Kirby Smart’s unofficial mantra this offseason has been that “"pressure is a privilege.” He’s completely right. Georgia is the only team with the honor of having been picked by league media to win the SEC East by a wide margin. The only team to have signed not only the top recruiting class in America, but by some measures one of the best classes in modern college football history. The past twelve months, with the exception of one blown pass coverage in the national title game, has been wildly successful for the Red and Black. Success comes with expectations.
And so it’s against the backdrop of sky-high expectations that Smart’s Bulldogs will take the field this afternoon for the first of 29 practices leading up to the season opener against Austin Peay on September 1st.
There’re lots of things to look for over the next few days, including the following:
Who will fill big shoes on defense? Gone are key contributors like Roquan Smith, Dominick Sanders, Lorenzo Carter, and Trenton Thompson. And that’s only a very partial list. The Bulldogs will be looking to replace a ton of veteran experience with young talent, and how quickly it all gels will go a long way to determining if they can make it back to Atlanta in December.
What does one do with a Justin Fields? Smart & Co. signed the top high school quarterback in America (at least according to some services), a feat which they had no business pulling off with another highly ranked true freshman the presumed starter. How much will we see Fields? And how will he respond?
What’s life like without Chubbel/Michubb? Georgia featured an utterly unfair tailback rotation in 2017. Now D’Andre Swift will lead a talented but unproven group that will be needed to control the clock from time to time to take pressure off the young defense.
How good can the offensive line be? The Bulldog OL took a quantum leap forward from 2017 to 2018. Now they're bigger, stronger, and siginificantly deeper. Will Coach Pittman be able to settle on a line up early? And if so, which of his legion of large blue chippers will he be forced to sit?
Can UGA fill a deep hole at.....punter? Cameron Nizialek was an unsung hero of the 2017 season, booming more touchbacks than any Bulldog punter in recent memory and flipping the field repeatedly. Can any of the contenders to fill his spot do anything close?
What other burning questions are you looking for answers to in the coming days? Let us know in the comments. And....