I know I’ll probably get some pushback on this, but as much as I’d like to point to all sorts of things being the key to Georgia’s success in the SEC this season, I can’t help but think it really boils down to one item: Nick Chubb’s health.
Here’s something ESPN’s Alex Scarborough wrote:
When identifying the biggest X factor in the SEC, you could simply say “Georgia” and be done with it. With a new coaching staff, a deep well of talent and a relatively easy road in the East, the Bulldogs have a chance to shake up the conference. But to be more specific, there are two X factors to consider: Jacob Eason and Nick Chubb. We’ll start with Chubb. Before Leonard Fournette came along and Chubb went down with a knee injury against Tennessee, Chubb was the best back in the league. If he can get anywhere close to 100 percent, he and fellow running back Sony Michel could form the most dynamic backfield in college football. If they do, Eason’s role could get interesting…
That’s putting it mildly. You can talk about the lines, size on defense, depth, attitude and anything else you want, but a healthy Chubb makes his teammates on both sides of the ball better, makes his coaches smarter and makes that margin for error just a little larger.
Scarborough’s right in the specifics, too. With Chubb as your number one back, Chaney’s got far more flexibility in how he deploys Sony Michel. Remember what even Schottenheimer was able to do in that department before the Tennessee game.
And, yes, a fully loaded backfield takes tons of pressure off both Eason and the coaches, if they decide he’s earned the starting job. (Eason’s most important immediate task may very well be mastering the art of selling the play action pass.) It almost goes without saying that the more productive and dangerous Georgia’s offense is, the better Georgia’s defense will be.
All of which isn’t to say Georgia won’t win a few games without Chubb’s services. But…