JT Daniels will start at quarterback. While most of the Dawgosphere is coming around to Daniels being ready to take over at QB for the Dawgs, I wrote Daniels was the going to starter for the Missouri game. Of course, that contest was postponed due to covid.
Daniels has not played since his knee injury in August 2019. Since early summer, he has been practicing with the Dawgs, but quarterbacks don’t get hit in practice. This Mississippi State squad will have players missing due to covid when the bizzaroDawgs arrive in Athens, but they will still bite hard when they get a shot at Daniels. Will Daniels trust his rehabilitated knee enough to stand up to pressure, avoid the rush, then deliver accurate passes? Accuracy in the passing game has been the most easily identifiable issue for Georgia’s offense this season.
In a recent article, Jake Rowe of 247Sports suggested that Kirby Smart is in a no-win position regarding JT Daniels: “If Daniels struggles after 15 months of no live action, some are going to judge him then and there. I don’t think that’s fair. If he plays really well against a short-handed Mississippi defense, the complaints about Kirby Smart’s handling of quarterbacks are going to get louder. I’m more than likely wasting key strokes here but everyone should probably take Saturday with a grain of salt no matter what happens. A strong showing or better from Daniels is reason for optimism, but, as mentioned, Mississippi State doesn’t have many bodies on the defensive side. With all due respect to Mike Leach, it’s got the feeling of a team that is ready to be done with this season. If Daniels struggles, it’s important to remember that it’s his first game since August 31, 2019.”
The struggles that Georgia experienced on defense will be cured by the offense. One factor in the Bulldog’s poor defense in its two losses has been a lack of offensive production. Failure to sustain drives, inability to improve field position, turnovers, and playing from behind have kept the defense on the field far too long. While I’m not suggesting that the defense has always played perfectly, I believe offensive ineptitude is the most significant factor in those losses.
Special teams will bounce back. With every other part of the game going wrong in Jacksonville, fans may have missed the shanked punts. Camarda will find his groove again, and kick coverage will be laser-sharp.