Moving forward: Georgia endures string of bad news and bad losses to close out season

Jeffrey Vest/TN. Sports Photo)

Texas Longhorns Wide Receiver Lil'Jordan Humphrey rushes the ball past Georgia Bulldogs defensive back J.R. Reed during the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Tuesday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Georgia's 2018 season ended with a loss, but the Bulldogs also finished the 2018 calendar on a string of bad news.

The Bulldogs had two players considering transferring, including former five-star quarterback Justin Fields. They lost multiple defensive starters ahead of the Sugar Bowl to either injury or sitting out for the NFL Draft.

To cap off the season and start the new year, the Bulldogs lost to Texas 28-21 Tuesday night, with a lackluster performance up until the end of the fourth quarter, when it was too late.

So how does Georgia approach this game and use it going forward?

"We can take this game, run with it and it could just make us better to remember from the previous year and this year how close we were … but we just gotta work. Go to work," junior running back Brian Herrien said.

The loss and the way 2018 ended will likely sting for the Bulldogs. This is the second year Georgia failed to finish off Alabama. Last season it was the national championship game. This year it was the SEC title game. Georgia went on to drop its second straight game in the Sugar Bowl to the Longhorns.

On the field, Georgia will have to work on revamping special teams. Rodrigo Blankenship will likely return for his last year of eligibility remaining, but the Bulldogs need extra attention to the punting situation.

Freshman punter Jake Camarda had an up-and-down season. He had shining moments, but then quite the opposite, like when his knee touched down in the first quarter followed by a shank of 11 yards later on.

But overall, Camarda sees this season as a positive.

"Honestly looking at it, I feel like I've had a pretty decent year," Camarda said. "There's definitely some things that we've got to work on and that we'll have to fix and stuff, but that all comes."

A few juniors on defense and offense have yet to make their NFL Draft decisions, which might change the landscape of the leadership of the team in 2019.

Quarterback Jake Fromm will return, and he'll assume even more of a leadership role on offense.

"Myself and a couple of the other leaders, we're going to step up and we're going to have a great offseason, come back better than ever," Fromm said. "I'm fired up for it and can't wait for it."

But for the most part, the Bulldogs return a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. But at this point, it's a matter of closing. Talent is one thing, but the Bulldogs have to find ways to win the big game.

"We've just got to find a way to finish and do it the right way," head coach Kirby Smart said. "We'll do that moving forward."

Printed with permission from The Red & Black independent student media organization, based in Athens, Georgia. For more UGA sports news, visit www.redandblack.com/sports.

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