As spring practice winds down, Clemson will soon turn its attention to its season opener versus Georgia at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. The Sept. 4 game will clearly be the highlighted game of opening weekend in college football.
It is arguably the biggest game ever between the two Southern rivals, who are separated by 73 miles. The Tigers have not opened a season against a big-time opponent like Georgia since it opened the 2016 season at Auburn.
This will be the most hyped game in the off-season, and deservedly so.
As for the Bulldogs, the biggest thing for them is on offense where offensive coordinator Todd Monken will have to adjust his offense without star wide receiver George Pickens, who tore his ACL last week. It is not likely the Bulldogs’ most explosive receiver will be back in time to play Clemson.
What does that mean for Georgia’s offense?
Pickens has been the Bulldogs most explosive receiver over the last six years. In 2019, his 727 yards are the most by any Georgia receiver during that span. The former 5-star is also the only receiver to catch six or more touchdowns two years in a row over that span.
So, you should get the idea, losing Pickens is going to be a big deal for the Bulldogs.
But let’s not lose focus on who Georgia is and where its strength on offense comes from. The Bulldogs still have a massive offensive line, and they will still want to rely on their running game considering the bevy of talented running backs and offensive linemen the program has produced through the years.
Granted, former USC transfer JT Daniels came into his own at quarterback last season and the offense might gear a little more to the pass in 2021. However, without its top receiver in the last six years, you can only wonder how Georgia will do in a passing game that at this time does not appear to have any explosive game-changing wide receivers.
Considering Clemson’s strength on defense should be its defensive front, the matchup at this time, appears to lean to the Tigers. However, beware, sometimes the unknown can be dangerous.
Georgia’s going into the summer knowing exactly who Clemson is on defense and what the Tigers want to do. Brent Venables and his staff are not sure who the Bulldogs are on offense and who the playmakers they are going to need to identify.
It should make for an interesting discussion the next five months.
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