Bulldogs to Watch: Georgia vs. Tennessee

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Bulldogs to Watch: Georgia vs. Tennessee

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) during a game against Auburn on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) during a game against Auburn on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. (Photo by Tony Walsh)

Stetson Bennett (QB, #13)

The Bulldogs have found a rhythm on offense and fourth-year junior Stetson Bennett is leading the way. Bennett was lights out versus Auburn in Georgia’s big victory last Saturday. He completed 17-of-28 passes for 240 yards and two scores. Bennett averaged 14.1 yards per completion against a stout Auburn defense, and many thought that the South Georgia native didn’t have what it took to do that. It seems like Bennett actually has a higher ceiling than what most people think. It will be interesting to see if it only improves from here. He showed his arm strength on Saturday night with several long throws downfield. Bennett also displayed that he can drop dimes as well in receivers’ hands. His touchdown pass to George Pickens against Auburn was one of the best throws he’s made all season. Hopefully the success will continue for him.

James Cook (RB, #4)

James Cook had a rough first outing against Arkansas, but improved in the second game versus Auburn. It seems like he is finally getting his feet under him and is settling into the offense well. Cook should be used more out of the backfield this upcoming week and also in the passing game. His reps at tailback should go up because the Bulldogs will look to wear down the Vols’ front seven. He has elite speed and it’s evident he can make defenders miss. Tennessee’s defense will have their hands with keeping him contained, especially if he lines up in the slot. Cook was named to the Doak Walker preseason watchlist for a reason, and with the offense coming to fruition, his skill set should be utilized more.

Kearis Jackson  (WR, #10)

Kearis Jackson has been one of the most vocal players in post-practice interviews so far this season. After the Arkansas game, he pointed out that his performance needed to be better, even though he led Georgia in receiving yards and was solid in the punt return game. Jackson has stepped up and has become a leader in the locker room. That has shown because of the effort he has given through two games this season. Tennessee’s secondary is a hot mess right now, so look for Jackson to be a threat for the Bulldogs on Saturday. His elite speed can give him an advantage against a weak Tennessee defense that has holes in it. The Fort Valley, Georgia native is only 6-foot tall, but he’s athletic enough to go up and get the ball if needed. Going into the game, Kearis Jackson leads the team in reception yards, which is something nobody would have guessed.

Monty Rice (ILB #32)

Senior Monty Rice has been a wrecking ball for the Georgia defense this season thus far. Rice was all over the field against Arkansas in the season opener. In that matchup, the Huntsville, Ala. native racked up three total tackles, a pass breakup and two quarterback pressures. Rice is one of the leaders of this defense, and will look to continue to make an impact against Tennessee. Rice, 6-1, 235-pound inside linebacker has the potential to have a field day against a weak Vols’ offensive line. He is fast off the line of scrimmage and can get into the backfield quickly. Tennessee has struggled to run the ball this year so far, so don’t expect that to change against Rice and company.

Nakobe Dean (WILL, #17)

If you watched Georgia’s defense against Arkansas, you probably saw Nakobe Dean all over the field on every snap he played. That was also his first career start as he led the team with seven total stops, including a tackle for a two-yard loss. He was also credited with two quarterback pressures, too. Dean is drawing comparisons to former Bulldog and current Chicago Bears player Roquan Smith. His athleticism is showing and it’s evident when comparing it to last year during his freshman campaign. Dean proved he had a lot of raw talent in 2019, but you can tell he’s definitely developed more since then. He will be a key part of the defense this season, and for the rest of his career in Athens.

Richard LeCounte (S, #2)

Richard LeCounte was snubbed of SEC Defensive Player of the Week after his two interception performance against Arkansas. Unfortunately he was ejected just before halftime in the Auburn game for a very, questionable targeting call. LeCounte is the leader of the defense and has proven to be a turnover machine. The Riceboro, Georiga native will look to take advantage of Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantono, who’s proven to be incredibly inaccurate in the past. LeCounte and the Georgia defense will look to lock down Tennessee’s passing game from the start. If that happens, the Vols will look to run the ball against a talented Georgia front-seven, which in turn could prove to benefit the Bulldogs. Look for LeCounte to be a major factor against the Vols.

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Currently an intern for BI, and a junior journalism major at the University of Georgia.