Here is what I’m NOT worried about for Saturday’s tilt against the Saurians from the Sunshine State:
1) That I will pull off my socks and find them full of toes, because they inexplicably fell off.
2) The eye contact I made with that guy in the grocery store last week, who was going the wrong way of the clearly marked directional signs. I mean, it was super awkward, and he knew what I was thinking, but I’ll let it pass.
3) Bears. They may be On Notice!, but I’m not worried.
This is HATE WEEK! It’s the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party! I was in the age of majority during the Spurrier years – I’m worried about EVERYTHING!** Yet here are three to stay in line with the feature’s title:
1) Safeties. We’re going to need some help back there. Lewis Cine (doubtful?) and Richard LeCounte (out) are 3rd and 4th in total tackles this season for the Bulldogs. A lot of that is because how Kirby Smart and Dan Lanning utilize safeties in run support and pass coverage. It also means they are playing well and understand the system, thus executing.
LeCounte accounted for 6 tackles, 2 solo, and a pass break up in last years Cocktail Party. His 4 pass break ups this year, and his 3 picks, are indicative of his high football IQ. Making up for that production and leadership is going to be interesting. Saurian Slinger Kyle Trask is passing at a high level. They haven’t gone up against very good defenses to date (SCAR is the best at 65th in the nation and 248 yards/game), but he’s putting up ridonkulous numbers. At over 350 yards a game, and finding the end zone 4.5 times a game through the air, it’s pretty frightening that we’re not at full strength.
2) Tight Ends. First off, where are ours?!? It seems the last catch they made was at Arky. In actuality, we’re utilizing Tre’ McKitty, Darnell Washington, and John Fitzpatrick a lot, but (sigh) mostly in blocking assignments. I think the last time folks were happy with our tight end production was Jacob Eason’s freshman year.
What’s worse? Florida “Tight End” Kyle Pitts. I mean, is he really even a tight end? Isn’t he more of an NBA power forward? I honestly haven’t studied tape to see if he even blocks, but the highlight reels definitely shows he catches. The good news is that his production has decreased as the Lizard season has progressed. The bad news? He outpaces every Georgia receiver in every stat except number of receptions. His 7 touchdowns (4 in the opener against Ole Miss) are drool-worthy. Even as teams are spotlighting him, he still snagged 5 balls for 81 yards against Mizzou. Normally we see linebackers pick up tight ends in coverage, so will a somewhat banged up Monty Rice be trailing #84? Referring back to #1 above, LeCounte and Cine would be very welcome to help with middle and deep coverage, as well as crowding the line and stopping Pitts from running his routes free off the line.
3) Toney, Tony, Tone. Gator wideout Kedarious Toney is coming into his own in this season of OC Brian Johnson’s offense. After an injury plagued junior season, Toney is producing all over the place for the Swamp Lizards. He is tied with Pitts as the leading pass catcher (22 through 4 games), he has found the end zone 7 times, 1 of those being on the ground. In fact, he’s good for 20 yards a game rushing, being used selectively in jet sweeps and such.
He’s definitely more of a quick-twitch guy, at 5’11” and shy of 200 lbs, he’s looking to move around you, not over or through you. This is another case where we could use full strength in our secondary. Toney lives in space, in the shadows, on the sidelines, and in the blown coverages. And Florida QB Kyle Trask finds Toney often, sometimes from the pocket, but often from a roll-out.
Call me crazy, just don’t call me late for dinner. Sound off in the comments below what worries you about between the Bulldogs of Georgia and the Gators of Florida.
And as always…
**See? I wrote the whole article and never once made fun of Florida Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham, of whom Texas A&M gave new meaning to the term “3rd and Grantham”, and that his father allegedly smelt of elderberries.