football Edit

Wednesday News and Notes

Georgia's receivers have certainly been a talking point as pertaining to No. 4 Georgia, which faces another big test Saturday against Texas A&M (3:30, CBS).

Youth and overall inexperience have been issues head coach Kirby Smart has acknowledged on one more than one occasion after losing the likes of Riley Ridley, Mecole Hardman, Jeremiah Holloman, and Terry Goodwin.

"We’ve got two really young receivers out there who are playing a lot of snaps with George (Pickens) and Dominick (Blaylock), and we’ve got a lot of inexperienced guys, having lost predominately all of our pass catchers," Smart said during Wednesday's SEC teleconference.

Although that's true, the numbers through 10 games may ultimately surprise you.

Even with no Ridley, Hardman, or Holloman, Georgia's receiving numbers are strikingly similar to what we saw this time a year ago.

In fact, when you compare Ridley, Hardman and D'Andre Swift—Georgia's top three receivers through 10 games in 2018—the number of catches posted by this year's top three of Lawrence Cager, George Pickens, and Demetris Robertson are actually better than the Ridley-Holloman-Swift trio.

Comparisons are listed below:

Top six receivers through 10 games in 2018
Player Catches Yards  Touchdowns

Riley Ridley

31

430

5

Mecole Hardman

28

407

4

D'Andre Swift

21

204

1

Isaac Nauta

20

256

2

Jeremiah Holloman

19

321

4

Terry Godwin

13

270

3

Total

132

1,708

19

Top six receivers through 10 games in 2018
Players Catches Yards Touchdowns

Lawrence Cager

33

476

4

George Pickens

30

400

4

Demetris Robertson

23

249

3

D'Andre Swift

17

169

1

Dominick Blaylock

14

259

4

James Cook

13

87

0

Totals

130

1,640

16

Granted, that's not to say Smart has been altogether thrilled with what he's seen from his group.

"What we’re wanting to see is more consistency, more physical blocking; we want to see some more separation," Smart said. "We’re trying to do a better job of helping them with their scheme, or the opportunities of play-action, or opportunities of ways to free up a release. So we’re trying to help them, and they’re trying to help us."

Cager's health remains the biggest question heading into Saturday's game against the Aggies.

Although Smart said Tuesday the grad transfer from Miami has practiced, he also acknowledged keeping him healthy is a concern. Cager went down after his first play in last week's game against Auburn, and did not return.

Still, Smart is hopeful.

"What I love about them is, every day they go to work, they really fight to get better. And it’s really been a group that’s been beat up and banged up the whole year," Smart said. "I think every guy has missed a game or missed an opportunity. We’re trying to gel at the right time, bring these guys along, and make some plays."

Dominick Blaylock makes his move against Auburn.
Dominick Blaylock makes his move against Auburn. (Jake Reuse)

Fisher praises Swift

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher was asked about running back D'Andre Swift, and couldn't say enough good things.

In fact, when asked to talk about all the areas where Swift excels, Fisher couldn't help but crack a joke.

"It would be easier to list what he doesn’t do well. The best thing he does is stand on the sideline," Fisher said. "For a guy who has so much athletic ability, he runs with such great patience; has great vision, great eyes; he accelerates, slows down when he has to, plays physical, can run between the tackles, catches the ball very well, and in the second level has the ability to make you miss."

Swift is currently second in the SEC with 1,029 yards.

"When we were recruiting him at Florida State, I remember watching him, and he hasn’t disappointed," Fisher said. "I’m not saying that because we’re playing him, but he’s one of the best backs in all of America."


Reed a finalist for Nagurski Award



Graduate safety J.R. Reed has been named one of five finalists for the 2019 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, given annually to the top defensive player in college football by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club.

Reed, a native of Frisco, Texas, joins Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown, Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons, Minnesota defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr., and Ohio State defensive end Chase Young as finalists.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet will be held on Dec. 9 at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Former Bulldog and Pro Football Hall of Famer Champ Bailey has been Georgia’s only winner of the honor, in 1998. Another pair of former Georgia defenders, in current Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith (2017) and current Indianapolis Colts linebacker Justin Houston (2010), were also finalists. In addition, former Bulldog three-time All-American and current ESPN commentator David Pollack was a finalist in 2002 and 2004.

Reed, already a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe and Bednarik awards, is fourth on the team with 43 tackles, including two tackles for loss, and has one of the team’s six interceptions. Starting a team leading 39th straight games, Reed forced a fumble during the shutout victory over Kentucky and collected a fumble that he returned 14 yards for a touchdown earlier this season against Murray State.