Where to begin? There was precious little that went right during Saturday’s win against Nicholls State. To quote the estimable Vince Vaughn from his opus Maximus Couples Retreat, ‘"This isn't the time to point fingers. But you're (gesturing at everyone in sight) a problem.’ In no particular order, the following are on notice of their need to step things up as the Red and Black head into conference play.
Mental toughness. Hey, remember when we were lauding this University of Georgia football team for having the fortitude to come back late in the Georgia Dome against North Carolina? Me neither.
It’s frustrating that successive generations of Georgia football players have to learn the same lessons over and over again. That an FCS school is legally allowed to beat you if you choose to let them. That a football game is indeed 60 minutes long, not 55, and that the points scored in the last 5 minutes while you're mentally moving ahead to your first downtown drink order still count. That's the thing about teenagers. You get to watch them learn all the things you already know from hard life experience. It's a joy.
Tackling. Georgia missed a fair number of tackles on Saturday, but was helped by the fact that the defense generally did a decent job swarming to the ball to just get more bodies on ball carriers. Against Mizzou (and to a greater extent in two weeks against Ole Miss) that just won't cut it.
The offensive line. You know that this list is truly in no particular order because the offensive line was not the first, second, and third item on the agenda. ‘Lack of effort’ is the easy answer for what went wrong here, and to be sure, that was a part of the disturbing equation. But there were also blown assignments and guys just getting outmuscled by the defensive front of Nicholls State. And that is far more foreboding.
Noon SEC Network starts. These suckers are the time slot of the damned. You can run. You can hide. You're still going to get tested by some directional school whose players have been prepping for you with the grim zeal of WWII Japanese fighter aces taking a little jaunt over to Hawaii.
Ranch dressing. Blue cheese dressing’s similarly creamy but painfully unimaginative cousin. The Big Ten of salad dressings.
Pride. The one participant in this list who may respond to the criticism. This Georgia Bulldog football team has already endured a couple of days of having everything about it challenged. That's probably going to continue a little longer in practice. I hold out at least a sliver of hope that they will respond by coming out and kicking the ever loving crap out of the Missouri Tigers. At a certain point, a team just has to band together and prove detractors in the press box and cheap seats wrong if they want it to stop.
Isaiah McKenzie. I simultaneously want the Human Joystick to touch the ball on almost every offensive snap and absolutely none on special teams, and that makes my head hurt. I love everything he does with the ball after the initial moment of actually catching/muffing/gently slapping out of bounds inside the 10. If we could go to a Forrest Gump system where a sure-handed but slow guy catches it, then dashes up to him and says ‘"Run, Isaiah! RUUNNN!!!’ I could probably be convinced of the wisdom of such an approach.
Greg McGarity. I have it on good authority he eats ranch dressing on everything. Until later....