Following Georgia's win over Kentucky, here are 3 questions I have as Florida looms
Sure, Georgia defeated Kentucky, 14-3, in Lexington on Saturday. But not only was it a game the Dawgs were supposed to win — they have won their past 11 against the Wildcats, after all — but you feel that the final margin should have been much, much bigger.
Especially with Florida coming up next on the schedule.
To their credit, the Dawgs did their part in holding the Kentucky offense at bay. But their own offense didn’t inspire confidence, outside of a strong day on the ground from Zamir White.
However, a win is a win. I’m still left with a few questions about this team, though. Here are three in particular:
Has Bennett maxed out on his abilities?
First off, I still don’t know much more about Stetson Bennett IV than I did after the first four games. He had a pass tipped at the line that ended up as an interception, while a later pick was partially the result of an unfinished route by Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint — the true freshman wasn’t on the same page as his quarterback. Overall, Bennett was 9-of-13 for 131 yards.
The fact that Bennett threw only 13 times vs. 43 runs for Georgia obviously tells me that coach Kirby Smart and offensive coordinator Todd Monken felt that running the ball heavily was the proper game plan for this one. They were right, as the Dawgs notched a respectable 5 yards a pop against the Cats. White had a career day, recording 136 yards and a touchdown on 26 attempts, a 5.2-yard-per-carry average.
But could it also mean that the staff just doesn’t trust the arm of Bennett right now? Granted, Kentucky had recorded more interceptions than any other team in the SEC except one going into the game, but while I didn’t think Bennett should have had free rein to do whatever he wanted, I’d have loved to see him have more opportunities than he was given.
Have the Bulldogs reached their ceiling with Bennett? If so, it’s time they made a switch.
It sounds like D’Wan Mathis is the No. 2 option and JT Daniels is QB3 at this point. Why hasn’t Mathis been given more of a chance? If the staff felt that the offense wasn’t progressing the way it needed to under Mathis in just more than 15 minutes of game time against Arkansas, why does Bennett get so much more rope? (By the way, what does it say about Daniels that he’s now third on the depth chart? I have to think it’s more than health that has put him out of the picture.)
Don’t get me wrong: Bennett’s a good quarterback. But “good,” rather than great, might be all that we can expect from him.
Could this mean a shift in the Dawgs’ offensive philosophy?
Let’s say that Smart continues to ride Bennett the rest of the way. Will we see Georgia morph into more of a running team in an attempt to cover up his deficiencies?
While it’s much easier to win games with a great quarterback, it’s not impossible to do so with a great running game and an elite defense. Georgia has half of that equation. Has White emerged enough where they can turn to him 25 to 30 times a game?
Of course, White is coming off a pair of ACL tears. But the team can lean on junior James Cook, while true freshman Kendall Milton continues to impress in limited game action. So the possibility’s there, although I’m not sure it’s a route the Dawgs take.
Will several key pieces of the defense, and offense, be ready for the Gators?
Georgia had a number of defensive players injured against Kentucky. Jordan Davis, Julian Rochester, Lewis Cine and Quay Walker were all forced to exit. Tyrique Stevenson also left the game in the latter stages, and the team was already missing George Pickens and Kenny McIntosh on offense.
That’s not to mention Monty Rice, who played despite a foot injury, and DJ Daniel, who was held out.
But Smart isn’t worried.
“You have to get the next guy up and ready to play,” he said after the game on Saturday. “I certainly don’t know that those guys were ready for the physicality, but they better get ready, because they’re going to be playing in the SEC the rest of the way.”
With the bulk of those injuries on defense, though, that’s bad news against a high-flying Florida offense. And even if many of those players are back, will they be able to neutralize an offense led by Kyle Trask, Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney that has averaged more than 42 points a game?