Georgia Football: Addressing the Need for An “X-Factor”


Isaiah McKenzie is making a play for a spot on an NFL roster. That means Georgia is on the lookout for a player who can develop into its next offensive weapon. 

At the very least, they’d like a player who will offer versatility on the field.

A late play for Jamyest Williams (who was felt to be a prime candidate for that role) failed. However, with a gap to fill, Kirby Smart has hinted at the possibility of developing a player who can provide the sort of dynamism that came so naturally for McKenzie.

Let’s explore a few potential options. 

Terry Godwin

Godwin showed a lot of his skill set in his freshman year, but he wasn’t as much of a factor last season as some predicted.

Why?

It’s possible his new offensive coordinator was unsure how to use him (he certainly dropped the ball on Sony Michel and Nick Chubb), or perhaps the faith in the receiving corps was tarnished by the early drops (leaving Godwin on the short end of the playbook).

Or, maybe there was something else altogether.  

After Godwin’s decision to return an onside kick, in Georgia’s game at South Carolina, last season, Smart had the following to say. 

 “If he runs it in and gets it punched out,” Smart said, not finishing his thought because he didn’t need to. “But it worked. So what does everybody base it on? Results. But I would suggest he get down, which is what I encouraged him to do.” (Seth Emerson, DawgNation)

The heads-up play by Godwin sealed the Georgia victory, but translated as immaturity in the eyes of Smart. 

Has that made Smart a bit less confident to award a wider scope of responsibility to Godwin? 

*shrugs* 

No idea, but is seemed worth mentioning.

Even so, here’s the thing, McKenzie took his fair share of chances as well. When you have a player who wants the ball in his hands, sometimes he’s going to do that.  
The verdict is out as to whether Smart is ready to turn Godwin loose to take a few of his own lumps this season. 

Tyler Simmons

While at McEachern High School, Simmons was used in much the same way Georgia used McKenzie last season–sweeps and screens–but Simmons also showed some ability as a kick and punt return man. 

He could be a perfect candidate to develop into the role of the versatile every man.  

Simmons has the speed, and playmaking ability, to be a threat. He also has the strength and toughness to offer a formidable option on passing downs–he can be counted on to pick up a block when needed. 

If he proves competent in learning the playbook, and has a good spring, I see no reason he can’t sneak into the rotation as a slot receiver, or as a viable option in a four-receiver set. 

Mecole Hardman

This one is an obvious choice, but I’d like to see Hardman either stay at corner or be placed on offense–forget the jostling back and forth. 

I’ve watched multiple two-way experiments go awry at Georgia since Champ Bailey’s departure–including one with Malcolm Mitchell–and I think it’s unfair to waste a player’s potential on something if you’re only going to place him elsewhere the next season. 

Granted, this is the very reason such decisions are left to an infinitely more qualified coaching staff, but for all Smart’s talk of developing Hardman as a corner, I’d be surprised to see him placed on the other side of the ball in any long-term capacity. 

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I am not a 'journalist' by trade, nor do I present myself as such. I am a wife, mother, and passionate Georgia Bulldog fan. That's it. I write. You read.

6 comments for “Georgia Football: Addressing the Need for An “X-Factor”

  1. Curt
    02/15/2017 at 7:47 PM

    Glad to see Tyler Simmons name mentioned. He seems to be a forgotten man. When he flipped from Bama there was rejoicing in Dawg land. Now All I see is the 2017 recruits’ ability talked about. Throw in Chibu also in the conversation when it comes to size.

    • 02/16/2017 at 11:37 AM

      Chigbu’s one I thought about, too. He wouldn’t be able to cover any return duties, but I really expect him to come into his role as a receiver even more this season–hope to see Stanley do the same.

    • 02/16/2017 at 5:17 PM

      Curt, good post. Over the years have watched year after year supposed fans forgetting what is already on campus. Sorry, they know little about SEC Football. Jacked up by “some” in the media that work hard to get “clicks”.

      Time now for our offensive coordinator to expand on what has been said about his “past history”. Pressure does not come from me when saying that he is paid to not only live up to his “past” . . . . he now has more top level players/talent to “coach” than in his previous years in college football (total years). Pressure, don’t think so . . . . not if you have a “successful plan”.

      Show time . . . . 🙂

  2. 02/15/2017 at 5:25 PM

    Kimberley you said this . . . .

    Mecole Hardman

    This one is an obvious choice, but I’d like to see Hardman either stay at corner or be placed on offense–forget the jostling back and forth.

    I’ve watched multiple two-way experiments go awry at Georgia since Champ Bailey’s departure–including one with Malcolm Mitchell–and I think it’s unfair to waste a player’s potential on something if you’re only going to place him elsewhere the next season.

    Granted, this is the very reason such decisions are left to an infinitely more qualified coaching staff, but for all Smart’s talk of developing Hardman as a corner, I’d be surprised to see him placed on the other side of the ball in any long-term capacity.

    You in my mind are . . . . spot on.

    Kirby Smart will make sure that Mecole Hardman will be spectacular wearing the Red and Black. Also, he will be “one” of the reasons that Hardman has a “future” at the next level. So much talent in Athens, more than I have seen in a lot of years, probably most ever when talking team not individual talent. Mecole did not do as some when not playing every snap in the 2016 Season, he listened and learned. The NFL scouts are much more concerned about the “last season” these young pups play, not the first. My bet is that Mecole Hardman listened to what Kirby had to say. Same thing with Nick and Sony. Bright young men with super talent.

    I feel we finally have the “Leadership” in Athens to chip away at some of those that have been where we want to go for a long time. Maybe 15 years of so. 😉

    Keep writing Lady Sportswriter, many read, not all post. Fact. 🙂

    • 02/15/2017 at 6:30 PM

      Thanks Buc! And I’ll take your word on that last point 😉

      I feel KS has a very concrete idea how he wants things to go and he’s building the depth he’s going to need to get there. He understands he doesn’t have time to pussy foot around with experiments and, as talented as Hardman is, he knows the best thing for him is to prepare him for his job at the next level.

      I’m excited for what’s to come and can’t wait to see how the guys battle it out this spring.

      • 02/16/2017 at 5:06 PM

        One word that you have used often and I pay close attention to . . . . Depth. That is a “part” of the “secret formula” that successfully led teams “understand”. Looking at the “recruiting wars of 2017”, might be that Smart and Company “understand”. I will be totally surprised if we do not have a comparable 2018 year on the recruiting trail. Using your words which takes me back to my youth . . . . Smart and Company are not “pussy footing around”. Enjoy your straight forward way “talking football”. 🙂

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