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15 Thoughts is Already Looking Ahead

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The "bye week" blues got me to thinking some about the future of our program. After a few weeks of teeth-gnashing and player bashing, this week's posting is a few rambling thoughts on the weekend we just witnessed and some thoughts on how close our beloved school is to actually (no, really!) breaking through to the pinnacle of the SEC and beyond.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

General Thoughts on Saturday and such...

1. Full disclosure:  I purposefully stayed away from most of the games on Saturday.  I needed the downtime and my yard needed some serious attention.  Having said that, I caught all the overtimes in the Auburn-Arkansas game and was pleased at the outcome.  I hate Auburn.  Why did Gus feel like he had to suddenly throw during his last possession?  That was about the most entertaining of games.

2. I watched the 4th quarter of Tennessee/Alabama.  Tennessee played a very good game and was in position to win it.  It seems like Alabama got pushed off the ball by a bunch of freshman and/or patchwork offensive linemen for a good part of the game...until it mattered the most.  Despite the loss, Tennessee has certainly improved and Josh Dobbs is playing well. Bama's secondary really got banged up on Saturday and the bye week couldn't come at a better time prior to their key showdown with LSU on November 7.

3.  I've been living in south Florida since 1993.  I have seen the "U" go through all kinds of highs and lows.  The team that didn't show up in their own stadium yesterday is the lowest of the low.  I really believed that Miami would be a perennial ACC Champion or contender when they joined that league.  This program is at its nadir.  Bottom line, Miami is a small, private school with limited resources and capital.  They play in an impersonal stadium that is situated 22 miles from campus and features absolutely no atmosphere for tailgating - unless you enjoy tailgating in between paved parking spaces on some strips of grass.  My wife graduated from the "U," and I have many, many friends who matriculated there.  Things are not good in Coral Gables, and I just don't see them getting any better.  Miami's success literally came "out of the blue" in the early-mid 1980's and looked like it would be sustainable.  In the grand scheme of things, it was fleeting.  I just don't see the Canes ever getting back to those glory days at all.

4. What happened in Stillwater yesterday is heartbreaking.  Thoughts and  prayers to the entire Oklahoma State community.  This is something that could have happened on any campus in America.

5.  The ending of the Tech game can be summed up best by our very own vineyarddawg:

Indeed.

6. I just do not see any greatness in our Conference this season; perhaps nationally as well.  Every team has some flaws and who eventually makes the playoffs this season is still very much a fluid situation.  That doesn't make it any less interesting.  Oh, who am I kidding.  If we aren't in the discussion I'm really not that interested.  YMMV...

7. Derek Mason has finally won a Conference game as Vandy beats Mizzou 10-3.  Missouri was 0 for 14 on 3rd down attempts. That is bad, I think.

It's Cocktail Party week. 

8. I have no idea what to expect on Saturday in Jacksonville.  If you are looking for "revenge," forget it.  Revenge never works.  Execution and fundamentals work.  Much of last week's preparation involved getting back to G-Day style fundamentals.  When you are heading into the 8th game of the season and have to draw upon a scrimmage to get things "right," it doesn't exactly instill a lot of confidence, does it?

9. Still, I have a better feeling about the upcoming Cocktail Party that I did the week leading up to Alabama.  Don't ask me why.  Until I start thinking about our quarterback play. Just a minor detail.  Our offensive line must play their best game of the season if we have a chance.  If we cannot establish the run, we stand no chance.

10. Georgia played a spirited defensive game against Mizzou last weekend, which gives me hope.  Florida, however, has more talented Jimmy's and Joe's than Mizzou on both sides of the ball.  I contend that our youth movement - which is in full bloom - is showing some successes.  But if Larry Munson were still around, he'd simply say something to the effect of, "My God, we're just too young."

Something about "still controlling our own destiny" you say?

11. By virtue of another in-conference loss by Tennessee and a possible tie-breaker scenario with Florida, we still control our destiny in the SEC East.  Sounds familiar, doesn't it?  There is much to play for and maybe this team can find it's way as we head down the stretch.  After Florida, we've got Kentucky at home and Auburn on the road.  In the surface, I would say these games are very winnable.  IF we somehow finish with a flurry, who knows who we'll play in Atlanta.  The SEC West is in just as much flux as the East at this point.

Some observations and a few questions...

12. This Georgia team is very young and is trending younger...a most unusual situation - particularly on defense.  And very talented.  The 2016 class is beginning to fill up, but there are some guys - not just blue chippers, but bonafide 5-Star impact players that are still in-play that could make this the best recruiting class (on paper) of the Mark Richt era.

13. How quickly does the "light go on" with current players?  We have not yet seen several freshman receivers get any real action, but have seen all kinds of freshman defensive players get meaningful reps.  Will this gel sooner than later to save this year, or are we poised to see a revolutionary shift in fortunes for 2016?  Jeremy Pruitt's task is a lot harder than even he imagined when he took over a season ago.

14. Would Georgia consider another experienced transfer at quarterback for 2016 while a certain 5-Star player from the state of Washington gets his skills honed?  Maybe the guys we have on campus now might find their way, but I've gotta believe that, unless the bye-week proves to be some sort of miracle cure, what we see is what we've got.  If we were to throw Jacob Eason into the fire, would his learning curve be worth the inevitable growing (teething) pains?

15. I have to wonder if Tennessee has caught Georgia in terms of talent?  Did they recruit better in the last few cycles, or are we poised to begin another streak over them beginning in 2016?

Question of the Year of the Day: I look at Auburn's situation and I will say this:  Sean White has improved week-to-week and he was let down by his receivers yesterday.  Gus Malzahn probably laments not starting this kid from day 1.  So, if we're going to break in a new QB next year with better skills (we think) and a higher ceiling (again, we think) than the guys we currently have on roster, here's your question:  And, as always...GO DAWGS!