It's not every year that Georgia returns nine starters offensively. It is especially rare that the Bulldogs don't have to replace a quarterback, left tackle or an impact receiver among those nine starters.
The Bulldogs return the majority, if not all, of their impact players on offense this season, which is part of the reason why expectations in 2021 are so high around Georgia Football.
Following a COVID season, it masked much of what offensive coordinator Todd Monken was trying to do with the Georgia offense. Not having spring practice severely hurt the offensive preparation, along with many other programs across the country.
Monken was given a tough task last season. Trying to install a new system over Zoom is undoubtedly tougher than doing it in the Athens meeting rooms and practice fields. The uncertainty at quarterback following the opt-out of Jamie Newman did not help Monken out initially, as it was largely believed Newman, at least at the beginning of the season, would be Georgia's starter at quarterback even after the transfer of JT Daniels.
With less time put toward preparation and installation, Georgia was running a very simplified and thin chunk of its playbook throughout the first six games of 2020 in addition to trying to fit the system to the skillset of then-starter Stetson Bennett.
Bennett's playbook was different in terms of the plays being called when he was under center than the ones called with Daniels at quarterback. The two quarterbacks bring very different tools to the table.
With Daniels firmly entrenched at quarterback, the playbook is wide open for what Monken wants to run in 2021. Add in the fact that Monken will have three of the five starters along the offensive line back and all impact receivers and potentially George Pickens, when and if he recovers from an ACL tear he suffered at the beginning of spring practice.
The transfer of Arik Gilbert, the former LSU tight end now turned UGA receiver, is expected to help cushion the fall of not having Pickens lining up out wide in Week 1 and beyond. Gilbert's arrival will take some of the pressure off sophomore Jermaine Burton as the Z receiver.
Burton's freshman season resembled Dominick Blaylock's freshman season in Athens as the two quickly became major contributors to the offense. Burton is one of the better route-runners for Georgia and will continue to get better during his time in Athens.
The reemergence of two receivers from injury will likely ramp up the competition for playing time across the board at the position. Redshirt sophomore Dominick Blaylock will return to play in 2021 after two ACL surgeries that kept him out of 2020, while Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint looked to be on the verge of an outbreak against Florida before a serious ankle injury knocked him out for the remainder of the season. Rosemy-Jacksaint will likely contribute at both the X and Z receiver positions for Georgia this season, with Blaylock helping out Kearis Jackson in the slot and potentially playing as the Z at times.
Potential breakout stars like speedster Arian Smith will see time in the slot, with Justin Robinson and true freshman Adonai Mitchell possibly getting early playing time as red-zone threats.
At receiver alone, Georgia has so many mouths to feed in an era where a player can enter the NCAA transfer portal at any instant if they are disgruntled. That does not mention the tight-end room with potential breakout star Darnell Washington and true freshman Brock Bowers.
Georgia's roster makeup is well suited for the "Air Raid" advertised in the hiring of Monken at the beginning of 2020. It is also believed that the run game will still be strong, as it has long been a staple of the Bulldogs offense, and it shouldn't fade away considering the amount of talent in the backfield.
Zamir White and James Cook return for senior seasons alongside future starters Kenny McIntosh, Kendall Milton and Daijun Edwards. Cook and McIntosh are versatile backs who give Monken the option of motioning them out to the slot and acting as receivers. At the same time, White and Milton can be typical bellcow backs.
Balance will be preached when head coach Kirby Smart or even when Monken will have a rare media availability. With the transfer portal seeing a record offseason of movement around college football, it makes everyone wonder how the Georgia offense will keep all of its stars happy in 2021.
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