2020 Record: 8-2
2nd in the East
The 2020 season wasn’t too different than any other year for Georgia. No doubt without the limited games in a COVID season the Dawgs would have reached double digit wins for the fourth consecutive season under Kirby Smart.
Georgia finished things off with a Peach Bowl win against a strong, scrappy Cincinnati team. Transfer JT Daniels was excellent in the game, throwing for 392 yards. His late season emergence helped spark an offense that had been struggling without consistent quarterback play.
Ride JT Daniels to Greatness
Daniels stepped in and gave this offense something that had been lacking throughout the Kirby Smart era – a passing game. It had a similar feel to when Alabama brought the spread to an already champion caliber team and catapulted their offense. For the first time in a long time, Georgia was a legitimate passing threat.
To put it in perspective, Georgia had averaged over 10 yards per pass attempt just 13 times in Kirby Smarts career. For comparison, Alabama had eight such games last year. With Daniels the Bulldogs hit that mark in three of the last four games with South Carolina being a ground dominated blowout by Georgia.
Daniels has shown the potential to be the best quarterback Georgia’s seen since Matt Stafford. The loss of George Pickens will no doubt hurt but the Bulldogs have the depth to fill the void. Along with what should be another strong running game, Daniels and this offense could make some serious noise this year.
Questions in the Secondary
This will be the biggest question defensively for Georgia. Plenty of experience returns up front and at linebacker headlined by First Team All-SEC defensive lineman Jordan Davis. Last year’s leading tackler Nakobe Dean will be another to keep an eye on as he begins year three of his budding career.
The Bulldogs allowed the second fewest points in the conference last year, just behind Alabama. They were the best against the run by a long shot, allowing just 72.3ypg. The problems came in the secondary where they ranked 6th in yards allowed. The bulk of these came against juggernauts Florida and Alabama. Both quarterbacks threw over 400 yards and each with four touchdowns.
Throw in the fact that four Georgia defensive backs were taken in the draft last season, it’s reasonable to have some concern. Lewis Cline returns as a sure starter but after that players will need to step up. A mix of several transfers as well as freshman will be in the mix to see if the Bulldogs can keep up with an SEC air raid.
As the offense makes strides, the defense likely slips a little. Running against the Bulldogs looks to be a nightmare again this year. But the holes in the secondary will need to be patched early to get an idea of how serious this team will be as a playoff contender.
Even if they can’t return to 2020 form, the Bulldogs have a much improved offense compared to last year. This might just mean Georgia will have to win some the ugly way in a shootout. It’s safe to keep them in the mix of a playoff for 2020 and certainly as the frontrunner for the SEC Championship game out of the east.
“From Our Haus to Yours”