#3 Georgia Football 2019 Preview

Georgia Bulldogs
Overall Rank: #3
#2 SEC
 Georgia Logo
Georgia continues to knock on the door in the SEC as they had Alabama on the ropes in the 2018 SEC Championship game in Atlanta but once again the Bulldogs couldn’t put away the Crimson Tide. Head Coach Kirby Smart and his staff have done an outstanding job of stockpiling elite talent, especially along both lines of scrimmage. Thus, a lack of talent is not the problem; it’s more a matter of going for the jugular and putting elite teams like Alabama away when they have them down like they have in the past two meetings.
2018 Record: 11-3, 7-1
2018 Bowl: Sugar Bowl vs. Texas (21-28 L)
Coach: Kirby Smart, (32-10 at Georgia, 32-10 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: James Coley
Defensive Coordinator: Dan Lanning
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: D’Andre Swift, RB, 1,049 yards
Passing: Jake Fromm, QB, 2,749 yards
Receiving: D’Andre Swift, RB, 297 yards
Tackles: Richard LeCounte, FS, 74
Sacks: Channing Tindall, ILB, 2.0
Interceptions: Tae Crowder, ILB, 2, J.R. Reed, 2
Other Key Returnees:  LT Andrew Thomas, LG Solomon Kindley, LT Cade Mays, RT Isaiah Wilson, WR Demetrius Robertson, DT Tyler Clark, DT Julian Rochester, OLB Walter Grant, CB Tyson Campbell, CB Tyrique McGhee, K Rodrigo Blankenship, P Jake Camarda
Key Losses:  RB Elijah Holyfield, CB Deandre Baker, OLB D’Andre Walker, C Lamont Gallard, WR Riley Ridley, WR Mecole Hardman, TE Issac Nauta, WR Terry Godwin
Jake Fromm is back at quarterback and he will be looking to cement his legacy as an elite Georgia quarterback by leading the Bulldogs to a national championship. Fromm threw for 2,749 yards, 30 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2018 and those are excellent numbers. D’Andre Swift is back at running back and he rushed for 1,049 yards and ten touchdowns on the ground. Swift also does a nice job of catching the football as he had 32 receptions for 297 yards and caught three touchdown passes. Andrew Thomas anchors a veteran offensive line that returns three starters and has that innate ability to impose their will on opposing defenses in the second half. Demetrius Robertson, Miami transfer Lawrence Cager and a cast of young guys have to step up quickly at wide receiver if this offense is going to be dominant in 2019. If this unit struggles, then the Bulldogs will be in harms way.
There is a very high level of depth and talent within this defensive unit. The key for new defensive coordinator Dan Lanning is to put all the pieces together quickly. Richard LeCounte and J.R. Reed should form one of the better safety tandems in the country as both guys just find a way to make plays. Jordan Davis is a rising sophomore along the defensive line at nose tackle that will be a key cog to making the Georgia run defense even stronger this fall. Generating more of a pass rush will be important as well as the Bulldogs were 75th in 2018 in havoc rate, which covers things tackles for loss, passes defensed, and forced fumbles. Tae Crowder is a senior leader at linebacker who, along with Nakobe Dean, should create a formidable linebacker tandem this fall. Rodrigo Blankenship is back at kicker and he will be on a mission to make up for his key missed field goal in the loss to Alabama.
The Bottom Line:
Georgia will open up the 2019 season on the road at Vanderbilt in a rematch of last year’s 41-13 win over the Commodores in Nashville last October. Notre Dame comes down to Sanford Stadium on September 21st in what should be a fun battle between two preseason top ten teams and what will provide an early opportunity for the Bulldogs to make a statement nationwide. The rest of the schedule is balanced as there are trips to Tennessee and Auburn and the annual neutral site game with Florida. Georgia will have the personnel advantage in all of those games so it’s just a matter of staying focused and taking care of business. Texas A&M comes to Athens on November 23rd in what will be an interesting crossover matchup between two highly talented squads. Bottom line, the story of the 2019 season will be against Alabama in the SEC Championship game as that will be a huge mental hurdle to overcome for the Bulldogs. Also, a win in that game would set them quite nicely for the College Football Playoff.
Projected Bowl:  Peach Bowl (CFP Playoff)
2018 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 238.8 (16th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 226.1 (73, 8)
Total Offense: 464.9 (18, 5)
Scoring Offense: 37.9 (14, 2)
Rushing Defense: 134.0 (31, 5)
Pass Defense: 180.3 (12, 2)
Total Defense: 314.3 (13, 2)
Scoring Defense: 19.2 (14, 4)
Turnover Margin: +0.21 (50, 7)
Sacks: 1.71 (100, 14)
Sacks Allowed: 1.43 (24, 4)
Madness 2020 NFL Draft Rankings:
#17 Jake Fromm
#47 D'Andre Swift
Madness 2019 Recruit Rankings:
#1 Nolan Smith
#17 Clay Webb
#20 Nakobe Dean
#25 George Pickens
#30 Travon Walker
#33 Dominick Blaylock
#38 Lewis Cine
#45 Tyrique Stevenson
#94 Rian Davis
#125 Trezman Marshall
#152 Makiya Tongue
#165 Kenny McIntosh
#169 William Norton
#176 Dwan Mathis