The last time the Georgia Bulldogs were on the field, they were victorious in a top ten showdown with Notre Dame. Now they are coming off a bye week, and the Bulldogs focus turns to the SEC East. Their next five games are against divisional opponents, giving them a chance to book their trip to Atlanta over the coming weeks. Having beaten Vanderbilt in the season opener, Kirby Smart’s team now has 14 consecutive wins over SEC East opposition. If they continue that dominance, they could wrap up another division title by the time November rolls around.
Georgia Bulldogs Focus On SEC Stretch
All but one of the remaining games on the 2019 schedule are against SEC foes. They will play seven straight conference games before ending the season with the rival Yellow Jackets from Georgia Tech. Before that they play both of their crossover opponents from the West division, with a trip to Auburn followed by a visit from the Texas A&M. The Bulldogs focus for now is on securing a third consecutive SEC East title, and a trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game. They have looked good so far this season, but now they hit the meat of their schedule. Smart has loaded up on the talent the last few years, and they have proven to be far ahead of the other teams in the East. Georgia has the chance to show just how far ahead they are in the next five weeks.
Playing Fromm In Front
Notre Dame scored first in Athens, and also took a 10-7 lead to end the first quarter, before Georgia took control and eventually won. Aside from the start of that game, coach Smart’s team has not trailed at any other point this season. Securing an early lead is a big part of the Bulldogs success. Playing with the lead means they can rely on their stingy defense and overpowering run game. Jake Fromm has been a steady performer during his two plus seasons in Athens. However, he hasn’t been asked to take over games through the air very often. He has the ability to make all the necessary throws, but Georgia prefers to rely on the ground game. The junior signal caller has yet to attempt more than 26 passes in a game, which is very low by today’s college football standards.
Taking an early lead allows the Bulldogs focus to stay with the run game. Then they look to use the play action pass once the ground game has been established. Fromm has proven himself as a smart decision maker, but he is still working on finding his play makers on the outside. If Georgia was to fall behind it is unclear just how open and attacking this offense can be. They haven’t needed to show too much so far this season, and they are still unproven at receiver.
For that reason, the Bulldogs will look to continue to pound away at teams with the rushing attack led by D’Andre Swift. Their best offensive weapons are all in the backfield, so they have multiple fresh talented backs to fed the ball to. Scoring early will allow them to lean on the run, and let their athletic attacking defense loose on opposing offenses.
Shutting Down Shop
The Bulldog defense has suffocated its opponents in 2019. They are allowing just 262 yards and 10 points a contest. After struggling to get to the quarterback the last two seasons, Smart’s defense is harassing them at-will through four games. They have 12 sacks already, with 10 different players getting in on the fun. The run defense has also been stout. They have allowed just 228 total yards on the ground this year, while averaging 253 yards themselves. This contrast has allowed the Bulldogs to control the physicality, style, and tempo of each game. Senior safety J.R. Reed has been the standout on the defensive side of the ball. He is second on the team in tackles, and also has an interception and fumble recovery on the year.
First In Line
Georgia begins their run of SEC East contests with a trip to Knoxville on Saturday. The Vols have not had a good start to the season, and the Bulldogs focus will be on adding to their misery. Tennessee is also coming off a bye week. It will be interesting to see what changes they have made after their 1-3 start. They have struggled on both sides of the ball, with the offensive efficiency being the biggest of their issues. The Vols are averaging two turnovers a game. Georgia’s defense will need to be aggressive, and force whichever quarterback Tennessee plays to make mistakes.
The Bulldogs will look to follow a familiar strategy, score early, attack on defense, and pound away with the running game. Smart’s bunch is favored by 25 points on the road. That should tell you the gap between where these two programs currently stand. Sitting at 1-0 in the SEC already, the path to Atlanta begins in earnest this weekend.