The Time Clearly Is Now for UGA: It’s all there – BY DAN MATHEWS

uga, ga bulldogs
PHOTO: AP SPORTS

June 2, 2021
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – The wish list coming out of spring practice was pretty simple and Georgia seemed to have gotten good favor with the transfer portal. Cornerback Derion Kendrick and tight end Arik Gilbert are Athens bound.

You needed to get older in the secondary and you did that. You wanted another weapon in the passing game, especially after George Pickens tore his ACL. You accomplished that goal as well.

It leads us to the next statement… It’s time to win a national title. The pieces are there.

Name another team in the country who added one of the top young offensive players, who came off a 35 catch for 368 yards in eight games? You cannot.

Most coaches would dream to get this lucky and Kirby Smart pulled a rabbit out of his hat on Tuesday. The 6 foot 5, 245 pound tight end isn’t just a tight end. Gilbert is a matchup nightmare.

I would say to think of Gilbert like another Kyle Pitts. He’s probably a little bit more polished a tight end, in terms of blocking and playing out of the three-point stance. But in terms of his speed, size, hands and route running? He’s incredibly advanced.

Just take a look at Gilbert’s tape from early last season for LSU. Myles Brennan couldn’t wait to find Gilbert on the field. Most of his damage was done earlier in the season.

Does it translate to Georgia’s offense? It should. If you cannot make a player like Gilbert work in your offense, then you’re the problem. Don’t overthink it and get him involved.

I’ve been critical of UGA’s handling of the tight end position in the past. This program hasn’t gotten a tight end like Gilbert. Mainly, because it can be argued that he’s just as good an option split out wide at receiver.

Without Pickens on the field, this offensive unit is already dangerous. You’ve got the strong group of running backs. Plus, you factor in Jermaine Burton and third down machine Kearis Jackson at receiver. We still haven’t mentioned another year in the program for fellow beast tight end Darnell Washington. Also, the return of Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint and Dominick Blaylock from injury.

I’ve even left some names off the list of potential difference makers on this offense. That’s how deep they are now at the skill positions.

If Georgia cannot make this season work at an unreal level of production offensively, then it’s never going to happen. You cannot have this level of talent and not be the best in college football.

The college football game is won on offense now. You’ve got that figured out for the most part. I still have my concerns over the offensive line. But, it could very well be that they just went up against a superior defensive front on G-Day.

This will be Kirby’s best chance to win a national title since he’s gotten to Georgia. He seemed to feel pretty good about this team during spring practice. How will he feel now?

The issue in the past hasn’t been for the lack of expectations heaped upon Bulldog football teams. It has been with making good on some of those lofty expectations. It’s time to make good on them.

Dan Mathews

Chuck Oliver Show – Anchor/Fill-In Host 
WCNN-AM 680 The Fan, also on FM at 93.7

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