What if it’s not a quarterback dilemma?

Okay, I admit Matt Hinton’s key observation about tonight’s game is prefaced by “… if Georgia is eliminated with a next-level talent on clipboard duty, it’s going to follow Smart for a long time”, but I think this is something we may not be factoring into our take on the Dawgs’ offense as much as we should:

The wideouts, on the other hand, might be an even bigger question mark than Michigan’s. The only player with a catch in every game, redshirt freshman Ladd McConkey, is a former 3-star signee who’s often mistaken for a walk-on; he raised some eyebrows in a midseason win at Auburn, hauling in five for 135 yards, but in the meantime he has just 150 yards over the last seven and is reportedly dealing with an undisclosed injury. No one else on the depth chart has come close to an above-the-fold performance. 2020 holdovers Jermaine Burton and Kearis Jackson have been limited by nagging injuries. Dominick Blaylock got just a handful of snaps at the end of the regular season after being sidelined by multiple knee injuries for nearly two full years. True freshman Adonai Mitchell has played significantly but struggled with drops.

If we’re being fair about it, that’s a pretty mundane bunch, although I believe injuries have played a significant part in their modest production.  More than anything, what’s saved Georgia’s passing game was finding lightning in a bottle with Brock Bowers, who’s had a ridiculous season so far.  As Matt notes,

… A 5-star talent with bona fide wide receiver skills, Bowers had a breakout day in the SEC Championship loss to Alabama, finishing with season highs for receptions (10) and yards (139) in his introduction to a national audience; that was consistent with his role throughout the season, which he ended as the only UGA player among the top 30 in the SEC in receptions (47) or yards (791).

At the end of Year 1, he already looks like the complete package for a “move” tight end, equally comfortable in a traditional inline blocking role or as a receiver from the slot, and as he’s healthy you can go ahead and pencil him in as an All-American in the next two.

Given what there’s been to work with, maybe Daniels wouldn’t have had much more to show for things had he been the one taking most of the starting snaps this year instead of Bennett.

The good news — at least I hope it will be — is that Georgia has a potential game changer for tonight, if health permits.

The X-factor is George Pickens. For most of the year, it was doubtful Pickens would play at all in 2021 following a torn ACL in the spring, or would ever put on a Georgia uniform again with a certain NFL career waiting. But after a tentative return in the regular-season finale against Georgia Tech, he showed glimpses his old, acrobatic self against Alabama, playing 20 snaps and accounting for UG’’s longest gain of the day on a 37-yard catch in the first quarter. Like JT Daniels, he made the trip to Miami and expects to be available after his status was threatened by COVID protocols. If he’s anywhere in the remote vicinity of 100%, he immediately adds a downfield dimension that Georgia has struggled to sustain all year.

No kidding.  If Pickens can be a regular contributor tonight, he may turn out to be Stetson Bennett’s best friend.  Or JT Daniels’, for that matter.

20 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

20 responses to “What if it’s not a quarterback dilemma?

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    Is Arian Smith definitely out?

    Like

  2. David K

    We need more guys like Bowers that when they have the ball in their hands in the open field they put the fear of God in the other team. Pickens has great hands, he’ll go get the ball in traffic and make insane catches with the best of them. But we need more guys who catch the ball in space and then do their magic.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. flydawg

    Ladd has been in a boot but should be a go today.
    We have another thats been in a boot but may not be a go. Stetson has had his best week of practice for what its worth

    Like

    • gotthepicture

      Who was the other guy in a boot?
      Honestly, if Burton plays to potential, he’s a guy that has near Pickens-ability and would be an issue for Michigan as they try to limit Bowers and Cook out of the backfield.

      Like

  4. Gaskilldawg

    The article does not mention Arik Gilbert being definitely out but I would bet everything I have that he won’t play tonight.

    Like

  5. But Senator, it’s a fact that elite dime-a-dozen QBs can throw for 500 yds per game to young and injured receivers that can’t get open. Kirby’s just stubborn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dawgman3000

      Monken has been scheming wr’s open since he’s been the OC at UGA. The problem is he hasn’t had a QB, other than JT, that can get the ball to them with any consistency.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Come on. Everyone knows the UGA WR room was only hurt for the Clemson game.

    Like

  7. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    ” …maybe Daniels wouldn’t have had much more to show for things had he been the one taking most of the starting snaps this year instead of Bennett.”

    That statement is the one thing that makes sense of the decision to stay with Bennett. JT’s arm is only one-half of the equation; maybe CKS and CTM aren’t completely stupid, but realize that we might not have the tools to just open the passing game completely up.

    Like

    • originaluglydawg

      And on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on they go.

      Like

  8. Russ

    Remember, no matter how many points the defense gives up, if the offense doesn’t score more, Stetson is the reason we lost.

    Like

  9. classiccitycanine

    Without Pickens, our reciever bunch is rather unimpressive–mostly due to injury. It’s probably the one position group that Kirby has had the least success recruiting, relatively speaking. Of course, if I were an elite WR I wouldn’t go to a place where the starter only throws 19 times a game.

    Like