Here is what I’m NOT worried about come Saturday nights kick off:
1) Execution. Normally one expects sloppy play in the first game, as not even scrimmages replicate the confusion, the adrenaline, the unexpected, and the lack of muscle memory this early in the campaign. But I’m not. It’s Vandy. They are replacing a quarterback and a lot of their offensive line even though they return some great skill position players, so they will face the same execution problems. Those things being equal, we carry the day.
2) It’s a TRAP! Vandy has to travel to Purdue next week before a much needed (??) bye week. And we come back home to the State teams of Murray and Arkansas. Our boys are tired of hitting each other in practice, and want to put some black and gold scuffs on their hardware. Yeah, I don’t think this is getting overlooked.
3) Do we even have a Wide Receiver? Yes, just not much experience. Will it matter? Nope. The ‘Dores lost half of their 2018 interceptors, they do have a grad transfer and a 4 star recruit. They also surround that will youth, and a new Defensive Coordinator. This from a team that was almost last in total defense last season. At the very least, we have enough height from Simmons, Woerner, and Landers where jump ball practice might be time well spent. And if D-Rob can block… just kidding. Just get Robertson in space and his natural ability will take over. He needs to be healthy, and he needs reps on the field.
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 kicking off the 2019 season:
1) What is James Coley going to do different? Please, in the holy name of Vince Dooley, give us something new. Throwing to a tight end on a seam route does count as new. Or at least keep the ball spread around. It is the first game, and if we can truly outmatch Vandy early, okay, maybe keep some things in the back pocket for Notre Dame.
I get that it’s the first game. I get that we don’t show all our cards. But having superior Jimmie’s and likely Joe’s too, why not keep it mixed up? Kirby will run the ball, we will have some play action, a few outs and probably at least 1 jet sweep. Now give me trips on one side, some bubble screens that actually work, and multiple verts. That, plus everyone on God’s green earth knowing what we normally do will really have heads scratching the rest of the season.
2) Turnovers. We ranked __ in 2018. All things being equal, if turnovers are not, then turnovers decide the game. After all, we’re due for an upset from the Commodores. It happens about 5 times out of every (last) 28 years. Which means they are due. Kinda like the super caldera simmering underneath the upper western high plains. Gonna happen, but does it happen this year? I don’t want to be the one to say “no chance” and then shake my head during the volcanic winter caused by sulfuric ash which engulfs all life in the northern hemisphere.
3) Sacks. Head Bulldog Kirby Smart has repeatedly emphasized he wants more “havoc” – sacks, pressures, passes broken up, interceptions. Yes, UGA lost some sizzle and steak to our pass rush thanks to graduation, etc. But if we can’t generate some serious heat on a Vanderbilt line that is replacing some of it’s most decorated and experienced offensive linemen; and is probably going to try out a QB that is either a freshman or has never taken a snap in the SEC… well, we have problems.
I could have put this as something I’m not worried about, considering the recruiting and depth we have both on the line and rushing from the edge. We have tremendous upside, but not an overwhelming amount of experience. And some of those 5 star high schoolers turn into 2nd and 3rd stringers. We need sacks, we need them now, and Coach Smart better unleash the hounds.
Call me crazy, just don’t call me late for dinner. Sound off in the comment below on what worries you with this week’s tilt. And as always…