Georgia Football

With Loss of Production, UGA is Counting on Unproven Talent at Wide Receiver

July 16, 2019

HOOVER, AL—13 catches, 175 yards. That is all that returns from Georgia’s entire wide receiver group from 2018.


Still, talent litters UGA’s group at that spot. Hardly anyone will refute that. Experience, however, is barren throughout the room.


But that isn’t anything new. Past production was thin enough already this spring. After the dismissal of Jeremiah Holloman last month, it became damn-near inexistent.


“I think one of the big question marks coming into the season was going to be receiver,” Kirby Smart said here Tuesday. “That’s just probably more glaring now because one of the guys with a lot of touches is now gone.”


The guy throwing the ball their way felt the same.


“t's gonna hurt a little bit,” Jake Fromm said about the loss of receiver production. “But there's a lot of guys left in that room who are scratching and clawing.”


Now UGA must turn to the scratchers and crawlers. Tyler Simmons, Matt Landers and Demetris Robertson will be asked to do more than provide depth. Despite the lack of their playing time, that group is expected to step up and take over the position this fall - a task that Smart doesn’t doubt they’re capable of. 


The trio only combined for nine total catches — a little less than 4 percent of UGA’s total receptions from last season. So if they going to take over receiver, as Smart suggests, they’re going to have to adjust quite a bit.


“It makes it really important for us to manage them in camp to the point where they get reps,” Smart said. “Tyler (Simmons), D. Rob, Matt Landers, they got to grow up quick.”


It doesn’t have to only be those three, either. Dominick Blaylock and Georgia Pickens, two incoming freshman receivers, will have an immediate opportunity to contribute as well. That duo, as well as redshirt freshman Kearis Jackson, will be able to work their way into what could be a well-sized rotation.


“I think it can be by committee,” Smart said on the wide receiver situation. “I think we’re going to find that out with who we are.” 


It’s an easy idea—frequently sub receivers and get the ball in the hands of multiple different guys in games. For Fromm though, there are some difficulties with that strategy. Now, instead of building solid connections with four receivers (on top of running backs and tight ends), he has to construct that relationship with six or seven different wideouts. 


It’s nothing that can’t be done, it just takes a lot of reps and a lot of dialogue.


“It’s been a lot of work this summer,” Fromm said. “It’s been even more work than before… It’s just extra throwing sessions, staying later on the grass, making certain throws, running certain routes. It’s meeting with them extra, making sure they know the lingo, the words, the signals and that kind of thing.” 


These offseason reps only do so much, though. The connection between Fromm and these receivers won’t fully culminate until they’re playing under the lights in front of thousands. Until then, it’s only work and anticipation, and that goes for Fromm, Smart and the receivers themselves.


“Those guys are excited,” Fromm said. “They’re ready to make plays, and we’re ready to see what they can do.”

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