Georgia football: Things I've liked, haven't liked from the Bulldogs heading into Week 7
Fall weather has descended on the South, finally. The weather has grown cooler, the leaves are turning, and No. 3 Georgia is 5-0 on the regular season.
So what are some things that I’ve liked and haven’t liked as much from the Dawgs as they face visiting South Carolina on Saturday? While this doesn’t completely cover every single point, these are things that I’ve spotted from my vantage point headed into Week 7 of the season.
What I’ve liked
Jake Fromm, Mr. Steady
It seems like every other piece I write here at SDS talks about the play of Jake Fromm. When you have a 77.5 percent completion rate and 8 touchdowns versus 0 interceptions in 5 games, you deserve some mention, I think.
And while a more cynical fan might look at the numbers Justin Fields is doing up at Ohio State and wonder how things would be different with him still at Georgia, there’s really no need to focus on that right now. Put aside flash, hype and the “sexy” stats and you’ll see that Fromm, while not among the elite of the elite, has the intangibles and skill to lead this offense as far as he can.
D’Andre Swift, Mr. Versatility
It’s good to have one of the country’s top running backs in your arsenal. It’s even better when he can involve himself in so many other areas of the offense. That’s what you have in Swift, who has 66 carries for 460 yards (5th in the SEC) and 4 touchdowns heading into Week 7. But his versatility is why he’s regarded as a top 2020 NFL Draft prospect: He has hauled in 10 catches for 147 yards and 1 touchdown. (In fact, he led the Bulldogs in receiving Saturday with 4 catches for 72 yards.)
While it could be argued that yes, the Dawgs don’t have a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver, Fromm’s ability to involve Swift in the passing game, coupled with offensive coordinator James Coley’s playcalling to design those opportunities for him, makes up for it.
An elite offensive line
It’s tough to find several offensive lines playing as well as Georgia’s is through the first 5 games. The thing about it is that it’s a trickle-down effect that boosts all parts of the team. More time for Fromm to throw allows him to scan a bevy of targets at his disposal each time he steps back. Georgia has only given up 1 sack this season.
More pressure on the opposing team’s defensive front gives running backs more opportunities, allowing Georgia to run the ball as well as it has this year. In turn, it puts less of the focus on the defense to need to bail out the offense.
It seems like such an elementary breakdown, but it’s easy for a casual fan to overlook the offensive line unless it does something wrong. Georgia’s line deserves to be heavily spotlighted because it has done pretty much everything right.
What I haven’t liked
Slow starts against Notre Dame and Tennessee
Georgia was able to get away with it, but the Dawgs came out of the gates a little slow in their past 2 games. Obviously they won both. The won after trailing at halftime against Notre Dame and blew out Tennessee on Saturday after facing a 2nd quarter deficit. Penalties were part of the equation against the Volunteers as the Dawgs ended the night with 11 for 107 yards.
The good news: The flaws I’ve mentioned can be fixed. In fact, they will have to be fixed before the Bulldogs get into the real meat of their schedule as a team with firepower on both sides of the ball can make you pay for those early-game mistakes. On a related note: the College Football Playoff committee will be keeping a closer eye on things as the weeks lead up to its initial rankings in early November.
Some soft spots in the secondary
Georgia has had a little knack for giving up some big plays, again primarily in its past 2 contests. While the staff has been able to adjust to limit the damage, players like Tennessee’s Jauan Jennings and Notre Dame’s Cole Kmet enjoyed solid stat lines in losing efforts.
The Dawgs have allowed 6 completions already that covered at least 30 yards, including 3 that went for 50 yards or more. That second figure already matches the 2018 output.
It’s not an area that worries me as much as the first point does, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on. The Dawgs still have Texas A&M’s Jhamon Ausbon, Auburn’s Seth Williams, Kentucky’s Lynn Bowden Jr. and South Carolina’s Bryan Edwards, all 4 among the top 10 in receiving yards in the conference, remaining.
The secondary will want to keep those names in mind as the last thing it will want is to see those players heavily involved.