Georgia coach Kirby Smart is not looking for a single player to replace talented WR George Pickens, who will be out indefinitely after suffering a torn ACL earlier this week.
“We’ll get other guys to step up, and I’m very hopeful that George recovers and can come back,” Smart said, confirming what sources had told DawgNation about Pickens’ intention to return in 2021.
RELATED: Pickens Hints At 2021 Comeback, Kirby Elaborates
“He really puts it on everyone. I think Brock Bowers, Darnell (Washington), Fitz (John FitzPatrick), James (Cook), Zamir (White), Daijun (Edwards), Kendall (Milton). There are a lot of guys who are going to try to get the ball to them. “
Smart said receivers Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint (ankle) and Dominick Blaylock (knee) have not yet been cleared to practice, but are running and performing in limited exercises.
“I don’t see it as pressure from the receiver,” Smart said, putting Pickens’ injury into perspective. “I see it as an opportunity for other guys to step up and do special things.
“You find your best soccer players and find a way to get them the ball, and I think that’s what I think Coach (Todd) Monken does a great job of.”
Monken will enter his second season as the Bulldogs’ offensive coordinator, and this time, he will do so with a quarterback who has some experience with his offense and the benefit of spring football drills.
Smart made it clear that the emphasis is on the players, with Monken’s schemes flexible enough to work out of any sort of lineup.
“That could be a running back, three tight ends, which could be three backs, a tight end, who could be five wide, no backs, no tight ends,” Smart said. “We have plays that we call that are the same plays that we call in all staff groups, it’s just another way to give the ball to another playmaker.”
Smart noted that Pickens did not play in two games last season, Kentucky and Florida, so the offense has had experience operating without him.
Smart said he doesn’t anticipate opposing defenses playing the Bulldogs differently.
“We are career oriented enough, and we have a strong enough offensive line that people have to honor and commit to the race,” Smart said. “They can’t put a lot of double (teams) on people.”
Smart named sophomore catcher Justin Robinson as one of the players who has been emerging.
“He’s shown some sparkles in the last few days,” Smart said, “if he can hold and maintain that same energy and juice…. when it really leaves, it has been a big factor for us. “
The Bulldogs’ annual G-Day game takes place at 2 p.m. on April 17 at Sanford Stadium. The game will have limited attendance and is sold out.
“We lost a guy who’s a pretty good playmaker,” Smart said, “but we have other guys that we think are good playmakers, and we’ll find more ways to get the ball over to them.”