First off, a Happy Thanksgiving to all of Dawg Sports. We are truly thankful you spend time ‘round these parts and I hope on this holiday you are able to spend time with those you care about. But even in this season of gratefulness, I must Munson.
Here is what I’m NOT worried about as we face the NATS from the North Avenue Trade School:
1) The weather. If it truly is wet, Georgia is especially built to run the football. Maybe not between the tackles for 3 yards and a pile of mud, but counters, traps, sweeps, bubble screens (essentially a wide hand-off); all of those have proven successful and worn opponents down.
So aside from the maddening short-yardage flubs last week (and in the recent past), running the ball as a primary mode of moving downfield is likely to be successful.
2) The crowd. Remember when Tennessee bragged it was going to be an orange takeover in Sanford Stadium? I do too. I don’t remember it happening though. Remember when fair weather fans would leave to seek shelter from the rain? Well, it rained against Tennessee and the only fans walking out had ugly orange ponchos.
Considering it’s Senior Day, a chance at consecutive undefeated regular seasons, and some fans their few or only chance to celebrate Bulldog football in person, this crowd will be red, black, and in their seats until the scoreboard shows 00:00. 93,000 of your closest friends will be Between the Hedges.
3) Denying Tech bowl eligibility. I really don’t care. Now if we were only 8-3 and checking out Central Florida weather forecasts for late December, this would be the only thing on my mind: beat the in-state rival and rub it in by ending their season.
We have bigger Horned Frogs to fry. Am I truly concerned about the victor in this contest? I am not. This is a business meeting – stick to the agenda, prevent any bombshells, and move on. The fact that Tech will be packing up their lockers Sunday is the store-bought whip cream that Aunt Louise got out of the freezer from last Christmas and put on top of the sweet potato pie. It’s there, you might mention it, but you don’t really care about it.
Now forgive me, as I was weaned at the nipple of Larry Munson’s scratch. So here’s what does worry me about facing the :
1) The weather. I know, I know… I just said I wasn’t worried about rain. From a strategy standpoint at least. But in practice, that pigskin can get slippery. If you’ve noticed, Georgia is fumbling the ball somewhat frequently. 8 fumbles lost in 9 games, and it should be 9 in 10 games (Edwards forward progress call negated lost fumble vs. Mississippi St.).
Now we haven’t lost a fumble (or put the ball on the ground if I remember correctly) the last two games. So maybe this has gotten fixed? All I know is turnovers, at inopportune positions on the field, can flip a game and give an otherwise overwhelmed opponent a chance. Don’t give them that chance. Hold onto that ball like the last can of Cream of Mushroom soup in the grocery store at 8:30 the night before Thanksgiving.
2) Georgia allowed a 99 yard drive. Against the 107th ranked offense in the country. And this wasn’t garbage time with our 3rd and 4th stringers lining up. This was at the beginning of the 4th quarter with only a 2 score lead. After an initial incomplete pass, Kentucky had 8 straight positive yardage plays as they crossed the goal line. They were the beneficiary of an underthrown/wind-affected 42 yard pass, but Will Levis also scrambled for 10 yards to get them out of the hole, and a 15 yard run by Chris Rodriguez. Chunk plays. That simply cannot happen against an even worse offense. (If you’re 12th in the ACC in total offense, you… you’re not good).
3) Georgia Tech’s passing defense isn’t…. bad??? They only gave up 49 yards through the air against #25 UCF and Gus Malzahn (they lost thanks to giving up 284 on the ground). But less than 50 yards in this day and age is pretty good unless it’s a service academy. They surrendered 259 versus Clemson. It’s Clemson, sure, but still a Power5 Conference frontrunner and the #7 team in the CFP. They only allowed 231 yards to #20 Ole Miss (who ran for over 3 bills).
So it seems the recipe is the run the ball, not throw it. Yet after last Saturday’s performance, I would much rather see our receivers actually getting open consistently. Not just 1 every other play. We don’t have Mitchell back, Smith seems close to full speed, and Blaylock is getting back into the mix. Will Kirby just do what is necessary to win? Or will he test out some things and see if we can develop a constant threat of a medium-to-deep passing game that we will definitely need in the near future?
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 Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech. And as always…