All spring we’ve heard the Georgia offense was looking better in practice. On Saturday in the G-Day game, there were signs of improvement but further proof more work is required.
Georgia’s offense last year was just not very good. The 24.5 points scored per game was fourth-worst in the SEC and 102nd best out of 128 teams. There’s little doubt what is needed for Georgia to improve on the eight-win season from 2016.
The Bulldogs must score more points.
On Saturday, we still saw wide receivers drop a few passes, and the defense looked ahead of the offense overall. But let’s remember that no team will show its offensive tricks in a spring game, especially now with the whole world watching.
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This G-Day game was not as spectacular as last April’s. It was a bit more normal than the debut of the new head coach and new quarterback we saw a year ago. This game was about getting this program better, and after an 8-5 season that won’t take much.
Let’s talk about numbers. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest grade, think about what the Georgia quarterback, offensive line and receivers were last season.
Jacob Eason was just OK. He wasn’t awful, and he definitely wasn’t great either. He was OK. Let’s say he was a five on that scale. Well, Georgia needs him to be at least a seven this season.
The presence of Houston County’s Jake Fromm undoubtedly has put more pressure on Eason to do well. If Eason struggles, head coach Kirby Smart will have another option. That’s sometimes all it takes to make a starter know he must player better.
Eason will do that if he gets help from the offensive line and his receivers. The offensive line last season might have been a three, perhaps a four if you’re being kind. It needs to jump up to at least a six or seven in 2017.
The offensive line must look more like a SEC offensive line, which means more depth is sorely needed. The pieces seem there, and more are on the way, but offensive line coach Sam Pittman is going to have his hands full to make the O-line better.
And the receivers, who dropped too many of Eason’s passes last season, must go from a four or a five in 2016 to a six this season. We saw Javon Wims, Mecole Hardman and freshman Jeremiah Holloman show flashes Saturday that they can contribute at receiver. Eason is probably relieved some have stepped up.
If that improvement is made in those positions, chances are the Bulldogs will score more points than they scored a year ago. Remember, they may have the best group of running backs and tight ends in the country.
Did the offense come out Saturday and wow the more-than-66,000 in attendance? No. But that’s not necessary now. If the coaches believe development has occurred in practice, then who cares what we saw Saturday.
Fromm showed us some things — mainly that he’s not going to be intimidated as someone who just walked in the door. But look, this program needs Eason to simply get better. It doesn’t need another freshman quarterback to start. Eason needs to take that next step, and Fromm should be there right behind him in case he falters.
Georgia’s going to have an opportunity this season to win the SEC East. It’s not like there’s a dominant team in its way. Saturday’s game showed us the work must continue to get this program better. Strides are being made, but the work has really just started.
Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on “Middle Georgia’s ESPN” – 93.1 FM in Macon and 99.5 FM in Warner Robins. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at email@example.com.