Georgia Off-Season Musts
Cover Photo: John Paul Van Wert Georgia Sports Communications
By: Joshua Grosh
With the ending of the football season, Georgia has a lot of work ahead of them to prepare for next season – as well as other off-season storylines that will need to be addressed. Between picking up the pieces after a disappointing Sugar Bowl showing and putting the finishing touches on recruiting, Coach Smart and the Dawgs have their work cut out for them.
With the departure of Justin Fields, this the top of the list – as well as the number one conversation piece most of this season. The only difference is that it is not so much about the starting job but regarding the back up. Georgia has two “new” scholarship quarterbacks coming in with Dwan Mathis and Stetson Bennett. With Bennett already having experience with the offensive system, he could be a decent second string quarterback – allowing Mathis to have a redshirt season and only play to get some experience. On the other hand, Mathis may show incredible promise and take the second string role returning Bennett to the scout team training where he received rave reviews from previous players. This is all ignoring the other possible quarterback option in Rhys Plumlee who may still sign with UGA. If he does sign with UGA, it allows for more wiggle room for one of the quarterbacks to redshirt.
Wide Receivers/Passing Game
While the focus may be heavily on the Dawgs passer, we also have to look at who will be Fromm’s targets in 2019. As it stands right now, Georgia will be losing Mecole Hardman, Riley Ridley, Isaac Nauta, and, to a lesser extent for passing, Elijah Holyfield and Luke Ford. This leaves a lot of open room for receivers lower in the depth chart or part of the recruiting class. Will we finally see the emergence of a Demetris Robertson? Then, with his performance in the latter half of the season, will Jeremiah Holloman become the go to receiver? Only time will tell. To add to the shakeup, the Dawgs are pretty thin at tight end right now. Between Woerner, Fitzpatrick, and incoming freshman Goede, Georgia doesn’t have too much experience in depth outside of Woerner. UGA has plenty of talent in the depth chart – the only question will one of them step up?
With the departure of Deandre Baker and some rumors of potentially JR Reed departing, Georgia needs someone to step up in the secondary. Tyson Campbell is one of the options but from what little was seen in the bowl game, so is Divaad Wilson. Both have tremendous upside in them and tons of talent. Potentially one of the two can become the consistent starter and potential lockdown corner that Georgia needs. As for JR Reed’s position, it leaves a little more of a question mark. Otis Reese could step up to help or Christopher Smith – but both present the troublesome aspect of youth with both about to be sophomores.
This is probably the most obvious of all but still needs to be addressed. UGA is currently in search of a new defensive coordinator and just recently acquired a new tight ends coach (Coach Todd Hartley) with an in-house promotion to offensive coordinator with Coach James Cooley. The in-house promotion likely signifies the offensive scheme will stay mostly the same, just with full control now in Coach Cooley’s hands. Given the experience of coaching wide receivers and quarterbacks last season, a hopeful spirit may believe we could see a few more deep shots next season which sorely lacked in the offense this season. Perhaps we may even see more usage of tight ends as well. On the defensive side of the ball, it’s a little less gray as Kirby tends to keep his hands in the defensive planning and playbook. The only major wonder will UGA stay in-house like it did for offense or will it try to poach a coach from another school to head the defense?