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15 Thoughts Loves Watching Jake Fromm Pick Apart Defenses

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For a 29-point victory, this game was a grind to watch on many levels. It sure seemed closer than the final score indicated.

Georgia v Tennessee Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images

Georgia now leads the all-time series with Tennessee 24-23-2.

I may watch this loop a few more times this week. How ‘bout you?

Taking it to the house made it awesome. Watching the inept zebra in the white cap who had no business calling a major college football game get trucked (unhurt) made it awesomer.

Georgia overcame a first-half deficit and endured perhaps the worst officiated game I’ve ever seen (which is saying something) against a very inspired bunch of Tennessee Volunteers. In the end, depth and talent wore down the opposition.

1. As last week dragged on and we drew closer to game time, I had a sense that the Vols would not just go through the motions of playing another game despite more major mid-week distractions, and would give us their very best shot early presenting us with a bit of first-half adversity, just like two weeks ago vs. Notre Dame. Jim Chaney knows our tendencies and played us perfectly, especially on the 73-yard Brian Maurer to Marquez Callaway bomb. Those early quick slants and underneath crosses were certainly by design to great effect. I was afraid this could happen. I would have been terrified if we never adjusted. We did, and managed to create some 2nd-half havoc as well. Still, we really need Tyson Campbell to get healthy and fix some mental lapses that burned us late against the Irish, and early last night. I’d like to see young Lewis Cine get in there as well. He’s going to be a good one.

2. We are squandering too many early touchdown opportunities. I love Rodrigo Blankenship’s ability to nail a clutch 50-yard field goal as much as the next guy, but points were taken off the board when Jake Fromm appeared to hit Lawrence Cager in the corner of the end zone to put us up 14-7. Cager was called for offensive pass interference, negating the touchdown. Hot Rod hit his 50-yard attempt which was huge as the Tennessee fans in attendance were starting to feel something akin to hope (Insert Red’s opinion about “hope” to Andy DuFresne in The Shawshank Redemption here ____________).

After Tennessee took a 14-7 lead, another drive stalled after we promptly moved down to the Vol 22, but couldn’t finish, settling for another Blankenship score.

NCAA Football: Georgia at Tennessee
Greatest Georgia Kicker Ever? I think so...

3. Tennessee’s receivers are big, physical and skilled. Marquez Callaway and Jauan Jennings are also seniors. I’m happy about that.

4. Jordan Davis’ ankle injury, at least at the moment, appears to not be as serious as it could be according to Coach Kirby Smart. When asked for an update during last night’s presser, he stated, “Sprained ankle. They felt like it wasn’t as bad as other guys.” I don’t know about that. It looked pretty damned serious to me when he couldn’t walk off the field under his own power. We do have some depth here, but he’s vital to our ultimate plans going forward.

5. Despite Davis’ injury, Julian Rochester came in and did a fine job in his first action of 2019, as did Tyler Clark and Michael Barnett. Our defensive line would not allow Tennessee to manage much on the ground, and the defense were effective in shutting down the Volunteer rushing attack, limiting them to 70 yards in 29 attempts. Tae Crowder was disruptive a few times, shooting the gap and wrapping up on some tackles.

6. On the flip side, Georgia’s ground game churned out 238 yards with Brian Herrien getting a career high 88 yards on 11 carries and continues to impress with his ability to push the pile and be patient and had his longest run from scrimmage ever on a nifty 40-yard jaunt. D’Andre Swift gained a tough 77 yards, but his effectiveness as a receiver is what has NFL scouts drooling. None were better when Jake Fromm hit him down the Tennessee sideline in what was not as easy a catch as it appeared:

Wheel route? Moar, please...

7. Zamir White runs hard. Zamir White runs angry. Zamir White is gaining confidence each and every Saturday. Zamir White is going to make a difference sooner than later in a big moment. “Zeus” had 57 yards on 7 carries, an 8.1 ypc average and a long of 17. He has come within a whisker of taking one to the house. It’s coming. I’d like to see him in short-yardage situations, like our failed 4th and 1. And spread the field ‘cause what we’re doing ain’t working.

7A. Is James Cook merely a decoy? I want to see more opportunities for this kid that don’t involve jet-sweeps. Get him the ball in space. Play-makers in space can do wonders.

8. Lawrence Cager has been the gift that keeps on giving. I’m not sure how they were using him down at Miami, but this kid is playing like he wants to get paid at the next level and I think he will.

Nine different receivers caught a pass last night. Demetris Robertson is still fighting through some sort of leg injury (hamstring, I believe), but came up big when called upon.

9. Jake Fromm was simply wonderful last night. His stats warranted a 90.7 passer rating. When Jake has time in the pocket, he’s lethal. As we go forward, the defenses ability to rush the quarterback will improve and the offensive line has to play like they did last night in pass protection. His numbers: 24/29, 288 yards, 2 touchdowns and a couple of drops. I think he threw only one uncatchable ball all night. We are so very blessed to have this guy and his calmness is the X-factor that simply sets him apart. My favorite throw of the night? The bomb-in-a-pickle-barrel he lofted to Robertson down the Georgia sideline for 33 yards on 3rd and 5 from our own 30. This toss reminded me of the SECCG throw against Bama to Riley Ridley last year. Both passes were perfect.

10. Whenever and wherever corner-blitzes are taught, this will be #1 on the curriculum.

Eric Stokes showed absolutely perfect form in how he stays low through the entire strike, and hits shoulder first. Fundamentally, this was the proper and “safe” way to tackle from the blind side without risking a neck injury. Maurer’s head will forever be on a swivel after this one. Rumor has it that Colt Brennan saw the hit live on TV and is now back in therapy.

11. Richard LeCounte did get burned early in the game. Richie also atoned for this with an interception where he “read Maurer’s eyes” and also tackled well, leading the team with 5 stops, and 4 solos.

12. The second-half defensive adjustments are what we’ve come to expect in the Kirby Smart era and yesterday did not disappoint. We actually saw a good deal of havoc and, except for a single blown coverage on a deep ball late in the game, Tennessee was shown the door after the half by adjusting to the early wrinkles that Jim Chaney dailed up. Azeez Ojulari was credited with 2 sackes to compliment Stokes’ famous corner blitz-bomb. Brian Maurer had 205 passing yards at the half, but only 59 more the rest of the way.

13. We did not turn the ball over. Tennessee turned the ball over twice. If you don’t turn the ball over on the road, you done good! However, penalties (some legit, many not) have got to be cleaned up. David Marshall’s late hit on Maurer when we had them stopped on 3rd down is totally unacceptable. On the night, we had 11 penalties for 107 yards.

14. I hope the Conference has a word with last night’s officiating crew. At times, these guys looked like they’ve never done this before. As stated earlier, this game was a disaster for both sides. Tennessee’s big OL Wanya Morris absolutely ear-holed our big DL Devonte Wyatt. Not only was targeting waved off, but the personal foul penalty was as well. I could write another “15 Thoughts” about this entire subset of events, but I’ll just refrain.

15. Mrs. DavetheDawg said something to me earlier this morning that resonates; something only a person who isn’t too emotionally vested in a team to realize. She essentially said that Georgia is conservative by design and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a strategy. She pointed out that Georgia seems to be organized, and as long as Fromm is leading, we should be fine. I really can’t argue with that.

We have an offense that relies on a run first philosophy balance, and can throw anywhere on the field on any down with our veteran QB and evolving stable of receivers. We’d all love to see quick-strike, big time offensive plays and there’s a bunch to be had going forward. But what this team does well is move the ball down the field, methodically eating up clock, especially late. We only punted once in the first half, and on the opening drive in the 3rd quarter. All but one other drives resulted in points (except we failed to convert on 4th and 1). Our last two first-half drives were flawless, going 60 yards in 6 plays in just over 2 minutes. Tennessee missed a 47 yard field goal and with :59 left before intermission, and we efficiently go 70 yards in 5 plays and score. The game turned right there, but didn’t involve any big plays except for a busted Tennessee coverage. Anyway, we have to fix some things that are fixable but the identity of this team is what it is. We are the 3rd most penalized team in the SEC. This won’t do. Fix it.

Give Tennessee credit. They came out on fire and executed a game plan that was working until we adjusted. We are simply the better team.

I guess I’m spoiled. I want to see more because I know there is more to see.

BONUS THOUGHTS:

  • Did anyone watch the ending of Tulsa vs. SMU? I’m happy for the Mustangs. Having the “Death Penalty” and Craig James legacy on your shoulders is a lot to bear, but they’re 6-0.
  • Bo Nix played like a freshman generally plays in a hostile environment. Finally, Auburn played against a legitimate defense and crumbled. Both teams turned the ball over 4 times. That game was ugly.
  • The cheap-shot of the day belongs to Troy’s Travis Sailo when he went after the knee of Mizzou’s Kelly Bryant and succeeded. No place for that.
  • South Carolina next week is a nooner. Would it be too much to ask for a non mid-90’s kickoff temperature. It is October, right?

That’s all I’ve got, folks. It was a good, if imperfect win last night. It was ugly at times, but winning ugly just might be who we are.

As Always, GO DAWGS!