It appears the Neyland Stadium turf monster has grown so powerful that its managed to claim a victim 48 hours before Georgia even steps foot on it.
Last week we finally go to see Arian Smith again. The sophomore hadn’t been targeted since catching a TD pass against UAB, but he was back in action against Missouri. It only took a couple drives for his game changing speed to do just that when Stetson Bennett found him by the front pylon on a beautiful touchdown pass on 4th & 6.
It felt like Smith was about to do what he did in 2020 and burst onto the scene late in the season. It felt like Smith was going to take the top off of every opponent’s defense, and be the guy that was impossible to guard in man coverage when that’s exactly what Georgia will need in the big games that lie ahead.
Unfortunately, multiple outlets reported yesterday afternoon that Smith is likely to be out for the rest of the season. It’s a huge bummer, and you’ve got to hate it for the former top 100 overall recruit who has been a big play waiting to happen every time he comes onto the field.
If there’s a silver lining here, it doesn’t really change the Georgia offense as we’ve come to know it. Smith has only played 21 snaps at WR so far this season.
In other news, Tennessee announced that they’ve decided to wear some special duds for Georgia’s visit to Rocky Top on Saturday.
Well, well, well… How the turntables have turned…
Let’s flashback to 2008 shall we? Campus was abuzz with anticipation of a Top 5 matchup, College Gameday was on its way to town, and my friends and I were in the midst of a week long pregame. Yours truly was just a wide eyed Sophomore at the University of Georgia when a then little known Alabama assistant by the name of Scott Cochran got caught on a hot mic during the buildup to the Georgia-Alabama game. The Dawgs had announced a blackout for a nationally televised game. Softly in the background “They’re wearing black beacause they’re going to a fu***** funeral…” The sound bite was everywhere within hours. A few days later, one of college football’s greatest dynasties had been launched.
Fast-forward thirteen years… Mark Richt is long since gone from Athens. One of Cochran’s fellow assistants on that Alabama staff is in his 6th year at the helm of the Georgia program. Kirby Smart has built the closest thing we’ve seen to Saban’s Alabama program. The recruiting, the facilities, the financial support, the practices, the mentality… Hell, he even has Scott Cochran on his staff.
It took the Georgia program a long time to recover from that loss in 2008, and now it sits on the precipice of going 10-0 for the first time in 39 years. Perhaps ruining a rival’s blackout is one of those things that just has to happen in order to get the Dawgs to the promised land.
So what will happen come 3:30 in Knoxville? Well, our guy GlimmerTwinDawg is a bit worried about it. Specifically, there are three things on his mind. As far as the national media, the folks over at UGA Wire have compiled some of their opinions here.
The DawgSportsLive preview episode will be airing on Friday around 11:00 AM, so you can get matchups and predictions from Dawg_Stats and I there.
As far as other happenings in Bulldog Nation, it bears mentioning that Kirby Smart continues to steal Dan Mullen’s lunch money on the recruiting trail. This time the Dawgs flipped Florida’s highest ranked 2023 recruit, WR Raymond Cottrell.
Before we go, I couldn’t let this week go by without posting about the The Hobnail Boot Play. Saturday’s meeting between the Dawgs and the Vols will mark the 20th anniversary of the day Larry Munson gave my generation of UGA fans a call to call our own. When it happened I was hiding in my parent’s pantry on the phone with my best friend, too nervous to watch how the game would end. When I heard his Dad and brothers erupt in the background I peeked through the door to see the play happen on our TV.
That was also the moment that a little bit of hope started to slip into the Georgia program in Mark Richt’s first season. A year later, the Dawgs would go 13-1 on their way to an SEC Championship.
Where were y’all that beautiful October day when P-44 Haynes became part of Bulldog lore?