Georgia finished the 2015 season with 10 wins, but not many felt like the Bulldogs actually lived up to potential. A lot of those wins came due to ease of Schedule, and then they beat up Penn State in their bowl Game. And so, after another season without an SEC East title, Georgia turns to Kirby Smart, the long-time apprentice under Nick Saban. With Smart, come new coordinators as well with Jim Chaney, most notably on the offensive side. With 14 starters returning, the Bulldogs should immediately fight for the East title, although a lot of that is due to the division being weak.
The biggest competition in the spring was undoubtedly the battle at quarterback. Greyson LAmbert (12 TDs, 2 INTs) was good at times last year, but supremely inconsistent and that’s why Georgia has a question at that position. He’s in a battle with Brice Ramsey, as well as freshman Jacob Eason, a high-level recruit that everyone wants to see start out of the gates. Nevertheless, the Bulldogs will likely be a run-first team again, no matter how healthy Nick Chubb is. While Chubb is expected to return, Sony Michel (1,161 yards, 8 TDs) and Brendan Douglas are more than capable RBs that can share the load.
The receiving corps doesn’t have great experience, but Terry Godwin (379 yards, 2 TDs) will lead that group. The receivers didn’t produce much last year because Georgia was less than average offensively and ran the ball most of the time. The offensive line is the bigger question, but they bring in an experienced coordinator that should help, with Greg Pyke and Brandon Kublanow bringing experience to the group.
Defensively, Kirby Smart has his hands full, but that’s part of the reason he was brought in. Every year he brought Alabama’s defense to national significance and the Georgia faithful hope that’s the case here. The problem is that the Bulldogs return only one starter in the front seven with linebacker Tim Kimbrough. At the least, the secondary is deep and stacked with experience. The Bulldogs won via defense a year ago, and this group should be good enough to handle most SEC East offenses.
Speaking of the SEC East, the Schedule is once again in Georgia’s favor to compete for the East title. Tennessee and Florida are Georgia’s biggest competition and the Bulldogs host Tennessee and are looking at some revenge against the Gators. But first things first, Georgia takes on high-flying UNC in the first Game of the season at the Georgia Dome. A win there would be a good start before having back-to-back road Games to open the SEC season at Missouri and Ole Miss.
If the Bulldogs can have a better passing attack in 2016, that could be the difference between eight and 10 wins, or more. The offense averaged just 17 points per Game in their final seven Games last year. That’s not a winning recipe against the better teams in the conference, especially against the likes of Ole Miss and Tennessee. But if they can improve just a little bit, they’ll compete with Tennessee and Florida in the East.
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2016 Georgia Bulldogs Football Schedule
Sept. 3 vs. North Carolina (Georgia Dome)
Sept 10 vs. Nicholls State
Sept. 17 at Missouri
Sept. 24 at Ole Miss
Oct. 1 vs. Tennessee
Oct. 8 at South Carolina
Oct. 15 vs. Vanderbilt
Oct. 29 vs. Florida (EverBank Field)
Nov. 5 at Kentucky
Nov. 12 vs. Auburn
Nov. 19 vs. Louisiana-LAfayette
Nov. 26 vs. Georgia Tech