The Georgia Bulldogs lost their second game of the 2020 season and effectively saw their hopes of an appearance in the SEC title game and a possible subsequent College Football Playoff birth come to a screeching halt. The Dawgs struggled offensively worse than they have all season, against a Florida defense that is not the highest regarded in the world. It’s obvious that Georgia needs to get higher quality quarterback play if they are going to be successful when it matters the most, no matter who that might be.
Another undeniable factor is the health, or lack thereof, of this football team. Georgia’s revered defense was riddled with injuries coming into the Cocktail Party. Richard LeCounte, Jordan Davis, and Julian Rochester all did not play, and Monty Rice and Lewis Cine came into the game hobbled. Lewis Cine would exit due to targeting, but he wouldn’t have been able to continue anyway after the blow he delivered on Kyle Pitts across the middle seemed to addle both players and I’m sure concussion protocol is imminent. Georgia suddenly became paper-thin and somewhat inexperienced on the back end of their defense, and it showed.
Ultimately, a lot of things that could have gone wrong for Georgia did. Let’s look at the stats that helped paint the picture of the loss for Georgia in Jacksonville.
Georgia completed 31% of their passes against Florida. No matter who is playing quarterback, it’s just an absolutely abysmal completion rate. What makes it worse is the fact that the opportunities were there. It is no longer the case that a Georgia quarterback is dropping back and scanning the field to see every potential target blanketed by defenders. No, Todd Monken and the Georgia staff have done a markedly better job of designing plays and passing concepts to get receivers and tight ends running open than the previous system did. It is just a fact that many times, accurate and easily catchable balls are not being delivered. Now, in somewhat of a defense to Stetson Bennett IV, some of his more accurate throws were dropped and when the accuracy of a QB is an issue, the receiving core must step up in that manner and help correct those ills when the opportunity arises. However, for the most part, Georgia has improved drastically as a receiving and tight end core from last season to this one, but the QB play must improve.
Undoubtedly Kyle Trask is having an unbelievable year. The Florida quarterback plays with poise and delivers the ball on time and with pinpoint accuracy. Even as good as Trask is playing, I do not think anybody out there would have predicted as prolific of a performance as the Gator signal-caller had versus Georgia. 474 yards through the air is both unbelievable and embarrassing for the Georgia defense.
Yes, we mentioned that the Dawgs were suffering from a rash of injuries and that they were thin at the safety position. However, as Kirby Smart bluntly said in his post-game press conference, that does not excuse the mental errors and busts that Georgia had, leaving Florida receivers wide open. Yes, Florida’s receiving core is tremendous and with the chemistry, they have with Kyle Trask, it is understandable to just get beat like Tyson Campbell did on the Kyle Pitts TD. Just gift-wrapping yard and points to the other team is inexcusable, regardless of who is on the field.
Florida possessed the ball for much longer than Georgia did in the game. In no way, shape, or form was that part of the recipe for a Georgia win in this one. Georgia got two quick scores early and a pick-6. While putting points on the board is never a bad thing, even if you do not possess the ball long, Georgia needed desperately to control the pace more.
Georgia running back after the Zamir White 75-yard touchdown run to open the game was virtually non-existent. The Dawgs were not able to establish any kind of continuity in the run game, and once they were behind, they really could not afford to as much. Sustaining drives and being able to get more from the talented backfield that Georgia has is crucial to who Georgia is in 2020. It didn’t happen, Florida flipped the script and limited Georgia’s opportunities with the ball, placing even more pressure to move the ball in an explosive manner that the Dawgs do not show the ability to do right now.