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15 Thoughts: It was Ugly Until it was Beautiful

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Georgia depth finally prevailed on Saturday, but we cannot play like this next week and expect the same result.

Tennessee v Georgia Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Let’s just dive right into this one, if’n you don’t mind.

1. The only way we could’ve started the game any worse when Trey Hill snapped the ball 30 feet over Stetson Bennett’s head on the game’s 2nd snap of the day would’ve been if Trey Hill snapped the ball 30 feet over Stetson Bennett’s head on the game’s 1st snap of the day. To Trey’s credit, he calmed down the rest of the game and atoned later in the 3rd quarter on a hustle play when he grabbed a fumble out of mid-air 3 yards downfield. Tennessee was gifted 7 points before I could finish posting “How ‘Bout Them Aggies!” on Twitter. However, the last thing your quarterback should be worrying about is whether or not your center is going to sail the ball into the cosmos. This has got to get fixed.

We can be really good if we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot. - Kirby Smart

2. Tennessee came into town motivated and ready to play, and for a half they gave us fits when we provided fitful opportunities for them. This is a much improved squad over the last 3 years that we’ve seen from the Knoxvillians, but that “vaunted” Volunteer offensive line was their Achilles Heel; from false starts to not being able to handle our defensive front. All eight game winning streaks are not created equal, and Tennessee was ultimately exposed as the rebuilding program that they are. We’ll be sad to see 8th year senior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano leave Rocky Top. Still, his 2nd half performance (and interception and 2 fumbles) can mostly be attributed to his overrated offensive line.

Lawrence is a good coach. He just needs more horses camels.

3. I thought Zamir White ran a bit too much with his head down. Now, I’m probably being a bit harsh because Tennessee’s defensive line was pushing us around early on and this game, for more than a half, hardly resembled anything we did against Auburn. Kenny McIntosh continues to impress - both as a tailback and a special teams player. Kendall Milton, however, had several “wow” moments and this kid deserves more carries. He’s a different kind of back than what we have on the roster. He did fumble inside Tennessee’s 10 as we were driving to hang fifty on ‘em. I would have liked that. So would you.

Good question, Ryan.

4. What did you think of our overall passing attack? Stetson Bennett is very good with mid-range passes, but he’s still struggling with deep accuracy that is probably a function of arm strength. Due to no fault of his own, our offense resembled last year’s offense for much of the 2nd quarter and a good portion of the 3rd as our line struggled. Eventually, we wore down Tennessee as their defense got gassed.

5. Kearis Jackson continues to be the main target and had another solid day, with 4 receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown. Tre McKitty saw his first action, with 2 catches for 47 yards, including a beautiful seam route caught in stride of 28 yards on the Dawgs last drive before the half that should’ve resulted in a touchdown.

6. Georgia Pickens was not a factor in the game - from positive point of view. He did, however, draw a personal foul penalty when he hosed Jarrett Guarantano with his water bottle on the sideline after a modest 3-yard gain that fired up the Tennessee bench and ultimately resulted in good things for the Volunteer offense a few plays later. We love George and his fire and need his talents, but that cannot stand. For all the good he brings to the table, stuff like this hurts everybody. George has some maturing to do.

7. This was not an offensive masterpiece by any stretch. There are many things to fix, but there were some really good things to take away as well with more and more new wrinkles being added to the mix by Todd Monken & Co. I think our running back pecking order needs a reevaluation, at least in terms of spreading the carries around. Bennett continues to impress with his ability to go through progressions and throw to the right receiver and his ability to run when necessary. His stats: 16/27 for 238 yards and a couple of TD’s...solid if not exceptional, but there are still points being left on the board.

8. Before we dive into the defense, special teams play deserves some accolades. The Dawgs were holding onto a tenuous 23-21 lead and just went 3-and-out, punting from our own 15 yard line when Jake Camarda connected on a field-flipping, momentum changing 64 yard bomb that went out of bounds on the Tennessee 25. The Dawgs defense took over and the rest was history. Jack “Hot Pod” Podlesny was mostly solid in his kickoffs and perfect on two long field goals of 44 and 51 yards. Kenny McIntosh set Georgia up after Tennessee’s gift score with a 42 yard kickoff return and is close to breaking one.

9. The only chance the Vols had in this game was to establish the run. After accounting for positive rushes and sacks allowed, Tennessee ended up with -1 (yes, minus one) on the day. Our defense allowed 14 points on a couple of very well thrown balls by Guarantano, despite very good coverage. After the half, Tennessee’s possessions went like this:

  • Fumble
  • Interception
  • Punt
  • Punt
  • Punt
  • Fumble Touchdown
  • Downs (failed to convert 4th and short).
  • End of Game possession.

10. I watched a lot of putrid tackling by teams like Texas A&M, Florida, Texas, Ole Miss and even Alabama at times in last night’s shootout. I didn’t watch a down of LSU-Mizzou, but I suspect LSU lost because they couldn’t tackle. I could care less about Miami-Clemson, so I didn’t even flip over once. Georgia’s defense is very, very good at tackling.

11. Jalen Carter has become the Swiss Army Knife of our team. He’s good at tackling (natch), but is a former high school tight end that finished the day with more touchdowns than most of our receivers. It was predictable...

Don’t sell yourself short, Kat. You are a wizard.

12. Azeez Ojulari’s sack and strip fumble recovery of Guarantano deserved more points than what resulted. Georgia’s blitzes come from so many different spots and angles on the field, it’s often a blur. They are so fast they often overrun their quarry. I’ve never seen defensive speed across the board at UGA and I’ve been watching since the Nixon Administration. Now if you’ll excuse me, time for my bottle of Boost.

13. We ended up +1 in the turnover department. It could have been a push (Bennett nearly got picked in the end zone, and the aforementioned hustle play by Trey Hill). Tennessee mustered 214 total yards (all through the air) of offense; we “eeked” out 431 in a “balanced” effort.

14. Top tacklers were Monty Rice (8 with 5 solo, 2 TFL 1 sack - the scoop and score), Quay Walker (5 solo), Ojulari with 5 and 2 sacks, Channing Tindall (4 solo, 2 sacks...the kids wants to play more), Nakobe Dean (4 solo). Look at all the solo efforts. When our linebackers latch onto you, it’s over. They have a taller task next Saturday with the likes of #22 for Alabama.

15. The secondary did get burned for two very well thrown balls in the 2nd quarter when the Vols had their brief, fleeing period of momentum caused by a really bad 4th down and 1 foot call that we couldn’t convert and a drive that was sustained by Pickens’ shenanigans. Eric Stokes did come up with his 2nd interception on the year and Georgia did a very good job of keeping most things in front of them. Their job became easier as the game progressed while Guarantano wasn’t either turning the ball over or running for his life. Things get a bit more, uh, challenging in 7 days.

I am literally laughing my ass off.

BONUS THOUGHTS:

  • Dan Mullen is the biggest tool in college football’s enormous shed. Instead of blaming his porous defense and maybe throwing some shade towards Todd Grantham, he actually cites A&M’s crowd noise as an excuse. Gatorade comes in blue and orange. So does fake juice. Even gator fanboy Mike Bianchi has called him out.

Dial 1-800-Waa-Waaa

  • Arkansas got screwed yesterday on a bizarre attempt at a clock-killing spike that was botched by the SEC crew working their game against Auburn. And, when you’ve lost The Weather Channel, you’ve lost ‘Murica.

This is meteorological/comedy gold. It’s like positive vorticity advection with a punch-line (that’s a weather term...huzzah!).

  • Texas and Miami should play each other in the Guess Who’s Back Bowl sponsored by Rolodex. No team in America, up until yesterday I believe, has gotten more mileage out of beating a totally disinterested, aloof, and roster depleted team than Texas when they beat us in the Sugar Bowl a few years ago. I believe Tom Herman future is more precarious than Gus Malzahn’s at the moment.
  • The Ed Orgeron comparisons are valid to a former Auburn head coach.
  • Saban wonders if Ole Miss was stealing defensive signals? Meh, but Matt Corral might be the best QB in the Conference. Kid can absolutely sling it.
  • What has happened to the Bizarro Bulldogs? They scored 2 points vs. Kentucky yesterday. And Mike Leach is ready to make some dudes walk the plank. Yaaaarrrrrr!
  • This is funny.

Volume on!

That’s all I’ve got. I know I can do better next time.

AS ALWAYS, GO DAWGS!