Here is what I’m NOT worried about as we face the Palmetto Poultry:
1) Run the Damn Chicken. You can throw a million stats and dissect it all you want, but it boils down to South Carolina doesn’t execute when the ball is run. They have scored 30+ points in both games so far (35 vs. GA State, and 30 vs. Arkansas), but they rank 125th (of 131) in run offense, and somehow 129th in run defense. And having suffered a couple of injuries in the opener, we find they just lost two more defensive starters for the season this week.
There’s lots of talk of Monken’s run game including handoffs, pitches, jet sweeps, and even quick swingouts to the backs. Considering the state of the SC run defense, it might be a good chance to continue to work on A gaps and inside runs - a little more of which we saw in the 2H last week against Samford.
2) Stetson Bennett has thrown for 300 yards in his first two games to start the season. When in the name of Quincy Carter has that happened before? And the Mailman has eclipsed 300 yards in 4 of his last 5 starts – 2 of those against Alabama, and 1 of those against the greatest defense ever devised by
Jim Harbaugh man. 16 different receivers, 11 of those guys averaging 10 yards or more a catch. Losing Pickens and Fitzpatrick to the NFL and Jermaine Burton to The Dark Side doesn’t really seem to be hurting the offense as much as folks predicted, eh?
3) Legalities. If Dawg Sports and Dawgs Twitter are any indication, there’s more than a few barristers following Georgia football. So I have to believe there is a really good agreement in place for the use of Sonny Seiler’s family pet (he’s an attorney himself). Even if things with the Seilers suddenly go sideways. Which is apparently what happened with the owners of South Carolina mascot Sir Big Spur (honestly I haven’t spent much time researching). But if a major state university, or one that’s at least known throughout a region, has to change the name of its mascot because of some family squabbling, then you don’t have your
chickens ducks in a row so you’re probably not on top of everything as much as you should be.
Now forgive me, as I was weaned at the nipple of Larry Munson’s scratch. So here’s what does worry me about trying to beat the 3rd best football program in the State of South Carolina:
1) Opportunities – we may miss thee. Last Saturday, Bennett overthrew Jackson Meeks on the first drive on that fake pitch when Meeks had 3 steps on the defender. He missed McConkey in the end zone, on a throw that clearly needed some more arc. Bennett zipped one through the normally sure-handed and acrobatic Brock Bowers in the end zone. Then he somehow threw high to Darnell Washington on a cross in the end zone. Those were all in the first 10 minutes of the game. Was there a little moisture on the ball from a light mist? Were the cloudy skies making depth perception an issue? Was Stequavious focusing more on deconstructing the third stanza of “Bubbly”? I don’t know, but the games aren’t going to get easier and we need to cash in on plays. Are you going to hit every one? Of course not, but that just highlights how many opportunities were missed in a short window, and we can’t afford to do that again.
2) It may seem I’m hypercritical of Stetson Bennett. I assure you, I’m a big fan. But when your team has won 20 of it’s last 21 games, won last year’s national championship, is currently #1 in the polls, playing an overmatched opponent and favored by more than 3 touchdowns on the road, well, you really have to break out the microscope to fulfill your weekly duties and continue the Munson legacy. So here is where I’ll say SBIV is doin’ too much.
At the end of the 1H against Samford, and on the opening drive of the 2H, the Baron of Blackshear took unnecessary and extremely risky steps trying to make a play. Stetson is confident and riding high right now, and it looks like he thinks he can escape anything and make a hero play at any time. He was lucky to get that Hail Mary off as the 1H clock expired, and he took Georgia out of FG range on that sack opening up the 2H. On both plays he never considered throwing it away and tried instead to extend the play with an impression of Anthony Richardson (the one that played Utah, not the one that played UK). They were unnecessary because we had a 30 point lead against an FCS opponent. And risky because both plays could easily have led to a turnover and points for Samford, or worse, an injury.
It’s time to realize the situation in terms of score, clock, and field position, and make the smart play a little more often.
3) Little things. On paper, Georgia has better personnel at every position group, is deeper across the board, and has a more highly regarded coaching staff. Not to mention better resources for the program. But South Carolina Head Coach Shane Beamer has a plan, and there is a formula for the upset.
USCjr has a quarterback with a live arm and Spencer Rattler really warmed up in the second half against Arkansas and certainly has the potential to push a young Georgia secondary that is largely untested. Especially considering the UGA defense has 1 sack through 2 games – yes there’s been pressure but if you don’t get the quarterback on the ground, bad things can happen. The Gamecocks are beset with injuries, but that might be the rallying point to motivate them, really investing in the “next man up” mentality. The game is at noon in the bad Columbia, and Cock Commander has asked his flock to show up early and loud (annoying is already assumed). These little things can add up – just ask Nick Saban. Of course you need to wait until he finishes his post-game “meeting” with the officiating crew behind the locker room.
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 Gamecocks of South Carolina. And as always…
**I’ve spent time in Paramus. As bad as it is, Columbia has nothing on them in terms of paving over God’s green earth.