Georgia football: Three Dawgs that will impress against Oregon

Georgia Bulldogs tight end Brock Bowers scores a touchdown against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. (Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)
Georgia Bulldogs tight end Brock Bowers scores a touchdown against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. (Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) /

Georgia football opens its national title defense campaign this weekend against the No. 11 Oregon Ducks in Atlanta. In just a couple of days, the entire Dawg Nation will enjoy the Dawgs again, and man, that feels amazing.

This offseason felt like one of the slowest ever, and while it was great to be defending champs, it still felt like it took forever for the season to get here.

Even though the Dawgs are considerable favorites heading into the matchup, there are some big shoes to fill from last year’s team, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

Opening games of this magnitude set the tone for the rest of the season. This game against Oregon could kickstart the season like the Clemson game did last year. However, it’ll take a collective effort, and that is something Georgia can make happen.

These three guys will help lead Georgia football to a victory over Oregon.

While it will be a total team effort, a few Dawgs, in particular, could be in line for a big game to kick off the year.

Kenny McIntosh

After years of being behind other prolific Georgia running backs, McIntosh will finally get his chance to serve as a primary back. The senior is a potential breakout candidate with extreme versatility out of the backfield.

The Dawgs will try to establish the running game against Oregon, and McIntosh will be one of the primary recipients of backfield touches. His previously mentioned versatility adds another element to his game, though. McIntosh is a capable runner and excels as a receiver out of the backfield. Oregon won’t be able to guess what type of play will happen based on him being on the field.

The Ducks did lose a key piece on the defensive line to the draft in Kayvon Thibodeaux, but new head coach Dan Lanning should have the defense ready to play, regardless.

McIntosh can be a safety valve for starting quarterback Stetson Bennett if Oregon’s defense removes his receiving options downfield. This type of role for McIntosh could be highly beneficial for Georgia by keeping the offense on the field and could lead to a big day for No. 6.

Robert Beal

After leading the historic 2021 Georgia defense in sacks, Robert Beal will look to do the same this season. With so much production from last year’s defense gone, the fifth-year senior will be tasked with stepping in to fill quite a void.

Beal will have a much bigger role this season, and the increased opportunity will allow him to thrive. Oregon has yet to name a starting quarterback, but it could be a familiar face in Bo Nix. Should that be the case, Beal will be licking his chops along with the rest of the Georgia defense.

Wreaking havoc on the quarterback is a staple of Kirby Smart’s defense, and Nix is no stranger to that from his Auburn days. Beal will be breathing down his neck from the second the first snap is taken, and he could be in for a big game with Oregon being forced to account for other guys like Nolan Smith and Jalen Carter.

Brock Bowers

He isn’t getting touted as one of the top tight ends in the country for no reason. Brock Bowers is the same physical freak of an athlete that fans saw in 2021, but he now has a year of experience under his belt.

Bowers epitomizes what it means to be a matchup nightmare. Teams can’t stop him, and they can only hope to contain him. He was already a lethal threat before, but with Arik Gilbert on the field, Oregon will have a hard time stopping multiple elite-level athletes at tight end.

Similar to McIntosh, Bowers will serve as a security valve for Bennett. This ability was a specialty of his last year, as he always seemed to find the soft spot in the defense to make himself an easy target.

With plenty of other weapons on the offense to draw the defense’s attention, Bowers should get the ball early and often. His combination of speed and power as a route runner and ball carrier will have the Ducks wishing they stayed on the west coast.

Related Story. Georgia Football: A ruthless game-by-game prediction for 2022 season. light

Georgia will likely have many other players step up and play well, but these are the three guys to watch on Saturday. Oregon will have its hands full trying to neutralize just these three players, let alone the rest of the playmakers on the team.