Skip to main content

Georgia Football: Bulldogs' 2022 Spring Preview

Jalen Carter, Georgia Bulldogs Football

The reigning national champions have a lot of work to do on defense this spring where guys like Jalen Carter have an opportunity to seize bigger roles

The 2022 offseason is unlike any experienced at Georgia in four decades. The Bulldogs will embark on the next campaign not wondering what it will take to get over the hump and finally claim another national championship, but rather looking to complete the rare repeat championship.

Related: 3 Reasons for Optimism About the Bulldogs in 2022

Doubling up is a difficult task. For as good as it's been through the last half-decade, Clemson hasn't done it. The Nick Saban dynasty ranks among the greatest in college football history, if it isn't already the greatest, and Alabama has done it only once.

Miami didn't repeat in the early 2000s; USC's two crowns included a disputed championship. So as spring practice opens, Georgia begins the pursuit of significant history.

5 Storylines to Watch During Georgia's Spring Practice

1. Rebuilding the defensive line 

A decided strength of Georgia's 2021 national championship team was its defensive line, starting with space-eating tackle Jordan Davis. The unanimous All-American, Outland Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award winner was the building block for a historically dominant defense and leaves a big void — quite literally — to fill. Jalen Carter is no slouch, however, coming off an All-SEC season.

Likewise, Zion Logue will have the opportunity to man the invaluable role Devonte Wyatt filled, and Tramel Walthour is primed to be a breakout playmaker up front with Travon Walker headed to the NFL. The Bulldogs certainly aren't lacking for talent, they're just having to replace multiple early-round NFL draft picks.

2. Two sets of eyes on the defense

Dan Lanning's departure for the head-coaching vacancy at Oregon led Kirby Smart to fill the defensive coordinator vacancy with co-coordinators. Will Muschamp is about as well-traveled in the SEC as is possible, while young Glenn Schumann gets a chance to make a major impression on the landscape. 

3. Stetson Bennett's encore 

The most questioned phase throughout Georgia's title run was quarterback play. With JT Daniels injured much of the season, Stetson Bennett was more than serviceable, but not putting on the jaw-dropping performances of SEC counterparts like Bryce Young and Matt Corral.

That changed on the biggest stage. Bennett's play in the second half of the College Football Playoff National Championship was nothing short of stellar, leading the Bulldogs on big drives to seal the victory. With Bennett taking advantage of the additional eligibility granted due to the pandemic, he'll return with a chance to continue disproving the narrative that preceded his title showing.

Related: Early 2022 SEC QB Preview and Rankings

4. Impact early enrollees

An impressive corps of freshmen join the defending champs roster and will get early jumps on the fall during spring practices. Among the early enrollees is 5-star Malaki Starks, a versatile talent who can have a presence in the secondary. Daylen Everette joins him in the defensive backfield, while Earnest Greene gets a chance to make an impression on the offensive line.

Related: 5 Newcomers to Watch for the Bulldogs

5. Hunter to hunted

A year ago, Georgia wasn't a heavy favorite to win the national championship; the Bulldogs were hardly even consensus favorites to claim the SEC East after Florida showed promise in 2020.

Last year's breakthrough means Georgia can anticipate lofty expectations and the best shot every opponent has to give it. The coming months, starting with spring ball, will shape the mentality of a program taking on a role it hasn't experienced for a long, long time.

Podcast: Which Teams Won in the Transfer Portal? Debating Attendance Solutions and Will the Proposed Rules for Targeting and Fake Injuries Actually Help?

— Written by Kyle Kensing, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a sportswriter in Southern California. Follow him on Twitter @KyleKensing.