Despite being the youngest team in the SEC, Georgia quietly ranks as the No. 2 team in the AP Poll. A lot of the experts believe that it is only a matter of time until the Bulldogs get upset. As young as this team is, it’s understandable as to why that is ongoing thought. With Georgia’s first real test of the season against LSU, this team appears to be hungry and ready to prove a point.
Young Pups Making Georgia Great Again
Georgia has the youngest football team in the SEC with 68.2 percent of the team being either freshmen or sophomores.
That youth includes two parts of the four-headed running back monster, D’Andre Swift and James Cook. This Georgia team has young guys getting significant playing time at every single position on the field. From the secondary starting Tyson Campbell, a true-freshman to four of the five starting offensive linemen being redshirt sophomores or younger, Georgia’s young pups have officially arrived.
Without some of these freshmen stepping up and playing right away, Georgia may not be in the spot it’s in now. Cade Mays, for example, being able to come in and pick right up where the injured Ben Cleveland left off is a testament to the coaching and talent the Bulldogs have on the O-line.
Swift is another young pup that got the much-needed experience last year to be able to take over the reins after Nick Chubb and Sony Michel left. In fact, through six games, Georgia’s backs rushed for more yards than what the team did last year in six games.
Georgia’s defense may be where the youth shines the most though. The Bulldogs had to replace starters in each position. Richard LeCounte and Tyson Campbell both earned starting roles and are some of the top tacklers on the team. With J.R. Reed and Deandre Baker mentoring the two, this talented secondary could turn into an elite one by the end of the season. LeCounte is the second coming of Greg Blue. His aggressiveness and instinct match the former Bulldogs almost identically. If the secondary continues its success, by the end of the year, Georgia could have the best passing defense in the SEC.
After losing Roquan Smith, the Bulldogs needed a guy to step up and fill that void. Monty Rice appears to be the guy that can fill the role. He is all over the field and seems to be emerging as one of the leaders.
Jordan Davis is another youngster that has worked hard to earn some playing time. Davis stepped up after Devonte Wyatt went down with an injury. After John Atkins, who anchored the trenches last year, graduated, a big hole on was left on the line. However, if Davis continues to improve, he could earn that starting spot at nose guard and be a massive plug for the defense.
Quietly Ranked No. 2 in the Country
The Bulldogs are quietly ranked because they don’t get talked about a lot. Sitting at No. 2 you would think that Georgia would be a hot topic, yet they’re not. Six games into the season and the Bulldogs now face an extremely tough road ahead. First, they take on No. 13 LSU in Death Valley. Then Georgia heads to Jacksonville after the bye week to take on Florida. After that, the team travels to Kentucky and finally comes back home for Auburn. Georgia could go 4-0 on these games or they could very well go 0-4.
The LSU game is the first major challenge and not a lot of experts knew how to predict the game. Georgia has dominated opponents scoring 40-plus points in five of the six games. The only time it didn’t score over 40 was against Tennessee and the Bulldogs won handily 38-12. Despite beating opponents as the team does, it still doesn’t seem enough for experts and other fans to respect the Bulldogs.
While being quietly ranked isn’t a terrible thing, it’s a perfect opportunity for Georgia to explode onto the scene. Georgia hasn’t needed to destroy teams or do anything fancy. The team imposes its will on their opponents and eventually make them quit. Will, the Bulldogs, continue the conservative game plan or will this be the week where Georgia’s true identity shows and it begins its reign of dominance?
Stats Prove how Hungry Georgia is
After six games, Georgia’s production ranks among the top in the league. On offense, the Bulldogs average 42.8 points a game. They average 485.2 total offensive yards a game while averaging 245. 2 on the ground and 240 through the air. In the SEC, Georgia ranks No.2 in Scoring Offense, No. 1 in Rushing Offense, No. 6 in Passing Offense and No. 5 in Total Offense.
As for the defense, the Bulldogs only allow opponents to score an average of 13 points a game. Georgia gives up on average 113.2 on the ground, 170 passing and 283.2 total yards. However, the Bulldogs only allow opponents 30 percent of the time to convert on third down. Georgia has a +6 turnover margin causing 11 fumbles and recovering five of them and catching four interceptions.
In the SEC, Georgia ranks No. 2 in Scoring Defense, No. 3 in Rushing Defense, No. 3 in Passing Defense, No. 1 in Total Defense, and No. 6 in opponent third down conversions.
The Bulldogs only have 19 tackles for loss and five sacks on the season. However, they still rank as the No. 1 overall defense in the SEC. D’Andre Walker is one hungry player as he has eight quarterback hurries, five TFL and four of the five sacks recorded. Despite not having a lot of big sacks or tackles for loss, this defense is as hungry as ever; they’re just doing it conservatively right now.
This game could be the one where we see just how aggressive and instinctive this defense is and just how much this offense can do. Georgia will have a tough test against LSU. However, their ability to stay low key and hungry at the same time while using its talented youngsters could be just what the Bulldogs need to defeat the Tigers.