Publish date:

16 GEORGIA

Author:

OPPOSING COACH'S TAKE

"The defense shouldn't have much of a learning curve because [former coordinator] Jeremy Pruitt ran a very similar scheme to what Kirby Smart is bringing from Alabama. Kirby's defenses at Alabama were so well-coached. And because you know where they're going to be, you've got to find a way to use that against them. You have to find ways to exploit that and make some plays where they're not expecting them to come from. Smart won't have the depth up-front that he had at Alabama. He's not going to be able to roll in fresh guys without a drop-off, and he's got a lot of questions to answer on the line. What he does have is guys in the secondary who have played a lot of football. They had the top defense against the pass last year. It's a good bunch, especially [junior] safety Dominick Sanders.

[Coordinator] Jim Chaney is going to make that offense tougher, and they're going to have more of an identity. They're going to run the ball. They'll use formations to create mismatches and some shifts to make you move. And when they have [running backs] Nick Chubb [747 yards in six games] and Sony Michel [1,161] back there, they're scary. Chubb may take a few games to regain his form [left knee], but he'll get there. It's hard to know what they're going to do at quarterback. [Freshman] Jacob Eason is talented, but [senior] Greyson Lambert is steady."

FAST FACTS

1

Rank in pass defense last year (156.5 yards per game). Every starting DB is back, led by safety Dominick Sanders, who had six picks.

8.1

Yards per carry for running back Nick Chubb before he hurt his left knee in Week 6 as a sophomore last year.

3

Sacks for then sophomore OLB Davin Bellamy, who must fill the pass-rushing void after the departures of Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins.

10--2

Record with QB Greyson Lambert starting as a junior in '15, though he could lose his job.

7

Average first-season wins of the last eight coaches hired in the SEC. Kirby Smart is making his debut in Athens.

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

5 YEAR TREND

WINS

15

12

9

6

3

10--4

12--2

8--5

10--3

10--3

YEAR

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

X-FACTOR

Will Georgia coaches hand the offense over to freshman quarterback JACOB EASON? And if they do, when? Eason has a special right arm, which could help the Bulldogs regain their balance on offense. In 2015 they ran 60.0% of the time, and rushing accounted for 51.0% of their yardage. Georgia has enough talent at running back and on the line to make that formula work against most opponents, but to win championships, the passing game must carry more of the load.

2016 SCHEDULE

SATURDAY 9/3

NORTH CAROLINA

(IN ATLANTA)

SATURDAY 9/10

NICHOLLS STATE

SATURDAY 9/17

AT MISSOURI

SATURDAY 9/24

AT OLE MISS [KEY MATCHUP]

SATURDAY 10/1

TENNESSEE [BIGGEST GAME]

SATURDAY 10/8

AT SOUTH CAROLINA

SATURDAY 10/15

VANDERBILT

BYE

SATURDAY 10/29

FLORIDA [KEY MATCHUP]

(IN JACKSONVILLE)

SATURDAY 11/5

AT KENTUCKY

SATURDAY 11/12

AUBURN

SATURDAY 11/19

LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE

SATURDAY 11/26

GEORGIA TECH

KEY MATCHUP

BIGGEST GAME