Georgia dispatched Vandy yesterday 55 to Zip. Except for a few issues, we looked good. There are a few things to work out, but nothing that a certain defensive tackle and sophomore wide receiver returning to the fold couldn’t fix. I think.
1. So, I’ve got to ask: Has the Cocktail Party become a trap game? Has this question ever been asked? With Tennessee’s big win over mistake-prone Alabama, things have changed. Our bye week could not have come at a better time for many, many reasons. We must get some key guys on both sides of the line healthy as the end-run of the season now looks like a bona-fide gauntlet.
2. Georgia came out hitting on all cylinders from the opening kick yesterday, which was very good to see. I know that Vandy is overmatched and this is what good teams are supposed to do, but we have been very lethargic offensively to start games, going back to Mizzou. Every offensive drive carries great weight going forward and early execution is paramount.
3. Suddenly, Darnell Washington has become Stetson Bennett’s favorite receiver and I’m all in. “Big O” has such a unique skill set and is such a matchup nightmare that sooner or later he’s going to get you. Great tight ends have to have big, soft hands. Both Darnell and Brock Bowers (and, Oscar Delp) have this and so much more.
4. I think that A.D. Mitchell and Arian Smith are going to have an impact down the stretch. Smith was open on a play where Bennett was looking his way, but to Vandy’s credit blitzed a linebacker and got to Stet. #11 was open, or breaking open on a deep route, too. Just getting him some reps will pay dividends and the fact I’m even discussing this is a small miracle. Mitchell didn’t need to play yesterday.
5. Stetson Bennett was very effective and efficient, ending the day with 289 yards on 24 completions and 2 scores. His timing and ball placement was much better. Carson Beck was throwing some darts when he got his chance and looked very comfortable in the pocket.
Perfect placement with velocity to true freshman Dillon Bell.
6. On the day, eleven different Dawgs caught 32 passes for 387 yards and 4 scores. Building rapport with some younger guys is exactly what you must do when given the opportunity in a game like this. Dillon Bell looked good and is a very physical dude. Seeing Dom Blaylock catch his first touchdown pass since 2019 reminds us how good his feet are and how effective a route runner he is. Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint (or, Rosemy St. Jack for the broadcastingly challenged) had some nice grabs in traffic, too.
Dom always had great route running ability and even better feet.
7. You got misty when Arik Gilbert caught his first touchdown in a Georgia uniform, didn’t you? I can’t say that I did, but I did get up off my recliner and clap for this kid. The way his teammates embraced him tells you everything you need to know about the bond these guys have for one another. Okay, I lied. I got misty.
Things you love to see.
8. Our running-game-by-committee continues to impress. Watching LSU gash Florida last night was fun to watch and we’ve got the physicality to do the same. Kenny McIntosh, Daijun Edwards and Branson Robinson combined for 126 yards on 27 carries with the longest run from scrimmage coming from the awesomely named and surprisingly fast Cash Jones.
Daijun almost popped this one to the house...
9. Defensively, Georgia shut down Vandy to the tune of only 150 total yards. The Dawgs defense forced 7 Matt Hayball punts on the day, and Ladd McConkey had a couple of nifty returns before he hurt his ankle, which at the the time, looked serious. More on this in a bit..
However, Vandy also missed a couple of early opportunities and Will Sheppard simply dropped a sure touchdown pass in front of the Vandy bench when Kelee Ringo misplayed a perfectly thrown AJ Swann pass that hit Sheppard in the numbers. Ringo also dropped a sure-fire pick 6 in the 2nd half. Kelee had an off day, simple as that. He also had an unfortunate block in the back on what was a very good punt return. He’ll be fine. I was impressed with some guys who got significant snaps, including Daylen Everette. That kid has great length.
10. Christopher Smith had an excellent game and led the team with 5 tackles including 1 for a loss. Rian Davis, spelling the injured Smael Mondon, again played well. Jamon Dumas-Johnson continues to lead by example. Tykee Smith is coming on, too with a forced fumble that led directly to a touchdown.
11. Pressuring the quarterback without registering many sacks is who we are. I don’t know if this is by design, but the sack numbers just aren’t there. Question is: does it really matter? AJ Swann rarely - just like last week vs. Auburn’s Robby Ashford - could set his feet in the pocket for anything deep and his longest pass of the day was 22 yards. Georgia is willing to concede underneath stuff.
12. There is such a youth movement on defense at the moment, but if you blink you might miss it. Again, this was the perfect game to rotate guys in. I’m liking what I’m seeing from Jalon Walker. This kid is going to be a beast as he bulks up and begins to play instinctively. Bear Alexander is, well, a bear. He’s got a very high motor. Mykel Williams had 3 tackles and 2 solos on the day.
13. Still, there is no substitute for Jalen Carter. He was held out of the game and has 2 more weeks of healing and rehab. The Munson in me feels like he won’t return for Florida - if at all. There is such a dearth of information about the severity of his knee/ankle injury it’s just hard to know his true status. Anyway, celebrate the shutout. That is never an easy thing to do regardless of the opponent.
Well done, Tykee Smith
14. So, Kirby said Ladd McConkey could have returned. Ladd has had a rough patch, but put it behind him and was really effective on Saturday with 4 receptions for 49 yards and a couple of nice punt returns. At first, it looked pretty serious but he seemed to shake it off (whatever “it” is: turf toe or ankle?), we’re gonna need you Ladd.
15. So, we dispatched Vandy and covered the 38 point spread. It wasn’t a perfect performance, but it was dominating and the perfect way to head into the most important bye week in a while. Seeing Stetson get back into a rhythm after struggling over the better part of a month was very, very good to see. If something did happen to Stetson, I think Carson Beck could come in and do fine. I didn’t think this way a year ago, but Beck looked good out there today and his arm strength is undeniable.
- What a day of college football. From noon to the wee hours of the morning, there was something for everyone. I crashed soon after the Gators ruined Tom Petty Day at The Swamp by losing to LSU. Hey, even the losers get lucky sometimes, but LSU had too much offense for ‘em.
- Things are great in Gainesville, BTW...
Well, it’s a bit harsh but I see no lies...
- Auburn’s descent into irrelevancy is something to behold. With no permanent leadership within their athletic department and way much booster influence, things are dire. However, in the portal/NIL age, the right hire can turn things around rapidly. Look at Tennessee.
- Ole Miss can score points. Their defense, however, is bad. That’s a house of cards.
- Alabama’s discipline issues are really the difference this year, and not just from the perspective of how many penalties they are committing. Their secondary is not communicating at all and they seem to not have any real defensive leadership. This is very unusual for a Saban coached team. They’re lucky to have only lost 1 game at this point. The thing is, if Bama plays a clean game penalty-wise, they probably win.
Here's another look at the game-changing pass interference Nick Saban was asked about following Alabama's loss to Tennessee pic.twitter.com/fDFuZkvxPO— Tony Tsoukalas (@Tony_Tsoukalas) October 16, 2022
Not sure if this was pass interference, but I am sure that Tyler Simmons was on-sides.
- Michigan ran all over Penn State yesterday. Is there a more overrated, overpaid coach than James Franklin? And a bigger blow-hard.
- Kentucky and Mississippi State played last night. Who knew?
Kentucky deserves to win this game pic.twitter.com/HR63fEZYn9— BUM CHILLUPS AKA SPENCER HALL (@edsbs) October 16, 2022
- I’m glad Utah beat USC. Unless Oregon somehow keeps winning and catches a few breaks down the road, the west-coast CFP narrative has probably died.
- We are #1 in both the AP and Coaches Poll until we get beat. Keep on choppin’ wood.
That’s all for now, folks. Pace yourselves over the “bye.” We’re gonna need all hands on-deck and everyone - fans included - healthy.