If your Georgia Bulldogs are about to take on a historical rival ranked in the top ten and you have no idea who’ll play quarterback, you could probably use a drink. I can help with that.
J.T. Daniels? D’Wan Mathis? Stetson Bennett? Fran Tarkenton? Greg Talley?
What if I told you I’m not actually that worried about who takes the snaps under center? It might seem odd given that the quarterback is viewed as so essential, the player who touches the ball on essentially every offensive snap. Quarterbacks have the potential to make good things happen. But more importantly they have the chance to make bad things happen. Fumbles, interceptions, lost momentum. I like to think that Kirby Smart and I are on the same page here.
There’s no doubt the UGA offense looked crisper and more efficient with Stetson Bennett under center. It’s also worth remembering that the Pride of Pierce County has now played for four different offensive coordinators in four seasons of college football. So the fact that he can keep all the verbiage straight at this point is a minor miracle. That he can do that and complete almost 70% of his passes is even more impressive.
But I do believe that the ceiling on the Red and Black offense is ultimately higher with D’Wan Mathis taking the snaps. He was not helped by a ton of penalties and missed assignments. Upon review, I don’t think the gap in play was as wide between the two Bulldog quarterbacks last Saturday as one might think, in part because Bennett’s tenure on the field coincided with the UGA offensive line playing somewhat better assignment football and the Arkansas defense beginning to look a step slower after spending a long stretch on the field in the third.
That says nothing of J.T. Daniels, who was pretty impressive at USC before going down to injury, and is unlikely to have totally forgotten how to play the position. I also think Todd Monken probably now has a good idea of what he’s dealing with in terms of personnel and is in a better position to gameplan than he was last week when he found himself changing field generals in mid-battle.
In short, I think Georgia will put a credible if not spectacular offense on the field no matter who is quarterbacking. That just comes with a wholesale change in offensive style and personnel, which is what we have going on in the Classic City.
On Saturday in Athens my eyes will instead be on the other side of the ball. If there’s a statistic that I think may be key from Auburn’s week one win over Kentucky it’s this: on 30 full pass set plays against the Wildcats the Tigers surrendered only 2 QB pressures and no sacks.
It wasn’t that the Auburn offensive front is that great. Auburn returned one starter on the offensive line for new offensive line coach Jack Bicknell, and injuries meant that the starting five didn’t actually come together until game week before the opener. In light of that, giving up no sacks was a solid accomplishment for Chad Morris’s offense.
There are some good players up front for the Plainsmen, but the truth is Kentucky just doesn’t have a great deal of talent or depth on the defensive front. Georgia by contrast may have the deepest front seven in the SEC. Guys like Travon Walker and Azeez Ojulari are a real problem, and they’re only two of the seventeen front seven (DL+LB) personnel who tallied at least one stop against Arkansas.
Bo Nix is a talented quarterback and now has the benefit of a full season of SEC experience. But there’s every reason to believe that if Georgia forces 7 QB pressures and 3 sacks they win this game almost in spite of what the offense does. This edition of the South’s Oldest Rivalry will turn on how often Bo Nix ends the play with his face in the dirt. And there’s only one drink for a game in which we need Bone X (Tm) to keep taking it on the chin:
A Bo’s Chin Fizz. It’s made with:
- 2 ounces sloe gin
- 1 ounce lime juice
- 2⁄3 ounce rosemary simple syrup (made just like normal simple syrup, but with a sprig of fresh rosemary thrown in while it cools. This stuff is like unicorn tears.)
- 1 to 3 ounces club soda (just to top off the glass)
Not familiar with sloe gin? It’s a liqueur more common in the U.K. than U.S. and made by combining gin with the sloe fruit, a sort of plum. American sloe gin may use comparable stone fruits to get the same sweet/tart flavor. I’m not worried about the fruit, but if possible make sure your sloe gin is made with actual gin, because some cheaper versions sold on store shelves are actually made with cheap vodka. There’s a difference.
But back to our recipe. Mix all ingredients except the soda over ice in a cocktail shaker, shake vigorously and strain into a glass. Top with the soda water and enjoy.
Drink up, and don’t wear orange. Also...