rushing yards per game. This could be the perfect opponent for the Bulldogs beleaguered offense to get right against.
Defensive line: Prior to the South Carolina game, there had been a lot of questions surrounding freshman defensive lineman Travon Walker. He had not been spotted at practice prior to the game. But during pregame warm-ups, it became clear that the talented freshman would not be playing as he was in a sling.
Then this week, Smart added that Walker — who has become a key member of Georgia’s pass-rushing package — would also end up missing the Kentucky game as well due to wrist surgery.
“He had something bothering him and they ended up finding out what it was. He had to get surgery on his wrist,” Smart said. He’s expected back real soon like next week.”
In place of Walker, expect to see Georgia use Malik Herring more often, along with Devonte Wyatt as the interior rushers to pair with Nolan Smith and Azeez Ojulari on the outside.
Outside linebackers: For the second time in three games, the Georgia pass rusher was held without a sack against South Carolina. Both of those games saw the Bulldogs have to defend mobile quarterbacks in Ian Book and Dakereon Joyner.
The Bulldogs will face another mobile threat this week in Lynn Bowden. And outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari spoke about some of the frustrations of the pass rush this past week, as well as how the Bulldogs will bounce back against the Wildcats.
Inside linebackers: Even with the loss against South Carolina. Georgia is still the only team in the country that has not yet allowed a rushing touchdown on the season.
We realize this doesn’t directly have to do with Georgia’s inside linebackers, but Monty Rice and Tae Crowder have played a key role in the improved Georgia rush defense. And the duo did lead Georgia in tackles a week ago against the Gamecocks.
But Smart was asked once again about the prevention of a rushing touchdown, and he gave a very in-depth answer on the rushing defense as a whole.
“Well again, I’d rather give up a 1-yard touchdown rush than a 50-yard pass. t I do appreciate the demeanor and the pride,” Smart said. “Because to be honest since I’ve been here we have not been a good goal-line defense. We have not been a real good – I’m not gonna say we haven’t been a run defense, we’ve had good run defense, but we haven’t consistently stopped people in the red area. We’ve been able to do that so far this year. It makes it hard to score touchdowns when you’re hard to run the ball on.”
Kentucky ranks sixth in the SEC in rushing yards and has 11 rushing touchdowns on the season.
Defensive backs: Given that Georgia’s game against South Carolina ended at around 3:30, the Bulldogs had some free time on Saturday after the game.
Defensive back Eric Stokes said that he spent the evening off with family, something he regularly enjoys. But after he said goodbye to them, Stokes said he decompressed from the loss by watching the popular sitcom ‘Friends’.
“I just laid up watching Friends. Best show out there,” Stokes said.
When asked who his favorite character from the popular former NBC show was, the standout cornerback didn’t hesitate.
“Joey, easily by far,” Stokes said I don’t know what it is about him but he’s easily my favorite character.”
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- Georgia football podcast: ESPN writer challenges UGA to ‘keep its foot on the gas’
- WATCH: 5-star commit Broderick Jones discusses South Carolina loss, his commitment and being a snake owner
- What the national media is saying about Georgia football heading into Kentucky game
- WATCH: Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean ready for ‘track meet’ exhibition game
- Weather forecast takes a turn for UGA-Kentucky
- Cover 4 on Georgia football: Who is the midseason MVP for the Bulldogs?
- 3 keys for a happy homecoming for Georgia football against Kentucky
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