Bobo, Bulldogs finally have full arsenal of offensive weapons

Credit: Perry McIntyre

Credit: Perry McIntyre

ATHENS – Dylan Fairchild remembers what Mike Bobo said the first time he met with Georgia offensive players last winter.

“He came in and said, he’s got a point to prove,” said Fairchild, a redshirt sophomore offensive lineman. “He said he’s got a mission that he wants to do, that he wants to fulfill. That was really his main message to us in that first team meeting.”

Exactly what that point was is unclear, but if it involved scoring a lot of points and gaining a lot of yards, Bobo’s mission has been accomplished.

The Bulldogs’ offense is not the most prolific in the country or even in the SEC. That nod goes toward LSU and quarterback Jayden Daniels, who are outpacing pretty much everybody in the country with 560.2 yards and 45.9 points per game.

But what Georgia has over all those other high-flying offensive teams is an undefeated team. The No. 2-ranked Bulldogs (10-0, 7-0) carry a 27-game winning streak into Saturday’s game against Tennessee in Knoxville.

They’ll do so with any notion quashed that Georgia’s offense was going regress going back to Bobo, who coordinated Georgia’s offense from 2007-15, in the wake of Todd Monken returning to the NFL. Bulldogs’ coach Kirby Smart, who has been best friends with Bobo since the two played at Georgia in the mid-1990s, appointed Bobo as Monken’s successor on Valentine’s Day last February.

That brought some criticism and concern from Georgia’s always-outspoken fan base. But entering the season’s 12th week, that clearly was unfounded.

Breaking in a new quarterback, new running backs and new starters at both tackles while navigating injuries of every sort, the Bulldogs have encountered virtually zero offensive drop-off from a year ago. Georgia’s offensive numbers (40.6 ppg, 504.8 ypg) are virtually identical to where they ended up a year ago behind Monken and quarterback Stetson Bennett (41.1 ppg, 501.1 ypg).

None of this is surprising to Smart.

“They’re potent,” Smart said of Georgia’s offense. “You’ve got a quarterback and you’ve got pass protectors and you’ve got weapons. “First time that I thought Mike and his staff had … a full cupboard. … It’s nice to see those guys out there together.”

The Bulldogs played the first four games of the year without Ladd McConkey, the first two without running back Daijun Edwards, six straight without right tackle Amarius Mims and then two without star tight end Brock Bowers.

The group was finally back together for this past Saturday’s game against No. 9 Ole Miss. It’s probably no coincidence that the Bulldogs did not record a negative play while running up season highs in rushing (300), total yards (611) and points (52).

Bowers ‘to play as long as he wants to’

The fact that Bowers played at all Saturday night 26 days after undergoing TightRope surgery is incredible in and of itself. That he played 43 of the Bulldogs’ 69 offensive plays and caught three passes for 34 yards and a touchdown is astounding.

Here’s the best part: He wasn’t yet back to being 100 percent Brock Bowers. Nobody is 100 percent certain if or when that might happen this season but the good news is Bowers should be a little bit better every week. He is continuing to get pre- and post-practice physical therapy and treatment.

“He didn’t play every snap of every game anyway,” Smart said Monday at UGA’s weekly media day news conference. “… He’s in good shape; he’s conditioned. I don’t know that he’s 100 percent, but he’s healthy and safe enough to play. We’re going to allow him to play as long as he wants to.”

Bowers was named a semifinalist for the John Mackey and Lombardi Awards this week. With his 8-yard TD catch Saturday he moved to second in UGA history with 25 career TD receptions. He has 44 catches for 601 yards and 5 TDs on the season and sits fifth on Georgia career charts in both receiving yards (2,425 yards) and receptions (163).

Injury report

The Bulldogs are expected to be without linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson for at least another week. The junior from Maryland suffered a fractured forearm in the second half of Georgia’s 30-21 win over No. 12 Missouri.

While that’s concerning against the Vols, freshman C.J. Allen, who replaced Dumas-Johnson against Ole Miss last Saturday, was named SEC defensive freshman of the week on Monday. Allen had nine tackles and a sack in the win over the Rebels.

On Saturday, Georgia’s also expected to be without cornerback Julian Humphrey. Humphrey had to leave the Ole Miss game with an upper arm injury. Smart initially called it a “stinger” but was very vague on Monday.

“It’s an upper body injury that hopefully we’re able to get him back from, but don’t know how long it’s going to be,” Smart said. “There’s a chance. You never know. But he’s dinged up. So, I’m hoping we can get him back as soon as possible.”

Humphrey, a redshirt freshman, had just recently moved ahead of sophomore Daylen Everette at one of Georgia’s cornerback positions. Redshirt sophomore Nyland Green likely will absorb the reps.

Tennessee coach Josh Heupel said the Vols will be without starting wideout Dont’e Thornton. He will be out the rest of the regular season with a lower-leg injury suffered on a 46-yard touchdown catch against Missouri this past Saturday.

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