The bye week couldn't come at a better time for Georgia. The 2021 season is going spectacularly well by all accounts, but football is a tough, grueling sport. The bye week presents an opportunity for Georgia to continue to grow and get better, but the Dawgs have a few objectives they need to accomplish over the next week to get where they want to be.
The biggest and most obvious one is, Getting Healthy. Georgia hasn't played a single game this year at full strength. In a year that has seen the Bulldogs dominate every opponent, they've played outside of Clemson; injuries have handicapped Georgia. The wide receiving corps, in particular, is decimated with injuries. Kearis Jackson is still getting over offseason knee surgery. While Dominick Blaylock (hamstring) Arian Smith (shin) and, George Pickens (knee) join him on the list. All of these injuries are limiting Georgia on the outside this year, and that's even with Adonai Mitchell and Ladd McConkey having banner years at wide-out — more on those two later.
The injuries aren't limited to wide receiver either. Georgia lost Tate Ratledge for the season in game one. In addition, both Warren Ericson and Jamaree Salyer dealt with minor injuries that have affected them at various points in the season. While Ericson's is most likely all the way healed, Salyer has a chance to give his ankle a little more rest over the next week.
Defensively, the biggest injury so far is Christopher Smith. After being cleared for action against Kentucky and being held out due to personnel, the bye week should allow for Smith to rejoin Lewis Cine as the safety pairing.
The second biggest objective is to Stay Healthy. Rest, rehab, and practice are the names of the game over the bye week. Georgia’s practices are known for their physicality. There's always the chance for more injuries when you're going good on good. Staying healthy is crucial over the next two weeks and going into the second half of the season.
If Georgia can accomplish the first objective, Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken and Coach Cortez Hankton will find themselves in an interesting dilemma.
Who do you start at wide receiver? Adonai Mitchell and Ladd McConkey are off to strong starts so far, thriving in the injury-riddled receiver room. McConkey is second in overall receptions with 17 catches for 295 yards. Mitchell is fourth on that list with 14 receptions and 210 yards.
Both players would be listed on the second or third team had the year gone as planned, but are they still there when the rest of the room returns from injury? Have Mitchell and McConkey moved up the depth chart since then? Those are questions both Monken and Hankton have to answer over the next two weeks.
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