The first two times Georgia’s Kearis Jackson was asked about the passing game and its difficulties following a 44-28 defeat to Florida, he delayed for Kirby Smart to answer those questions.
And after the performances that Stetson Bennett and D’Wan Mathis show, Smart will only continue to receive questions about the midfield play.
Location and quagmire Georgia seems to often find itself in identifying Smart and Georgia programs.
“I can’t want to commit an explosive offense,” Smart said. “We have to do our best. We have to carry out our offense and complete more, more accurate passes. “
“We have to get the boys to open up, but when we do, we have to hit them. I want to win. I want to win the games ”.
Bennett and Mathis combined to complete nine of the 29 passing attempts at 112 yards. The pair launched three interceptions versus two touches of the ball. In contrast to Kyle Trask throws in 474 yards and four touches of the ball, matters are directed only at home.
Until the Georgia quarterback plays more like Trask and looks less like the quartet that Jacksonville Jaguars started, the Bulldogs will continue to lack the character in the national title conversation.
The fact that the Bulldogs didn’t have George Pickens at wide-angle or Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, who replaced him, left the game with a late-season injury did not help the attack.
But Smart has made it clear that everyone is open-minded. The midfielders just couldn’t find them.
“Anyone with open eyes can say,” Well, they’ve got some people open, “Smart said. “We defended the quartet quite well from an early age. We must be able to throw and catch it. And they did. So that’s the difference in the game. “
For the first time since the 2016 season, Georgia can no longer control her own destiny of progressing to the SEC championship match in Atlanta. Smart then said that he was not worried about the team’s dynamics in the future.
Jackson seemed to be in lockstep with Smart during that time of texting.
“We will not give up. We will continue to fight, ”said Jackson. “Please continue to encourage each other, keep working and keep working.”
Georgia’s goal, however, isn’t to play in the Peach Bowl. That’s not why Smart replaced Mark Richt. Smart went to Georgia to win the championship. Since winning Georgia within 2 and 26 versus one in his second year, the Georgia show feels like it’s moving further and further from the elusive title.
Georgia’s 2020 championship dream was definitely dead on Saturday night against Florida. Now the Bulldogs have to find out what happens next – both for this season but more importantly for 2021 and beyond.
Does that mean more Mathis or Bennett? The man was subsequently injured on his throw shoulder in the second leg of the game, and it was revealed following the match as an AC joint injury. But his 5/16 performance was like a rock bottom, punctured by an intercept on his last pass before being pulled.
Either way, it says a lot about how Georgia feels about Mathis, as Bennett was still playing until the third half with injury.
As for JT Daniels, the premium USC transfer, who arrived in the summer, he has yet to do so quickly. Many thought he would push the show to continue following Jamie Newman’s decision to opt out of the 2020 season and announce his participation in the NFL draft. A knee injury left him unavailable at the start of the season, but he was released ahead of the match with Auburn.
In Smart’s eyes, Bennett and Mathis still gave Georgia a better victory.
“I think he is still growing and getting better in his attacks, but obviously now, given our position, we feel they give us the best shots.”
Related: Kirby Smart explains the Georgia QB rotation in the 44-28 defeat to Florida
Smart added that knee injuries were not a concern for Daniels in the future, and when he arrived in Georgia, it was not a backup.
The Bulldogs also has 5-star midfielder Brock Vandagriff committed to be a member of the recruiting class in 2021. He will arrive in January, although some may wish he would come to Georgia sooner.
Overcoming all this mess with Georgia is the fact that Justin Fields continues to look like one of the best defenders in the country. The problem is that the former Georgia defender is doing the same for the State of Ohio. He somehow looks even better this year than when he threw 41 touches a season ago.
Smart has built a very good program. He is recruited better than almost anyone in the country. He showed that he can develop players into top players and All American level players.
One thing the Bulldogs didn’t have during their time in Georgia is the truly great midfield play. Jake Fromm is usually very good but he has never looked as good as Trask did on Saturday. The end result shows that Georgia doesn’t have that and not nearly all of it seems to figure it out.
Georgia is likely to be favored to win the remaining matches. It will win against all four of them, regardless of who is playing midfield.
But none of these results helped Georgia win a national title. And until Smart starts to play better in midfield, this fame and stigma will continue to affect him.
“We had to get better and that started with me. I have to do a better job, and we will do a better job, but I am not discouraged by the situation we are in. We cleaned up our beds. “
Georgia football coach Kirby Smart talks to play midfield
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