WATCH: 3 questions as Georgia football moves to full contact practices
ATHENS — The Georgia football program’s award-winning film crew has everyone convinced the Bulldogs’ quarterbacks are looking good in early fall drills.
Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman has impressed everyone with his deep throws and biceps. A long pass to Kearis Jackson also made a recent highlight reel.
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) August 20, 2020
Even Carson Beck, the ultra-athletic though physically not-yet-mature freshman option, showed his throwing chops with a well-placed deep pass to George Pickens.
The receivers have looked good, too, though it’s important to note dropped passes don’t make the highlight reels Georgia distributes.
But before anyone on the outside gets too giddy — safe bet Kirby Smart is making sure that’s not happing in the locker room — it’s important to note the team has not yet held an 11-on-11 fully padded scrimmage.
Those defensive player highlights that you breeze through, with guys chopping their feet or exploding into tacking dummies?
Those same overlooked guys are going to bring some reality to the new Georgia offense.
That’s not to say offensive coordinator Todd Monken won’t have some success.
But more than likely, defensive coordinator Dan Lanning will have to keep his schemes vanilla and call of the Dawgs’ blitzes in early scrimmage action to allow the offense some room to operate.
Confidence is as important for the quarterbacks and receivers as the reality that’s likely about to set in. (Hence the offensive highlight distribution — Smart does nothing without thought and reason).
Here are three questions Georgia needs to answer quickly once the hitting starts and the real football begins.
1. Who can take the heat?
Newman said he came to Georgia because he wanted to face that top defense every day, but his background doesn’t reflect a quarterback who has proven he can beat championship defenses. Monken’s schemes will give him a chance if he trusts the system.
JT Daniels left the comforts of his SoCal back yard to compete against the best, too, but Athens presents a different sort of heat — and it’s fair to say the Bulldogs’ defense will, too. Daniels needs to get that knee ready to run.
D’Wan Mathis? Haven’t seen No. 2 in many of the early highlights, but he remains a locker room and fan favorite. Popularity won’t do Mathis much good when he’s trying to get through progressions with Travon Walker in his face.
Beck has proven himself resilient just by sticking around at Georgia and taking on the challenge when Daniels transferred in. The good news for Beck is UGA doesn’t allow quarterbacks to be tackled to the ground. The bad news is the speed of the college game is about to get real.
2. RBU Who?
Many Air Raid concepts use running backs in the pass game, and it’s safe to say Monken’s will be no different.
James Cook is arguably the most explosive player in space returning to the team, and Smart has already said he wants a quarterback who can get the ball to playmakers in space.
But does that mean Cook will be the single back lining up behind the quarterback, or could he line up elsewhere?
Does Zamir White get first crack at top tailback honors based on seniority, even though he’s not known for his route running or pass-catching ability?
If not White, who? Kenny McIntosh and Kendall Milton had the benefit of some work with Monken before the COVID-19 pandemic forced a break in the action last Match. Incoming freshman tailback Daijun Edwards is surely working to catch up.
D’Andre Swift would have been the perfect fit, but he’s gone.
3. Secondary challenge?
The UGA defense is filled with veterans, to the point they knew the route trees, audibles and even the previous quarterback’s tendencies.
Monken’s offense will spread those DBs out, force them into isolated coverage, and present them with different looks they aren’t as familiar with.
Can they still lockdown? George Pickens, Jermaine Burton, Demetris Robertson, Matt Landers, Tre’ McKitty and Kearis Jackson appear ready to challenge.
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) August 21, 2020
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