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15 Thoughts is Officially Tired of Cupcakes

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Georgia has yet to be tested for a full 4-quarters of football. What do we really have?

NCAA Football: Middle Tennessee at Georgia
Mecole Hardman is faster than you.

Cupcake serve a purpose. They are delicious...usually. However, too many cupcakes can mask vitamin and mineral deficiencies that you did not know existed. After a while, you can tire quickly of a good thing. The cupcake fest is over for now...or is it?

I thought the crowd, from a TV perspective, was actually quite impressive considering the short-notice kickoff time change because of “Florence” which moved the game from a prime-time evening slot to the hottest part of the day. Nevertheless, another nooner was played, and before you could say TylerSimmonsWasOnsides, Tyler Simmons ran past the Blue Raider defense and it was over.

Did we learn anything? Yeah. No one knows how good this team really is.

1. I was expecting some sloppy play - and some good play - and we got a bunch of both. The defense was not particularly impressive for too much of the day. Oh, we know what we have in the secondary: Deandre Baker was his usual first-round self and added another interception. Richard LeCounte continues to improve game-to-game. Tyson Campbell is still learning his craft. Overall, the defensive backfield acquitted themselves well, but did get pinched on Middle Tennessee State’s lone touchdown. Drew Lock is going to give our #3 one helluva test next week.

2. MTSU ran the ball to the tune of about 4.2 yards/carry against our middle. The defensive line did not play particularly well. Our middle linebackers were not playing sound gap defense. I didn’t see a particularly aggressive effort against a team that should not have run as effectively as they did on the day. This was the most frustrating aspect of the game. Some guys still aren’t where they should be after 3 games in. Am I worried? Hey, I’m a child of the Munson era. I’m always worried. It’s coachable, but we do not have anyone in the middle of Roquan Smith’s talent level (who does?) and that isn’t going to change. But play has to be elevated here and time is getting short to do so.

3. Our offense, despite the scoring outburst, was sleepwalking early on; Jake Fromm held onto the ball too long as his protection broke down, and this will not do against better competition coming up. We missed some blocking assignments by our young left tackle Cade Mays, and had some holding penalties that are completely unacceptible, considering we had such a massive weight advantage over MTSU. However, these guys got themselves adjusted and it showed after some early hiccups. Cade got better as the day went on and I am not worried about his ability to improve and his potential to be great. Teething pains, that’s all.

4. Special teams punt receiving - Mecole Hardman’s first punt return for a touchdown notwithstanding - was a hot mess early on with Ahkil Crumpton and Hardman being a bit too passive on the receiving end and letting the ball die deep into our territory. Rodrigo Blankenship was perfect on extra points; Jake Camarda is still learning his craft, but still needs to find his touch when trying to pin the opposition deep although he did have a kick inside the 20. Baby steps. Hot Rod is the best kicker in America and his leg is showing no signs of tiring as everything was through the back of the endzone.

5. Quarterback play - especially after Fromm’s 3rd cup of coffee kicked in - was fine. Jake was 10 of 12 for 128 yards with 3 TD passes, and Justin Fields looked fabulous (6/8, 71 yards) as he got a lot of playing time. His rushing score was a tasty taste of things to come. He’s a powerful kid with a big arm and will only get better. Matthew Downing even got into the game. I’m happy for the kid, but why not let Fields sling the ball around a few more times? Maybe Kirby wanted to reign in the point total? Minutiae...

h/t Dayne Young (who’s doin’ the Lord’s work...)

6. I was convinced that D’Andre Swift was hurt after not seeing him at all after his 4th and final carry of the afternoon that occurred midway through the first quarter. Kirby simply said he felt he didn’t need to play him. That’s prudent, I suppose. Elijah Holyfield’s most impressive run wasn’t his long 66-yard burst on Georgia’s opening drive. It was actually a 21-yard run that was nullified by a penalty. He hit the line, stopped, jumped and caused his man to miss. The kid’s vision in seeing creases and seams is getting better each week; his power is undeniable as he had a career day, with 100 yards on 8 touches. Brian Herrien played very well in limited action, too, amassing 44 yards on 5 carries. Tyler Simmons’ 56 yard jet sweep touchdown showcased his speed. Weapons all over the place.

7. Terry Godwin is still plagued by a lower leg issue and did not return after limping off the field early on. I still haven’t heard or read anything about the severity of this, but hopefully he’ll be back next week. Still, we have the luxury of depth at receiver. Jeremiah Holloman had a breakout performance with a 3-catch, 90-yard and 1-TD day. That kid is an impressive physical specimen. It was awesome to see Jayson Stanley finally catch a touchdown - a 9-yard bullet from Justin Fields. Isaac Nauta caught 4 passes for 47 yards. Riley Ridley had a beautiful toe-tap touchdown in limited action.

Another day, another weapon...

8. Afterward, Kirby was pissed. A pissed Kirby is my favorite Kirby. Some guys are going to have hell to pay in practice this week.

9. After 3 games, our first team offense has yet to play an entire 4 quarters of football. Actually, our first team defense hasn’t either. This was to be expected in games 1 and 3, and game 2 at South Carolina was a bonus. I have an excel sheet with the roster numbers and keeping up with all the the substitutions is a helluva chore! I think I’m getting the hang of it.

10. I feel that we haven’t even dipped into the offensive playbook all that much. Everything is still very vanilla. I’m trying to think if we’ve seen anything especially exotic, and nothing really comes to mind. We are saving it for when we need it. I’m looking forward to that.

11. Kirby has “called off the dogs” in every game this season. Our 4th quarter scoring is really suffering because of this (LOLZ!). We could’ve hung 50+ on the Gamecocks; more on Austin Peay and MTSU. The 2018 iteration of the Georgia Bulldogs is super talented. And as of this writing, we’ve seen a glimpse of what the potential is and that was the 3rd quarter of last week in Columbia, SC. Might we see some new wrinkles in Columbia, MO? Stay tuned...

12. ...and this goes back to what many of us felt back in August. The offense might have to bail out the defense in the front-half of the season until the defense grows up. I believe this will have to happen next Saturday afternoon (or, Saturday morning if you’re from Missouri).

13. Did anyone else catch the little spat between Brenton Cox and Deandre Walker? Kirby said it was “love.” I thought it was a senior leader just making a point of emphasis to a freshman 5-star. If Kirby can shrug it off, I can, too. I hope our outside ‘backers can get some pressure on Drew Lock. He’s a pocket passer, and our pass rush has been non-existent through 3 games. Much of that being dictated by the type of offenses we have faced. Lock has a quick release and a talented offensive line. He’s a gunslinger, too.

14. I watched every bit of the Mizzou-Purdue game last night. Purdue is not a good team. And David Blough, their backup quarterback, threw for almost 600 yards against the Tigers (39/55, 572 yards, 3-TD). Maybe the reason why Purdue is 0-3 is because David Blough has been their backup quarterback.

If we don’t drop 50 next Saturday, we ain’t tryin...

15. LSU and Auburn was must-see TV as both these teams loom on our schedule. I gotta say, Gus starts screwing with the up-tempo stuff too early and it cost him. Thankfully, he’s got a long-term contract with a ridiculous buy-out and time to figure this out.

Enjoy:

I hate Auburn.

That’s all I’ve got. Have a great week, err’body.

As Always, GO DAWGS!