Georgia took care of business in all phases of yesterday’s stomping of Arkansas State. So far, three up and three down. Next week is going to be an entirely different animal and I’m trying to think when the last huge out of conference match-up was.
1. Before I dive into some thoughts about the game, I’d like to remind everyone that Notre Dame was a most gracious host back in September of 2017. I wasn’t at the game, but everyone - to a person - that I’ve spoken with who traveled up to South Bend were greeted and treated with open arms. It is my hope that we can all reciprocate before, during and after the game. This is going to be a very special weekend coming up. I’m not telling you how to behave because you all know what to do. I think we’re going to show them a real good time (at least before 8:00 PM and sometime after 11...).
2. Back when I was matriculating in Athens, during the hey-day of the early ‘80’s, we had a couple of really good out of conference match-ups. In ‘82, BYU with Steve Young came to town and that was a very difficult game against what turned out to be a very talented Cougars squad. In 1983, Terry Donahue brought UCLA to Athens with QB Rick Neuheusel. Prior to kickoff, a thunderstorm of biblical proportions raked the Athens area with rain event that rivals anything I’ve ever seen in south Florida. However, the clouds parted and the game started on time and was played in front of a national audience on a very wet field, affecting both offenses in a low-scoring affair. Late in the 4th quarter, with UCLA driving, local product Charlie Dean’s pick-6 sealed the win for the Dawgs. I’ll never forget it.
“Charlie Dean read it right....68 yards for a touchdown...part of that new, patched-up, crippled up, gone, graduated, sunk secondary.” Oh, how I miss Larry. He’d love what’s happening in Athens today.
3. Yesterday’s display of pink with red, from watching on television, looked like a giant bouquet of roses and carnations. #WearPinkForWendy is one of the best things I’ve ever seen and the fact that this whole grass-roots, viral, spontaneously wonderful idea was born in an instant on our blog really make me proud. Continue to pray for Blake Anderson, his family, Wendy’s family, and all of those who are battling cancer.
4. I’m going to begin with Brian Herrien. You know, if you go down the list of running backs with the most flash, speed, best hands and wiggle, you’re probably not going to think of #35 right away. But if you want that one back who needs to gain that extra critical 2 or 3 yards, he’s your guy. He’s gotta be one of the strongest kids on the team because he’ll disappear from view, but that mass of humanity he’s in the middle of just seems to keep moving as he drives his legs forward. Anyway, no one plays tougher. He’s always been this way.
Dawgs on the board first! Brian Herrien 3 yard TD run! pic.twitter.com/fB7MSIpobv— #BOOMIN (@ftbeard_17) September 14, 2019
5. All of Georgia’s back in the 5-deep rotation scored on Saturday. D’Andre Swift did, in limited time, what he normally does by rushing for a ton of yards in a few carries, including a long run of 39. He also hauled in a nice screen pass and rambled for 48 yard touchdown. Zamir White only had a few touches, but newcomer Kenny McIntosh had the run of the day:
This is a big, fast kid with obvious moves very much like Swift. That juke was a thing of beauty. Not bad numbers: 4 rushes/67 yards and the long TD of 62. James Cook is hell once he gets the edge and averages about 17 yards a pop. Of course, the competition next week will be a bit stiffer, but what a rotation of backs! It’s the best in America.
6. Jake Fromm’s numbers were good and should have been better if the refs were actually paying attention to the obvious interference on George Pickens. Fromm’s numbers: 17/22, 279 yards, 3 TD (QBR 97). He did miss on an underthrow in the endzone to Pickens early, and narrowly connected with a deep ball to Matt Landers who, honestly, should have made a better effort. Not having Tyler Simmons (shoulder - should be fine) was no issue. Dominick Blaylock showed why he was a 5-Star recruit and this kid is getting better and better. his numbers: Four receptions for 112 and the long 60 scoot down the sideline with a nice block from Lawrence Cager, who scored his first touchdown as well. Cager’s blocking is coming on strong already.
7. George Pickens might be better at this point in his career than A.J. Green was as a true freshman. I know that’s some tall cotton, but Pickens is all that and more. Pickens highlight reel catch in front of the Georgia bench was just one of many, many more to come. I can’t wait to see him in action in a jump ball situation. That might happen sooner than later. Dawg receivers had 28 catches/388 yards/3 TD’s on the day. Let’s do it again next week.
8. The offensive line was dominant, and the only tackle for loss was made early in the game when Swift was knocked down behind the line in the first quarter. Last week, Murray State threw in a few stunts that we didn’t handle very well. This week, from what I saw, no Arkansas State rusher got within a few feet of Fromm or Stetson Bennett. The offensive line is a mix-and-match group of behemoths that are only getting better going forward.
9. Our defense plays really, really fast. Among our outside linebackers, I think Nolan Smith was held just about every play in action confined to the first half. Azeez Ojulari is cat-quick and really coming on and was constantly pressuring Logan Bonner. I saw some good things from Robert Beal who had 5 tackles, leading the defense in that category.
The number 13 on defense has been mighty, mighty good in recent years.
10. The defensive line allowed virtually nothing in the middle all day. The Red Wolves only gained 43 yards on 28 attempts as establishing any kind of running game was never going to happen.
11. The onus in defending the Red Wolves style of spread attack ultimately falls upon the defensive backs and they played a very good game. Did Lewis Cine not have his name on the back of his jersey? This kid played very well in the 2nd half and is going to be very good sooner than later. His 4th quarter pick preserved the shutout. Kirby Smart is rolling in players so fast it honestly is hard to keep up. Tackling in space was better - except for another whiff by Richard LeCounte early in the game where he took a bad angle.
12. Jake Camarda punted 3 times, with a long of 61. What a difference a year makes. He’s becoming a weapon. Rodrigo Blankenship was perfect on the day and is perfect on the season, with 2 more field goals added to his tally with a long of 41 and has hit on all 5 of his attempts in 3 games. Tyler Simmons fielded a single punt for a 17 yard return before he exited with a should injury which looked worse on TV than it must be in reality (fingers crossed). Dominick Blaylock stepped in the rest of the way with no return yardage.
13. So, 13 Georgia receivers caught one or more passes. Five of 6 running backs scored a touchdown. There is so much talent on this team in all phases, it’s mind-boggling. Now, how do we react when tested?
14. As of this writing, Georgia is an 11.5 point favorite to whip the Leprechauns next Saturday night (8:00 PM, CBS). The Irish blew out New Mexico Lobos yesterday in a game that was unwatchable (as were many on the slate). Brian Kelly’s squad is averaging 314 yards passing, and 193 rushing. Their defense is allowing 235 yards rushing per game. They’ve only played 2 games this season, and struggled a bit with Louisville in their opener (then had a bye before New Mexico). Coming down south is going to be a whole different experience.
You’re not going to beat Georgia by just three yards here, four yardsYou’re going to have to make some explosive plays. We needed to see that happen - Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly
15. So, Georgia Tech. You having Waffle House Boy remorse yet? I’ve ordered a Citadel shirt.
- We hate Gators around here more than anyone, but do hope Felipe Franks has a full recovery from his dislocated ankle suffered in Florida’s 29-21 win over Kentucky.
- Tennessee is back, baby. For the first time since the Eisenhower administration next week’s UT/UF game will not be on CBS. I hope it’s a nooner...
- Florida State found yet another way to lose a 2nd half lead at Virginia. I think the big money brokers at FSU are ready to pony up and get someone else.
So, how good are we? Yesterday, I saw a team that could do anything it wanted at anytime. Yes, it was against inferior opponents, but there is so much speed on display and the depth that we’re building is just incredible. I don’t think this game will be close on Saturday. It’ll probably be the only game I’ll attend in person this season, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I was in New Orleans on January 1, 1981 when we won it all. Maybe having Notre Dame on the schedule is a good omen for better things come next January.
They’ve got hunchbacks. We’ve got tailbacks.
That’s all I’ve got...