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Georgia football winners and losers following Week 1 win over Oregon
Winner: Ladd McConkey
We know defenses are going to have to make some difficult decisions when they play Georgia this season. Between Brock Bowers, Kenny McIntosh, AD Mitchell and Darnell Washington, you’ve already got plenty of talented players to cover or even double team.
But teams shouldn’t lose focus of Ladd McConkey and what he brings to the Georgia offense. Otherwise, they’ll end up looking a lot like Oregon did on Saturday.
Related: Georgia football-Oregon Instant observations as Bulldogs dominate Ducks in Week 1
McConkey hauled in five passes for 73 yards on Saturday. He scored the first touchdown of the game, which we’ll touch on more later.
The redshirt sophomore consistently found open space against the Oregon defense and made it. When Duck defenders got close, he also had a habit of making them miss.
At times, it seemed like the Ducks either completely forgot or ignored McConkey. When he caught Stetson Bennett’s first touchdown pass to close out the first half, the closest player to McConkey was actually Washington.
The offense was able to move the ball with some success, yet Oregon came away with just three points. Bo Nix looked like how Nix traditionally looked against the Bulldogs’ defense, throwing two costly interceptions in Georgia territory.
And the defense, which is Lanning’s area of expertise, was shredded. Georgia rolled up 571 yards of offense, with Oregon ranking next-to-last in yards per play allowed over the opening weekend. The Ducks didn’t get a stop until Georgia’s eighth drive of the game.
Oregon won’t be so overwhelmed in every game it plays this year. They’ll get better and still likely be one of the better teams in the country.
But as Lanning’s former boss laid out, it’s hard to win sometimes when you don’t have a talent advantage.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Dan,” Kirby Smart said. “Some of those players out on that field Dan Lanning recruited, and Dan Lanning did a tremendous job for the University of Georgia while he worked for the University of Georgia. Now he’s working for Oregon. He’s going to do a really good job at Oregon. He’s relentless, and they’ll bounce back from this, and he knows that we’ve got better players. He’ll never say it, but he knows we’ve got better players.”