Will Dominick Blaylock step in for a sidelined Arian Smith?

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Will Dominick Blaylock step in for a sidelined Arian Smith?

Over the past couple of years, the University of Georgia has built a reputation for the way it develops its running backs. To the point where when you think about Georgia Football, you have to think about the ground game and Georgia backfield. Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and D’Andre Swift have established legitimate NFL careers since leaving Athens, and they, along with many others, have Coach Dell McGee to thank for it. The run-game coordinator and running backs coach have been with Georgia for the past seven years, and according to co-defensive coordinator Will Muschamp “the consistency of [that] position [group] is probably the best that’s been here in those seven years.” 

While it seems Georgia’s offensive script has shifted more towards the passing game and away from the ground game, Coach McGee still believes that the running back room has difference makers. 





In terms of individuals, McGee discussed senior back Kenny McIntosh, who “had a really nice spring and showed a lot of leadership in the summer work program, and he’s doing a great job of mentoring the two young guys…” Kendall Milton, who had been injured during the regular season, has also been doing well in practice, “He’s looked great during fall camp. You lose reps when you’re not on the football field…” But someone who’s been going under the radar has been third-year Daijun Edwards.

Edwards appears to be the unsung hero of the running back room, offering intangibles that the outside just can’t see. What Edwards offers is security. Without Edwards, the current running back room would realistically be 2 upperclassmen and 2 freshmen with no on-field experience. Still, Edwards’ depth helps prevent that problem (especially with how Georgia likes to rotate backs). According to Coach McGee, he’s “…very unselfish, a team player, knows his role and fit—he’s going to be counted on as well this year because he adds value to our football team.” At any other school, a back like Edwards is hitting the transfer portal, but the fact that he’s still at Georgia speaks to his character and Coach McGee’s abilities as a veteran running backs coach. 

RBU is still running strong. Coach Dell McGee and his players have made it evident despite the attention drawn to the tight end room and defense. While the team is adapting to the modern era, they’ve managed to keep tradition through the ground game, and it doesn’t look to falter anytime soon. 





Entering his third season at UGA, some expected Arian Smith to have the breakout season he was recruited for. A wideout out of Lakeland, Florida, Smith is known for his elite speed being a dual sport athlete, running track alongside playing football. Unfortunately, though, in his first two seasons at Georgia, Smith’s potential for taking the top off defenses has been hindered by injury, and the trend will seem to continue with Smith scheduled to undergo ankle surgery. It’s expected that he’ll be out for 4-6 weeks post-operation.

On the subject of receivers who have been riddled with injuries, Arian isn’t alone. Fourth-year Dominick Blaylock has endured his fair share, suffering two injuries to the same ACL. But his fortitude and ability to bounce back have impressed offensive coordinator Todd Monken. Monken applauded the receiver saying, “I can’t imagine getting hurt and getting reinjured [in] two years… Imagine tearing your ACL and then you doing it again. How long is that going to take to recover on the mental side, forget the physical side…” Blaylock’s mental side isn’t the only thing that grabs Monken’s attention. He’s continued to prove himself on the field in Fall Camp.

Coach Monken (who also serves as UGA’s passing game coordinator) had this to say about Blaylock’s ability as a receiver, “He’s always been a crafty route runner…he has a knack. Some guys just have a knack for getting open and making plays and contested catches and you can see that every day that he is out there.” 

It’s not like we didn’t know this already. In his overall career, he’s averaged 16.1 yards per catch- a first down and some per reception. He has the skill, he just hasn’t had the opportunity to use it on the field. 

All of this just speaks to the depth Georgia has at receiver. Seeing Arian go down and having Blaylock step up. It’s all just a matter of staying healthy, and that’s something that Coach Kirby Smart has emphasized during the offseason.

The team is excited to see Blaylock healthy again. With Arian Smith sidelined for what’s expected to be the first couple of weeks of the season, we should get the chance to see why.  





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