That was sweet. Georgia never trailed on Saturday as they played their best game of the season. It wasn’t perfect, and there are still some things that must be addressed, but our best was better than theirs and our coach is better than theirs, too. So much to discuss. But first, let’s take a little trip down memory lane:
Enjoy this, Georgia. Savor this second consecutive victory over the Florida Gators. Relish your clear superiority over your rivals during Saturday’s 36-17 victory in the World’s Largest Outdoor Talent Discrepancy Party. Every Dog has its day. But your Dog days aren’t going to last as long as you once thought. - Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel. Sunday, October 27 2018.
Make that three in a row, Mike.
1. Dan Mullen runs his mouth in victory. He runs his mouth in losses. He runs his mouth in the off-season at the beach prior to media days. Clear video evidence of last night’s post-game handshake may or may not exist, but it was certainly shorter than last year. Will he give credit to his opponent? Doubtful.
No, [Georgia] didn’t do anything, to me,” Mullen responded when asked about the Bulldogs stopping Florida’s ground game. “We fell behind and wanted to take the lead early. So, we were throwing a little more. I don’t think we tried to call too many run-game plays.”
2. Hey, Dan? You netted 21 yards rushing. All day. I think you need to redefine what constitutes success and what doesn’t against your running game. But, hey - if you want to roll that way, we’re hip.
3. There was nothing secretive about Florida’s defensive philosophy: Key on the stopping the run, which they largely achieved early as rushing yards were difficult to come by for much of the afternoon. But Third and Grantham (a phrase coined on this blog during more melancholy times) falls squarely on the shoulders of those individuals who comprise this year’s iteration of DBU, and of course, the namesake: the nomadic defensive coordinator who will undoubtedly be looking to boost his annual salary by flirting with the NFL once again. It’s a good plan if boosting one’s salary every 3-5 years is the ultimate goal. I’d like him to stay and if you’d like to contribute to this worthy cause, let me know.
4. I’ll say it again: No one maximizes their opportunities like Brian Herrien. This kid is just a damn good football player and may be the most versatile player we have. I think he’s going to make someone’s NFL roster and have a solid career.
UNBELIEVABLE.— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 2, 2019
We've watched this 2398034981274 times and we still aren't sure how Brian Herrien came up with this catch. pic.twitter.com/R3Xw4vZO95
5. Georgia did not commit a penalty until 7:04 left in the first half. In the 2nd half, Georgia committed 7 penalties for 41 yards (8 total for the game). One in particular on Richard LeCounte while covering Freddie Swain on 3rd and 10 kept Florida’s final scoring drive alive. You remember? The drive that went 17 plays and consumed nearly 7 minutes of 4th quarter clock. When the ensuing squib-kick was fielded by DAndre Swift, all that remained was 3:11. Florida had only 2 timeouts left and absolutely had to get a 3-and-out. If ever there was such a thing as a Pyrrhic Drive (trademark pending), this was it.
6. So, on first down, we get a 5 yard delay-of-game penalty (nearly disastrous). It’s now first and 15 and that yardage is shortened on 2nd down as Fromm his Demetris Robertson for 7 crucial yards, and Robertson stays in-bounds. Timeout, Florida and now they’re down to 1. Second down, and Swift gains a yard, Mullen calls his last timeout and now it’s THIRD AND GRANTHAM once again. This happened:
Georgia needed a big play. Jake Fromm delivered it. pic.twitter.com/x6Am1o8OZ3— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 2, 2019
Ballgame, Dan. Not that we deserve any credit or anything...
A great throw under pressure, excellent blitz pickup and a superior route as Wolf beat Florida’s Stewart. Twenty two glorious yards, a new set of downs and Florida is out of timeouts and out of hope.
7. Walking out of that stadium a winner is one of the best things ever. Walking out of that stadium a loser is equally as painful. Walking out a loser in a nailbiter when you have to literally wait for those precious seconds tick...tick...tick is unbearable, but that’s what those donned in Orange and Blue had to endure. We’ve been on this side of the coin. That coin has flipped.
8. Did we leave some points on the table? Of course, but for all the teeth gnashing there were a couple of plays that failed not because of the play-call, but for poor execution. Had these been touchdowns instead of Rodrigo Blankenship (who was perfect) field goals, this game might be out of reach by halftime. On Georgia’s first drive after stopping the Gators on 4th and 2, Fromm simply threw to the wrong tight end on 3rd and 11 from Florida’s 13, as Charlie Woerner was covered, but Eli Wolf was practically naked and alone at the goal line, having lined up on the left side of the line and running a post. Matt Landers has to lay out for a ball on Florida’s goal line; a ball that he touches and perhaps scores on. That was a great call as Landers was isolated on a linebacker. We settled for 3 on both occasions.
9. Georgia did an excellent job of blitz pick-up all day. The backs were all incredible in stoning the occasional safety or linebacker. Having Lawrence Cager back was the difference in the game as the chemistry between the other receivers is still a work in progress.
This was an excellent play call. Perhaps James Coley’s finest all season. More, please.
The fans in red are very excited, the fans in blue are not. pic.twitter.com/sBUgXBpIxH— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 2, 2019
What an answer...
10. D’Andre Swift’s nullified touchdown came on a toss-sweep. It wasn’t the first toss sweep of the day, either. Getting him on the edge occasionally will eventually pay off, and it should have here. Matt Landers holding call, which was really ticky-tack if you go back and look at the replay, essentially removed the final nail in Florida’s coffin and that mass exodus of Gator fans nearly happened.
10A. Watching Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson dominate Florida’s rush ends all day was a thing of beauty. Our offensive line yielded no sacks against a team that had 29 (!) coming into the day. Do not discount Jake Fromm’s runs to scramble out of a few dodgy situations, where he picked up positive yardage. Very heady stuff.
Now, Bianchi seems to be
worrying wondering a bit about Dan Mullen ability to (wait for it...) recruit! Go ahead, Mike. Unhitch your wagon from the D-Train. We won’t mind.
The Dawgs had the better offensive line. They had the better defensive line. They had the better quarterback. They had the better running back. They had the better wide receivers. And they had a head coach who was able to recruit the cavalcade of talent on display Saturday. - Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel
Uh, Mike. You forgot to say we had the better coach. Maybe next year...
12. ...but it might not be next year. Consider how much Florida is losing on both sides of the ball. Virtually their entire skill set at receiver and running back. Junior TE Kyle Pitts could be a high draft pick. Gone from the defense are Zuniga, Greenard, David Reese II and a bunch of secondary help. Kyle Trask - a very good game manager who threw well and completed what the Dawgs were willing to give up - is going to have to adapt to a bunch of new faces, much like Jake Fromm currently has to. So, all Florida has to do is recruit. We’ve got the better part of a 3-year head start on them from what I can see, and if a certain QB decides to return, I don’t expect the Gators to suddenly flip this series, which is now a bona-fide 3-game winning streak.
13. I can’t say enough about how well we played defensively. Our guys in the middle were absolutely dominant. Malik Herring played great and was held all day long. Monty Rice was all over the field.
We simply whipped them up front and Florida had to throw. Of course their QB is going to get his yards, but negating the run make a team one-dimensional and that’s the goal. Georgia won the rushing statistics 31 rushes for 119. 3.2 yards per rush. Florida? 19 rushes, 21 yards, 1.1 yards per rush. Win this stat, win the game. Generally, it’s as simple as that. At least it has been for the last 14 years in a row.
Georgia’s defensive backs, especially our corners, really took away anything deep. Florida got a few chunk plays, particularly from Pitts who had their longest gain of the day - 29 yards - but Van Jefferson was held to 2 receptions. Freddie Swain had a big day, but his 8 catches were underneath routes we were willing to concede. Josh Hammond and Tyrie Cleveland combined for only 2 catches and 13 yards all day.
13A. Special Teams: The aforementioned Brian Herrien as a special teams player was simply outstanding in the return game. We only punted twice (still gotta work on that super-short “pin ‘em back” kick, Jake Camarda). Field position was generally not an issue on Saturday. We never had to punt from deep inside our own territory. Compared to just two weeks ago, this was a vast improvement.
14. Kirby Smart is 3-0 vs. Dan Mullen head-to-head. He’s also 3-0 vs. Todd Grantham (there’s that number three again!) This carries great weight in recruiting. There are a lot of kids from Florida who are coming north to play between the hedges, and there is no reason to think that yesterday’s result will do anything but augment this.
It’s now been 1099 days since Florida beat Georgia in football.— Dawg Sports (@dawgsports) November 3, 2019
15. This is special. I’m not crying...well, okay. I’m crying and so are you.
Jake Fromm and Kirby Smart have a special relationship. pic.twitter.com/HeMeXzH7eO— SEConCBS (@SEConCBS) November 2, 2019
If the NFL is part of Jake Fromm’s near term goals, I wish him all the best and will support him throughout his future endeavors.
If, on the other hand, Jake decides to return with a good chance of going 4-0 against Florida, I won’t complain. With another year of season with some really good receivers that are still learning on-the-job, more blue-chip talent on the way and perhaps another grad-transfer out there waiting for a shot to play with and for a winner, it might be enticing enough to stick around for another season. Either way, I’m good with it*
*Please come back, Jake.
Third and Grantham. On a loop, forever and ever. A wrinkle in time...
It’s GREAT to be a GEORGIA BULLDOG!
That’s all I’ve got, As Always, GO DAWGS!