Georgia football's depth a bigger advantage in the year of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt Georgia football a bad hand in many areas, but conditioning might not be one of them.
In a recent SEC football teleconference, head coach Kirby Smart mentioned that he has noticed an uptick in injuries throughout the nation in the first few weeks of the 2020 season. The injuries and less-than-ideal conditioning at many programs have made depth an even bigger requirement than it usually is.
"It does seem that there are more soft tissue injuries, meaning guys are pulling things and getting injured," Smart said. "of course your depth is a factor all the time, [but] with COVID[-19] and the pandemic going on.
"It seems more prevalent that you’re going to have to play more players because of the conditioning level may or may not be there."
Soft tissue injury concerns are something we here at Dawgs Daily thought could be a major concern for this season considering the altered off-season conditioning programs.
But the conditioning issues plaguing the rest of college football are something Georgia and the rest of the SEC may have avoided. The SEC season begins this Saturday, two weeks after the ACC and Big 12. That means two more weeks of conditioning and avoiding the hottest portion of the football season entirely.
"I do think we are fortunate that we haven’t had to play in what you would consider ‘the hot part’ of the year," he said. "[Injuries] usually happens early in the season and it seems a little cooler. So that helps with the conditioning factor. That’s the biggest change to me.
"I certainly think that the luxury they gave us, spreading the practices out over a large number of days, has allowed us to stay more healthy than in the past.”
But if any team was built to withstand the conditioning issues affecting the rest of the nation, it would be Georgia, at least on defense. The Bulldogs are capable of going two-deep at every position and even three-deep at some with very little drop off in talent and skill.
The conditioning of Georgia's offense would be a concern, especially on the rebuilt offensive line. But those concerns would also apply to players like Zamir White and JT Daniels who have torn their ACLs in the past. While the risk of an injury always exists, Georgia was fortunate to have more time to get players in shape before starting the season.
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