Good evening, Dawg fans. Well, as Macondawg said... that game yesterday could have been worse. We actually won the game, and that's more than can be said for Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Auburn. (Auburn might have ended up with a higher point total than Jacksonville State, but make no mistake... they lost that game.)
So, as I predicted last week, Nashville did its Nashville thing, we struggled with a Vandy team we should have beaten handily, but in the end we still won by double-digits. All's well that ends well, right? (Moves right on without waiting for an answer...) And now we get to our week 3 opponent: The South Carolina Gamecocks.
Yesterday was a bad day for gamecocks in general, though the Jacksonville State Gamecocks actually came closer to winning their game against a SEC opponent than the South Carolina Gamecocks did. And while I know you're all yukking it up with me about the fact that Carolina just lost to Kentucky at home, we can't forget that last season Carolina opened their SEC slate with loss much more humiliating than the one they just suffered. The Palmetto State Poultry were ground into a fine paste against Texas A&M in their SEC opener last year, only to come back and bite us with another one of those "how the hell did we lose that" games. So just because Spurrier's crew lost to UK and ruined their season, don't think that's going to make them any less motivated to stroll into Sanford Stadium and ruin ours, too.
Therefore, I'm letting the following people know that, for Week 3, You're On Notice, Dawg!
In no particular order:
1) Steve Spurrier - Why Steve Spurrier? Because he hates us, we hate him, and because I have it from a very authoritative source inside the South Carolina administration that he drank Jobu's rum before the Kentucky game, and we know he won't do something that stupid again when they play us.
2) Greyson Lambert - As I prepare to lambast Mr. Lambert and a few of his colleagues, I probably should preface this with the caveat that I haven't re-watched the game on DVR like I usually do. Real life gets in the way sometimes, and I've had both work-related and family-related stuff going on this weekend, so I won't even be near my DVR to re-watch the game until after this is posted. So these are, mostly, my impressions as I was watching the game live, and might not hold up under greater scrutiny. Now, with that said...
To me, Lambert absolutely looked like the same quarterback that we saw against ULM in the first game. Vandy just got more pressure on him than ULM did. Lambert still showed a tendency to hang out in the pocket and think far too much before deciding on a receiver. He did make one absolutely horrific pass, but the rest of his passes were relatively safe again. Compare that to Ramsey, who in his extremely limited playing time threw at least 2 passes that could/should have been intercepted, and maybe more. Y'all, I think we're stuck with Lambert and his "gotta think 5 seconds before throwing the ball" rhythm... and I also think I'm ok with that after seeing how Ramsey has performed. Still, though, Lambert needs to learn how to make those progressions and reads faster, if such a thing can even be taught in the middle of the season. (It probably can't.)
3) Steve Spurrier - You know the Ol' Ball Coach is going to retire after this season, hell, maybe even after this game, so let's put him up here this week for real instead of just in the honorary #1 spot. Damn, I hate Steve Spurrier, but I hate myself for kind of liking him, too. The man hates Georgia as much as I hate Florida, and I have to admire that kind of dedication to stoking a lifetime of intense hatred for a single team. That focused hatred is clear every single time a team coached by him plays the Dawgs, too. Inevitably, a Spurrier-coached Carolina team has about 2 "amazing" games a year, and almost 100% of the time, one of those games is against the Georgia Bulldogs.
Not only that, but Spurrier really is a throwback kind of coach who's just a damn good coach, but not a workaholic, cut-any-corners-you-need-to-just-win-baby kind of coach. (Glances in Urban Meyer's direction.) OBC, you're on notice, dude. Stop making me like/hate you and just retire. Then I can admire you from a distance, and just kind of ignore the fact that your (coaching) record against the Dawgs is far better than it has any right to be.
4) Lorenzo Carter - Damn, Zo... what the hell were you thinking on that targeting play? I am told that Uncle Verne and Gary thought the ejection was too stiff a penalty, and TweetDawg Nation certainly seemed to share that opinion. But I was having to watch the game on mute at that time, and it was clear to me that he was going to be ejected for targeting. It probably wasn't intentional, but we're Georgia, dammit, and if you've been a Georgia fan for longer than 10 minutes, you know that we're not going to get any benefit of the doubt at all from referees. On a play that looked as dangerous as that one did, Zo was gone the moment he touched the Vandy QB.
We actually got lucky there, because: a) We didn't end up needing him to keep the Vanderbilt offense in check for most of the game, and b) he got ejected in the first half, so he won't be missing any time for the Carolina game.
5) Steve Spurrier - Hey, if you're a recruit, think about what I just said above about the Old Ball Coach retiring. I'm not saying he's definitely retiring after the season, or the game on Saturday, or even immediately after reading this article... but it's not out of question, either.
(Note: The statement immediately preceding this one is not addressed to any recruits currently considering playing football at the University of Georgia, as some anal retentive lawya-type at the NCAA might consider that a recruiting violation. And in response to what I just typed, the NCAA has announced they will punish me by suspending Nick Chubb for 8 games. Stupid NCAA.)
6) Our Pass Defense - I've seen this pattern so many times that I should have come to expect it by now, but what can I say? I guess I'm just a creature of habit, and am surprised by the same things happening over and over again. Coming into this season, we anticipated that, like we saw last season, our pass defense would be stout, but our run defense would be very suspect. Instead, what we've seen in our first two games is that we've stuffed the run quite effectively, but our mega-aggressive pass defense has been the culprit for every touchdown we've allowed.
Being aggressive is great and all, and we have gotten a couple of excellent interceptions because of it, but being aggressive defeats the purpose if you try to jump a route, mistime your jump, and your receiver catches the ball and runs 50 yards to the endzone. Neither ULM nor Vanderbilt are anywhere close to the best passing/spread teams we'll see this season, and that fact alone makes me nervous.
7) Marshall Morgan and Collin Barber - I... I mean... I just... Aw, hell. I can't even. You know what you did. Get it straightened out.
8) Steve Spurrier - You know what I'm going to do this year for Halloween? I'm going to dress up as Bill Stanfill, and sneak up behind the OBC and go "Boo!" once or twice. Should be good for a laugh or few.
In spite of the fact that the Gamecocks lost to Kentucky this past Saturday, this Sunday's game in Sanford Stadium will still be against the best team we've played to date. South Carolina knows they blew their season, and now they're going to march down to Athens looking to ruin our season, too. And how many times have the Palmetto State Poultry come up against a superior Georgia team, then returned home with the unlikeliest of victories? Too many times for me to feel any sort of comfort about this game.
The game on Saturday starts at 6:00 PM, and will be televised on ESPN. The late start time means that everybody in attendance will have plenty of time to be well
likkered-up socially lubricated, fired up, and as loud as a Sanford Stadium crowd can possibly be for this game. Let's use our home-crowd advantage to help our boys send the chickens home disappointed, and hopefully beaten so badly that the OBC has no choice but to go ahead and retire now.