Even when Georgia embarrasses itself on a national stage, setting up a long offseason full of questions about Kirby Smart’s motivational abilities, Jim Chaney’s intelligence, and Jake Fromm’s nervous system, some Georgia Bulldogs embarrass themselves significantly less than their coevals.
In spite of ourselves, we choose to recognize those players for their heart, their courage, and their character. Even in defeat they are the real MVDs: Most Valuable ‘Dawgs.
Offense: Brian Herrien. There was very little worth celebrating on the offensive side of the ball tonight. A Bulldog rushing attack that pushed 300 yards a game at its best in 2018 didn’t even crack the century mark. Jake Fromm looked as jumpy as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. The offensive line had no answer for the Longhorn defense regardless of situation.
But as he seems to every week, regardless of how central he is to the game plan, Brian Herrien showed up. While he only notched 4 rushes for 17 yards, Herrien’s 17 yard touchdown catch on a nifty wheel route in the first half seemed to prevent this one from totally slipping away. He also demonstrated solid ball security, and blocked as consistently well as anyone in red and black. We still don’t know Elijah Holyfield’s plans for 2019. But if he does leave, we may find ourselves leaning hard on Herrien to keep things running.
Defense: Devonte Wyatt. Wyatt has quietly played increasing snaps late this season, but he wasn’t quiet in the Sugar Bowl. The sophomore came in with 12 tackles on the season and added 7 tonight, a career high. He also recorded 1.5 sacks, the first ones of his career. Honorable mention: J.R. Reed. Reed led the ‘Dawgs with 8 tackles on the night, and heads into 2019 with a team-leading 29 consecutive starts. If you want to know where the leadership this team needs will come from, look no further than Reed.
Special teams: Jake Camarda (1A) and Rodrigo Blankenship (1B). Hot Rod was perfect on kickoffs and extra points, and I want to acknowledge that. But Camarda shook off a pair of early mistakes (putting his knee down on a punt that downed the ball deep in UGA territory and then shanking an eleven yarder) to average 37.6 yards per kick, dropping a pair of punts inside the 15. If he’d not been able to get his feet under him this one could have gotten away much faster than it did. Georgia returns both its kicker and punter next season, and I expect both will continue to spoil us with solid play.
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