Here is what I’m NOT worried about for 2021’s first game under the lights at Sanford Stadium:
1) B13…. B….13. Stetson Bennett ties a UGA football record with 5 touchdown passes in a single game, 2 of which were caught by Brock Bowers. I want to know who had that on their Bingo card. Seriously, did anyone win any money in Vegas with those prop bets? I didn’t think TE John Fitzpatrick would have 2 touchdowns the entire season, even after he moved up the depth chart thanks to the absences of Arik Gilbert and Darnell Washington. Depth matters, and it showed last week.
2) Run the dang ball, Beamer. SCAR has relied heavily on their run game the last two weeks, attempting 47 and 39 rushes respectively. Sure, it wasn’t against an elite front 7 like Clemson, or a senior-laden team like UAB. But they have controlled the line of scrimmage, especially as they settled in a new signal caller in Zeb Nolan. Do they think they will have success against Jordan Davis, Jalen Carter, and Devonte Wyatt? Good luck with that.
3) They won’t know what hit them. If the Georgia/Clemson game put quarterback play back into the dark ages, then the Georgia/UAB game showed everyone that Bulldog OC Todd Monken is perfectly capable of time travel.
The first game was all about field position, wearing down the opposition, and eliminate mistakes. The second game was… not that. Whatever our Bulldogs dial up, or find thrust into their laps, I’m only certain it won’t be what we expect.
Now forgive me, as I was weaned at the nipple of Larry Munson’s scratch. So here’s what does worry me about the Columbia Chickens:
1) From Hot Pod to Jack Frost. Punting seems to be clicking, and kickoffs look great if your goal is to get a touchback (which I’m totally fine with). But we’ve got a place kicker with a two-way miss. It’s a small sample size, yet Jack Podlesny hooked a short field goal against Clemson, then pushed a short field goal against UAB. And selfishly, I did so want to break 60 against somebody.
Podlesny seems to be making good contact and I don’t see any issues with snapping or holding. Hopefully this is just early season jitters. Then again, it’s probably time to blame Muschamp. He couldn’t go much longer before mucking something up, right? And we’re facing a coach with a bit of history playing, studying, and coaching special teams.
2) As I said above, I’m not worried about the run game. The SCjr run game that is. I’m pretty anxious about our own. One of the few apparently health units on the Georgia Bulldog offense is the running back room. But we’ve seen little of that ground it and pound it unit we’re used to seeing with studs like White, Milton, Cook, and McIntosh. Has it been effective? In spots. The last drive versus Clemson was delightful, yet it was one of the few glimpses.
With all the shakeups on the offensive line, it doesn’t appear Coach Matt Luke has found the right combination of blockers, who also happen to be executing at any given moment. Over 4 yards a carry is something we can live with, I’d just be more comfortable with more attempts, more yards, and more backs getting into the end zone. This might not be the best run defense we go up against, but they have been effective in limiting their opponents to 71 yards/game on the ground. ECU did tally 111 yards rushing, but on 38 tries, and ECU is really more of a run-first offense.
3) It’s Tricky. Both the Georgia Bulldogs and our opponents in 2 games have shown restraint in play selection. I haven’t seen any of the razzle-dazzle, the laterals, the flea-flickers, none of the trick plays. South Carolina has.
Last week, ECU receiver Tyler Snead took a jet sweep, backed up, and threw a ball 50 yards in the air to a wide open Pirate for a touchdown on their opening series. (Side note: Snead is the younger brother of All-American Gym Dog Sydney Snead). With all the rat poison the Junkyard Dawg defense is hearing about themselves, will they be greedy and cheating up? And will SC East look to exploit an over aggressive secondary?
Call me crazy, just don’t call me late for dinner. Sound off in the comments below what worries you about our conference opener Between the Hedges with the Bulldogs of Georgia and the Gamecocks of South Carolina. And as always…