Georgia will have to start off the SEC Championship next week against LSU with two of it’s best receivers missing.
Earlier this week, senior graduate transfer Lawrence Cager injured his ankle at practice and announced on Instagram that his season was over due to the injury. The next blow to the Bulldogs’ receiving corps came on Saturday versus Georgia Tech when George Pickens was ejected in the middle of the third quarter for throwing a punch against a Yellow Jacket player.
Pickens, who missed the first half against Tech due to a “violation of team rules”, will be suspended again in the first half of the LSU game for being ejected Saturday per NCAA rules in regards to fighting.
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart seemed very disappointed during his postgame press conference on the decision that his true freshman receiver made.
“I’ll address the George Pickens situation,” Smart said. “He was suspended for the first half for violation of team rules and that’s all I’m going to say about that. Then, unfortunately, he got an undisciplined penalty and when you make undisciplined decisions, regardless of what was done first, you pay a penalty for that. He won’t be able to play the first half of next week and when you make emotional decisions, that’s what happens.”
The crazy thing is, on the nine-yard touchdown play when Pickens got into the mishap, it was on the other side of the field, and it seemed like the referees only saw the end of the commotion. Either way, it was evident that Pickens let his emotions get the best of him in that situation.
During the short time he was in the game, Pickens was targeted four times but was only able to come up with one catch. It was a big one though, as quarterback Jake Fromm threw a 41-yard strike to a wide-open Pickens who strolled into the Yellow Jacket endzone to put the Bulldogs up 31-7.
This season, Pickens has hauled in 33 passes for 498 yards and six touchdowns. He leads the team in receiving yards and is tied with Cager for most receptions on the team.
“Just disappointed,” Smart said. “We don’t want to reflect ourselves in that way and he’d be the first one to tell you that he lost his composure.”
With Cager out for the game and Pickens out for the first half of next week, receivers Dominick Blaylock, Tyler Simmons, and Demetris Robertson will have to step up big time in Georgia’s SEC Championship Game matchup versus LSU.
Simmons led the way for the Bulldogs on Saturday with three catches for 52 yards and a touchdown. Blaylock hauled in two catches for 29 yards and a score, and Robertson added two catches for 22 yards.
Fromm wasn’t very sharp either as he hit under 50 percent of his throws, but he did complete passes to nine different Bulldogs.
Smart loves his players, even when they mess up and make mistakes, but made no excuses for Pickens’ behavior today.
“Look, I love George Pickens,” Smart said. “He went to the hospital with us on Friday and did an unbelievable job. He had as much charisma and as much care for those kids as anybody we had there. George is a great kid. He’s a freshman. I know now because I have my own children, that you have to love them and you have to help them. And you have to discipline your children. They do things wrong, and then they get punished.”