Damn that was interesting. Despite eventually winning by the largest margin of victory in the SEC on Saturday, Georgia took a very bumpy path to victory Saturday. If we had coasted through a 35 point end to end blowout of Arkansas we may not be as focused entering this week as I am sure we are now. That said, there are still major questions that need to be answered and Bo Nix will not offer up 14 free points the way Arkansas’ QB did and always has. Let’s get into the details.
Mathis: It was really bad and it snowballed. The reality is, Mathis is still the QB with the highest ceiling who is currently heathy.
o Horrible situational awareness on several plays: running out of bounds short of a first, throwing the ball out of bounds on a play that should have been called intentional grounding etc
o Body Language was not great after being pulled. He didn’t seem super engaged and he was further back on the sideline rather than up with the play signalers. Maybe not a huge deal but if I had just been pulled id be doing everything I could to let my coaches know I was ready for another opportunity
o Accuracy was really poor on his interception after our defense gave the offense another golden opportunity to score
o Really aggressive on read option plays where the running back give was the better option but he kept and ran anyway (this was after he was pulled and went back in, likely to try to create a big play)
o Mathis looked very athletic outside of the pocket and added a new threat to the offense
o He made a couple good intermediate throws across the middle giving him some early confidence
o Not everything was his fault. There were missed blocks and penalties that cannot be attributed to Mathis but hurt his performance
I do not think Mathis starts but I do think he plays in specific packages against Auburn.
Bennett: The Mailman! Very serviceable runner. Much better runner than Fromm. Clearly understands the offense and takes what the defense gives him. He won’t make flashy plays but he will consistently pick up yardage and take care of the football. He may be just what this team needs with a dominant defense and really good special teams but I am not sure you can beat the big dogs of the SEC with him.
I think Bennett starts against Auburn.
Daniels: Daniels is clearly the most established QB on Georgia’s roster and probably gives Georgia the best chance to win long term. But the combination of Jamie Newman taking early #1 camp reps and the need for Mathis/Bennett to take #1 reps. I think Daniels had the possibility of being cleared late last week and Georgia brought him to Arkansas (with a limited travel roster) for an emergency situation. Unfortunatly, Daniels was not cleared on Friday or Saturday and did not end up being cleared until this week. He likely just does not have enough reps under his belt to be his best.
I do not think Daniels will play against Auburn. If he does, it may be in an emergency role, which would be very bad for the Dawgs.
Running Back Observation
This is just a guess but I think Todd Monken started to favor James Cook over Zamir White through the course of fall camp. Cook is a more dynamic option out of the backfield that gives Monken a ton of flexibility from a personnel and formation perspective. James Cook has some real issues with his balance right now. He can make you miss in an elevator and run away from people but that means nothing if the first weak arm tackle gets him on the ground. The first half mainly featured Cook and the run game was generally unsuccessful. I think Kirby “kindly” asked for more power run game in the second half and Zamir White answered. The was a reason that Zamir White was in a position to block a punt on punt return and I think it was because he was being viewed as the second back entering the game and thus available for more special teams reps. I think Zamir solidified his spot as Georgia’s most dominant back. We don’t have a D’andre Swift on this years roster. Someone who combines speed and power that can jump over you, run through you or run by you for a 75 yard TD. But Zamir has a strong body that will wear you down and he also showed softer hands on Saturday. He needs to be leaned on as we find a consistent starting QB.
· Tyrique Stevenson did not cover very well
· We have 3 excellent ILBs Dean Rice and Walker (in that order based on Saturday’s play)
· Mathis had some issues with his cadence causing several false starts. Looked uncomfortable mainly on long passing downs
· Felipe Franks is always good for about 4 really stupid plays per game
· LeCounte is an excellent player that is a ball hawk. He also takes risks and got burned taking one step towards a man out of the backfield for a TD
· I honestly think the size of Trey Hill’s thighs effects his snap ability. He is probably a more natural guard. He has the biggest thighs I’ve ever seen on an athletic human
· Short toss still works...every time
· I was worried about TE preseason due to experience but both John Fitzpatrick and Darnell Washington looked really good in both the pass and run game
· Owen Condon had a really rough game at RT. We look to be one tackle short across the line. Warren McClendon likely makes the start at RT on Saturday but this line is going to shuffle all year
· Nakobe Dean’s closing speed is absurd
· Kearis Jackson can’t take the top off a defense by burning everyone with speed but he is going to be a consistent playmaker this year. Really good in rpo screen game. He is tough, tough, tough
· Travon Walker’s pass rush was extremely disruptive
· Every aspect of special teams was tremendous from punting, kick return, field goal kicking and punt return. Not sure if I should give Scott Cochran early credit for that or just applaud the players for great execution
· Tyson Campbell looked like a 5 star for maybe the first time ever. He had some really good coverage plays and some hard hits on receivers. If he can take a big step and be more consistent, we will have an elite secondary
· Adam Anderson was used inside on 3rd downs in the havoc package and showed really good closing speed. Jermaine Johnson also looked very solid at OLB. He will turn into a draft pick this year
Absolutely brutal to catch this game week 2 but I guess that’s how things go in a 10 game SEC schedule. This one will be close, there is no doubt in my mind. The success of Auburn’s offense is almost exclusively dictated by the run game. It allows them to play with lighting pace, opens up play action deep plays and generally causes a lot of headaches for opposing defenses. If they are unable to find a consistent running rhythm, its much easier to diagnose and properly defend. I think Georgia has a massive advantage when it comes to our defensive line vs Auburn’s offensive line. They are breaking in 4 new starters from a line that wasn’t even that great last year. This advantage could make it tough for Auburn to run consistently and may make it possible for Georgia’s LBs and DBs to focus on the bevy of explosive options Auburn has at receiver in Seth Williams, Anthony Schwartz and Eli Stove. Our offense is a crap shoot based on who is at QB so I am not really sure what to tell you. Auburns secondary is good but they don’t have anyone to neutralize George Pickens so we either need to test them in 1 on 1 or take advantage in other parts of the field when Pickens is doubled. In the end, it comes down to a very close on score game determined by turnovers and special teams, so give me the Dawgs. Georgia 24 Auburn 21
Bucky’s Easy Money of the Week
Overall: 122-109-3 (53%)
1. Bama 1H -10 vs Texas A&M
2. Clemson 1H -17 vs Virginia
3. South Carolina +18 vs Florida
4. Georgia vs Auburn Over 44.5
5. Oklahoma -7 vs Iowa St