Will the Blowouts Return for the Dawgs in 2020?

June 18, 2020
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ATHENS - I put myself through the torture of watching Georgia’s game with Kentucky from 2019 recently. 

(Save yourself the trouble and skip the entire affair.)

Georgia’s offense couldn’t do anything. Kentucky’s offense was worse. It was raining… non stop. But what struck me more than anything rewatching the game was how, frankly, boring UGA’s offense was that night - a topic that was intelligently discussed on The Porch at the time.

No attempts to push the ball down the field. Side-to-side throwing. Eight yards of passing in the first quarter. Yes, the conditions were some of the worst I have ever been in on the field - you simply couldn’t get away from the rain as it was steady and sloppy. Dryness, like relevance in football at Georgia Tech, was hard to find.

But the lack of imagination from Georgia on the offensive side of the ball seemed to concede that the Dawgs were willing to roll around with Kentucky until they broke the Cats. Kirby Smart knew this was a four-quarter game, and that the Cats couldn’t last with UGA for four quarters because the Cats weren’t going to score. 

But as I rewatched I noticed that George Pickens played for UGA. And Dominick Blaylock did as well. 

What was going on last season that Georgia’s offense found itself comfortable being stuck in the mud from October on? Jake Fromm clearly regressed - how does that happen? Even in the Kentucky game ESPN’s commentators remarked about how Fromm was considered a top-ten NFL prospect. He went in the 5th round

But the outline for what happened wasn’t exclusively Fromm’s doing. He didn’t draw up the gameplay, or call a run play on third and long - seemingly conceding a punt. UGA’s receivers were pedestrian looking, but, again, there is some skill at that spot... again, George Pickens.

It just felt like Georgia wasn’t willing to risk anything… at least it wasn’t comfortable risking anything. Perhaps it was the right call to grind the Kentucky game out, leave the God-forsaken weather and show up in Jacksonville as a new team (which happens a lot more than you might think for the Dawgs of late). 

You don’t give back 21-0 wins.

Still, it took until about midway through the second quarter for Fromm to connect with Pickens for a 22-yard play. Consider that the Dawgs had three three-and-outs in the game before scoring a touchdown, which came in the third quarter. The game seemed over at that moment - probably because it was.

What must Kirby Smart have been thinking during that game? It was the second game in a row (and second of many) where Georgia was truly struggling with an SEC East foe. The Carolina game, after Kentucky, was no longer a one-off situation. A pattern was developing. 

The blowouts were gone. UGA was going to have to fight its way back to Atlanta.

Will the blowouts come back in 2020? It certainly feels like it. At least it certainly feels more probable. Things can always get worse, but things “usually” get worse when you stick with the formula that got you in trouble to begin with. 

Georgia needed a change on offense - that had to happen. Watch the Kentucky game for play selection to confirm that. Several pre-season magazines think UGA is weaker because of the turnover on the offense. I’m not sure they are getting that part right.

 
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