Tight ends could be the key to Georgia’s offense in 2017

Georgia-Issac Nauta-tight ends
UGA TE Isaac Nauta

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Depend on the end

Coach Kirby Smart might be worried about Georgia’s defense right now, but I’m not. He seems like the kind of perfectionist who wants the best out of his players every single time they touch the field and gets pissed when he doesn’t get it. That’s exactly what you want from your coach, but from where I’m sitting, this defense appears to have all the makings of a well-oiled machine. Not only does it have talent, it has the experience to back it up. It may not be where Smart wants it now, but I expect it will be by the time fall rolls around.

I am not so confident about the offense. Although the offense returns Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and Jacob Eason, it still lacks a formidable offensive line and dependable and tested wide receivers. There also growing pains that come with trying to build a power run offense. Despite the tweaks that are coming from Jim Chaney, I’m not convinced he can do enough to modernize this scheme to face SEC defenses. I’m even less confident he has the play-calling acumen to turn those tweaks into an advantage for Georgia.

With Chubb and Michel holding down the backfield, I’m convinced the run game will be fine, in spite of what could be a more talented but still less experienced and effective offensive line than last season. Even though the duo was limited last season, Chubb and Michel still proved capable and competent most of the time. And with them trying to prove something in their senior seasons, I think they’ll show their doubters they are wrong. Offensive line be damned. Give Chubb the ball enough times and he’ll get his.

The passing game is where the real issue lies. And as good as Eason can potentially be, he needs receivers around him to make plays. With Isaiah McKenzie headed to the NFL, there’s no one to fill that void yet

That’s where the tight ends come in. Georgia’s collection of tight ends — Isaac Nauta, Jeb Blazevich and Charlie Woerner — have the potential to be the engine for Georgia’s passing game, supporting Eason through the air until he forges a better connection with some of his wideouts.

Let’s start with Nauta. The sophomore was UGA’s third-leading receiver in 2016 with 361 yards and was already slated to be a prime target of Eason’s next season. The two came in as freshmen together and had an immediate connection. Hopefully, that connection has grown in the offseason and the duo has improved their timing to eliminate some of the drops from a season ago. The two seem comfortable working together, but, regardless, Nauta is one of the few somewhat tested receivers, so he’ll need to be depended upon this season.

Although there are no more Bulldogs wrestling this weekend, a couple of Georgians will participate. “The Phenomenal” A.J. Styles from right down the road in Gainesville will face Shane McMahon, while Marietta’s own Xavier Woods will share hosting duties with his tag-team partners, The New Day.

You can get a free month-long trial of the WWE Network here. Check it out if you wanna cheer on a Dawg this Sunday.

ICYMI

Good dog

Have a great weekend, people of Earth.

UGA News

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