On Monday following the debacle versus LSU I penned an article that concluded with this final thought, “It may not feel like it now, but the 2018 Georgia Bulldogs are still capable of returning to Atlanta for the SEC Championship. However, if the Dawgs reach that goal, it will be on the back of the offense with Justin Fields at the helm.”
Turns out I was correct on Part 1 of that statement and couldn’t have been any more wrong on Part 2. The Dawgs dominated the final five games on their schedule and all Jake Fromm has done since the LSU game is complete 73% of his passes for 827 yards, 11 TD’s and 1 INT. Even more impressive is the fact that led the charge to make the Dawgs the 7thbest offense in the country on 3rdDown conversions at 49.6%. I would go so far as to argue that Fromm has played every bit as well as Tua and Kyler Murray who will finish number 1 and 2 respectively in the Heisman voting. While the numbers will never be the same in Georgia’s offensive system, he did absolutely everything that was asked of him and more.
The popular narrative after last season from rival fanbases and pundits alike was that UGA was losing 31 seniors, 2017 was the perfect storm and 2018 would be a “rebuilding year” for the Dawgs. However, in year three of Coach Smart’s tenure the Dawgs have proved they simply reload. Not only does the record prove it but the statistics also back it up:
- 13thin Scoring Offense
- 13thin Total Yards Per Game
- 11thin Rushing Offense
- 3rdin Passing Efficiency Offense
- 7thin 3rdDown Conversion Offense
- 19thin Total First Downs on Offense
- 10thin Scoring Defense
- 12thin Total Defense
- 27thin Rushing Defense
- 13thin Passing Defense
- 13thin 3rdDown Conversion Defense
This season is Kirby Smart & Staff’s best coaching job in their 3 years in Athens. A team loaded with and reliant upon freshmen and sophomore throughout the entire depth chart. An offensive line with a sophomore LT, sophomore LG, freshmen C, freshmen RG and freshmen RT starting key SEC games. A defense rotating as many as 20-25 players per game, most receiving significant playing time for the first time in their career. A potential quarterback controversy that was being fueled by fans, media and yours truly. So many pitfalls that could have derailed a lesser team – instead Kirby Smart & Co. kept coaching hard, the team bought in and are peaking at the right time.
Now comes the ultimate test – Alabama, the gold standard of college football – in the Georgia Dome for the SEC Championship and a Playoff berth for the second consecutive year. Nobody, and I mean nobody, outside of the locker room and the Bulldawg Nation believes the Dawgs have a chance. Maybe Evil Empire from Tuscaloosa and the Tua led the Death Star on offense will be too much, but the way the Dawgs have played the last five weeks they have hope, and after all, rebellions are built on hope.