Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting The Georgia Bulldogs

Apr 16, 2016; Athens, GA, USA; Detailed view of a Georgia Bulldogs helmet on the sidelines during the second half of the spring game at Sanford Stadium. The Black team defeated the Red team 34-14. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 16, 2016; Athens, GA, USA; Detailed view of a Georgia Bulldogs helmet on the sidelines during the second half of the spring game at Sanford Stadium. The Black team defeated the Red team 34-14. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

Keeping It Heel talks with Dawn of the Dawg to preview UNC-UGA

Rejoice college football fans!

Finally our beloved North Carolina Tar Heels are set to take to the gridiron. Coming fresh off a 11-3 season, Larry Fedora’s bunch looks to be a dark horse playoff contender.

The first foe that stands in the way is none other than Georgia. To get a better understanding on this season’s Bulldogs team, we spoke with Jay Hawkins from Dawn of the Dawg.

Make sure to visit Dawn of the Dawg to read our answers to his questions!

Keeping It Heel (KIH): What are the expectations around Kirby Smart’s first season?

Well, Georgia has very high expectations every year for its football program. That is perfectly illustrated by the fact that the athletic department fired a coach that had just won ten games.

Kirby Smart comes into Athens with a lot of pressure on his shoulders to take his alma mater to a consistent championship level. This first season Georgia will have a bunch of question marks and will have a new quarterback, so Georgia fans are pretty realistic.

Georgia always has good talent though, and that is no different this year. While Georgia does have a chance to go to win the SEC East and go to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game, a more realistic scenario is a 9-3 season.

That seems to be what most Dawg fans are expecting. Georgia fans also want to see the development of top Quarterback recruit Jacob Eason this year as well as he appears to be the future of the team.

KIH: Who would be three impact players on offense, that North Carolina must watch for?

I would say the top three impact players on offense are running back Nick Chubb, wide receiver Terry Godwin and tight end Jeb Blazevich.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

Chubb is easily the best player on this team.

He’s coming off a brutal season-ending knee injury from last year but should be 100% by the game. Chubb is a perfect blend of power, speed and elusiveness. His vision is an underrated part of his game as well.

If he stays healthy, Chubb is a legit Heisman contender. He will be utilized a bunch during this game as the quarterback situation is still an unknown, and as y’all know, stopping the run was a weakness for UNC last year particularly in their bowl game.

Terry Godwin is Georgia’s leading returning receiver. He had a solid freshman year and should be the go-to guy for whoever plays quarterback.

Tight end Jeb Blazevich is All-SEC caliber. He was outstanding as a freshman in 2014 but didn’t put up big numbers last year due to the offensive coordinator not utilizing his tight ends effectively. This year, Kirby Smart brought in Jim Chaney as his offensive coordinator.

Chaney has been known to use the tight end a lot in his offensive attack, so look for Blazevich to get the ball thrown his way a lot in this game and have a very good season.

KIH: Who would be three impact players on defense, that North Carolina must watch for?

The guys on defense that North Carolina needs to pay attention to in this game are outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter, defensive end Trent Thompson and strong safety Dominick Sanders.

Trent Thompson was one of the top recruits coming out of high school in 2015 and showed flashes of greatness last season. Georgia hopes that Thompson has a breakout year on the defensive line as the unit is a weakness for this UGA team.

Outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter is a pass-rushing beast but could never seem to gel very well with fellow linebackers Jordan Jenkins and Leonard Floyd (top ten pick in the NFL Draft) last year. This year is Carter’s year to shine, and he likely will. The dude is an absolute freak at 6-6, 242 pounds (4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash).

The other guy to watch is the leader of this defense and that is Dominick Sanders. Sanders led the Bulldogs in interceptions last year with 6 (tied for 1st in the SEC). He leads a secondary that is very experienced and should be a strength of the team.

KIH: What are Georgia’s strengths? What about their weaknesses?

Georgia’s strengths are their ability to run the ball effectively and play sound defense. Their weaknesses are their quarterback play (unless someone steps up), defensive line depth and having a new kicker and punter.

KIH: Which position groups are the strongest for Georgia?

Georgia likes to refer to itself as “Running Back U,” and an argument can definitely be made to support this.

Running back is the biggest position of strength on this Georgia team as the backfield is led by superstar Nick Chubb, 2015 1,161 yard rusher Sony Michel (injured and doubtful for the game) who could start at most any school in the country and freshman Elijah Holyfield who has drawn huge praise in fall camp. (Yes, he’s the son of Evander Holyfield).

The second strongest position group on the team would be the tight ends. Georgia probably has the best tight end group in the entire country with starter Jeb Blazevich, Jackson Harris and blue-chip early-enrollee Isaac Nauta, who was the nation’s top tight end in the class of 2017. Third would probably be the secondary. The offensive line is not shabby either.

KIH: How do Georgia fans feel about playing North Carolina?

Georgia fans are excited about the game. It will be Kirby Smart’s debut as a head coach in what should be a raucous environment in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Most Georgia fans are pretty confident their team has the talent to beat the Tar Heels but are also concerned because this team has a lot of question marks. I think most Georgia fans expect a win in this game.

KIH: What is your prediction for the game? 

Dang, it’s going to be an exciting matchup I’ll say. I think the Bulldogs could easily lose this game. North Carolina’s offense is legit, and the Tar Heels are probably one of the most underrated teams in college football. North Carolina’s defense is not their strength, and Georgia’s defense lost a bunch of experience and will be on their heels in this game (no pun intended), so I do not see either defense being able to really stop the other team’s offense.

I think this game is a shootout, but I see the Dawgs led by a run game that is just above North Carolina’s ground attack being the difference. I’m picking the Bulldogs to win 38-35 in a very entertaining game.

Next: Tar Heels Football: Could Georgia Be Thin At Running Back?