ATHENS — Every football team that starts camp this week has issues and priorities the coaching staffs will be working on, but Georgia’s are of the “first-world” variety according to one ESPN analyst.
Cole Cueblic, one of the rising stars on the SEC Network, said the concerns Coach Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs have are “minimal compared to what we would talk about with most SEC teams going into fall camp.”
And yet, as Georgia fans have witnessed the past two seasons, there’s a very small margin for error when it comes to putting together a national title run.
The Bulldogs have had to come from behind in the fourth quarter in two of their four College Football Playoff wins, most recently after trailing Ohio State by two touchdowns in the CFP Peach Bowl Semifinal last season.
The defense rallied in the fourth quarter, however, and the offense came roaring back with Stetson Bennett as Georgia’s “connection” kicked in,
Cubelic, a former SEC player himself, said team dynamics is one of the things to look for as this season’s Georgia team evolves.
“The chemistry and continuity, we won’t know that coming out of fall camp, we won’t know that through the first few practices or maybe even not the first few games,” Cubelic said, echoing some of Kirby Smart’s offseason sentiments.
“Does this team have that kind of leadership, and does this team have that kind of killer instinct? Does it have the motivation that Kirby has been able to instill in the last two groups?”
Players like Jamon Dumas-Johnson, Javon Bullard, Sedric Van Pran, Kendall Milton and Ladd McConkey will factor in heavily as the personality of the team takes shape, as will whoever ends up directing the team from under center.
As a whole, Smart said the team will need intrinsic motivation, as many of the doubters of Georgia football have been silenced by the program’s back-to-back championship seasons.
Indeed, 16 players earned preseason All-SEC honors, including 11 first-team selections.
But how this particular group of players respond to one another in adverse times remains to be seen.
“The organization of your team has to fall in line if you are going to do something special,” Cubelic said, “and a lot of that has to be self-policed, it can’t be coaches constantly telling you what to do.”
Cubelic shared his two other concerns about this season’s Georgia team during the On The Beat Program on Monday night, getting into the weeds on the defense and offense.