All preseason Georgia football fans heard how losing 15 NFL-caliber players would cause the Dawgs to take a big step back. Very few thought the offense would improve enough to make up for losing eight starters on a historically good defense, but after three weeks, it looks like Georgia has found a way to reload on both sides of the ball.
The Dawgs have beaten their opponents by a margin of 40 points so far and only allowed 3.3 points per game. The most impressive improvement has been on the offensive side of the ball.
In just nine quarters, starting quarterback Stetson Bennett has a total of 952 yards and is completing 74% of his passes. His mobility in both the run game and passing attack has made it difficult to pressure him. Now more than ever, Bennett is implementing himself in the run game and has added another threat for defenses to stop. In 2021 his legs were used to change the release point or to gain yards when everyone was covered.
Georgia football has manhandled its first three opponents of the 2022 season.
This season he has been integrated into the offense at a much higher level. With his first repetitions as the official starting quarterback, Bennett deserves a lot of credit for his hard work in the off-season.
The Georgia defense may not be the 2021 squad, but they have certainly not fallen off. A No. 11 ranked Oregon has scored 55 points on opponents so far outside of Week 1 but against Georgia, and they managed only three.
This defense has drastically improved its pass coverage and has created numerous turnovers on deep routes. The linebacker play is much further along than I predicted, which is why co-defensive coordinator Glenn Schumann is arguably one of the best position coaches in college football. He shares defensive coordinator responsibility with Will Muschamp, who has made his presence known at the safety position.
Now, this squad isn’t perfect. There are two major things they need to focus on — turning quarterback hurries into sacks and backside blocking consistently. Right now, the Dawgs have 47 quarterback hurries, a defender forcing them into throwing the ball before he is ready, and only one recorded sack. The defense needs to try and generate a way to break loose and cause the offensive lines to lose guys in stunts a bit more.
The other concern is to elevate Georgia’s running game from 5.5 yards per carry to six, which shows how spoiled we are as fans. Knowing head coach Kirby Smart, Schumann, and Muschamp, I don’t see any defensive issues lasting for the entirety of the season.
The last thing to mention is the mentality of this team. Everyone seems tuned into what matters, doesn’t care much for anything the media is or isn’t saying, and has been so focused on the details that they’ve made a very talented ranked Oregon team look like they did not belong on the same field.
The Dawgs need to continue to do what they’ve been doing, and this team could be another memorable season for Georgia. Don’t look ahead— enjoy the moment.