There's no better way to know your enemy than to get intel from someone familiar with the situation.
At least, that's how we approach matchups on a weekly basis here at GatorMaven. In order to best preview the upcoming game between the No. 6 Florida Gators and N0. 8 Georgia Bulldogs, I'm excited to welcome Brooks Austin of BulldogMaven for our weekly "Know Your Enemy" question and answer session.
Let's get to the Q&A!
1. It feels like Georgia football has been a little off this year, with the home loss to South Carolina, being tied with Kentucky into the middle of the third quarter, and even being down to Tennessee for most of the first half of that contest. Am I overthinking things, or have you seen a change in Georgia football this year from their typically recent dominance?
So, I think you could be overlooking things a tad bit. Look, despite starting off rather sluggish against Tennesee, they scored 30 unanswered to close out that contest. As for the Kentucky game, a similar story, despite starting slow, Georgia scored 21 unanswered in the second half during a downpour. As for the South Carolina loss, look Georgia is playing a style of football right now that requires you dominate Time of Possession and win the turnover battle. And they lost the turnover battle, 4-0. Jake Fromm's thrown four interceptions all year, three of them were in that game alone. To say it was an anomaly is reasonable.
Is this Georgia offense what it was last season in terms of sheer talent? Not in my opinion, but how could you expect them to be? They lost their top-5 receivers from last season. Yet, despite the young WRs corps, Georgia's offense is still 3rd in the SEC in both Yards & Points per game. Needless to say, I lean more towards believing Georgia had a bad day against South Carolina, it's not been a bad year. Defensively the stats are borderline ridiculous, and despite Kirby Smart calling their performance against Kentucky "Atrocious", they've played well all season. Though, the best QB they've faced all year has been Ian Book.
However, Georgia's early schedule is less than impressive. With Florida, Auburn, and A&M ahead, this conversation could sound totally different come December.
2. Where is Jake Fromm at in his development? There were discussions of him being a top three QB in the upcoming draft class this past offseason... and as for the rest of the offense, what does D'Andre Swift do that makes him special? Are any under-the-radar players in for a game against UF like Isaac Nauta last year?
For those waiting around for Jake Fromm to set the world on fire in terms of stats, it just isn't going to happen, so to expect a major spike in production in this offense isn't realistic. He is what is he at this point in terms of a shear thrower of the football as well. He's on pace to throw for right around 2800 yards this season, which is right around his yearly average since taking over. But he's got such a large sample size at this point, expecting him to suddenly change would require a major scheme change similar to the one we've all witnessed in Baton Rouge.
As for the remainder of the offense, what makes D'Andre Swift special is his ability to consistently make the first man miss. Rarely does the initial defender bring D'Andre Swift down. He's much quicker than fast, you won't see him leave defenders in the dust, but his ability to start and stop is unmatched on the college level, in my opinion.
Under the radar: Lawrence Cager has battled a shoulder injury dating all the way back to his time at Miami and has battled a recent rib injury, but is set to play against Florida Saturday. If there's going to be a Georgia player that comes out of nowhere at a skill position, it would be Cager.
3. 16 sacks and 10 turnovers in seven games doesn't feel like a typical Kirby Smart defense. What's going on there? Does Kyle Trask's performance since taking over at QB for Florida concern you for Saturday?
Kirby Smart talked all offseason about creating what he called "Havoc" plays. Plays like sacks, tackles for loss, turnovers, etc. And quite frankly, Georgia hasn't lived up to the bill this season in those categories. But the goal is to keep the opponent out of the endzone and off the scoreboard, they've done that. They are allowing just 10.6 PPG, that's 7th in the country and best in the SEC.
And to be quite honest, I would say most Georgia fans would tell you they are much more fearful of Trask than Franks. I don't know what it was about Franks, but Georgia fans relished in the idea of him being at the helm of that Gators' offense.
4. There are takes about it everywhere, and I want yours. What are your feelings on FL/GA staying in Jacksonville?
I think it's unreasonable to expect anything less at this point. The city of Jacksonville can't really afford to lose the matchup and to be honest, I'm sure the athletic programs enjoy the checks as well. Assuming the SEC loosens up a bit on the recruiting regulations involved with an annual neutral-site game, I'm sure both coaches will eventually be happy with it.
Because that's what all the noise has been about, at least on our end. Georgia has a head coach that's fascinated, and almost downright obsessed with, recruiting. So, the idea of losing an opportunity at official visits is flat out blasphemous to Smart, which I honestly understand.
5. Game prediction?
If Georgia wins this football game, like I believe they will, it's not going to be high scoring. It's going to be an ugly football game with a lot of work done on the ground. Georgia wins 24-20.