I don’t know a lot about a lot of things.
But I somehow know even less about the Cincinnati Bearcats. But that’s okay, I do know who to ask about them.
Clayton Trutor writes for our SB Nation sister sits Down the Drive, your headquarters for all things Bearcat. Clayton and I talked about key players, the difference Luke Fickell has made, Clayton’s upcoming book, and...chili.
MD: To paraphrase the Talking Heads....well, how did you get here? How would you sum up Cincinnati’s season in 50 words or less?
Clayton: I can tell that we would be great friends since your questions include references to the Talking Heads.
I will try to respond within this context. Please play “Once in a Lifetime” as you listen to my response:
We found ourselves in a shotgun shack...
Constructed by Tommy Tuberville...
Now we find ourselves in another part of the world...
Thanks to Luke Fickell, recruiting Ohio, committing to running the ball, playing tough, smart defense...
And so we find ourselves in a beautiful house, on New Years’ Day in Atlanta GA!
MD: We all know Desmond Ridder and Gerrid Doaks, but who is the player Georgia fans haven’t heard of who will make the greatest impact in the Peach Bowl?
Clayton: On the offensive side of the ball, tight end Josh Whyle is an awfully clutch pass catcher. His numbers won’t blow you away but he has a knack for coming up big in the most dramatic of moments.
On defense, pass rusher Myjai Sanders and the much-heralded secondary get all of the attention, but I just love linebacker Darrian Beavers, who quietly piles up the tackles, roaming from sideline to sideline, every week.
MD: Cincinnati’s ranked in the top ten in both total defense and scoring defense despite playing some pretty good offenses in 2020. What has been the secret of the Bearcat D’s success?
Clayton: Cincinnati’s secondary has so thoroughly frustrated opposing corps of receivers that the front seven has been free to tee-off on opposing offensive fronts.
The Bearcats are essentially the inverse of a team that generates a pass rush just with their front four.
MD: If The Bearcats need to win this one on special teams can they do it? Cole Smith has missed a couple of makeable field goals (and a couple of extra points), but otherwise how sound is the Cincinnati kicking game?
Clayton: Cole Smith has had a couple of rough ones of late but I regard him as a dependable kicker. Our punter James Smith has been one of the AAC’s best for several years running.
MD: Where’s the best chili in Cincinnati?
Clayton: Everybody loves Skyline but I’m more of a Gold Star man, myself. I think it has a better texture—more robust. Texture is an underrated part of taste.
MD: Because we must: what’s your score prediction?
Clayton: If Georgia wins, it will be an absolute shellacking, a 45-20 type affair.
If Cincinnati wins, it will be a low scoring, hard fought battle that the Bearcats pull out, 19-16.
I think Cincinnati 19 UGA 16.
To all of my friends in Georgia, I’d also like to point out that I have a book coming out later this year about the history of sports in Atlanta. Please follow me on Twitter: @ClaytonTrutor for more details on the book as its release date draws nearer.
Thanks to Clayton for stopping by, and for his thoughtful responses.