Forget about opt-outs, injuries, family tragedies and any and all reasons that players were missing for Georgia in the Peach Bowl. Simply at face value, this game against Cincinnati is not one that Georgia would have won in each of the two previous seasons. Not with the game flow that the contest had, no chance. The defense stepped, especially for the overwhelming majority of the 2nd half, and that is nothing new for Georgia football. For the offense to be able to manufacture enough plays, chunk plays through the air to bail out a struggling offensive line and a non-existent running game, well that’s new.
There is no question that, providing he does not shock everything remotely affiliated with the program and go to the NFL, JT Daniels is the answer that Georgia has been waiting on. Daniels is not perfect. In fact, he did not have his best game as a Dawg in the Peach Bowl, but he gives the receivers a chance. to make plays. To me, the aptitude and attitude of Daniels mixed with above average arm strength and great ball placement are the what makes the redshirt sophomore gunslinger so refreshing for the Georgia program. Daniels was able to show some toughness and extent plays and he weathered a flurry of pressures and blitzes from Luke Fickell’s Bearcat squad to ultimately complete 26 of 38 passes for 392 yards and a touchdown on the day. Most importantly, Daniels calmly and efficiently set up the Jack Podlesny missile from near midfield underneath the oculus that adorns the top of Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
That’s right, Daniels had an off day in some aspects and still almost hung 400 yards passing on the nation’s 5th ranked overall defense in the country in the 2020 season. To be fair, Georgia did eclipse 400 yards passing, 404 to be exact thanks to a 12 yard contribution by Stetson Bennett IV. Going over 300 yards passing for Georgia in the past was seen as a breakout day. Yes, everybody would like to run the ball better and have more than 45 yards on the ground, but it certainly seems like Georgia has rounded the corner in terms of a state of the art, spread it around, let it fly offense.
George Pickens once again dominated in a bowl game with 135 yards and a TD, and Georgia had 7 receptions by tight ends during the game as well. With UGA set to return their entire receiving core, maybe even Demetris Robertson, and regain Dominick Blaylock and Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint from injury, plus the additions of Jackson Meeks, Adonai Mitchell, and Brock Bowers, well it’s an embarrassment of riches for the Dawgs passing game in 2021. No doubt the shuffling of the offensive line with have to get in order to protect JT better and also alleviate the amount of pressures they see by blocking better in the run game, but all the pieces are there.
With a healthy 4 game sample size with Daniels at the helm, and now a complete offseason to work with Todd Monken, it appears that Kirby Smart finally has the making of something he’s publicly coveted for so long. Georgia and Kirby Smart have and explosive offense. It does not mean you’re going to hang 40 or 50 on everyone. No, it means at any given moment they have the potential of ripping a long gain and, or take the top of the defense. Combine that element with a Georgia defense that will be extremely talented, yet somewhat inexperienced, in 2021 and Georgia has a shot to be truly special this upcoming season.