In his postgame press conference, Coach Kirby Smart said that yesterday he found out a lot about his team after his team survived a 14-3 comeback to win 24-14 against the South Carolina Gamecocks yesterday. “People have to play close games to get better,” he said.
He went on his classic close-game spiel about how his team showed resilience and composure and how it speaks to how they can handle adversity and that’s what separates them from other teams and this and the other. It’s all good and great, but yesterday’s SEC season opener against the South Carolina Gamecocks may have done just enough to raise some legitimate concerns about what this Georgia offense is going to look like moving forward.
The numbers weren’t bad: a little more than 250 through the air and almost 200 on the ground in terms of yards is nothing you should ever complain about, but this is the back-to-back national champion Georgia Bulldogs. This team isn’t the same as last year, but it should still be special, and offensively that’s something we just have yet to see.
A lot has to do with the lack of identity. For the past three weeks, in proper Georgia Football fashion, the Dawgs have been without one of their leading wide receivers, Ladd McConkey. And almost all the running backs have been hurt to the point where wideout Dillon Bell is taking meaningful snaps and scoring touchdowns at that position because there’s literally no one else left to play.
A positive takeaway from yesterday’s game was the re-emergence of senior running back Daijun Edwards. The south Georgia native played for the first time this season and was basically put on reserve until Georgia was ready for SEC play. Smart had said that he could have played in either UT Martin or Ball State if needed. Given Georgia’s dominance in those games, he clearly wasn’t, but you can see what they were trying to rest him up for.
Edwards ran 20 times averaging almost 6 yards a carry yesterday– and got a touchdown in the process. He looked like the kind of back that you expect to come out of Georgia and was far more explosive than Kendall Milton has been this season. When the ball was in his hands the offense was dynamic. Something was just different about him.
It was good seeing some consistency in the offense, even if it was just the ground game.
The only thing consistent about the passing game is that we can expect them to have a stagnant first and maybe second quarter and then pick things up in the second half. With what we’ve been given so far, we still don’t know what to expect from this offense. Brock Bowers isn’t even getting the touches like he was last year; he had one catch for one yard.
It feels like a part of the offensive identity was discovered against South Carolina. Georgia knows what they need to do on the ground: give it to Daijun Edwards.