Here is what I’m NOT worried about come Saturday’s noon kickoff against the Gamecocks of South Carolina:
1) 1H passing defense against 2H, and Kirby making adjustments. Making halftime adjustments is one of the oldest cliché’s in college football. However time and time again, Coach Smart and whoever his defensive coaching staff happens to be have proven they can adjust the game plan and fix the errors in the locker room. The 2018 Rose Bowl comes to mind, and this season the Notre Dame and Tennessee games are prime examples.
From the other side of the coin, any defense has been coached and is prepared for formations and plays x,y, & z. But if you’re a good defense, and UGA definitely is, your opponent has spent the past week practicing different looks and wrinkles to suprise you. Then add in a bye week and they’re even more likely to execute the new stuff. So it might take our players and coaches a few series to make adjustments and for the opponent to revert more back to their standards.
At least I’m not worried this week. Ask me again in November.
2) Fromm. Those last 2 1H drives were awesome, especially the :59 second variety. A thing of beauty. The play calling, letting routes and coverages develop, checking down, managing the players and the clock. Just a beaut. The pass protection helped, but I don’t recall Tennessee sending more than 4, likely due to the time on the clock and fairly obvious passing situations.
Still and yet, that was execution and taking what was available. No wasted motions, no wasted plays, just very pretty football. I do think Fromm was a game manager. I also think that ship sailed in December 2017. And there can be no doubt that he’s actually leading this group. The coaches trust him to make the call, and the players trust him to perform. And the numbers speak for themselves.
3) Involving the entire receiving corp. Nine different receivers caught a ball thrown by Jake Fromm last week. And only two (Swift and Herrien) can be truly considered running backs. (I consider James Cook versatile, as he lines up in the slot quite often, or motions out of the shotgun). This wasn’t Murray State. This was a divisional rival and we were behind on the scoreboard. We don’t have to rely on one AJ Green, we have weapons all over and the coaching staff asks each to perform all jobs. We know that the wideouts need to block downfield in order to get some targets. But that, albeit weird, outside screen to TE Eli Wolf showed Georgia can do a lot of things with a lot of people.
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 playing football by the Tennessee River:
1) Our ceiling is the roof. The Georgia fanbase is seemingly maddened by lack of offensive output, but near the halfway mark of the 2019 season, we’re ranked number 11 in the country in total offense. Sure we have the potential for more with our big, rangy receivers, a stable of stud running backs, a very smart and efficient quarterback, and Hogs on the line. Aside from the numbers saying UGA is very good, maybe we’re just at our ceiling. Which happens to be lower than the sky, but at the roof.
Kirby Smart and Co. are recruiting like crazy by every conceivable measure. Playing that many stars and NFL hopefuls is hard. I honestly believe he tells everyone that nothing is given, all is earned. And at some point we’re going to let others have a chance. This, presented with varying verbiage, can be attractive to running backs who want to go to the next level still with “tread on the tires”. I don’t know how this is received by other positions who are more concerned with starts and chances to shine. All this said, I trust that Kirby isn’t selling a bill of goods. And the players we see with regularity are the ones who have earned the playing time and put the team in the best position to succeed. And this might prevent us from putting up the gaudy stats by individuals and the 60 points on the jumbotron that other teams are producing. It is a by-product of our philosophy, our recruiting, and our players. So our ceiling is our roof. Maybe I’m not so worried about this against the Gamecocks, but I’m already worried about it facing our late season and post-season schedule when we might get in a shootout.
2) Simmons was onsides. Simmons was also not great in the first half against Tennessee. He did (finally) have a nice jet sweep that gained positive yardage, and he caught a ball (actually 3). It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but he did his job. However I really don’t understand why so little James Cook, so little Demetris Robertson. I’m hearing D Rob was held out because of a nagging hammy. And I think Kearis Jackson has been cleared for contact. Simmons has dropped too many passes, not to mention the muffed punt. Surely someone has better hands that we can utilize??
3) The personal fouls. Penalties in general aren’t great, but you’ll have a few. I don’t need to remind anyone of the crappy SEC officials this weekend. The key is to remove the big ones – you can’t control when they call holding or even Pass Interference. I’m talking about the late hits, roughing the passer, unsportsmanlike.
Not only does it keep an opponent’s drive alive, but it changes our personnel too. Because Kirby will pull you to the sideline for a good talking-to, and that forces a sub, and that might not be ideal. I know we’re plug and play, next man up, all that jazz. But we don’t need to be forcing the issue, especially with our defensive line and secondary where we’re already thin due to injuries.
I could have thrown out stats about a tremendous receiver in Bryan Edwards, a very talented running back in Rico Dowdle, and the rest of the Gamecocks at you. At this point there’s a reason we are favored by three touchdowns… we are the better team. So instead of focusing on players, I want Georgia to just get better.
Call me crazy, just don’t call me late for dinner. Sound off in the comment below on what worries you about facing Will Muschamp and his band of chickens. And as always…