April 19, 2021
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – Notice that I said positives… I think there were plenty of them with this Georgia performance on Saturday.
There is more good news, than the one piece of bad news. The offensive line needs to get on the same page and do so fast.
It’s not out of the ordinary to have the defensive line/front ahead of the offensive line. That was evident on Saturday. The offensive line looks to be working different combinations at the moment and you would expect them to do so.
The Bulldogs started with Xavier Truss at left tackle, Justin Schaffer at left guard, Warren Ericson at center, Tate Ratledge at right guard and Warren McClendon at right tackle. Jamaree Salyer also got looks at left guard and tackle on the afternoon.
The first team defense picked up four sacks and five tackles for a loss on the afternoon. That is good news, if you look at it as the defense appears they’ll be able to bring pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season. That is a much needed part of this defense, that you’d like to see this season with an inexperienced secondary.
Kirby Smart himself even voiced some concern about the line, when he met with the media after the game.
“We are not where we need to be on the offensive line,” Smart said. “If we are going to be a good team, we have to protect the quarterback, and we have to be able to run the ball. That is one of the areas where we are going to have to take some of the largest leaps in order to get where we want to go next season.”
As it stands right now, I’m told that Georgia has 83 players on scholarship. The limit is 85. Rusty Mansell of dawgs247.com told us last week on the Chuck Oliver Show, that the team will sign a cornerback out of the transfer portal this offseason. I would place offensive line ahead of that priority.
This offensive line needs to be good this season, because this is the best shot this team has had at a national title since 2017. They’ve got the quarterback, receivers and running backs to get there. This line is what could be an issue for them this season. If there’s a standout player in the portal that fits this need? Go get them.
The good news? JT Daniels is the real deal. He struggled early, but then got into a rhythm in the passing game. He used some check down throws to get him in a groove and then started to connect on some downfield throws. It was nice to see freshman Adonai Mitchell have the day he had. The same goes with Demetris Robertson on that 59 yard touchdown strike.
Daniels has command of this offense. Protect him and this team will be in position to make the College Football Playoff. If not, it could be a long day against Clemson on September 4.
Another positive from Saturday? The secondary actually looked pretty good. The black team rolled with the same group of five for most of the game. Redshirt freshman Jalen Kimber and senior Ameer Speed were the outside cornerbacks. Senior Latavious Brini was the “STAR.” The safeties were senior Christopher Smith and junior Lewis Cine. Aside from the long touchdown throws from Daniels to Mitchell and then Robertson? They really didn’t give up huge plays. Even those plays were one-on-one’s.
This team looks good from what we saw on Saturday. They’re going to be tested early against a very good Clemson team. But, the talent is evident and this team should at the very least be back in Atlanta this December for the SEC Championship Game.
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