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Cocktail Thursday: Mississippi State Edition

old fashioned

Not sure if your Georgia Bulldogs are making the right moves at quarterback?

Not sure who’s healthy enough to step in on defense?

Not 100% certain there’ll even actually be a college football game in Athens this Saturday at all?

Buddy, you could probably use a drink. I can help you with that.

The thing that worries me most about this weekend’s matchup with the Mississippi State Bulldogs has nothing to do with JT Daniels or any other quarterback on the Georgia roster. To be frank, there’s just as good a chance that JT Daniels is our best option at the position right now as anyone else. Edmund Burke famously urged that change should be approached with a trembling hand because it brings with it inherent risk, but in this instance the status quo at quarterback does not argue persuasively in its own favor. Remember Burke also said that he errs most who changes nothing because he could change only a little.

Therein lies the challenge before Daniels. Georgia is just bad at the position. The odds that Daniels is worse than the 9 for 29 performance we saw against Florida from Stetson Bennett and D’Wan Mathis (let’s call them “D’Wannett” for simplicity’s sake) are relatively low.

Georgia can run the ball against the Bizarro Dawgs. Heck, what’s left of Vandy went for a buck fifty on the ground against them. JT Daniels doesn’t need to paint the Mona Lisa, at least not yet. He simply needs to fill a canvas with the correct number of noses and not draw any crude genitalia, or set the art studio on fire. Call me a cockeyed optimist, but I think he can do that.

You want to know what really worries me? Like deep in my soul, bordering on an existential level? What truly worries me is the Bulldog defense. Because the cadre of blue chip safeties and cornerbacks we made so much about in the preseason has now been royally torched by both Alabama and Florida for over 400 yards passing.

And while we don’t even know precisely who’ll line up at quarterback for the Maroons, whoever it is will throw the ball 40+ times and dare us to stop it. Leach’s Air Raid attack is renowned for getting the ball out fast. LSU tried to out-athlete it in the season opener by playing man defense. They got eviscerated for an SEC passing record.

That’s understandable because, and I don’t think I’m breaking any new ground here, Bo Pelini is not a terribly smart man.

But is Dan Lanning smarter? Is Kirby Smart going to let him be smarter? Can Kirby’s fleet of Ferraris just loll around in the parking lot playing zone, or will he race off Ricky Bobby-style screaming “I wanna go fast!!!” before slamming head-on into a tree?

If Georgia can drop seven guys into zone coverage and play assignment football Mississippi State will turn the ball over three or more times and this one will be over going to the fourth quarter. At that point Kirby can tell Todd Monken to call all the Cro-Magnon dives and counters he wants.

But if the Bulldog defense doesn’t play with discipline this one could be uncomfortably close. If Kirby did not learn from Pelini’s mistake, he will get a similar result. I’d like to think he’s not that dumb. I’m fairly confident he’s not that dumb.

But honestly I just don’t know that with certainty. And it scares me because if Kirby Smart is in fact dumb enough to line up and play consistent man coverage against a Mississippi State offense that just begs for it then I will be forced to re-examine whether he has the mental chops to get this football program back to the national title game, and to win this time. Don’t make me do that, Kirby. I’m begging you. It would just about kill me.

And what’s the perfect drink for a game when you just don’t want your head coach to make you feel even more dead inside as a fan?

Dead Man’s Punch. A blood red rum cooler for keel hauling the Pirate. You’ll need:

1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

1 and 12 cups grenadine

2 cups white rum

1 cup light rum

2 cups pineapple juice

2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice

A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (you may not have it, but if you do it’s worth it)

Orange slices, for garnish

Pineapple slices, also for garnish

Mix all ingredients in a pitcher then chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving. Garnish with orange or pineapple slices. You can also drop a few in to munch on later. Until later...

Go ‘Dawgs!!!