Georgia football: 5 questions the Bulldogs must answer in 2020

Malik Herring, Nolan Smith, Georgia football (Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images).
Malik Herring, Nolan Smith, Georgia football (Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images). /
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Georgia football (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Georgia football (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Georgia football faces some big questions if the Bulldogs are going to win a title.

The arrival of Kirby Smart in Athens has coincided with a distinct upswing in the success of Georgia football. While the Bulldogs went 8-5 in Smart’s first season, they have gone 13-2, 11-3 and 12-2 in the past three seasons, playing for a National Championship in 2017 and in the SEC Championship Game in all three years.

Despite the success, fans still want more. They want Smart’s Bulldogs to be able to win the big one, and that’s a fascinating proposition for the 2020 season. For starters, Georgia could have the best defense in the country this year, which will be their calling card. However, Wake Forest transfer Jamie Newman taking over at quarterback under new offensive coordinator Todd Monken gives the offense upside it seemingly lacked with Jake Fromm — but also more uncertainty.

This could be a fascinating campaign for the Dawgs but it’s not one without a fair amount of questions. These are five major questions looming for Georgia football in the 2020 season.

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5. Will the kicking game suffer without Hot Rod?

For a program of Georgia’s caliber, it might seem strange to open up the conversation about their prospects with the kicking game. That’s often not the difference between a National Championship or not. However, with the Bulldogs losing a player the caliber of Rodrigo Blankenship to the NFL, it’s a viable question mark in Athens.

“Hot Rod” was an absolute beast for the Bulldogs throughout his four years seeing the field. Armed with a fierce pair of Rec Specs, Blankenship is the most accurate kicker in Georgia football history. He converted on 82.5 percent of his field goal attempts over his career (80-of-97) and wen a perfect 200-for-200 on extra point attempts. Even if it’s just the kicking game, that type of reliability is extremely valuable.

As of right now, there isn’t a certain answer as to who will fill Blankenship’s shoes at the kicker spot. Punter Jake Camarda is a candidate to take the job but he’s never kicked a field goal or extra point in his two years in Athens. Brooks Buce, a redshirt junior, could also get a shot. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs also added Jared Zirkel in the most recent recruiting cycle, the No. 5 kicker in the 2020 class.

But the truth of the matter is Camarda, Buce and Zirkel are unproven commodities. Maybe they’re great and just need the opportunity but, when coming off of four years with the sure-footed Blankenship, it’s hard not to circle this as a question mark coming into this season.