If it's Monday, then it's time for our weekly look back at the 5 things I said you'd likely see during the preceeding week's Georgia football contest. Sometimes I'm right. Frequently I'm wrong, but either way, I'm going to dissect my previous assessments one more time before moving on to our next opponent. On Friday I said you'd see:
1.) Everybody. And I wasn't far off. Coach Richt played 11 true freshmen, some we all knew he would (Blair Walsh, Richard Samuel), some we weren't sure about (Sanders Commings, Deangelo Tyson). This festival of freshman footballery certainly helped Georgia Southern keep the score within a respectable range. Let's all hope that it also pays dividends later this season when we need some of those freshmen to play important roles in important games. I also thought you'd see:
2.) Kris Durham, specifically. My guess was 4 catches for 70 yards. Unfortunately Durham only managed 3 for 74. I'll call that close enough for government work (and conveniently ignore the fact that I don't actually work for the government). I was really pleased with Kris's touchdown reception, which I think reemphasized the fact that when the kid gets going in the open field, he's faster than you might think. That's a nice trait for a receiver to have. Of course, I can't be right all of the time (or, over the long term, probably even a majority of the time), as evidenced by the fact that I predicted you would see:
3.) Trickeration. Look, I'm a lot closer to Miss Cleo than Nostradamus (football season beard not withstanding). In fact, I would argue that Chris Hatcher's Eagles would have had more luck on offense in the first half if they had mixed it up a little more. But hey, I don't get paid the big bucks for these things, so who knows. I continued my prognostications with a hunch that you'd see a lot of:
4.) Reshad Jones. Specifically, I thought he'd have a chance to pick up at least one interception. And in fact, he did get that chance in the first half, but couldn't quite haul it in. Jones did however also have a pass breakup and a couple of solid hits, in addition to a 32 yard punt return. I'd call that a solid outing. Finally, I posited that the final score would be:
5.) Georgia 41, Georgia Southern 17. Ok, so I was 4 points off. At least I got the margin of victory right. As expected, we dominated early, then let them score some junk points on the young'uns. All the while we looked competent running an offense with a tasty vanilla flavor. Nothing wrong with that. I've actually been surprised more ESPN-types haven't made a bigger deal of the final score. But I did hear a couple of them point out that we did score the first 38. I remain convinced that if Coach Richt had wanted to score 83, he could have made it happen.
Some other totally random thoughts from a fairly warm afternoon in Sanford Stadium:
- Speaking of the heat, when I went to the concession stand at halftime for a Coke I was told that they'd run out of ice. How does that happen in August? It's not like we don't know precisely how many people will be attending the game. That being said, I didn't think it was that hot, despite complaints I heard from several folks (and the slight sunburn on my neck, which yes, means that I'm now even more of a redneck than I was before). I've attended at least 2 openers which I thought were markedly more uncomfortable.
- Because I know Kyle will be trolling the iTunes store looking for it all day tomorrow, the song played at the beginning of the second half which Knowshon and Bryan Evans were dancing to is Put On by Hawkinsville/Macon native Young Jeezy (featuring Kanye West). I predict it will be this year's Soulja Boy.
- While we're on the subject of music, I was a little disappointed by the lack of Baba O'Reily before the game. Anybody else?
- I thought Matt Stafford looked, on the whole, a lot better than he has at any time during his career. He did leave a couple of long balls short (the one to MoMass was a touchdown if he hits him in stride), but he clearly was getting to his second and third options and getting the offense into the right plays. It was a solid performance that will eventually yield to spectacular when he has one of those days where he's just "on". All quarterbacks have those days, and I'd much rather Staff has his against Auburn in November than Georgia Southern in August.
- Caleb King looked even more impressive than he did at G-Day. 12 rushes fo 95 yards, most of it behind backup offensive linemen, is a solid day's work no matter where you are technically situated on the depth chart.
- The news about Jeff Owens is just bad. There's really not a silver lining to this one. When he left the game I thought there was a palpable dropoff, especially in our run defense. I'm hoping Corvey Irvin and Brandon Wood can fill in. My perception is that Wood and Deangelo Tyson have definitely passed Ricardo Crawford on the depth chart, but all of them (and perhaps even Jarius Wynn) will have to step in. Kade Weston can't get back soon enough, and we can't send Jeff enough good vibes. Get well soon, big man.
- I noticed that Marcus Dowtin played a lot of snaps for a true freshman linebacker, and seemed to fly to the ball. Look for him to continue as a solid contributor. Kid is a physical specimen, who just needs to learn the schemes.
- I wasn't pleased with the penalties, but I didn't think it was out of control. I'd chalk a lot of it up to the heat and guys trying to make plays.
- Finally, I've never seen the scalpers out that early and in such force for an opener. I was seeing them on White Oak when I rolled into town at 7:15. I get the impression that this was a tough ticket, especially for a game against a 1-AA team. Anybody else get this vibe?
That's it for now. I'll see you on Wednesday when we get to know a little more about Central Michigan coach Butch Jones. Until then . . .