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15 Thoughts is Hoping Ron Courson has a Magic Whirlpool...

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The health of this team headed into next week’s showdown is the biggest area of concern. The fact that last night’s injuries were to offensive players is, well, no bueno.

Missouri v Georgia
Help us, LC-wan. You’re our only hope...

I’m waiting with bated (dawg) breath as I’m sure you are as well concerning the injury status after last night’s 27-0 victory over Mizzou. In last night’s presser, Kirby stated he didn’t think anything was too serious. Anyone buying that?

1. When Kirby put the first string defense back out on the field to preserve the A: No-rushing touchdown streak and, B: The shutout, that was probably the most excited I was during the entire affair from an engagement point of view. Yeah, it was that kind of meat & potatoes game.

Georgia is better up close and in person. I knew they were good, but I think they’re a little bit better than they may get credit for nationally. Georgia is as good and as solid as a team as I’ve gone against in a long time. - Missouri head coach Barry Odom, post-game presser.

2. I figured this game would be about 31-10. We got what we expected: More man ball, vanilla offensive plays, and a dominating defense. We are who we are, and what we are is probably the 4th seed in the College Football Playoff rankings. Just keep winning/cuttin’ bait/choppin’ wood/whatever it takes.

3. This season is skewing towards the bizarre the more I think about it. Losing to South Carolina was certainly improbable, but it happened. The negativity has been more than palpable, but the Florida victory certainly injected some better vibes. We’re going to have to ride the defense. It’s as simple as that. It could carry us. Stranger things have happened...

4. Early on, Jake Fromm was dropping dimes to Lawrence Cager - who actually dropped a perfectly thrown pickle on an out-route, but later made up for it on virtually the same route in the 1st quarter. Cager wound up with 6 catches for 93 yards before leaving the game in the 2nd quarter. After that, Fromm struggled until he began to click with George Pickens. Jake wasn’t as sharp as he was last week and with Cager out and his starting and back-up center going down, that would rattle anyone. He did underthrow a sure-fire touchdown to Eli Wolf in the 3rd quarter and his long pass to Kearis Jackson - usually one of Jake’s forte’s - was overthrown for another probably score. We need these plays to click. We have to have ‘em going forward.

5. Only 4 receivers had receptions on the evening: Cager, Pickens, Kearis Jackson with one and D’Andre Swift (for no gain). What has happened to Demetris Robertson? Mizzou was playing tight coverage all night, but this can be schemed around, can it not?

6. The worst thing about George Pickens is he’s a freshman. The best thing? He’s a freshman. I believe that if this kid can take some hard coaching to heart, is going to be very special and he might have arrived already. His toe-tapping touchdown, the second of the evening, would’ve been overshadowed by his negated 3rd score that was called back because of an illegal formation - Pickens stayed behind the line on a Fromm audible and that technically put 5 men in the backfield. Freshman mistake. His best football is ahead, but we need it sooner than later. With Cager’s shoulder issues, Pickens has to mature now. It’s time for your close-up, #1.

Two hands on the ball, one foot in-bounds. Perfect.

7. What do you make of the Jake Fromm - James Coley conversation that was captured by ESPN’s “split screen?” It seemed heated, but was it? I think Jake looked frustrated in the moment. Missouri has a very good defensive team, and did what everyone does against us: Focus on the run first. We still gained 167 yards on the night. If we do this next week, I’ll be very happy.

8. Rushing yards were difficult to come by, and a single, long rush 47 yard sprint by D’Andre Swift boosted the numbers a bit. Brian Herrien, as always, was tough and had a few good rumbles. Zamir White only touched the ball 4 times, but more than once he moved an entire pile of humanity for good, tough gains. When this kid finally breaks one, people are going to lose it and I can’t wait.

9. The Georgia rush defense is slipping, y’all. Missouri gained 50 yards, more than double the amount Florida got the week before. Gotta tighten up...

10. Jordan Davis, everyone:

11. I was so impressed with Monty Rice and Tae Crowder. They combined for 13 tackles and 2 solos apiece. Quay Walker and Nolan Smith each registered a sack, with the team combining for 5 TFL’s.

12. Mizzou came into the game with 8 interceptions on the year (+2) and 11 fumble recoveries (+5). We didn’t turn the ball over last night for the third week in a row. Richard LeCounte III’s pick and 71-yard return was the only turnover of the game.

13. We are playing so much youth on defense now; a unit that is borderline elite. Next year’s squad could be unbelievable...

14. Special teams were very good, if not spectacular. Rodrigo Blankenship was mostly “money,” hitting 4 for 5 on field goals, including a long of 48 yards, and his kickoffs were mostly un-returnable on a cold night in Athens. Jake Camarda punted 5 times, for a 45.5 yards/per average. Dominick Blaylock had a couple of nice punt returns (and a couple of “why aren’t you signaling fair catch?” moments), including a long of 18 yards. Kearis Jackson had one return for 5 yards. I think Dom Blaylock, as he gains confidence, will become a very good return man and last night he certainly seemed more willing to field punts he might otherwise have not tried only a few weeks ago. I bet he’d make a pretty good receiver, too... ;-)

15. So, onto Auburn next Saturday (3:30, CBS). As of this writing, we are a three-point favorite. The line on this game might end up being a “pick ‘em” before the weekend.

Florida’s defensive line was stout.

Mizzou’s was similar in many respects.

Auburn, led by Derrick Brown, is on a whole ‘nuther level (who had a bye week...our 3rd opponent in a row with this “advantage”). Trey Hill and Isaiah Wilson looked as if they were really hurting and we have to have them. Cade Mays got bent over backwards in a pile and his status is unknown. We all know how important Lawrence Cager is to an offense that, frankly, only really clicks when he’s in the game. Auburn has their own offensive issues and each team actually are fairly similar. Turnovers in this game will be key. We’ve got to get a few breaks and play with discipline. In a way, I’m glad this one is on the road. Don’t ask me why. I’ve just got a feeling that we’re a bit more focused for some reason away from Sanford Stadium this season, although that venue down in Lee County, Alabama is a tough environment if the crowd gets into it.

We’ve got to get healthy in a short, short week. Stay tuned all week as we’ll do our best to update the injury front, although Kirby is very careful about revealing anything of this nature. We’re gonna ride the defense again. This should be a low-scoring game. (It’ll probably be a 42-37 shootout...winner TBD).

BONUS THOUGHTS:

Arkansas has fired Chad Morris after losing to Western Kentucky. This might be the nation’s biggest reclamation project.

Appalachian State: Taking names and kicking Power 5 School ass.

LSU really, really wants to retain Joe Brady.

Oklahoma’s offense is pretty good. Their defense is pretty bad.

It’s a strange, new world for Alabama, isn’t it?

That’s all I’ve got. As Always...GO DAWGS!