The 3 biggest questions — and answers — for Georgia football this spring
ATHENS — Georgia football is two-thirds of the way through spring drills, and there are still several unanswered questions.
There’s good news and bad news in that.
The good news is that competition is always sought by coaching staffs, and when it’s real like it is on this Bulldogs team, all the better.
Second-year offensive coordinator Todd Monken spends most every night in the lab dreaming up new ways to utilized Georgia’s stock load of skill position players.
George Pickens was at the top of the hierarchy when spring drills started, able to catch passes from JT Daniels in the dark, un-coverable even with two defenders draped on him.
With Pickens out indefinitely with a torn ACL, it’s a matter of who’s next.
Kirby Smart made it clear it won’t be just one receiver assuming Pickens’ load, which had figured to be in the 100-120 target range.
In fact, an argument could be made that tailback James Cook could end up the biggest benefactor.
Cook is the most explosive player with the ball in his hands in open space on the team.
No doubt, Cook showed just how dynamic of a receiver he can be out of the backfield, appearing more effective in that role than when taking a handoff.
If not Cook, Kenny McIntosh might be the most versatile tailback when healthy. McIntosh is out with a dislocated elbow, but it won’t require surgery and he’ll be in sync with Daniels by the start of the season.
Meanwhile, Kendall Milton and Zamir White look to battle it out for RB coach Dell McGee’s favor on the running downs. Both Milton and White can also run routes and catch, so that’s not to say they won’t also get some work in the pass game. Daijun Edwards is another option in the backfield.
The SEC’s hardest rushers to tackle per Broken Tackle Rate entering Week 13 – min 35 att
1. K. McIntosh 54.8%
2. T. Bigsby 42%
3. J. Emery 37.3%
4. N. Harris 37.2%
5. J. Ealy 33.3%
6. D. Fenwick 30.9%
7. N. Wright 30.4%
8. A. Smith 30%
9. D. Edwards 29.7%
10. C. Rodriguez 29.4% pic.twitter.com/Zr5bj5JCOF
— SEC StatCat (@SEC_StatCat) December 16, 2020
Quarterback JT Daiels recently revealed how pleased he is with the tight ends, and that could mean an uptick in targets for the likes of John FitzPatrick, Darnell Washington and freshman Brock Bowers.
The left tackle position is another question on offense wouldn’t seem to have a bad answer. Both Xavier Truss and Broderick Jones are “good.”
Ahhh, but is “good” good enough to keep Daniels clean and healthy all season long in the SEC? Smart pointed out earlier this spring there’s going to be a drop-off in the level of experience up front, and that was one of his concerns.
If Jones has a strong offseason in the weight room and shows he can push people around in the run game, his pass blocking should take care of itself.
Of course, the secondary has questions amid a massive reload with five defensive backs off the 2020 team likely headed for the 2021 NFL Draft.
The answer is another transfer in the form of a cornerback.
There are plenty of rumblings of great players who may be interested in finishing their career at Georgia.
UGA has already netted an honorable mention All-American Nickleback or “Star” from West Virginia, a plus, but not enough.
Time will tell how Smart and the Bulldogs answer those pressing concerns. The annual G-Day Game should provide some clues.
DawgNation made it clear where its priorities are in a recent unscientific poll on Twitter:
The biggest concern according to the voters:
• 46 percent said replacing George Pickens
• 28 percent said settling the left tackle position
• 26 percent said adding a cornerback transfer
— MikeGriffith32 (@MikeGriffith32) April 6, 2021