Troubling signs at wide receiver for Georgia football

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

There’s no question Georgia football has a wide receiver problem. Why anyone thought it would not is the question.

It’s time to take off the red and black shades, Dawg people. Georgia football has a problem at wide receiver. Kirby Smart knows it, too, as James Cook took reps with the slot receivers in Monday’s practice.

Dawg fans have simply been in denial. After losing three starters to the NFL draft plus tight end weapon Isaac Nauta, the Dawgs then lost rising star JJ Hollman to bad behavior. That’s the top four wide receivers plus Nauta. You’ve kidded yourself long enough Dawg Nation – that’s a big Hairy Dawg deal.

Could Cook have been given an extended look at slot receiver sooner? With Zamir White still recovering from his second knee surgery in two years, no. The Dawgs just got caught a little short because of NFL defections and Holloman’s poor judgment.

A voice in the wilderness

One guy saw the problem coming, and he’s pretty much an expert on what wide receivers mean to a team: former Georgia football quarterback Hutson Mason.

Mason told Paul Finebaum, “I could see it costing Georgia one game if not two, because when you get into the SEC, and you know this, the gauntlet of a schedule. You got to have some alpha males at the receiver position to go up against some of these elite DBs and get off press-man (coverage). I don’t see that right now on Georgia’s offense.”

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Now, promising slot receiver Kearis Jackson has also been lost to injury, and the number of wide receivers gone from the 2018 roster is up to five. Tyler Simmons returned, so that’s one, but he saw limited action and caught few passes last year.

It’s math

The reason for optimism is that Simmons had four monster talents ahead of him keeping him off the field, but now the logic is turning back on itself. We return to simple math, that Georgia lost four NFL quality wide receivers plus Nauta and now Jackson.

Maybe we’ll feel better talking about tight end, where Charlie Woerner returned.

No, we don’t.

Woerner was not even targeted by quarterbacks Jake Fromm or Stetson Bennett against Murray State. Fortunately, Eli Wolf saw the error of his Rocky Top ways and transferred to Georgia as a graduate student. He looks like a solid contributor.

The D Rob factor

So maybe we need to get back to the wide receiver discussion because after all, elite talent Demetris Robertson returns there.

Robertson has great potential; there is no doubt, which makes it very interesting that he played little last year. He did come to the team late, he probably was not in shape, and he had those four guys in front of him – back to the four lost receivers again, now five, plus Nauta.

Still, Robertson is a reputed stud receiver. He should have found a way to get himself on the field. He did not. This year, we may be getting a peek at why. Robertson showcased the speed that earned him top receiver rank in the class of 2016, but his blocking is suspect, and when he has been defended, he has not won the battle for the ball with regularity.

Smart problem solver

There’s a problem in Athens, it’s at wide receiver, and Kirby Smart knows it. Time for Georgia Football fans to face the truth. The fate of this year’s Georgia football offense is going to be in the hands of freshman George Pickens and Dominick Blaylock. That leaves a lot of maturing for the Dawgs to do on the outside.

The pair are super talents, and Dawg fans can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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But is the light at the end of the tunnel an onrushing locomotive? It’s no sure thing Pickens and Blaylock can mature in time to get Georgia past the SEC Championship game, or even in it.