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Georgia Football

Ten Questions for Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs 2022 Season

September 1, 2022

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ATHENS - For the first time in 41 years the Georgia Bulldogs strut into the impending football season as the defending champions. The past 7-plus months have created a level of anticipation unseen in my time as a Dawg fan. Visions of a potential dynasty under the lead of Kirby Smart have become the norm for Dawg fans, and 2022 presents the first opportunity to see if that vision can indeed become reality. 

After sending a modern-day record 15 players to the NFL in the 2022 draft, questions abound for this season’s team. While that’s not uncommon, especially in college football, most of the questions we hear from the “experts” (sorry, I don’t have the sarcasm font on my computer) revolve around the same tired narratives about this UGA program: ground and pound offense, lost too many players on defense, led by a former walk on QB, etc. I’m no expert (sarcasm font) but I think there are bigger questions about this team. So let’s jump in.

Question 1: Does UGA have the requisite depth across the defense, as we’ve seen in the past, to get multiple young players valuable game time experience?

As we’ve seen in seasons past, UGA rotates multiple players on defense regardless of the game situation. That rotation has enabled UGA to have contributors outside of the starting 11. We hear that the talent is there, but they need experience. We’ll see Saturday what that first 14-18 players on defense look like. 

Question 2: How many games will it take for us to get a good feel about this defense?

We know, just based on the NFL draft, this defense will definitely take a step back in comparison. We can’t expect this year’s version to look like last year’s version. However talented they may be, it will take some time for this squad to gel. How many games is that? 4? 7? All season? I will say this…when was the last time Kirby fielded a bad defense?

Celebrate Georgia's 2021 NATIONAL TITLE


Question 3: How much impact will Tate Ratledge’s mullet have on the performance of the offensive line?

Look, we all know that Warren Ericson had some ups and downs last season, to the point he was replaced in the CFP National Championship Game. I submit to you that his haircut may have had something to do with that. I fully expect the mullet to help create gaps for the skill players to exploit. 

Question 4: How will the WR corps be able to exploit the coverages that will be weighted to stop the TEs?

Look, we all know how good this TE room is. So does everyone else, to include every defensive coordinator in the conference. Expect defenses to spend a lot of energy defending Bowers, Washington, Gilbert, Delp, etc. So, that tells me that the WRs should see a good bit of man coverage. How can Mitchell, McConkey, Jackson and a healthy Blaylock (among others) exploit that?

Question 5: How big of a leap does Stetson (Stequavious) Bennett take after a full offseason as QB1?

He didn’t take 1st team reps last off season, and didn’t take 1st team reps until the UAB game. I truly think the increased reps from this spring to fall camp will have a positive and measurable impact on the offense. With questionable RB depth, Stet may be called upon to do more this season. Those additional reps should help with that, as well as the haircut and increased muscle tone. 

Question 6: How many games will it take for Malachi Starks to start at safety?

We’ve heard from practice reports that this is more of a question of when versus if. And when he does start, what difference will he be able to make?

Question 7: Will my house renovation be complete before the bye week?

I know y’all don’t care about this, but I do….

Question 8: How many feelings will Jalen Carter hurt this season?

I’m thinking back to the Vandy game last year, and the pure annihilation Carter unleashed on that poor running back. Carter is a beast and is poised for a breakout year. I think we should keep a count of the hurt feelings each game. 2 to 4 should be his goal. And Dawg Post should keep a running count. I think that’s a good job for Ryan and his Dawg Post TikTok channel.

Question 9: How many stupid hot takes are we going to get from the “experts” (sarcasm font) with regards to UGA?

Looking at you @desmondhoward @TheSamAcho @dannykanell @Joey_Galloway @TimTebow. You know, a hot take is just a polite way of saying you have done little to no research into whatever you have a “hot” take about and have little to no clue about the actual subject. @espn how much to you pay folks to do that? I could make up some stuff just like your “experts” (sarcasm font)…and I’m looking for a job!

Question 10: Why do receivers and defensive backs wear mouthpieces without putting them in their mouths?

I’ve seen this over the last few seasons, and it drives me nuts. How can you run with that dang thing bouncing around in front of your face? Why wear it at all? 

All these questions notwithstanding, I see no reason why UGA can’t get back to the CFP. I’m not sold on “the” (sarcasm font) Ohio State. They changed defensive coordinators but have the same players. They lost 2 receivers to the draft. Sure, they’ll score points but will they stop anyone? I’m not sold on Alabama either. They have the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, but have freshman starting at receiver and a suspect offensive line. Their defense should be good, but we put 33 points on them the last time we saw a good college football game. And most of that was in the second half. The rest of college football is a chasm away from the top three teams. 

It’s time to see where we are. It’s time for talking season to stop. It’s time to hurt some feelings and to start hunting. I know there will be times of stress where we don’t play well, and our resilience will be tested. But I have complete trust in Kirby. He’s earned that from all of us. His players trust him, and that’s all that really matters. Puff your chest out a little more as the week goes on. It’s game time, baby!

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