Good Morning, Dawg fans! We think today is Monday. The problem is that things blend together during the holiday season, and we’re feeling a bit like The Dude.
Either way, the calendar says it’s Monday so we’re going with it, and if it’s Monday then that makes this the start of a game week. Instead of waiting to Saturday to see the Bulldogs play, we only have to wait until Friday.
Unless of course a rash of Covid positives runs through Georgia or Cincinnati’s roster. The Dawgs have been dealing with some Covid issues recently, but as of right now it looks like Georgia’s numbers will be sufficient enough to play in the game.
As macondawg covered in yesterday’s DawgBites, Azeez Ojulari and Richard LeCounte will be among those who play in the bowl game. That’s huge. What’s also huge is seeing actual footage of LeCounte and Jordan Davis going full speed at practice in the video that UGA’s media team put out yesterday.
Wait a second... Was that Kendall Milton?! The man who lead the SEC in yards after contact at one point this year before being injured against Florida? That’s a sight that should make Bulldog hearts swell with happiness. Georgia’s running-back corps has been plenty productive over the last six weeks, but Milton could be RB1 next year depending on how things shake out with other backs leaving early for the pros.
The return of some familiar faces for the Peach Bowl against Cincinnati is certainly something Dawg fans should be excited about, but what’s also exciting is the fact that we are certain to see some players that we don’t know about yet. Since arriving in Athens, Kirby Smart has shown that he loves to use bowl games to get up and coming players a chance to flash their skills before the offseason. It gives the staff a chance to get a better idea of what they’re going to be working with when next season rolls around, and it also gives us fans a chance to salivate over the talents of young Bulldogs who could make an impact in 2021.
Georgia will certainly have some young guns playing in the secondary against the Bearcats. With DJ Daniel and Eric Stokes reportedly not playing, Georgia will have to get production from some guys that might not have as much seasoning. Veterans Mark Webb and Ameer Speed will certainly get a chance to show their stuff during meaningful junctures, but freshman Jalen Kimber, Daran Branch and Major Burns might see action in moments that matter for the first time in their careers. Any of those three showing that they’re ready would be huge for Georgia’s prospects in 2021.
Another position to keep an eye on is tight-end. Tre McKitty has opted out, and will not play in the bowl game as he focuses on the NFL Draft. He posted a thank-you note to the UGA program and Dawg fans everywhere on his way out of the door.
McKitty wasn’t fully healthy to start the year, and he didn’t see the ball a ton in the passing game until the end of the season. Despite not getting a ton of targets, he was a huge asset to the program this year in my opinion. McKitty blocked like a pro on every single down, playing to the whistle and often taking his assignment to the ground. It was fun watching him get some love in the passing game against South Carolina and Missouri, and it’s hard not to wonder what his draft status might be if he had never hurt his knee and JT Daniels had been healthy at the start of the season. Either way, he played hard and was crucial to Georgia’s rushing attack as an end of the line blocker.
As for the Peach Bowl, Darnell Washington flashed his limitless potential at the position in the second-half against Missouri, and ‘The Big O’ will probably see a lot of targets. Watching a 6’7” tight-end spearing balls against undersized G5 linebackers sounds like a really nice way to start off the first afternoon of the new year.
With Ben Cleveland and Trey Hill out on the offensive line, we might see Warren Ericson shuffle to center in order to make room for Clay Webb at guard. We could also see freshman Sedrick Van Pran, the #1 center in the country in the 2021 recruiting class, get his first big game action.
No matter how it turns out, it will be fun to see this team play once more, and great to see seniors like Richard LeCounte get one more standing ovation from the Bulldog faithful who are on hand in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Most importantly, this game will mark the start of a new year. We can all call that a win.
We’ll be along with plenty more coverage as the week progresses, so stay tuned to DawgSports for all you Peach Bowl needs.
Until later... GO DAWGS!!!