Here is what I’m NOT worried about as we face the Red Necks from Red Stick:
1) Home Dome. Not only will Georgia have more fans in attendance, but LSU didn’t look particularly great the last game they played indoors. In the Superdome, basically a home game for them, they lost to an overrated FSU team (who was 4-3 at one point, but is now #13 only because they had a weak back half of a schedule and every other ACC team choked the month of November).
So Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs football team should feel right at home in Atlanta. There will be a good representation of purple and gold though. I’ve seen Falcons home games with a ton of Saints fans showing up. Those Louisiana folks do travel.
2) The “-itis”. Fumble-itis. What was an area of concern late in the Bulldog season seems to be rectified. And LSU has been fairly free with the football this season, and have lost at least one fumble the last 3 games. I’d like to see these trends continuing unabated.
Tigers QB Jayden Daniels looks to be playing (ankle injury), and he also does a good job of only throwing it to his teammates. If we can do the same, and strip a few footballs loose, I like our chances.
3) Destiny. And I’m not saying the 2022 Georgia Bulldogs are a team of destiny. That was last year, with that senior leadership and a loaded roster; a team that had bigger goals than the SEC and knew their path. I’m saying whenever UGA faces LSU in the SECCG, we seem to face an LSU team of destiny.
Whether it was Nick Saban and Matty Mauk, the Mad Hatter and the Honey Badger, or da Coach O and Joe Cool, LSU walks into Atlanta with some mystical energy that won’t be denied. Until this year. Brian Kelly isn’t conjuring up anything special that I can see and these Cats are both flawed and have a ceiling. You know it, I know it, and Vegas apparently knows it too: DraftKings has the Bulldogs as a 17.5 point favorite in this one. There is no greater purpose for them. Does that mean they have nothing to lose? Maybe. But they already know its just hoping for a NY6 bid, not a chance at a natty. Their destiny isn’t anything special to play for.
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 Baton Rouge Bengals:
1) Tackling. Good tackling is a hallmark of Kirby Smart defenses and this season was no exception. Except in the first 20 minutes or so of the Tech game. I saw a lot of arm tackles and Tech’s offense made the most of them.
We can’t afford that Saturday afternoon. LSU is, as always, loaded with naturally gifted athletes. If you try to bring them down without getting shoulder pads on them, you will see “yards after contact” stats blow up higher than the number of Lee County, AL escort services.
2) The law of averages. Georgia has faced several teams whose offensive identity is short, quick passing. Kent State, Samford, Tennessee, Mississippi State – all were intent on getting the ball out quick. Both to prevent the formidable Georgia defensive front from getting to the quarterback, and also because Georgia tends to just keep the ball in front of them – bend, don’t break. And Will Muschamp and Glenn Schumann have done well with their charges, bending but rarely yielding. And almost entirely eliminating the big play. LSU isn’t exactly an air-raid offense but they do throw often and underneath.
At some point you wonder if this “strength vs. strength” will turn out badly. The law of averages says so, these other teams have had success with it on other Saturdays, so could it happen in the SECCG?
3) Drive-killers. Yeah, there are 3-and-outs that irk me, but those happen to every team. You can’t score on every single drive (unless you’re playing Oregon in a nationally-televised game or Steve Spurrier’s last one). But what grinds my gears is watching the Bulldog offense get some momentum, getting positive yardage in chunks, maybe even mixing up the playcalling… only to see it come to a screeching halt. Usually thanks to a personal foul, offensive pass interference, an obvious holding call, or even a horribad interception.
Because just when I start thinking about putting points on the board, or which Bulldog will actually hold the ball in the endzone, or starting to get comfortable about the outcome, the drive-killing play pulls the rug out from under me. Somehow those hurt worse. And I have seen too many of those the last few games.
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 Tigers of LSU. And as always…