16 Georgia - Sports Illustrated Vault | SI.com
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16 Georgia

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OPPOSING COACH'S TAKE

JACOB EASON [sophomore quarterback] is a young guy, still developing. He's got a chance to be a good one. He was a freshman who started 12 games in the SEC. Just to get on the field at that age against that level of competition, physically and mentally—that's impressive. He's a big kid [6'5", 235 pounds], so he's got good strength, and he's only going to get stronger. He can take the hits.

I think seniors Nick Chubb and Sony Michel are both quality SEC backs. They're not the premier backs in the league, but they're good players. They have a big offensive line as always; I didn't think they were overly tough last year.

On defense they're solid. I didn't think their corners were very impressive—they weren't dynamic physically or with playmaking ability. Pretty solid guys, but they didn't seem to be those big corners you see at LSU and some other schools in the conference.

They are a well-coached, disciplined team. Putting your stamp on a program, coaching the guys and training the guys and developing the guys—that takes a while. That transition can't take place in six months, and that's basically what [second-year head coach Kirby Smart] had last year before his first game. I think this year's team will be a much better indication of what you're going to see in the future from Smart.

OFFENSIVE RANKINGS (1 TO 128)

[The following text appears within an illustration. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual illustration.]

THIRD-DOWN CONVERSION % (54TH)

YARDS PER PASS ATTEMPT (101ST)

COMPLETION % (99TH)

YARDS PER CARRY (54)

SACKS ALLOWED (44TH)

TURNOVERS LOST (56TH)

POINTS PER DRIVE (93RD)

YARDS PER PLAY (87TH)

DEFENSIVE RANKINGS (1 TO 128)

[The following text appears within an illustration. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual illustration.]

THIRD-DOWN CONVERSION % ALLOWED (34TH)

YARDS PER PASS ATTEMPT ALLOWED (44TH)

COMPLETION % ALLOWED (77TH)

YARDS PER CARRY ALLOWED (40TH)

SACKS (46TH)

TURNOVERS GAINED (10TH)

POINTS PER DRIVE ALLOWED (31ST)

YARDS PER PLAY ALLOWED (36TH)

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RATING

44

Georgia travels to Notre Dame (9/9) and Georgia Tech (11/25), and its SEC crossover game is at Auburn (11/11). If the Dawgs win the East—highlighted by a trip to Tennessee (9/30)—they would be underdogs in the SEC championship, but they would have a shot.

THE PLAYER TO KNOW

Georgia needs playmakers on the perimeter, and 5'11", 185-pound junior receiver TERRY GODWIN can help. He ranked second on the Bulldogs with 397 receiving yards in 2016, but he could turn into sophomore quarterback Jacob Eason's go-to target this season. Godwin looked good in spring practice and hauled in five passes for a team-high 130 yards in Georgia's spring game in April. His ability to scamper for big gains after catching short and intermediate passes will strain defenses already worried about how to stop senior running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. That's why the Bulldogs will likely go as far as Godwin—and its other wide receivers—can carry them.