The Georgia Bulldogs have had a lot of success in Coach Kirby Smart‘s first three seasons in Athens. As the 2019 campaign approaches, they will look to take the championship step that has eluded them thus far. Winning double-digit games each season is not an accomplishment to be taken lightly, but the Bulldogs are desperately hoping to bring home their first national title since 1980. They are 24-5 in the past two seasons, with an SEC Championship and a national title game appearance. There is only one hurdle left for this program to get over.
Georgia Bulldogs Look to Take Championship Step
Each of the past two seasons, Coach Smart has had his team in the nation’s top five, and among the contenders for the national title. They have fallen agonizingly short both times, with the Alabama Crimson Tide thwarting their plans. Georgia had each of those contests under control, but could not close the game out. Talent is not the issue in Athens. The Bulldogs have separated themselves from most of the nations other programs. However, they are still looking to bring home the sport’s biggest prize. This season, the goal is clear: be the last team standing.
Quarterback Jake Fromm and tailback D’Andre Swift have both seen their fair share of success over their first two seasons in Athens. Fromm has thrown for over 5,000 yards and 54 touchdowns in 29 career games. He plays the game with a poise and calmness, a rare trait in such a young quarterback. This season, he will not be a young player anymore; his experience will have to guide this team. The junior signal-caller loses four of his top five pass catchers from 2018. He will have to be at his best to bring along a young and talented receiver group. Fromm has a 4-4 record, with 1,672 yards and 14 touchdown passes as a starter against top 15 opponents. He has shown the talent and pedigree needed to help the Bulldogs take that championship step.
Swift is one of the nation’s most explosive offensive players. He has the elusiveness and speed to break a big run on every touch. As a freshman, he forced his way into a backfield that featured Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. He averaged nearly eight yards per on his 98 touches both rushing and receiving. Swift broke out in the SEC Championship victory over Auburn, with over 100 total yards including a 64-yard touchdown run. As a sophomore, he topped 1,000 yards on the ground while splitting carries with Elijah Holyfield. He scored 13 total touchdowns and caught 32 passes out of the backfield. Swift will be the focal point of the Bulldog offense this season. Expect him to get 20 or more touches a game and put up some big numbers.
Coach Smart has created a recruiting juggernaut in Athens. Georgia’s last three classes have ranked 3rd, 1st, and 2nd respectively, with a total of 15 five-star players. Rankings and stars don’t mean everything of course, but it still indicates how much talent the Bulldogs have lined up. The defense has just five seniors on the two-deep. Most of that unit is made up of these highly regarded recruiting classes. Georgia’s depth of talent stacks up with any program in the nation. That creates a higher level of competition in practice, which ultimately leads to greater focus and a sense of urgency on game day.
Iron sharpens iron.
If the Bulldogs are to make it back to the College Football Playoff in 2019, they will have surely earned it. Georgia’s schedule will be as tough as almost anyone else in the country will face. They have separated themselves ahead of their SEC East comrades, but games with Florida, South Carolina, and Kentucky will be tough. From the SEC West, a trip to rival Auburn precedes the Texas A&M Aggies first visit to Athens since that memorable 1980 season. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will make the journey down south in September, after the Bulldogs and their fans took over South Bend in 2017. Georgia Tech has a new coach and no more triple option, so it is hard to know what to expect from the season-ending trip to Atlanta.
This team will have its challenges throughout the season, but Coach Smart has built a roster made to withstand them. The Bulldogs have proven they have the talent to compare with any program in the nation. In order for the Georgia Bulldogs to that take championship step in 2019, they need to show the focus and fortitude necessary to be the last team standing.
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