Last week, Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart said he wants to get more players like freshman wide receiver George Pickens more involved in the game plan and wants Jake Fromm to be able to make more vertical throws downfield.
Against Notre Dame, Pickens wasn’t able to make any plays as he was doubled-covered most of the night. Pickens is a 6-foot-3 and 195-pound threat that has made some plays for the Bulldogs this season already. He ranks second on the team in receiving yards with 162 through the first four games but has only caught passes against Murray State and Arkansas State.
Smart knows that Pickens has the ability to be a playmaker and a downfield threat for opposing defenses.
“I’m not really saying just down the field, I’m saying the ball in general,” Smart said. “He does a good job with his whole route tree. He’s got really good quickness and explosiveness. He’s shown up really good on our GPS system. We’re trying to find ways to get him the ball and get him touches and he continues to develop and grow. So we’re trying to find ways to get a lot of guys the ball more and he’s one of those.”
Coming into Georgia, Pickens was a five-star recruit that was known for his freakish athletic ability.
Smart knows that Pickens can be a threat on shorter passes, but most of his targets have come on downfield routes. Against Vanderbilt and Notre Dame, Pickens was targeted multiple times, but couldn’t haul in a pass. Fromm threw to him four times against Vanderbilt, but some of his throws were off the mark and others were catchable. In both games, Pickens was tightly covered.
In weeks two and three, Pickens had incredible games against two lackluster defenses. Against Murray State, he had four catches for 78 yards and a touchdown. In the Murray State game, Pickens had five catches for 82 yards and a long of 32.
A lot of Pickens targets haven’t been on the money throws by Fromm. Especially against Vanderbilt when Fromm missed him on a comeback route that was caught by Demetris Robertson, and a fourth-quarter fade route that was overthrown.
Smart knows that Georgia’s passing game has been great, but acknowledged that there’s always room for improvement.
Miami graduate transfer Lawrence Cager stepped up big time against Vanderbilt and Notre Dame, and freshman Dom Blaylock had a field day against Arkansas State.
Fromm hasn’t been perfect, and Smart knows that, but trusts in him completely to make the right call when throwing the ball downfield.
“Jake does a great job leading our team, our offense. He understands the game of football really well. He handles protections. He handles a lot of what the defense does and gives to us and takes from us, and he does a nice job of managing that. We put a lot on his shoulders.”
With guys like Cager and Blaylock stepping up maybe some opportunities will open up against for Pickens against Tennessee.