Wide receiver George Pickens tore his ACL recently, yet Georgia football's offense is still progressing at a solid rate this spring. How is that possible?
Pickens was expected to have a monumental season in 2021 with a new pass-happy offense led by gunslinger JT Daniels. His injury is a huge step back for Georgia's offense, but it's not enough to put the unit in the dumps. Here's why the offense is still rolling despite Pickens' injury.
Quarterbacks like Daniels make everyone else better. A college quarterback can't be found with more confidence in himself and his teammates. Daniels doesn't need his receivers to be wide open; all he asks is for them to keep the defender away from the ball. Daniels trusts himself to make the perfect throw and his receivers to make the catch. He's right to have that confidence.
Plenty of talent at wide receiver
Georgia will miss Pickens this year, but he's not the only star wideout on the team. Jermaine Burton is every bit as talented as Pickens, and he showed late in 2020 that he has the skills to match him. Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint stepped up in Pickens' absence against Florida last year. Unfortunately, his shining moment included him breaking his leg as he scored a touchdown.
That only scratches the surface of Georgia's receiving corps. Kearis Jackson and Arian Smith are capable primary targets on any given down. If Dominick Blaylock can return to form after two ACL tears, he's also a solid primary target. Demetris Robertson is still on the team and we haven't even seen Justin Robinson or Ladd McConky yet.
Year of the tight end
If you're one of those Georgia fans begging for the team to use tight ends more often, that wish should be granted in 2021. The Bulldogs have a stable of reliable, versatile and varied tight ends.
Darnell Washington and Brock Bowers are the "big wide receivers." Both tip the scales above 240 pounds, but they have the athleticism and ball-skills of slimmer wideouts.
John FitzPatrick, Ryland Goede and Brett Seither are the forgotten men in the tight-end room. FitzPatrick has experience and he's settled into the H-back role as a lead blocker and check-down receiver. Goede and Seither are in their first spring as Georgia football players. Both are talented, but were clearly underdeveloped last year.
Georgia is still 'Running Back U'
The Bulldogs are embracing an explosive passing offense, but that doesn't mean the running game is a relic of the past. On the contrary, Georgia will still play its "brand of football" at times in 2021. When head coach Kirby Smart and offensive coordinator Todd Monken feel like they need to slow down and grind out yardage, they have an impressive stable of running backs to rely on.
Zamir White and Kendall Milton will lead the way this year. Both are bruisers who can run away from defenses after running over them. James Cook became one of the team's best playmakers last year, especially in the passing game. Kenny McIntosh is Georgia's most versatile running back. He's solid between the tackles and a consistent receiving threat out of the backfield.