Welcome to a weekly experience in which we enrich the lives of Georgia fans by building up their confidence and convincing them that there is no possible way the Bulldogs will lose this week.
Don’t overthink this folks. Tennessee is pretty much trash. Just ask the mascot on the sideline.
Where can I order an inspirational trash can like Tennessee has on the sideline? Not talking about Butch Jones. I mean the actual trash can.— Andrew Hall (@DudeYouCrazy) September 5, 2017
The Volunteers’ front-man is on the hot seat (deservedly so by my estimation FWIW), and there are all kinds of rumors surrounding what seems to be a dysfunctional program.
Tennessee isn’t all that great at anything, and while I maintain that we don’t know quite how good Georgia is yet, we’re getting to the point of the schedule where we can rule some things out. So rather than kick a clearly down Tennessee program, let’s examine all three phases of Georgia’s game and see if the Vols have a single answer.
Georgia’s defense is here to eat.
First and foremost, we know Georgia’s defense is anything but soft, undisciplined or disappointing. Is it a Top 10 defense in the country? Is it one of the best units in the conference? Is it as strong against the run as almost anyone? Right now, the answers to these questions all seem to be “yes.”
This defense is jam-packed with stars, but unlike other defenses in recent memory (2012 for example), the level of execution is what sets this talented bunch apart. Missed tackles are few and far between. Blown coverages are rarely costly. Lackluster effort is nonexistent.
I don’t know how on earth Tennessee is going to overcome Georgia’s defense. In fact, I know with absolute certainty the Vols won’t.
Tennessee has primarily relied upon quarterback Quinten Dormady (should be a Vanderbilt quarterback based on name alone) in the passing game and he’s been patently generic. He’s not bad, but he’s not great. The Vols have also messed around with Jarrett Guarantano. To be honest, Guarantano might not see the field if Butch Jones wasn’t so desperate, but you have to try stuff.
But Tennessee isn’t going to beat Georgia through the air. The Vols don’t have the passing game to do so. Most likely, Tennessee will try to play Georgia football by relying heavily on the run game and John Kelly in particular. Kelly is literally the only bright spot for this team. He’s run for 80 or more yards in four games (three of those over 100). He beasted on Florida for 141 yards and a score on just 19 carries but no one told Butch Jones that.
Tennessee’s only hope is to run on Georgia, and that just doesn’t seem possible against a Bulldog defense that has stifled every style of ground attack it has seen.
Georgia’s offense is not stalling.
Two-consecutive 400-yard performances by the offense have been something of a shot of adrenaline for this Georgia team.
For the first time in his brief career, Jake Fromm looked like the legit starter against Mississippi State and with that the offense seems to have opened up. Tight ends got involved last week, and the combo of Terry Godwin and Javon Wims has become a nice one-two punch at receiver.
Most importantly, the Georgia ground game seems as proficient as it was expected to be, and it’s got to be incredibly fresh. Star senior Nick Chubb has averaged fewer than 15 carries per game, and no other Bulldog is averaging more than nine per contest. Sony Michel should be healthy and ready to rock and D’Andre Swift will continue to be a highlight machine.
I don’t get the feeling that Georgia’s offense as truly elite, but I don’t get the feeling that it needs to be — especially against Tennessee. Ground and pound should get the job done.
Special teams won’t blow this.
This game will be closer than it should be. That’s always the case in contests against Tennessee and some of that seems backed into the point spread. Truthfully, Georgia is probably more than eight points better than Tennessee, if Tennessee wasn’t Tennessee.
But for the first time in what seems like a decade, Georgia doesn’t seem poised to give away games on special teams. I don’t think a close game is going to swing Tennessee’s way because of the third phase of the contest, nor do I think a large Georgia lead is going to be diminished by kicking mishaps.
Frankly, I expect Georgia to win every phase of this game and I expect that to result in a decisive (read: 10 point) victory. And it’s worth noting, that I haven’t missed a game yet.