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15 Thoughts is Gettin’ Healthy

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It was a lethargic start that still ended up in a rout...but enough about South Carolina’s victory over Florida.

Missouri v Georgia
He’s baaaaaack

This is a Public Service Announcement: It has been 401 days since the Florida Gators have beaten the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Now, about that Mizzou game...

1. How great was it to see Arian Smith and Jermaine Burton not only making plays, but making great plays? Stetson Bennett dropped a perfect ball into the bucket to Smith on the Dawg’s first score of the day on a play very similar to Kearis Jackson’s TD vs. Florida last weekend. Burton had to adjust to an underthrown ball, yet still stole it away from the Tiger defender. Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint made some nice catches early as he returns to health. All of this is big going forward. Believe it.

2. Yeah, we came out a bit flat and to honest I completely expected it. A huge win last week against your #1 hated rival, another noon start, losing Jamaree Salyer to a foot injury, and the Adam Anderson investigation is bound to be a distraction. But, more than anything, everyone on earth has been writing about how bad this Missouri team is. They’re SEC competition with SEC caliber players. We are going to get everyone’s best shot and Mizzou came out with some fire. Still, in the end, had we wanted to put up a score similar to the Vandy game, we could have. When you can rest most of your defense for the better part of a half and still win by 37 that’s some good juju.

3. Getting J.T. Daniels back into the mix was very good to see, rust and all. His interception on a pass to Burton had touchdown written all over it, but J.T. simply threw it behind his man. However, he looked physcially well throwing on his 11 attempts (completing 7, for 82 yards with a touchdown). Now, we wait to see if he develops anymore discomfort during the week.

4. Stetson was solid again. He’s lucky he didn’t throw a couple of picks, but he should have had a long touchdown pass down the same sideline as his underthrown ball to Burton when the Missouri defended clearly arm-barred Adonai Mitchell - who still nearly made a one-handed grab. That was probably the worst non-call of the day which is what we expect in a Conference where “It Just Means More.” I don’t remember if Mizzou was called for holding at all, but it doesn’t matter now. Most of our penalties came in the first half, but were only flagged 5 times for 35 yards.

4B. There should be an inquiry into the SEC crew that called Tennessee-Kentucky last night. I’ve seen a lot of bull$**t calls this year, but that game was the worst of the worst. This Conference deserves so much better.

5. Yeah, we couldn’t run very well early against a Missouri team that stuffed the box to stuff our ground game. However, you give up the deep ball and so much other stuff in the passing game and Todd Monken made ‘em pay. Still, we somehow managed to eek out 168 yards on 33 carries. Zamir White had a rough go, but he also got a ton of rest. Kearis Jackson had the long gain of the day - 37 yards on a jet sweep that almost went the distance. Daijun Edwards had 3 carries for 29 yards and continues to run tough in his limited opportunities. I wouldn’t mind seeing him tote the rock more. Kid is a baller. Kenny McIntosh’s one-handed grab on a wheel route was very impressive.

6. I really wish, during the threads, everyone could just enjoy the ride. By now, we get it: Stetson Bennett can’t do this, that, and the other...yada yada yada. The plan is to work JT back into his groove and ease him into the plan gradually. This is a luxury we have at the moment. Obviously, as mentioned before, J.T. is rusty. But, he’s also liable to come back into form quickly. Until then, expect to see a more than capable #13 continue to do what he does and do it well. Now if you have issue with this, blast away but you’re only detracting from your own enjoyment, unless, of course, that’s the flex you prefer. However, it’s now bleeding into the ability for others to enjoy the in-game threads.

Look, folks. I’m not trying to single out anyone and tell you how to think, but here’s the rub: This team is starting get healthy, perhaps as healthy as last spring. We’ve got weapons all over the place and a delivery system 1A and 1B, which might become 1B and 1A shortly. I’m pretty certain Kirby & Co. are aware of the strengths (and weaknesses) of our QB rotation. Neither were particularly sharp on Saturday, but sharp enough. But ask yourself this: Where would we be without The Mailman? I’m thinking not undefeated and perhaps not ranked #1 in the land. These really are good times if you’ll allow yourself to embrace what it is.

6A. REDACTED (But we still had explosive plays on minimal offensive possessions...).

7. Brock Bowers is a manimal. He’s also the best tight end in America. I believe the wraps haven’t even been totally removed from this kid yet. When he gets a full head of steam and starts rumbling down field, it’s as if he’s been late for dinner for over a week and there’s a big ‘ol platter of lasagna at the finish line. And a nice bottle of Pinot Noir. I mean, the kid is from California.

8. This game was the slowest defensive start to date. Missouri found some soft spots in the middle of the field on some quarterback runs that led to the opening points of the game. The first quarter was largely forgettable from a defensive perspective, but adjustments were made and there was much rejoicing in the land. Still, there are some things that Mizzou did early that must be addressed because you know going forward some offensive coordinator has taken notes.

Mizzou did make a few plays on Saturday. This was not one of them.

9. Travon Walker is a very large and fast human being who also is good at football. He’s really becoming a nightmare to block and had another great game. He had a sack and 2 tackles for loss. Dan Jackson led everyone with 6 total tackles (all solo). Nolan Smith was solid again and his blocked punt resulted in more points for the defense.

9A. Jamon Dumas-Johnson is going to be a player for us.

10. Georgia’s secondary are all very good tacklers. Missouri passed for 152 yards on the day; the lions share going to big #84 Tauskie Dove - mostly against some young guys late in the game.

ALL the feels...

11. About that goal-line stand at the end of the game? I loved it. You loved it. The players loved it. Senator Blutarsky did, too.

12. I really wish ESPN would have shown the ceremony for Coach Mark Richt, but since our game came immediately after the GameDay picks, there wasn’t going to be anything other than videotape and a blurb. I’m sure anyone who saw it in person felt a ton of emotion.

13. Yesterday’s noon kickoffs were largely entertaining as I flipped back and forth between Cincinnati and Tulsa to see if the Bearcats would blow-out a weaker opponent. Uh, they looked very average for the 2nd week in a row. It was good to see Sam Pittman get his Hogs back on the winning track, too. Ohio State at Nebraska just proves that tOSU is basically Cincinnati...but in a better conference. Wake Forest losing to North Carolina told you everything you needed to know about the ACC front-runner and only hope for a playoff team.

14. Texas A&M’s win over Auburn points up the deficiencies on the Auburn Tigers. They have a solid, if not great defense, a very good running back, and not a single receiver that can separate. I still feel like Auburn is going to beat Alabama in a few weeks. That game is at Jordan-Hare.

15. I watched nearly every snap of the Tennessee-Kentucky game. It’s as if the Wildcats didn’t look at any film. As good as UK was for weeks, it all comes down to depth - especially on the lines - and particularly in their case the defensive line. What a weird game. Kentucky possessed the ball 46:08 to 13:52, had 35 first downs to UT’s 17 and outgained them 612 to 461 yards...and lost. The pick 6 (I think Will Levis was channeling Anthony Richardson) was the difference in the score, but Tennessee’s big play outburst was the difference in the game. That ain’t happening on Saturday.

BONUS THOUGHTS:

  • What will Florida do? Clearly Dan Mullen has lost the team, the fan base, and the boosters. I think they’ll have to make a move. Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin has a big decision to make. I feel he’ll retain Mullen, but the entire staff will be rebuilt. However, it may not be enough.
  • Tech lost again. The only people who know of this are 20,000 people in attendance down in Miami and the same 75 jack-wagons on that vile Tech website that will not be mentioned here.
  • Ole Miss apologizes to Hugh Freeze for this Tweet. Ah, the interwebs never forget.

That’s all I’ve got. Rest up this week, folks. We got some bid’ness to take care of up on Rocky Top.

As Always, GO DAWGS!