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15 Thoughts and its Destiny

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Georgia’s final “home game” of the season was a simple tune-up. Now comes the fun part.

Georgia v Georgia Tech
A sea of red at beautiful Mark Richt Field. Those names on the ring of honor are all former calculus professors.

This was one of those games literally decided on the opening kickoff. The goal was simple: Get in, get the win, get out with no one injured. Mission (mostly) accomplished.

1. One of the things that Kirby Smart preaches to his team is composure. When I took in all of the end-of-year rivalry games, I saw teams with a distinct lack of composure. Florida-Florida State was chippy before, during and after. MIchigan-Ohio State had some ugly moments, mainly instigated by the Buckeyes who got their just desserts. I could go on and on. Our game was as clean a version of “Clean, Old-Fashioned hate” as you’ll ever see. Georgia had zero penalties and Tech had only 4 for 38 yards. Composure will be critical moving forward and this team has certainly bought-into this concept.

2. I’ve seen many angles of the Georgia crowd at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Some folks say 70-30%, or 80-20. Who knows. We always take over Vandy’s stadium, but this is different. Vandy doesn’t hate us, and we really don’t hate them. But Tech loathes us and we took their stadium over.

3. Speaking of “nooners,” there won’t be anymore this season. We’ve got at least 2 more to games play and 3 if we take care of business. The fact that we played with a sense of purpose all year long when we had an early kickoff speaks volumes to me. That is not an easy thing to do, but we have simply dominated every early game on the calendar.

4. The game itself was pretty vanilla. We didn’t do anything exotic. I’m still a bit worried about the run blocking on the right side of our offensive line and really wish we’d go with Xavier Truss at right guard. Tech’s defensive line strength is on that side, too, but we are still inconsistent here.

5. Stetson Bennett was an efficient 14 of 20 for 255 yards and 4 touchdowns. He had some drops, particularly by A.D. Mitchell who better tighten that up going forward. The Mailman was confident and deadly, especially in the pocket when Tech wasn’t sending a blitz package.

6. The Dawgs had 21 first downs but we 2 of 5 in 3rd down opportunities. Normally, I’d worry about this particular stat but the damage was being done on 1st and 2nd down and Georgia could pretty much do what they wanted early and often without revealing too much on “film.”

7. I hope the Mackey Awards committee watched this game. Excluding Brock Bowers as a finalist is really about as tone deaf as it gets. This kid is THE best tight end in America and is essentially an offensive cheat code. He’s got it all: Great hands, size, speed, agility - and presence of mind in the blocking game which is still improving. On Ladd “The Impaler” McConkey’s touchdown, Bowers disengaged his man to avoid a holding penalty at the right moment. It is little things like this that continue to set him apart. But the big things are pretty special, too. On this 77 yard spectacle, It isn’t as if Tech was trying to defend the run, either. They were in coverage as this play came on 2nd and 10.

When is the last time you saw a tight end this big outrun an entire defensive backfield...who had angles? Never, I bet.

8. When George Pickens entered the game there was some genuine disbelief, at least from my point of view. One keeps hearing that player “X” or “Y” is close to returning and genuinely wonder if it is some sort of coach-speak to keep their defensive staff guessing. Once #1 entered the game, I thought it would only be as a decoy, yet he caught a pass for a modest 5 yard gain. That was pretty special. He’s got to get some confidence back going forward, but with George I don’t think that’ll be a problem. Will he be a factor next week? The upcoming weeks after that? I like his chances.

Welcome back!

9. Up 3-0, Stetson Bennett’s throw to Jermaine Burton for Georgia’s first touchdown of the day was perfect, with arc and touch. That is not an easy throw to make, either.

This is how you beat a blitz.

10. The Dawgs ran the ball effectively to the tune of 6.7 yards/carry (208 total on 31 rushes). Kenny McIntosh had long 59 yard TD down the sideline where he threw a beautiful stiff arm on the Tech defensive back to get into the end zone. Georgia’s plan to rotate fresh backs (and avoid injury) meant that James Cook (8 carries) and Zamir White (6 carries) we simply limited by design. Daijun Edwards played another good game and remains very underrated in my opinion (6 carries, 43 yards, long of 29 with 1 TD).

Again, the offensive was efficient and we honestly could have scored 65-70 points had we wanted to, thus breaking the all-time points total margin of victory of 48 in the series. Kirby & Co. don’t care about that. Get the win, get out and stay healthy.

11. Kearis Jackson did leave the game after fielding a punt and taking a shot to the ribs. This is probably precautionary as we did not need to risk any further injury to key offensive personnel.

It’s a little bit of a rib injury. I don’t know how different it is from the one he had from a while back. I asked him and he said it was pretty painful and didn’t think he could go so held him out at that point. - Kirby Smart on Kearis Jackson via Dawgs247

Christopher Smith and Jamaree Salyer were held out on Saturday. Heal up, guys. Gonna need you.

12. Georgia earned their 3rd shut out of the season and now their points/game total stands at 6.9. In this day and age of offensive football, this is simply amazing. Still, Kirby was a bit critical of the defense at times when Tech was able to string together some first downs to penetrate Georgia territory on occasion (heh heh heh). Much of this was done against the 2’s and 3’s. You could sense that Kirby and Dan Lanning really wanted a shut out.

Lateral speed: You either have or you don’t.

13. Macondawg selected Nakobe Dean as the defensive player of the game, but the entire defense did what they needed to do with efficiency. They totaled 3 sacks on the day and 8 tackles for loss. Tech and Georgia only ran 51 plays on offense for the entire day. One of these things is not like the other.

Auburn forced Alabama into a 4-overtime game in a physical matchup that, naturally, the Tide won. Let’s see if that extra football and the physicality of the game has any effect on Bama. Something to consider, I suppose.

14. Georgia’s program is the polar opposite of Georgia Tech in every facet: Coaching, fan base, facilities, recruiting and any other category you can think of. The Ramblin’ Wreck is certainly that right now: a wreck - with a coach that no one likes, but one who they’re stuck with for at least one more season. A third consecutive 3-9 campaign has many Gnats pining for the return of Paul Johnson and His Chop Blocking Revue. Times aren’t real good on The Flats and the job is becoming less and less attractive as long as Georgia ascends. Tech better watch out for Georgia State. That gig looks more attractive that the product up on North Avenue.

15. The inevitable showdown with Alabama is now set, as it should be. Credit to the Crimson Tide for coming back against a very inspired Auburn squad last night who was playing a one-legged quarterback for a good chunk of the game. There was a lot to take away from Iron Bowl which revealed a simple fact: Alabama has vulnerabilities that we are built to exploit. They have a very good quarterback, but have injuries at running back and very little depth there. The right side of the offensive line is suspect (as is ours). Stay tuned to this blog for a ton of analysis as DawgOutWest and dawg_stats are going to dive deeper than any bathysphere could.

A little taste...

It’s going to be a long, long work week and I plan on getting absolutely nothing done. How ‘bout you?

BONUS THOUGHTS:

  • Bryan Harsin tried to fight a land war in Asia once Bama got to overtime. The football gods even let you tie it up with a impressive one-handed touchdown, but Harsin elected to keep his success 2-point play in the bag until they got into the 2-point phase of overtime. Helluva game anyway, Auburn.
  • Michigan really bullied Ohio State on Saturday. I didn’t think they had it in ‘em, did you? Yeah, me neither.
  • This is the worst on-sides kick in the history of on-sides kicks.

But River Dance!

Ooof.

  • I don’t know why Jimbo Fisher is such a hot commodity in some coaching circles, but Texas A&M really spit the bit down the stretch, losing their final 2 conference games. It was there for the taking, Aggies.

One more time from Coach O....

I’m actually gonna miss this guy. Mostly for his unintelligible sound bytes.

  • I didn’t watch this game, but they say it’s Bedlam.

That’s all for now.

As Always and forever, GO DAWGS!

Georgia - 45

The Humble Bumbles - 0