I'll be honest: I almost didn't make the switch to the "not on notice" format that I usually use after big wins. This year, South Carolina is clearly not a good team. As in, "they probably/definitely won't go to a bowl this year" bad. And even though we beat down the Ol' Ball Coach in comfortably humiliating fashion, there were still several big issues that we need to address. (I'm looking at you, special teams' play. Also, I'm glaring at ESPN, who cut away from the end of the game, something they never, ever do, to show the entirety of the Bama/Ole Miss game. And finally, Alabama is going to come into Athens in 2 weeks nursing a massive chip on their shoulders.)
But this week is not one for negativity. We'll worry about the problems, and the Tide, next week. We just beat Steve Spurrier 52-20, and I'm gonna sit here and feel good about this one for a while.
Therefore, I'm letting the following people know that, for Week 4, You're (Not) On Notice, Dawg!
In no particular order:
1) Brian Schottenheimer - Well, now. We certainly saw far more pages of the playbook than we had seen in the first two weeks of the season. It helped that everybody, you know, did what he asked them to do. Still, though, Schotty did a great job of changing up the play-calling rhythm and keeping the Carolina defense off balance, and that's exactly what I want to see from our offensive coordinator. Also, it made Jon Hoke, Carolina's co-DC, do this:
2) Greyson Lambert - Take a bow, Jesup's native son. Lambert surpassed Mike Bobo's record of 18 straight completions in a game, and also set the NCAA record for highest completion percentage in a game (with a minimum of 20 passes). You don't get no better than that (literally).
3) Our receivers - Look, nobody can dispute the fact that Lambert had a magnificent game. It's worth noting, though, that his record-setting performance could not have been achieved without an equally-magnificent performance by his receivers. Malcolm Mitchell, Reggie Davis, Jeb Blazevich, and even Sony Michel and Quayvon Hicks (and others) got in on the reception parade. If these guys all of a sudden grow a case of the dropsies, we would have ended up with a much different game. Great job, guys! (And here's a bonus pic of Quayvon hurdling a SCAR defender.)
Photo by Dale Zanine/USA Today
4) Dominick Sanders - You come 11 yards short of getting a pick-six, you get put on the "honor roll" for this game. It's as simple as that.
5) The rest of the defense - I think we can safely say that based on their 3 games, Carolina's offense isn't going to be pounding anyone into submission. Still, though, our defense did a great job of holding the Cocks firmly in place, and ensuring they didn't squirt down the field, as they are wont to do at times.
6) Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and Keith Marshall - Ha! Thought was going to forget about the running backs, didn't you? Well, everybody else on the offense had a great night, and the running backs did, too. It almost sounds silly to say that Nick Chubb had a "quiet" night, but he really kind of did, with all the focus on Lambert and the newfound passing game. Still, Chubb pounded his way to 159 yards on 21 carries (and 2 TD's), and Sony Michel had 83 all-purpose yards on 8 carries and 3 receptions (and 3 TD). And Keith Marshall got himself another TD on Saturday, which is yet another feel-good moment in what I hope is a whole season full of 'em for Marshall.
7) The SEC Network - This might seem like an odd choice for which to target praise, since I lambasted ESPN for cutting away from our game early last night. But I'm talking about the SEC Network here, not the ESPN mothership, and for entirely different reasons. When I took a preview tour of the SEC Network's facilities last year in Charlotte, one of the things that struck out to me was how much ESPN and the SECN had invested not just in the centralized facilities, but in the on-campus facilities and personnel, as well.
ESPN footed a huge bill to set up a, for lack of a better phrase, ESPN-quality control room and broadcast facility on every campus. This included constructing 10 completely new control rooms and laying an average of about 4 miles of fiber optic cable on every SEC campus. The highlight of this effort to me, however, is not just in the facilities themselves, but the fact that they went out to every SEC campus and trained the staff at every school on how to do broadcasts, graphics, and video at an extremely high level. (At an "ESPN level," if you will.) And if you've watched any of the campus-broadcast stuff like gymnastics, baseball, and other meets over the past 13 months, you've seen that UGA's broadcast quality, in particular, has taken a mammoth leap forward.
I might be kind of "reading between the lines" here, but I see this translating to our jumbotron graphics and entertainment this year, since it stands to reason that the same people on campus are probably responsible for both things. So far this year in our first two games, I've noticed a truly impressive upgrade in graphics on the jumbotron, but I've also been impressed that the video team actually makes highlight videos not just of the game, but of individual players, as well. And they have been packaged together very professionally. Not just a "clip video" that anybody can put together, but a (there's this phrase again) ESPN-quality style of cuts between players and their highlight clips, set to appropriate music. Some folks might not notice relatively minor changes like that, but I definitely do, and I think it makes a difference in the in-game atmosphere, helping to pump up the crowd (and maybe even the players) a little bit more.
8) Jake Ganus - The former UAB player turned DGD got more than one awesome victory last night. Ganus proposed to his girlfriend right in the middle of the G after the game, and now ol' Jake's got hisself a fiancée! Congratulations, Jake and future-Mrs.-Jake!
Photo credit: UGA Sports Communications
Good stuff, y'all. Great day of work yesterday, and you've earned the right to enjoy it for 24 hours. Let's not forget, though, that we actually do have a game coming up on Saturday. Southern is coming in here, and they're going to put up the stiffest challenge we've seen in years between the hedges. And to top it all off, it's a noon kickoff, too. Y'all better be on your game from the first time you walk on the field until the clock reads 0:00, because Southern will give you no quarter. I know you can do it, so make it happen!
(I'm speaking of course, to the Redcoat Band.)