#5 Georgia Football 2020 Preview

Georgia Bulldogs
Overall Rank: #5
#3 SEC
Georgia Logo
After a bit of a down year when Coach Kirby Smart took over the program in 2016, Georgia has gone 7-1 in SEC play in each of the last three years. One of those resulted in a trip to the playoffs and that will be the Bulldogs goal again in 2020.
2019 Record: 12-2, 7-1
2019 Bowl: Sugar Bowl vs. Baylor (W 26-14)
Coach: Kirby Smart (44-12 at Georgia, 44-12 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Todd Monken
Defensive Coordinator: Dan Lanning
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Zamir White, RB, 408 yards
Passing: Stetson Bennett, QB, 260 yards
Receiving: George Pickens, WR, 727 yards
Tackles: Monty Rice, LB, 89
Sacks: Azeez Ojulari, LB, 5.5
Interceptions: Richard LeCounte, DB, 4
Other Key Returnees: WR Demetris Robertson, DB Mark Webb, DB DJ Daniel, DB Eric Stokes
Key Losses: RB D’Andre Swift, RB Brian Herrien, QB Jake Fromm, WR Lawrence Cager, OL Andrew Thomas, LB Tae Crowder, DB J.R. Reed, DL Tyler Clark, K Rodrigo Blankenship
Jake Fromm is gone, but Georgia went out and picked up graduate transfer Jamie Newman from Wake Forest. Last season Newman threw for 2,868 yards and 26 touchdowns, while adding 574 yards and six more scores on the ground. He is a dynamic player who should thrive with his new team. Newman will also have a handful of quality receivers to work with. George Pickens led the Bulldogs with 49 catches for 727 yards and eight touchdowns last season. Demetris Robertson added 30 receptions for 333 yards and three scores. Big play receiver Dominick Blaylock only caught 18 passes as a freshman but they went for 310 yards and five scores. The bulldogs lost 1,245 yard rusher D’Andre Swift, but Zamir White had a promising freshman campaign, rushing for 408 yards on just 78 carries. The offensive line has some rebuilding to do after losing three key players in the NFL Draft, including first rounders Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson.
Even if the offense needs a little time to retool with their new quarterback, Georgia’s defense will keep this team in just about every game. Linebacker Monty Rice led the squad with 89 tackles and he will again be flanked by Azeez Ojulari, who tallied a team high 5.5 sacks. Georgia may not have the best rush defense in the nation again like they did last year, but they should not drop too far from their impressive 74.6 yards per game allowed on the ground. The secondary is the most experienced group. Georgia only intercepted eight passes last season, but Richard LeCounte accounted for half of those. He also tallied 61 tackles. Cornerbacks DJ Daniel and Eric Stokes both stepped into full-time starting roles last season and performed quite well. Stokes even earned All-SEC 2nd team accolades.
The Bottom Line:
Georgia’s SEC opener comes on September 19th at Alabama. That could put Georgia behind in the SEC title race right out of the gate. The key game in the SEC East will be on Halloween when Georgia faces off against Florida in Jacksonville. The winner of that game should be looking good to reach the conference championship game.
Projected Bowl: Peach Bowl
2019 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 185.1 (41st in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 223.0 (72, 5)
Total Offense: 408.1 (61, 5)
Scoring Offense: 30.8 (50, 5)
Rushing Defense: 74.6 (1, 1)
Pass Defense: 201.1 (31, 5)
Total Defense: 275.7 (3, 1)
Scoring Defense: 12.6 (1, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.21 (49, 6)
Sacks: 2.21 (60, 8)
Sacks Allowed: 1.07 (5, 2)
Madness 2020 NFL Draft Rankings:
#11 Richard LeCounte
#26 Jamie Newman
#41 Trey Hill
#47 Tyson Campbell
#74 Eric Stokes