Here is what I’m NOT worried about for Senior Day against the Swashbucklers of Sumter.
1) Let’s get this out of the way first. Considering Charleston Southern is an FCS school with a sub-.500 record, and losses against Monmouth and Robert Morris, I am not expecting much of a contest. I don’t claim to have knowledge about the Big South conference, so here’s just a few impressions.
The Buccaneers will throw the ball. This season they’ve passed it about 57% of the time, possibly because they are behind frequently. They’re not especially good on 3rd down. I’ve not reviewed game film (shocker) but some stats lead me to believe bubble screens and short hitches will be attempted frequently. This will be plenty of practice to get Lativious Brini back to his mid-season form.
2) So we’re not going to have a 1,000 yard rusher. Again. I don’t think Georgia has had one since Nick Chubb took his talents to Cleveland. Currently Zamir White leads the way with 574 yards, and James Cook is catching up at 487.
One might say that rotating backs, RB by committee, keeping legs fresh down the season, having plenty of tread when players leave… one might say all those are good things. Still and yet, I don’t think I would mind if we again saw a Georgia running back racking up the yards as in days of yore.
3) Georgia won’t have a 1,000 yard receiver either. After the Sugar Bowl last year, many thought the combination of George Pickens and JT Daniels was going to set all kinds of UGA passing and receiving records. Whoops.
Then again, we have four players with over 300 yards receiving each. One of them is a tight end (Bowers leading with 516 yards), three of them are freshman (Bowers, McConkey, Mitchell), and the other is a sophomore (Burton). The future does seem promising.
Now forgive me, as I was weaned at the nipple of Larry Munson’s scratch. So here’s what does worry me about the last game in Sanford Stadium this year:
1) There will be WAAAAYYYY more than 70 Bulldogs on the sidelines this Saturday. There is no conference road trip limitation, so expect a full complement along the south hedges. Quite a bit of discussion was had last weekend when defensive starters were dropping like flies in Neyland Stadium. “What is Kirby thinking?” “Protecting the scoreboard is pure vanity!” “Think of the children!”. And Coach Smart responded that only 70 players traveled, a stomach flu was running through the team, and the best player available plays.
There may be no such restraints on who can dress out, but this team is still missing a lot of players due to injuries, this flu bug, and some legal issues. Lots of upperclassmen with little playing time should be taking the field in the 2nd half. So what will they look like? And does a 49-20 or similar score hurt Georgia in the all-important subjective ranking that the Playoff Committee seems to assign randomly?
2) Are we going to see a lot of JT Daniels this week? This could provide some rest to QB1 SBIV, but also to get more rust off just in case we need to bring in a sub quarterback at the half of a future contest. I’ve heard that works well in the post-season.
Then there’s Carson Beck. He’s made 2 appearances at quarterback this season, and I pretty much forgot them too. Kirby Smart said this week that he’s seen a lot of Brock Vandagriff since he’s running the scout team, and Beck is getting lots of “mental reps”. Not exactly an endorsement, but I do wonder who else takes snaps and what the results will be.
3) I’m worried about the coaching staff. They had most of the second half of the Tennessee game, this week, and likely most of next week, to manage 18-22 year old's’ mental state and focus. The season has been a constant push upward to face more and better competition, only to see that competition wilt before the onslaught these Bulldogs have brought about. Maintaining the proper adrenaline levels, keeping those eyes on the right prize, and trying to eliminate ever-increasing distractions is a frankly monumental task. Can Kirbs & Co. keep everything on track?
Call me crazy, just don’t call me late for dinner. Sound off in the comments below what worries you about the Bulldogs of Georgia versus the Buccaneers of Charleston Southern. And as always…