It may have taken a while for them to warm up, but this match up against the University of Tennessee Martin Skyhawks shows us the one thing we’ve all been waiting for: THE DAWGS ARE BACK!!
Something to note was that the team looked different. Obviously, a couple of guys are gone, but it was the injuries that were the name of the game offensively. Ladd McConkey was apparently a game time decision and didn’t end up playing. Jackson Meeks was hurt. Daijun Edwards didn’t play, and we know Branson Robinson is out. Kendall Milton almost didn’t play. “He was not 100%,” according to Smart, but he played because he wanted to play, and if he didn’t then Georgia would have fielded two backs who had never played college football before. On top of all that Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint was suspended, so all of that led to a very different group suiting up on offense. Brock Bowers even had a play at running back and was responsible for the first rushing touchdown of the evening!
The 48 to 7 part of the game didn’t come quick though. Quarterback Carson Beck admitted that “it took a second to settle in” only scoring once in the first quarter. It was UT Martin’s defensive front that gave the team a hard time at first according to senior offensive lineman Xavier Truss.
“They’re just very talented up front. You know, I think they might have come out in… [some]… different looks than what we were used to seeing throughout the week,” said Truss.
The team obviously adjusted and the offense managed to score six other times after the first quarter, but patience is just hard to come by nowadays.
Defensively there was almost no drop off from Georgia defenses of the past, but like the offense there was a lot of rotation on this end with Daylen Everette and Julian Humphrey going back and forth at CB2 and freshman C.J. Allen coming in at linebacker along with an assortment of personnel changes on the d-line and safety positions.
Even the kicker was different than expected. Freshman Peyton Woodring won the placekicker job over senior Jared Zirkel.
There’s a lot going on with this 2023-2024 Georgia Football team. Earlier in the week Coach Smart said this team is 80% different than two years ago and watching the Dawgs play yesterday you could definitely see that. Internally these guys probably already know who they are, but on the outside looking in it’s hard to pinpoint the face of the team. There’s no more Stetson Bennett, Jalen Carter, Kelee Ringo. Brock Bowers, Malaki Starks, and Mykel Williams are not to be taken for granted, but this team really is so different from the one that beat Bama in Indy just a couple years ago.
It’s a new era for the Dawgs, but it’s still the same goal: win.