I thought Nick Chubb would break a ‘hundred...maybe a buck-fifty. Nick goes for 222 yards and a couple of touchdowns. The last one was the stuff of legends.
Some thoughts on this glorious and victorious morning after...
1: I want to credit Mitch Trubisky and North Carolina’s offense. They are a dangerous and explosive bunch and will beat some people up in 2016. Elijah Hood is one of the best backs we will face all season and is a load. Trubisky threw the ball for forty times last night and did his best to drop more bombs that General Curtis LeMay. I was shocked to see that he only threw for 156 yards on the evening. UNC’s secondary will be one of the better units we’ll face, as well.
2: I need to briefly mention some of the penalties. The interference calls were legitimate, so quit yer bitchin’ UNC fans. The ineligible lineman downfield, however, was ticky-ticky. That didn’t change the outcome of the game; no single call will. It didn’t hurt, though.
(2 B) ...and I still contend that Trubisky was not in a throwing motion when he lost control of the ball in the first quarter and Aaron Davis scooped and seemingly scored. These officials were not SEC or ACC, but a B1G crew. Yeah, conspiracy. Look, everyone got Chik-Fil-A coupons...
3: Brock Huard and Jim Whistlehoosen (or whatevs...) are still talking about a quarterback controversy. News flash: There ain’t no controversy. Jacob Eason is a better quarterback. He’s being phased in. End of story.
4: Georgia’s offensive rhythm did pick up when #10 was in the game. Though far from perfect, Eason showed why his ascension will be steady - if not rapid (or, maybe steady and rapid...he is special) - as the season progresses. Lambert has to get reps in case the unthinkable should happen (read: injury) should occur to Eason, but I think the coaches aren’t playing some shell game here. Eason will be the man before there is frost on the pumpkin. His 51-yard strike to Isaiah McKenzie, who had a career receiving game, was perfectly thrown on a dime between two defenders. The Eason-to-McKenzie shovel pass for a 17-yard touchdown was Jacob’s first (of many) in a Bulldog uniform. It might end up being his shortest TD throw ever. McKenzie was used very effectively all night long. He’s a weapon.
5: When I suggest that Nick Chubb is approaching GOAT territory, I do not do this lightly. I was a freshman in 1980 and witnessed THE GOAT #34 in person on many, many occasions. But what Nick Chubb did last night against a defense that knew what was coming is something special. Thirty-two carries is a lot. Actually, probably too many...but then again Nick is an Alien sent to us from constellation Canis Major and we thank you.
6. Hello, Brian Herrien. Not a bad debut from a guy who only showed up sometime after Easter. This kid ran tough and is f f f f f fast....... Do you realize how lethal our backfield rotation will be in a few weeks? Sony Michel was held out, although I’m sure this was out of an overabundance of caution. Elijah Holyfield - the only mystery in the backfield at this point because we haven’t seen him - will be ready to rumble for the meat of the schedule. Brendan Douglas’ fumble was a points-killer. I feel bad for the kid, but he’ll never run through a bigger hole again and to not secure the rock simply cannot happen.
7: I was surprised at the lack of throws to the tight ends. Charlie Woerner had a single 1-yard catch. Although Isaac Nauta played a lot, he dropped an early pass from Jacob Eason. Freshman jitters. Come to think of it, the offense was actually fairly vanilla and is very much still being installed. If you can survive in a game like this by taking baby steps, you can start to walk a bit faster over the next few weeks of practices and upcoming cup-cake.
8: I hope Isaiah Wynn is okay. Big #77 went down twice in obvious pain last night only to walk off under his own power. We need him this season. Hope he gets a good 2-week rest.
9: Our kicking game scares the hell out of me. William Ham’s 29 yard field goal to put us ahead for good was a low-trajectory ball that could have been blocked. Kickoff coverage needs no mention. We are still looking for someone with a consistently strong enough leg to just boom it through the back of the end-zone and not tempt fate. At present, I don’t think we have that.
10: Overall, I thought the defense did a good job. We did have some breakdowns on edge containment that hurt us. A few times, 10 yard losses ended up being huge gains, especially when UNC’s change-of-pace back, T.J. Logan, got involved (who out-rushed Elijah Hood 80 to 72 and a touchdown).
11. Have a game, Maurice Smith. I can now see why Nick Saban cut him (h/t vineyarddawg). His adjustments on some long throws that probably go for long touchdowns were something. Big Trenton Thompson was getting double teamed or better all night long.
12. David Marshall and Roquan Smith played very well. Marshall had the lone sack of the day, and Smith’s adjustment to an ill-advised screen pass from Trubisky to Hood to force a safety was about as heady a play as you’ll ever see. Malcolm Parrish played well, leading the team in tackles with 7.
13. The Tar Heels finished the game with 315 yards of total offense. Did it seem like more to you as well? Not a bad defensive effort without some fixable issues.
13B. Did I mention our kicking game scares the hell out of me?
14. Our pass rush had to respect the mobility of Trubisky and the speed of UNC’s backs. The one time I noticed an all-out blitz, we got burned on a perfectly time screen pass. However, despite registering a single sack all game (Marshall), containing their offense was what the plan was and it’s what worked. Giving up only 17 offensive points to a team that averaged 41 last season? I’ll take it.
15. We played a ton of freshman last night. This made an impression on some recruits as I perused the post-game twitters. Nick Chubb is back and I don’t think he’s lost much, if anything. His top-end speed looked just fine to me and that was what I was hoping to see: A breakaway run where he had to stride away. Jacob Eason is just different and, based upon some camera close-ups, looked totally in-control. He threw some high balls and missed a few opportunities on check-downs. He got bailed out on a delay-of-game by an alert coaching staff, but seemed to lock in on the 40 second clock fairly quickly after that one incident. Going forward, We’ll still see Lambert, but his minutes should dwindle as The Kid emerges. This will be fun to watch. When our full compliment of running backs return, this offense might actually start to scare some folks.
Hey, it’s great to be back writing about being victorious and such. Jump on in and share your thoughts. The times, they are a’ changing...
(Gotta fix the kicking game, though. Did I mention this scares the hell out of me?)