1. Georgia has certainly had a strangle on the SEC East under Kirby Smart. But questions at the QB position this year leave some wondering if they’re going to make it to Atlanta. How do you view Georgia as they head into 2020?
Chris Novak: Losing Jamie Newman to an opt-out, in my opinion, was an absolute killer. We’ll get into this in Question 2, but I think that the QB situation at Georgia’s falls short of the QB situation down further south in Gainesville, and that will be the difference. This team will be great defensively, they will get it done on the ground with James Cook and Zamir White. But, and I could be wrong here, I just don’t think that either option at QB will be enough for them to get to Atlanta this year. Part of that is me being very bullish on Florida, but I think Newman, if he were around, would’ve been the difference maker. So that’s how I view Georgia: Good, but not quite good enough to win the SEC East this year.
Robert O’Neill: I think this is the year where Florida overtakes Georgia to win the division, as well. Losing Newman hurts this team in a big way, and not knowing when they’ll have Daniels doesn’t help either.
2. Let’s dig deeper into the QB position. Since Jamie Newman opted out, we’ll either see JT Daniels or D’Wan Mathis at QB. So, here’s the questions posed to you: Who do you think will be the longterm starter for Georgia this season? And who do you think SHOULD be?
Chris Novak: I think it will be JT Daniels. Whether it should be JT Daniels is really the question. It depends on how D’Wan Mathis comes along, and there are expectations flying around that he’s going to be competing to the bitter end for the QB job. Based on everything we have in front of us though I get the sense that Daniels will be Kirby’s pick for better or worse. Given what he showed at USC, I’m not sure that will mean that
Robert O’Neill: I think it will ultimately be Daniels, but it’s hard to see when he’ll be medically cleared to play, as he still hasn’t been. We’ll likely get a look at D’Wan Mathis in Georgia’s Week 1 matchup.
3. Georgia has no shortage of quality skill position players. Who do you think will be standing out this year?
Chris Novak: Certainly one of either Zamir White or James Cook, I’d say. Georgia loves them some RBs, and I don’t see that changing this time around either. If I had to guess, we see both of them get shine, but I think Cook has the chance to look great. He was explosive last year, averaging 6.1 yards a pop on his carries and has averaged 6.6 yards per carry on his 72 career rushes. Get him in space and watch him fly, is what I’m saying.
Robert O’Neill: I agree with Cook. We know how UGA uses running backs by now, and Cook looks like the next great one.
4. Georgia’s pedigree on defense really goes without saying. It’s not much of a question as to if they can succeed again. But if there is a weakness, what do you see it being?
Chris Novak: To be perfectly honest, I think it’s the same weakness they suffered from last year: Sacking the quarterback. We’ve more than modernized things in terms of looking at the entire picture — sacks, pressures, hurries, etc. — but they had only one player in Azeez Ojulari who had more than 2.5 sacks last season. I don’t know if that’s going to magically change this year, even though they do have a garden variety of talent. Malik Herring and Nakobe Dean are both outstanding players at the first and second level. But I want to see UGA get to the QB more this year and get those numbers up.
Robert O’Neill: I agree 100%. They have to get pressure on the quarterback if they want to be successful.
5. Predict Georgia’s record in 2020.
Chris Novak: 8-2
Robert O’Neill: 8-2.