Georgia Football: 5 Biggest Offseason Goals for the Bulldogs
Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart is expected to do some big things in Athens. The program brought him in to help the Bulldogs be a national title contender year in and year out, something that Mark Richt was not able to do despite winning 10 games each season.
In order for the Bulldogs to be a national title contender, they have to iron some things out this offseason, and it starts next week with national signing day. So, here are the five biggest goals for Georgia this offseason.
Have a Top-10 Recruiting Class
When Smart took over, he had (and still has) some work to do in terms of recruiting. Eight players decommitted to UGA as soon as Smart was hired, and as a result, the Bulldogs dropped out of the 247Sports top 10 at one point.
However, the Bulldogs have bounced back and are now ranked No. 9. And if they can land top targets such as Derrick Brown and E.J. Price, the Bulldogs should not only have a top-10 recruiting class but could have a top-five group if they can finish strong. If one thing is for sure, February 3 will be an interesting and important day for the program.
Find a Quarterback
One of the players in the recruiting class who has a chance to play right away is quarterback Jacob Eason, who is listed as the fifth-best prospect in the country, according to 247Sports.
Eason will compete with Greyson Lambert and Brice Ramsey this spring. And because of the new coaching staff, all three should have a chance to win the spot.
However, the fans want Eason to be the guy. He has the most talent, but he does not have the experience. And if he does become the starter, he will have his share of growing pains in 2016.
No matter who starts, so long as the Bulldogs have a starter in place before the season begins, that is a good sign.
Solidify the Offensive Line
Another thing the Bulldogs have to do when it comes to the offensive side of the ball is solidify the offensive line. John Theus, Kolton Houston and Hunter Long have moved on, which mans offensive line coach Sam Pittman will have to find replacements.
Pittman does have talent coming back in Brandon Kublanow, Greg Pyke and Isaiah Wynn. Dyshon Sims, Pat Allen and Kendall Baker should have a chance to win starting spots. Because of the new offense and the new coaching staff, all positions on the offensive could well be up for the taking. So along with the quarterback position, the offensive line will be an area to watch this spring.
Strengthen the Defensive Line
The same thing can be said about the defensive line as that was a weak spot for the Bulldogs last year. Also, losing four starters does not help the process.
The unit has talent with Trenton Thompson and Jonathan Ledbetter. And with Julian Rochester coming in and possibly Derrick Brown, the Bulldogs should be much improved on the defensive line.
Another player to watch is Michael Barnett. Jake Rowe of 247Sports said he’s a guy who has a chance to break out in 2016 because he can play either nose tackle or defensive end. Defensive line coach Tracy Rocker will have more options to work with this season, which will make the defense stronger.
Find Two Outside Linebackers
With Jordan Jenkins and Leonard Floyd gone, the Bulldogs will also need to make sure they have both outside linebacker positions locked down.
Lorenzo Carter should win one spot, but he took a step back last season, as he did not record a sack. Having Carter start at outside linebacker full time instead of coming off the bench will help his production.
Davin Bellamy will have a chance to win the other outside linebacker spot, and he’s coming off a great 2015 season. He tallied 33 tackles, notched three sacks and recovered one fumble in a reserve role.
Another player to watch is D’Andre Walker. He did good things on special teams last season and can play outside linebacker, inside linebacker and defensive end.