Here is what I’m NOT worried about for Saturday’s noon matchup on ABC:
1) Let’s be honest. Tech sucks. And while your opinion may vary on the actual institution of higher learning, the current student body, it’s alumni base, it’s fans, whatever; I’m narrowing down my characterization to the production of the 2019 Yellow Jacket football team.
There are 130 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Tech is worse than 91% of those teams in the following statistical categories: 3rd down offense, completion percentage, 1st downs, passing offense, Red Zone offense, Scoring offense, passing efficiency, total offense, time of possession, 4th down defense, and rushing defense. There are a slew of others where they aren’t much better. I knew Tech was bad, I just didn’t know how bad. My question is, how did they win 3 games?
2) No opposing team has scored on it’s opening offensive possession against our Bulldog defense. Heck, there’s been 4 games where the team on the other sideline has only seen the endzone from the humongous flat screen over the bridge. We’ve given up 13 touchdowns through 11 games, and only 9 field goals. With the measly offensive output from the Yellow Jackets, surely they will face many Odyssian-level ob-stackels on their way through our end of the field?
3) Tech is allowing over 30 pts a game and 215 yards rushing. Swift should get his, and I’d like to see Herrien or Zamir White top the century mark as well. This is not the Auburn defensive front, nor a fairly stout Missouri Tiger D-line, not even the surprisingly effective Texas A&M rush defense. I see no reason why Zeus can’t get 10-12 totes himself and try to establish some rhythm, even if late. Swift should be wrapped up like your Christmas crystal by halftime, so let’s see what we can do with the backups.
If you want to run the jet sweep, fine. Just keep it relegated to Demetris Robertson or Kearis Jackson – guys who we know can make moves in space and have some jets to burn the edge.
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:
1) No turnovers last 5 games. After the 3 interception and 1 lost fumble performance against the Gamecocks, Georgia has been most protective of the pigskin. In fact, 7 of the 11 games have been free of giveaways. With such a trend, why should I worry?
Regression to the mean, law of averages, Murphy’s Law, you name the adage, it applies here. It’s the only reason we’re 10-1 instead of undefeated. It’s why the South Carolina game was even close and not a 2-3 score victory for the good guys. It’s why Auburn lost to Florida, and why Oregon is no longer in the playoff hunt. Turnovers are the great equalizer, and we are most definitely not equal football teams this season. Keep it that way, and keep possession.
2) Jake Fromm should be comfortable. Because the Georgia quarterback’s numbers are eerily similar to what Tech’s passing defense has given up. Jake tosses it 27 times a game, Tech sees about 28 passes a game. Jake completes about 63% of his passes and Tech allows about 61%. The touchdowns, the rating, all are in the ballpark. So this should be the perfect time to air it out and work on some improvements to the air attack. Khaki won’t see anything crazy, he shouldn’t be overconfident, he should see this as a good scout team, go out there and shred the middle of the field for 3 quarters in preparation for the SEC Championship game.
Somehow, someway, we need this to happen. The one game (not just a drive) where we get everything to click passing down the field, down the middle, and something other than a bubble/smoke screen or a back shoulder fade. Incorporate the tight ends more than once, hit slants repeatedly on the same drive until they bunch the middle and bring up the safeties, leaving a skinny post open for an easy pitch and score. The fan base knows the recipe and knows what it looks like. We won’t have a better opportunity.
3) Bigger things on the horizon. Georgia already has a date the first weekend of December, and is certainly guaranteed a bowl game after that. But how we approach, strategize, and execute in the SECCG will determine if it’s a bowl game no one is excited about, or a win-and-move-on scenario in the playoffs.
This weekend is a game the coaching staff can afford to take a few risks with. Sheer size alone is worth about a 10 point spread, the speed and athleticism advantage Georgia has over little brother is another touchdown. If James Coley can take his best situational calls, and the Bulldog players can perform up to their potential, the players can gain confidence, cause Dave Aranda some sleepless nights, and give the Bulldog faithful real cause for optimism. Or, we can continue to fret, gnash teeth, and sweat out a game much closer than it should be. Which of these is more likely?
Call me crazy, just don’t call me late for dinner. Sound off in the comments below what worries you about the first conference meeting between the Bulldogs of Georgia and Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech.
And as always…