The Want To
You saw it last night during the Cotton Bowl as the most recent example, and we saw it as Georgia fans two Sugar Bowls ago. How a team plays in a bowl game is a reflection of how much it means to be there. For every team like Oklahoma last night, there are teams like Florida that with players opting out, or feel that all goals from the season have departed. It’s obvious that Cincinnatti feels that it has a point to prove, so motivation is no issue, there. For Georgia’s depleted roster, we’ll soon find out how much it wants to show that it was good enough to be in a bigger conversation for the top four if not the recovery of JT Daniels not coming a few weeks earlier.
Even if Georgia would have lost, it would not have been too terribly disappointing...aside from the decision not to go for it on fourth and short from inside the 45-yard line. Even with the offense not clicking and when the Bearcats in front at the half and into the third quarter, the way that Georgia rallied back showed that this game meant something, and that starts all the way at the top of the program. Culture matters, and that was very evident.
Win the trenches
As we have touched on within this website this week, Cincy is not so much a smoke and mirrors offense as it is one that belies the mindset of its head coach - that to win, you have to win the trenches. For Georgia, this will mean giving Daniels time to throw and also disrupting the Bearcats ground game.
With newcomers like Xavier Truss in the game, combined with Ben Cleveland out, Georgia had some offensive line shortcomings. Not coincidentally, the ground game was a struggle. But Todd Monken found a way to work around that and quietly generate enough offensive leverage in the second half. On the defensive side of the ball, you really saw what Jordan Davis means to this defense, and in the second half, Georgia’s front seven simply wore down and overtook Cincinnatti.
Adapting on the fly
With new faces in the secondary plus the return to the lineup by Richard Lecounte, possibly, we will see how well this group is in sync. There won’t be much margin for error, as big plays early could snowball in a bad way for the Dawgs.
The secondary showed some youth early, but other than one long drive, what amounted to a mostly scout team group of DBs got the job done. It’s one of many reasons to already be excited about 2021.