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Cocktail Thursday: Tennessee Edition.

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old fashioned

If it’s Thursday and your Georgia Bulldogs are coming off a demoralizing loss which laid bare their shortcomings in year one of the Kirby Smart era, you could probably use a drink. I can help with that.

Every football team has its weaknesses. And those weaknesses break down broadly into two categories: those which can be fixed week to week and those which a staff cannot really do anything about midseason. For example, you can do a better job of scheming to get the ball to a play-making receiver. You can tackle more in practice to reinforce good habits and technique. These fixes are easier said than done, but you might be able to do them before your next contest.

You cannot however get bigger and stronger on the offensive line between weeks, at least not appreciably so. Nor can you suddenly add a pass rusher to your team. Or a reliable kicker. The best you can do when confronted with these shortcomings is to make the best of who and what you’ve got until the offseason, when either the guys on campus will improve or you’ll replace them with new guys. As Bruce Hornsby said, that’s just the way it is.

Georgia’s problems coming off that 45-14 drubbing at the hands of the Ole Miss Rebels span the two categories. The Bulldogs need to do a better job catching the ball, as the players and coaches admit. They need to do a better job staying with assignments and anticipating in the secondary. These things might be fixable this week, at least to a degree.

But they also need to become much more physical on the offensive line, do a better job of getting to the passer, and become more consistent in the kicking game. They need to find other receivers capable of taking some heat off Isaiah McKenzie. These problems, unfortunately, are larger personnel issues that won’t get better this week. They’re things that will likely stick with the ‘Dawgs for the remainder of the season.

That means that the Georgia coaching staff is going to have to scheme around these weaknesses as best they can. That may get easier as the year goes on. Because you can’t really scheme away from your weaknesses until you know what they are, and while the staff likely had a general idea coming into this season, the past three weeks in particular have been a technicolor exhibition of shortcomings.

Jim Chaney in particular is tasked with getting some kind of offensive production out of a unit that’s not getting it done up front, has injury and inexperience in the backfield, and issues on the outside. I do not envy him his job, but I believe he’s up to the task. I’ve seen Chaney score points with less talent than he has now. So I think that as the season progresses he’ll tweak and putter as necessary to squeeze progress out of his unit. The sooner that happens, the better, because there are a handful of lose able football games between here and November.

So in honor of Chaney’s quest to make do with what he’s got, I’m suggesting that this week you enjoy a cocktail with the ultimate “make do” spirit: corn liquor, a/k/a moonshine. We’re going to make a Peach Chaney.

Start with 1 and 12 ounces of moonshine. I’m sure you will procure this from a legal distillery, inspected by the proper state and federal authorities, and in the process pay all mandated excise taxes. Or you’ll get it from a guy your cousin knows outside Blue Ridge. Whichever.

Add the ‘shine, 12 ounce of sweet & sour bar mix, 1 ounce of peach nectar, four mint leaves, and half a fresh peach (diced into half inch cubes) in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds or so, pour into a highball glass (straining out the ice) and top with ginger beer (not ginger ale, we’ve had this discussion . . .) and enjoy. Note: the shaking is critical. It’s what bruises the mint and fruit, releasing their sweetness and the aromatic potential of this drink. This is important.

We’ll be back shortly with the open thread for tonight’s slate of football action. Until then . . .

Go ‘Dawgs!!!