Here is what I’m NOT worried about come Saturday’s evening kickoff against Kentucky.
1) We’re losing the name battle on this one. Kentucky place kicker Chance Poore. USCjr had a kicker named Succup (who I believe is in the NFL), but Chance Poore gets the trophy for a college kicker in my book.
Asim Rose is pretty good. But not near as good as his Wildcat running back teammate, Kavosiey Smoke. That’s it, call it off, you guys win. Nothing to see here folks, move along.
2) Third down for what? Apparently a first down if you’re facing UK’s defense. They rank last in the SEC and 113th nationally in 3rd down defense. Georgia is 25th in the nation (somehow) converting over 46% of our chances. Even on offense, the Kentucky Gentlemen kindly allow opposing defenses to stop them about 2 of every 3 times.
3) Moving the ball. Now that the emotions have somewhat abated, the hangover symptoms hardly noticeable, and hindsight coming into focus, I do think Georgia can move the ball. Getting there and abouts to 500 yards on offense last week, especially with usually horrid starting field position, sounds about right against the 78th ranked Gamecocks for a noon kickoff. The Paducah Pumas are 60th nationally, having faced the firepower thus far of Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Florida, Mississippi State, South Carolina, and Arkansas. Obviously keeping possession of the ball until you cross an upright or goal line is a whole ‘nother story.
Now forgive me, as I was weaned at the nipple of Larry Munson’s scratch on AM radio, so here’s what I am worried about this Saturday at the University of Georgia Homecoming:
1) Another backup quarterback. Wildcat wideout Lynn Bowden got the start under center last week when UK hosted Arkansas. Incumbent starter Sawyer Smith has been banged up, and apparently to the point Chief Cat Mark Stoops went to the receiver meeting and grabbed the talented Bowden and tried him in the shotgun. It worked, too. After a slow start, Bowden led several scoring drives in the late 1H and during the 2H to catch Arkansas from behind and eventually set up the victory formation. Bowden ended up 7-14 for 78 yards and a touch. He also ran for 196 yards on 24 carries and 2 end zone visits. Congrats on getting the SEC Player of the Week for the effort.
In case you didn’t know, the name is pronounced Bow-dun, as is bow-tie. Not bow, like the front of a boat, and not like the best muni golf course between the Ocmulgee River and Griswoldville.
Seriously? How does this keep happening to us? A super mobile running quarterback comes in and throws our plans in the dumper. First we had Maurer from UT look like a superstar for about 20 minutes in Knoxville. Then Gamecock Hilinski goes down but we can’t take advantage. I was thinking about UGA equivalents, when Georgia made a mid-game/mid-season change at quarterback and I came up with mixed results: Ramsey spelling Mason and/or Lambert, Eason subbing in for Lambert, Fromm rescuing Eason, Faton Bauta as a surprise start. I know there are others but I don’t have a great feeling about this. The good news is that this is a run-first Kentucky offense, with the occasional forward pass to try and keep our secondary honest.
2) Can I be lazy and list Nick Marshall and Treon Harris here? Because no matter what stat rabbit hole I dive into, this run-first QB thing has me scared silly. Heck, even Tebow couldn’t throw a spiral but had his way with us. We have a totally different coaching staff, scheme, personnel, even our field has a new name. I just can’t get over this projection of fear.
This irrationality seems best summed up by words of our Redcoat-turned-statistician Nathan Lawrence. He penned “…lands back in the realm of tragically predictable”. Yup, that’s the one.
3) Can the Gamecocks beat us twice? Last Saturday put an end to a lot of positive mojo. Streak of 15 straight SEC East victories? Broken. Streak of 16 straight victories at Sanford Stadium? Ugh. Rodrigo Blankenship’s perfect season and our fall-back when everything else goes awry? Aack. Oh, and Jake Fromm is still o-fer when he throws 30 or more passes. @Phew, thank goodness that remains unbroken.@
Will we come out flat and unfocused? Still thinking about what could have been? I’m worried this game will be more of a statement of Kirby Smart’s offensive philosophy rather than where he is as the leader of the UGA football program. If we win, but it’s lackluster on the scoreboard, the Coley Monkey Trial will proceed with much vigor. If we lose or have to squeak one out, there may be inquiries on CKS himself. If we win big, but thanks to defensive or special teams plays, the offense scrutiny will not quiet down. If we win big with explosive plays, throwing to our tight ends, utilizing the middle of the field with our receivers, and getting our backs to the edge with regularity? I fear that is the only way to keep the keyboard pitchforks at bay.
Call me crazy, just don’t call me late for dinner. Sound off in the comment below on what worries you about facing the Blue Checkerboards this Saturday night. And as always…