ATHENS, Ga. - The No.3 Georgia Bulldogs are coming off an impressive 30-6 victory in their opening game of the season over SEC East opponent the Vanderbilt Commodores. With the Murray State Racers coming into town, here are a few things to watch out for and what to expect from the Bulldogs.
The main storyline heading into week two for the Bulldogs burst onto the scene out of Wednesday’s practice. News broke that the Bulldogs starting right tackle, Isaiah Wilson, had sustained an ankle injury and is expected to miss multiple weeks.
The Bulldogs have an elite running back corps and a very talented linebacker group, but I believe it’s their offensive line and the depth at that position that is most impressive.
How the staff goes about replacing a vital piece like Wilson is something to watch as the Bulldogs inch ever closer to potentially their first top-ten meeting of the season against No. 9 Notre Dame in two weeks. This game will allow them to try out multiple guys at that position and see what grouping they like best on their offensive front.
Guys that will most likely step up in Wilson’s absence are Cade Mays and Ben Cleveland. Mays and Cleveland have split time at the right guard spot, but Mays could swing out to the newly open right tackle spot, and there should not be a considerable drop in talent. Jamaree Salyer is another name to watch, as he should now be the 6th guy in tow for the Bulldogs on the offensive line.
Another injury that the Bulldogs sustained in week one was to return man and wide receiver, Kearis Jackson. Jackson broke his hand against the Commodores in the final quarter of the game and leaves a spot open in the rotation for both their slot receiver and punt returner.
Tyler Simmons is the clear-cut choice to fully take on the punt returner duties as he returned the majority of the team’s punts. As for the slot receiver role, Demetris Robertson is option number one at that spot, but it will not be a big surprise to see Simmons take some time in the slot or freshman Dominick Blalock to earn a couple of in-game reps as well.
The utilization of the receiving corps in this game is also worth keeping an eye on to see if they choose to open up their passing attack. The Bulldogs know they can run the ball at will and their 328 rushing yards in week one is clearly evident of that. With that Fighting Irish matchup creeping up the schedule, it is possible that the Bulldogs may push their passing game in week two to see what works and what may need tweaking.
However, it should be expected that the Bulldogs are going to run the ball early and often in this game against the Racers. That rotation of skillsets is always fun to watch and should have the Bulldog fan base very excited for the future of this team.
Zamir White is the guy that everyone wants to see more of, and the Bulldogs may give him a little more time on the field than what he saw this past weekend. If you are an avid Bulldog fan, try to watch and see how the coaching staff is utilizing this backfield because it seems to be different in year’s past.
There are many power runs, but there has been a wider variety of motions and “Wild Dawg” sets that have added a different wrinkle to the offense that has made it even more of a challenge to defend. This is especially true when running back James Cook is on the field as his speed and agility make him so dangerous when given space.
This Bulldogs team should have no problem on Saturday and should take care of business in the early stages of this affair with excellent defensive play and a stout rushing attack. The most compelling part of this game could be in the later stages when some of the younger guys on the team get opportunities to make plays.
Regardless of what gameplan the Bulldogs put into effect, expect another 30 to 40 point victory for them that involves a heavy dose of running plays and easy throws for quarterback Jake Fromm.