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15 Thoughts: Most Saw a Rout; a Few Saw Les Misérables

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Georgia completed their regular season slate by doing what they do every other year in Atlanta. We Run This State. Still, we can be so much better.

NCAA Football: Georgia at Georgia Tech
Richie LeCounte, ladies and gentlemen. A man among nerds.

What a day of college football. The night? Not so much.

Oh, and here is the NSFW version of the Lead Art:

Our #2 has become the dude we all hoped for. Those nerds? They’re a different kind of #2.

1. Georgia just navigated a very tough November undefeated, including 3 of 5 teams that had a bye week prior to playing us. Tech even had a 9-day head start on preparing for yesterday (although Tech couldn’t beat us if they had a 3-year prep). Since the South Carolina debacle, Georgia has gone 6-0 versus some stout defenses at the time. And, a few good offenses. The next offense we face is a bit different...

2. We are still disappearing offensively for an entire quarter and that lack of focus once again reared its ugly head. During the 2nd quarter, partly because of a fumble, muffed punt return and on-sides kick (why didn’t the coaching staff see this coming?), Tech held the ball and actually had a 17 yard scoring drive. This coming Saturday would be a good time to put together a complete 4-quarter game.

3. Jake Fromm’s performance - 4 touchdown passes and 254 yards was good. His 50% completion percentage wasn’t so good. Jake is very lucky that his first attempt of the game wasn’t intercepted (potentially for a pick-6) by a Tech linebacker that Fromm didn’t see. Of course the ‘backer dropped the ball. He’s a nerd. Jake won’t be so fortunate against LSU.

4. I made an observation during one of the in-game threads yesterday and still wonder if there is some sort of physical issue going on with #11. If there is, he’s playing through it, but he still seems “off.” This is in no way a criticism. Just wondering. Jake is the man. I hope he’s the man again next season.

5. Ten different receivers caught a pass as the grand experiment of who will step up and replace the irreplaceable Lawrence Cager continues. It was really good to see Charlie Woerner score (his very first? Yes. Shocking, I know) and Eli Wolf had some nice catches. With George Pickens out for the first half, someone must pick up the slack. Could it possible be Matt Landers who had one reception for 26 yards, or will Tyler Simmons continue to get more opportunities as he had his 2nd good receiving game in a row. Help is on the way as we’ve got some studs committed, but that don’t feed the bulldog in the here ‘n now.

sigh

6. It was good to see James Cook get involved more. I think he’s going to have to get more chances next week. I think he should’ve gotten more chances in the previous 12 weeks, but that’s just me. He really could be effective in the slot.

7. Special teams: Some of it really good, but a lot of it stank. The good? Dominick Blaylock’s 3 punt returns for 45 yards and a long of 32 which flipped the field and set up a score. His muffed punt and our inability to cover it with Simmons not pouncing on the pigskin cannot happen again. Jake Camarda punted well and pinned Tech on their own 3 with one of his 4 punts (we should NEVER have punted 4 times). Some of his kicks didn’t get much air, but rolled in the right direction. Hot Rod was 1 of 2, with a long of 49 and still hasn’t missed a PAT.

This is when I LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOOLOL’nerd.

8. Tech gained 139 total yards on the day. Forty of that was against the backups on their very last drive of the game. Monty Rice led the team in tackles with 8 total - all solo. Tae Crowder helped set the tone on Tech’s first drive by stripping the receiver of the ball in front of the Tech bench thus forcing one of 13 Tech punts. Tech’s punter weighed 400 lbs. at kickoff, but was noticeably slimmer at game’s end.

9. This defense is elite and may be the best I’ve ever seen. I’m hard-pressed to come up with another unit that has done what these guys have done. Through 12 games, only 125 points (10.4 average) allowed is a record. The future, on that side of the ball, is awesome. One of these days - perhaps sooner than later - we are going to pair this defense to a similarly effective offense. Thing is, if we can just generate a few more scores, it could be enough if the old maxim, “Defense Wins Championships” is true -which I believe it to be. Alabama cut through Auburn’s defense all day yesterday (when they weren’t throwing pick-6’s), but to what end? Their defense is average. I digress: Dan Lanning’s boys are going to have to come up bigger than big in Atlanta against Joe Burrow & Co.

10. So, how are we feeling after watching LSU totally dismantle the very same Texas A&M team we never trailed to, but struggled to score on? The Bengal Tigers do not waste scoring opportunities. If a big play is there, they hit it. Part of LSU’s success last night was complete focus and execution early and often. They wanted to put the Aggies in a coma right away. A lot of it is the venue. A&M looked defeated out of the gate, too. I think that’s a pulverized team that took their last, good swing against us a week ago. In no way am I discrediting what LSU did and they’re scary good on offense. But I’m not buying that they have suddenly fixed their defense in a week, either.

11. How are we going to generate some more offense, given our history this year? We are going to have to take some shots against LSU’s talented secondary. These guys are not entirely healthy, though. We cannot have any near misses. With Pickens out for a half, what’s the philosophy of Kirby Smart going to be? Focus on the running the ball and eat clock? We all know a low-scoring game will favor us, and we have the defense to get us there. Still, we’ve got to possess the ball and score some.

12. Jake Fromm has played 3 games in Mercedes-Benz Stadium: (2017 & 2018 SECCG and the 2017 National Championship Game). His stats: 93 attempts/57 completions (61.3%), 6 touchdowns and 2 INTS (all in the Natty game), for 716 total combined yards. His best game was last year’s SEC Championship vs. ‘Bama. Jake is a veteran QB and has played on the biggest stage. He can do this. Can he do this?

13. As of this writing, Las Vegas seems to think we’re going to “hang,” as LSU is a 2.5 4 point favorite.

14. This has been the strangest of seasons. Here we are, 11-1, and the teeth gnashing continues. Some of it entirely justified, yet that November schedule we just navigated without some key players wasn’t easy. So, in a weird year, we are facing a really good team that is hitting on all cylinders. So, any hope out there? I think so.

Why?

Every team faces adversity during a season. We’ve faced way more than our share. Injuries, a tough, inexplicable home loss and now a suspension to an emerging super-star who will become one of the greatest to ever play Between The Hedges if he can get his mind right (conversely, he might have a career in MMA). If this game is close and we need to make a play - maybe on defense - will we have another Auburn moment with a big sack to ice things, or a critical pass on 3rd down similar to Jake Fromm to Eli Wolf against Florida. If I’m a betting man, I’m probably picking LSU. But in the strangest of seasons, from a fan and results perspective, maybe weird wins the day. You cannot substitute how a team reacts to on/off field stuff. For the most part, we’ve passed all the tests. This is not insignificant.

15. We Run This State. Kirby understands our traditional rivalries’ place in history better than any coach we’ve had, with no disrespect to Ray Goff. No matter what happens next week, I am really proud of this team, warts and all. We are 11-1 and are playing LSU for the Southeastern Conference Championship. This is exactly where we wanted to be.

BONUS THOUGHTS:

  • Well done, Senator. Click now before it’s blocked...
  • This rivalry has become just plain sad.
  • Dabo Swinney, ladies and gentlemen. Didn’t he lose to Syracuse in similar fashion a few years ago, yet still got in? Please, Lord. Anyone but Clemson.
  • Kids do stupid things during rivalry week. Some are borderline criminal. Stay classy, Vol.

That’s it, folks. It’s all I’ve got. 52-7. 6:08. We Run This State.

As Always, GO DAWGS!