Georgia football: Looking at the weirdest offseason in recent memory

Georgia fans cheer for their team (Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
Georgia fans cheer for their team (Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /

Like most college football fans, Georgia football fans have slugged their way through a very bizarre offseason in 2020.

It’s been a wild rollercoaster ride in 2020, and Georgia football fans have had what seems like a front-car vantage point for every hill and loop on the track. Pandemic, transfers in and out, players opting out, and preseason injuries – the Bulldog nation has had to endure quite a bit over the past nine months.

The Dawgs were supposed to be playing football already. In the gumdrop and candy cane dreams of Georgia fans, the Bulldogs are already 1-0, coming off a rousing opening weekend win against Virginia, and were getting ready to do some fine-tuning for the big game against the Crimson Tide against ETSU this Saturday.

So much for sweet dreams.

Instead of girding up their loins for Alabama in two weeks, the Bulldogs are licking some wounds and trying to figure out who’s going to play quarterback against Arkansas – a team the Dawgs weren’t even scheduled to play this year originally.

The “who’s under center” wasn’t supposed to even be a question at this point in the game. Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman was expected to have notched the first tick-marks in a Heisman Trophy campaign by shredding the Virginia defense en route to his first win as a Bulldog.

Now Newman isn’t even playing…not for Georgia, Wake, or anyone else.

The Georgia quarterback battle now rests between a former 5-star transfer who is recovering from an ACL tear and who hasn’t even been cleared for full contact (J.T. Daniels), a 4-star prospect who has yet to take a snap in a live game after undergoing brain surgery to remove a cyst (D’Wan Mathis), a true freshman (Carson Beck), and a guy who has had moderate success at mop-up duty with the Bulldogs (Stetson Bennett).

That’s either an extremely deep group of talented quarterbacks, any of whom could possibly lead you to the promised land, or a collection of unknown commodities that gives concern to the Georgia football season.

You decide…half full, or half empty?

You want defectors? Georgia has had them this offseason. Defensive back Divaad Wilson, running back/special teams star Prather Hudson, linebacker Robert Beal, wide receiver Josh Moran, offensive lineman Cade Mays all entered the mystical realm of the transfer portal this offseason.

While it’s never good news to hear a player wants to leave the program, the situation with Mays was the most problematic. Not only did Mays leave the Bulldogs and defect to orange checkerboard country up in Knoxville, but all of this happened while a lawsuit brought on by his father was swirling around.

Mays’ father sued the school because part of his pinky was amputated by a folding chair at a 2017 recruiting event. Schools asking for body parts in return for scholarship offers? Hopefully not the wave of the future.

As a side note, at the event, the severed finger was picked up by former Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman, who is now the head coach at Arkansas…the team Georgia is playing in the revamped season opener.

Everyone caught up now?

All of this is wrapped up in a beautiful red and black bow representing the Bulldogs hiring their third offensive coordinator in five seasons – the third one with the job in the last three years.

Welcome to chaos, Todd Monken.

Oh, and by the way, promising sophomore wide receiver Dominick Blaylock was lost for the season with his second knee injury since December.

Yet, through all of this, through the transfers, the injuries, the coaching changes, the quarterback conundrum, and the threat of COVID-19 canceling the season as a whole, Georgia football is still looked at as one of the top teams in the nation.

Kirby Smart has been able to wrangle the cats of insanity and find a way to keep his team focused. The distractions do not distract him, the talking heads are just bobbleheads to him, and his resolve to bring the next championship to the University of Georgia remains as steadfast as it was the day he was hired.

It’s been a long and arduous offseason, with landmines in every direction, and tripwires placed inches apart from each other.

But on September 26, 2020, none of that will matter for Georgia football fans. The Bulldogs will step on the field in Fayetteville, Arkansas in front of nearly empty stands and the season that seemed it would never arrive will finally begin.

The long winter is finally over. Spring and summer were given a respite. Fall is here to renew our souls and rejuvenate our spirits. When toe meets pigskin in Razorback Stadium, we can all finally cheer as one.

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