Installment number four takes us to Athens, GA where a former Nick Saban protege plies his version of the Process® with mixed results.
WEEK 4: GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Coach: Kirby Smart (44-12, SEC 25-7 in four seasons)
2019 UGA record: 12-2 (7-1 SEC; 1st in the East Division)
CB969 2019 Prediction: Didn’t have one, but it played out pretty much as expected: SEC East crown, loss in the SECCG.
Looking back: With a sluggish unimaginative offense, the UGA defense (No. 1 scoring defense 12.6 ppg) basically carried this team to the SEC Championship game. They say “defense wins championships” but it does not apply when the offense is THAT bad. The Dawgs started out a strong 5-0 including wins over Notre Dame and Tennessee. Then came a crippling lethargic home loss to a bad South Carolina team. They easily won the East only to get destroyed by LSU in the SECCG. A Sugar Bowl win over Baylor capped a 12-win season, but no playoff.
Returning starters: 3 on offense, 6 on defense, punter.
Key losses: T Andrew Thomas (Giants, Round 1), T Isaiah Wilson (Titans, Round 1), RB D’Andre Swift (Lions, Round 2), G Solomon Kindley (Dolphins, Round 4), QB Jake Fromm (Bills, Round 5), TE Charlie Woerner (49ers, Round 6), LB Tae Crowder (Giants, Round 7), QB Jamie Newman (
grad transfer Wake Forest opt out), T Cade Mays (transfer to Tennessee), DB Otis Reese (transfer to Ole Miss), WR Dominick Blaylock (reinjured left knee last week, out for the season), K Rodrigo Blankenship, S J.R. Reed, WR Lawrence Cager, WR Tyler Simmons, DT Tyler Clark, RB Brian Herrien.
Top returnees: S Richard LeCounte, CB Tyson Campbell, C Trey Hill, DL Jordan Davis, WR George Pickens, WR Demetris Robertson, DL Malik Herring, LB Monty Rice, CB Eric Stokes, RB Zamir White, OL Ben Cleveland (missed the Bulldogs’ Sugar Bowl trip to New Orleans because he was academically ineligible. GOOD JOB, KIRBY! He is back in good standings.), LB Azeez Ojulari, P Jake Camarda.
Top newcomers: Offensive coordinator Todd Monken, OL coach Matt Luke... QB J.T. Daniels (transfer Southern Cal - who has yet to be physically cleared to play), TE Tre’ McKitty (grad transfer FSU - temporarily out following knee procedure), DB Kelee Ringo (Scottsdale, AZ), OL Broderick Jones (Lithonia, GA), DT Jalen Carter (Apopka, FL), TE Darnell Washington (Las Vegas, NV), LB Mekhail Sherman (Washington, DC), OL Tate Ratledge (Rome, GA), RB Kendall Milton (Clovis, CA), OL Sedrick Van Pran (New Orleans, LA), WR Jermaine Burton (Calabasas, CA), QB Carson Beck (Jacksonville, FL).
Name you need to know: Demetris Robertson is a cautionary tale on how NOT to wade through the recruiting waters. The former 5-star paid a little too much attention to headlines about him and got a big head. He jerked some coaching staffs around, thought he was going to Stanford and somehow landed at CFB blackhole Cal. After wasting two years out west and two years adjusting in Athens, he could be looking at a breakout season.
Strengths: Zamir White at RB... Todd Monken brings in the Pro spread... Matt Luke as OL coach... An abundance of experience on the defense... Defensive ends and edge rushers... Secondary is deep and talented...
Weaknesses: Rebuilding the offense that wasn’t so great to begin with... Finding a new QB... RB depth after Zamir White... Four new OL starters... Rookie on-field coach Scott Cochran replacing an All-SEC kicker... A dangerous October schedule...
Outlook: This is Year 5 for Kirby Smart in Athens. The Mark Richt era has been thoroughly scrubbed from the program. He has had four straight recruiting classes in the Top 3. Smart is out of excuses. The Bulldogs coach is on his third OC with many issues surrounding the quarterback position. The defense will again be one of the tops in the nation, but that can only take a team so far as the Bulldogs proved last season. Defensive coordinator Dan Lanning (former Bama GA) could be a looking at head coaching opportunities this winter. This could be a pivotal year in the Kirby era. Although a talented team, this squad feels a little discombobulated. With Swift and Fromm gone, who will be the bell cow for this team? Who are the leaders?
Typically, the Dawgs will likely lose to someone they shouldn’t. There are so many candidates: Auburn, Tennessee, Kentucky...
Sep 26 at Arkansas - W
Oct 3 Auburn - W - It’s probably too early in the season for an odd Aubie upset.
Oct 10 Tennessee - W
Oct 17 at Alabama - L
Oct 24 at Kentucky - W - Better be careful here, Uggz.
Oct 31 bye
Nov 7 vs. Florida - W - always a coin toss.
Nov 14 at Missouri - W
Nov 21 Mississippi State - W
Nov 28 at South Carolina - W - Not this year.
Dec 5 Vanderbilt - W
Who is most likely to upset UGA this season?
This poll is closed
None of the above.
Sat, Sep 26 @ Missouri
Sat, Oct 3 vs Texas A&M
Sat, Oct 10 @ Ole Miss
Sat, Oct 17 vs Georgia
Sat, Oct 24 @ Tennessee
Sat, Oct 31 vs Mississippi State
Sat, Nov 14 @ LSU
Sat, Nov 21 vs Kentucky
Sat, Nov 28 vs Auburn
Sat, Dec 5 @ Arkansas