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15 Thoughts Says Slow Your Worry Roll

This game wasn’t as ugly as you think. Winning is always beautiful.

NCAA Football: Georgia at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

I’m afraid this edition of “15 Thoughts” is going to be a bit brief today. As many of you know, I live down here in the Ft. Lauderdale area and we’re all nervously watching a monster storm named “Dorian” get closer and closer to our coastline. Despite the fact a hard turn is expected in a few days, my particular locale is under some advisories and watches, so I’ll be headed into work early this afternoon. The next few days are going to be stressful for millions of people up and down the SE coastline. Prayers at this hour for everyone in the NW Bahamas. This is going to be an unmitigated disaster for the Abacos and Grand Bahama. This storm could actually change the geography of those islands.

On to some Thoughts...

1. No one could argue with Georgia’s play calling and execution on their first 3 possessions. The Dawgs were methodical and efficient on their 8, 10 and 7 play touchdown drives. We were totally in-sync offensively and I believe many assumed that would continue for the entire game. It didn’t quite pan out that way. Vanderbilt ain’t Georgia State Tennessee...

2. The offensive game plan was still vanilla for the most part. How many deep shots did we take? Maybe just one? That deep pass in the 2nd drive of the first quarter from Jake Fromm to Demetris Robertson was delivered with perfect execution, but was negated by a holding penalty. Why do these college analysts continue to insist that Jake Fromm has an issue throwing the deep ball? That kid usually places it on a dime. He always has. I heard it again last night. Anyway, the very next play, Fromm hit D-Rob for a 17 yard gain and the drive continued. The game plan was to run to set up the occasional pass. This was by design.

3. I thought our receivers looked good. There were a few hiccups here ‘n there, but the physicality that Kirby demands is present. Matt Landers impressed me (welcome aboard!), and we’ve got a ton of speed. This group is going to be a team strength sooner than later.

4. The run game is only going to improve, which should be a horrifying thought to our competitors. We all know what D’Andre Swift brings to the table and he brought it last night (16 carries, 147 yards 9.2 ypc). He was close to breaking a few long scoring runs. Brian Herrien gained 65 yards for a 5.4 average. He’s a more patient runner now, as he waited to hit his gaps. Early in his career he’d plow into the line. James Cook looks bigger with the same speed as last season, demonstrated by his 18 yard scoring run in the first quarter.

5. Zamir Whites debut exceeded my expectations. No one knows how any player will react after coming back from the type of injuries this kid has endured. “Zeus” had five carries, 51 yards, an eyelash away from touchdown on his long run of 23 yards where the defender keenly punched the ball out of his hands. That’ll get cleaned up and was all part of the first game yips that a few guys had. If he continues to stay healthy and gain confidence, look out. He simply looks the part.

6. Georgia’s tight ends were only targeted 3 times last night as they were primarily, specifically Charlie Woerner, used to block Mason’s edge guys, or key on linebackers. We are so thin here. Eli Wolf sure looks small for the position.

7. The defensive penalties are something that, at the time, is enough to make you throw a beer through your 55” TV. I get a lot of it. Adrenaline is high, as is competition for reps. These kids want to hit someone. There was a ton of uncontrolled aggression in the first half that, fortunately, became much more focused in the 2nd half. And it showed. Georgia was clicking for the most part offensively early; the defense was shooting themselves in the foot. After the half, the defense shut down Ke’Shawn Vaughn and chased Riley Neal incessantly. Vaughn is a very, very good back and once we quit bouncing off tackles like we did early, he was contained.

7A. I don’t think Vanderbilt is a bad team. The season might just reveal they’re actually a pretty good team

8. I was impressed by Eric Stokes. He looks like the lock-down corner everyone thinks he can be. The guy has long arms and is disruptive. Tyson Campbell’s pass interference was really a very, very good play. Vandy threw to an ineligible receiver in the endzone, and Campbell flew to the play and broke up what would’ve been a negated touchdown pass anyway because of illegal formation on their receiver. Next weekend should be fun to watch as some of the other young defensive backs get a look.

8A. I thought the refs were...sucky. They were quick to throw flags, but missed a lot of holds on Vandy. It worked both ways as we got a break on a horse-collar tackle that didn’t happen.

9. Monty Rice had a very nice game. His health is vital to the success of our defense. Tae Crowder has to stop guys on first contact. He’s a good athlete, but still needs to work on wrapping up. Azeez Ojulari has a very high motor and could be all-Conference before seasons end. I believe this kid is going to be special. So much talent.

10. I think my favorite defensive play of the night was when Jordan Davis broke through his block and chased down Ke’Shawn Vaughn behind the line. Big men shouldn’t move that fast. Davis is only going to get better.

11. Could the Dawgs scored more points? Absolutely. Should they have scored more points? No doubt. Kearis Jackson’s fumble inside the 5 cannot happen again. I appreciate the effort as he fought for more yardage and I’ll cut him some major slack because, if I’m not mistaken, that play was his first reception in his career. That’ll get coached up. Not converting on a couple of 3rd and 4th and short with this offensive line? Can’t happen. No excuse...

12. ...but to continue this thought for a second: Georgia kept things vanilla on some scoring opportunities after we got the lead. This game could have gotten out of hand. Kirby Smart and Derek Mason a truly good friends and I feel like Kirby might have held some things back just a bit. Had this game been closer, the playbook would’ve been more open. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think so. Still, I’m a bit concerned about our inexplicable ability to get a yard when we need it with all that beef up front.

13. Rodrigo Blankenship is still money. Jake Camarda punted twice for a 54 yard average. From what I saw, he looks much more comfortable and fluid when striking the ball. Tyler Simmons will clean up the accidental “knee-down” that negated a decent punt return. That dude will break a long one or two before the season is over.

14. What is keeping us from feeling giddy this Sunday afternoon? More than anything, it was the penalties. It killed momentum, stalled drives, negated big plays and sustained a few of Vandy’s possessions when it absolutely should not have. Ten in total; 117 yards. Are you worried about this going forward? Not with this coaching staff. This will get cleaned up as well. This is why winning that first game is so important. Just ask Missouri, Tennessee, and South Carolina.

15. Speaking of Just wow. That program is down more than I ever thought possible. They’ve got BYU coming into Knoxville next week. I think BYU is better than Georgia State. This is a program that is on the precipice.

That’s all for now. Here’s praying that Dorian doesn’t affect you if you are within the “cone” of model uncertainty. And prayers for the NW Bahamas, sincerely. Freeport might be in the eyewall of this thing for 30 hours. Evil, evil things, hurricanes.

As Always, GO DAWGS!