The B.S. Report: College football is right around the corner
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Georgia Bulldogs start practice on Monday. They are coming off an 8-5 record from a year ago, and obviously, the Bulldogs have a lot of work to do.
The goal for Georgia this year is simple: they must score more points. Georgia scored only 24.5 points per game last year – fourth-worst in the SEC. They were ranked 102nd nationally in scoring. In 2014, Georgia was first in the SEC and 8th best in the country by scoring 41.3 points per game. So, things have changed in Athens.
The formula for Georgia to get better this season is rather simple. First, sophomore quarterback Jacob Eason must be better. There were reasons Eason was not very impressive last year – particularly a shaky offensive line and an inconsistent group of receivers. Eason just must be better.
That offensive line must be better. It can’t be much worse. Georgia is replacing three starters on the line of scrimmage this year, and believe me, that’s a good thing. The replacements cannot be any worse. The depth must improve. We must see more players play on the offensive line for Georgia, and the recruiting this past February should provide some help. Big Isaiah Wilson should come in and compete immediately for playing time, and Andrew Thomas could do the same thing.
We must see improved play from the receivers. They’ve moved former five-star recruit Mecole Hardeman to receiver. That was a good decision. He’s a great athlete. He should help. They also have several freshman receivers who could give Eason more targets.
We can assume that with another year gone by, senior running back Nick Chubb will be even healthier and be ready to go. If the offensive line is better, and if Chubb’s knee is even better than it was a year ago, he could have a monster year. There is depth behind him, with Sony Michel, Brian Herrion, Elijah Holyfield and freshman D’Andre Swift.
Then there are the tight ends. It might be the best group in the country. Isaac Nauta may be the best tight end in the SEC. With more talent assembled, offensive coordinator Jim Cheney should have no excuses to be more creative with his play calling.
Add all of this up – an improved and experienced Eason, a better offensive line, more consistent receivers, stud running backs and a great group of tight ends – and there is no reason Georgia shouldn’t drastically improve their points per game average in 2017.
The defense has a chance to be special, with a lot of experience and very good depth. But as long as the offensive line is better, everything should fall into place. That offensive line of scrimmage is what has kept Georgia from being better than they have been since 2000. They’ve been good, very good at times, but how many years have they really been great?
When Kirby Smart took the job, he said the offensive line has to get better. He had just seen it as Alabama’s defensive coordinator the season before. He knew it wasn’t very good. Since Smart took over, he’s made the offensive line a priority in recruiting. As long as he keeps doing that, Smart has a chance to make Georgia a great program.
It needs to start this season. Not many teams can be special scoring only 24.5 points per game. If Georgia improves that number, they’ll improve the win total, as well.