Noon kickoff? Columbia mid-day
heat warmth? Barfing starting QB? No problem!
First, a musical selection from my youthful youth...
1. I must admit, I’ve been Munsoning all week and this morning I feel a bit foolish. No matter how favorable the advanced stats were, years of psychological damage is a hard thing to overcome and there have been many times when we have fielded a decidedly better team that has traveled down to the Great Asphalt Plain only to get beat. I mean, who amongst you wasn’t worried after we were shut down in the 2nd half against Samford? I’m only half kidding. Worry is what I do and I fly my worry flag proudly.
2. (Munsoning, cont.) On Saturday, Carolina won the toss and elected to receive. I was at full-Munson when I realized Jalen Carter wasn’t on the field initially. It was then that I realized I probably didn’t have enough scotch. Shane Beamer was certainly hoping an early Gamecock score would rev up an apprehensive, but dedicated (if only temporary) crowd (also, temporary).
It didn’t work.
Carolina did managed to flip the field, punting after a 7-play drive stalled. We proceeded to drive 82 yards in surgical fashion as Todd Monken’s scripted opening sequence was perfect. After Brock Bower’s nifty reverse for a 5-yard score, the home crowd was taken out of the game almost as soon as it started. Disaster for them; joy for every Georgia fan; a “chef’s kiss” from Mr. Monken.
Napa’s greatest contribution since Cabernet Sauvignon. Oh, and Stetson Bennett delivers again...taking out 2 defenders with his block.
It appears we have a great football team. Before I ordain them the second-coming of the ‘27 Yankees, let’s slow the roll just a wee bit. Sure, South Carolina was down some guys, especially on defense, which did affect them. I understand their offensive line has been a work in progress. But we still had to go into their building and take care of business. We did, and realistically could’ve have laid 60+ on ‘em if we had wanted to.
3. There is nothing I can find fault with in Brock Bower’s game. He’s an effective blocker when he needs to be and that was one of his understandable weakness (at times) during his freshman campaign. His hands might be the best I’ve ever seen at the position, at least at UGA. We’ve had a lot of great tight ends come through Athens. Back in the 1970’s, we had Ulysses Norris, Mark Hodge. The 80’s saw Clarence Kay and Troy Sadowski. Into the 90’s and beyond, guys like Shannon Mitchell, Randy McMichael, Ben Watson, Orson Charles, Isaac Nauta - I’m obviously leaving out a bunch of talent. But I’ve never seen anything like #19. The most athletic play of the day wasn’t his touchdown-toe-tap in the 2nd quarter in my humble opinion. It was picking an underthrown ball prior to that 6” off the turf, collecting it, and gaining 14 yards on a play where Stetson was in deep doo-doo but managed to unload just before getting sacked. Probably an unwise throw, but the results were incredible.
4. Then, there was this perfect play call immediately after South Carolina’s best safety left the game with an injury. Todd Monken is a shark and there was blood in the water.
This looked a lot like Bower’s big catch and run against Tech last year, no?
5. We’ve got receivers. Young guys are getting some valuable experience, we are working some guys back into regular rotation without forcing the issue, especially Dom Blaylock. Ladd McConkey is about as reliable as the best car you ever owned, and probably faster. Eleven players caught 21 balls between Bennett and Carson Beck. When you can build depth like this in an opposing Conference team’s stadium, you’ve got something unique.
5a. Cole Speer looks like Ladd McConkey, v2.0. My God, another freshman!
6. I had trouble sleeping (anyone want a cat?), so I got up super early and watched most of the re-play on ESPN SEC Network, focusing on both of our lines. I will be very interested to see how well we graded out, but I can tell you that Sedrick Van Pran might be the best center in the nation. He just mauls people. I loved the fire that Amarius Mims showed as well. Remember, this kid was contemplating a transfer only a few months ago. I’m glad he stayed and I bet he is, too as he’s beginning to contribute to the party in a big way.
7. The running game was interesting to say the least. Stetson actually led all rushers with 36 yards on 3 carries (no sacks). I thought Kendall Milton was a bit hesitant at times when he might’ve been better served by accelerating through a crease that was there instead of waiting a second or two for one to develop. Some folks were a bit critical during the game, but I think he’s fine and that is something coachable. You’ve got to remember, #2 just hasn’t had a lot of snaps in his career when compared to the guys before him. When the running backs coaches’ room reviews the tape they’ll see some missed opportunities.
8. Having said that, Daijun Edwards has earned more touches. He’s tough as hell and his vision is improving with every carry. Branson Robinson was criticized a bit during August camp for his “upright” style, but I saw a kid with a burst and some power and good lean. Kenny McIntosh, probably by design, was limited to 4 carries for 20 yards. We know what we have with Kenny. No need to risk anything when you don’t have to.
Stetson’s just leaving bodies now pic.twitter.com/9ltaO4B4GO— Dayne Young (@dayneyoung) September 17, 2022
My favorite run of the day. When Stetson isn’t barfin’ on your turf, he’s breaking your ankles. How can he not be a Heisman frontrunner?
8a. On the day, we did rush for 208 yards. And you can’t stop Cash Jones. You can only hope to contain him.
9. Malaki Starks looks like a top 5 corner in the Conference. He’s got incredible awareness for such a young player playing a difficult position to master. I nearly came out of my shoes on his pick of Spencer Rattler. You can tell that Starks trusts his athleticism. In addition to his pick, he ended the day with 3 tackles - 2 solos. Javon Bullard continues to impress.
Any QB throwing off his back foot is doing it wrong. Against this defense, you’ll pay.
10. Georgia’s defense is evolving, day-by-day and some of that evolution is visible during the game. South Carolina had some success between the 40’s (not counting the 4th quarter backups), but outside of one long pass to their tight end, Jaheim Bell, for 46 yards (that play alone accounted for 22% of their total passing output) they couldn’t do what Oregon had tried before. Spencer Rattler has a very good arm and is accurate - when he has time. He had absolutely no time on Saturday. Georgia did not register a sack, but pressured all ‘Sakerlina QB’s into 9 hurries.
11. Georgia’s run defense had 6 tackles-for-loss and only gave up 92 rushing yards - much of it coming during “garbage time.” Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins had an excellent game - not necessarily in the stat line, but overall was taking on double-teams when Jalen Carter wasn’t in there as much due to a “tweaked” ankle. South Carolina has some good running backs who ran hard- much like Oregon did - but success was held largely in check.
12. What in the hell was going on at the beginning of the 2nd quarter? I know they were acknowledging a Title IX anniversary, but at the beginning of the 2nd stanza The Cocks were in a key 4th down situation where they had to convert to stop the Georgia onslaught. The celebration participants took forever to vacate the field. They were trying to clear 275 students through an opening about the size of a chicken’s cloaca (It’s a real word. I took 4 quarters of Latin at UGA way back in the day and had to share. That, and “Auburn delenda est” are about the only words I remember).
Anyhoo, Shane Beamer was going nuts because they gave Georgia a “look” into their formation, gave us time to adjust and generally threw off the timing of everything. The end result? Spencer Rattler’s throw was slightly behind the receiver in the flat, Kelee Ringo stuck his man and Nolan Smith cleaned it up. Turnover on downs. Title IX was preserved, Latin is still a dead language, and Carolina’s hopes were essentially crushed. I love comedy at the expense of any rival. This was pure gold, Jerry! Pure gold!
I do hope you enjoyed this teaching moment. There will be a quiz later...
If you read Kirby’s lips, he is clearly saying, “I love Title IX celebrations!” It’s a Fact!
13a. Defense wins championships.
14. What else is there to say about this game, other than the obvious?:
- Stetson “The Heisman Hurler’s” peformance
- Brock Bowers
- That secondary!
- Todd Monken’s Jedi Masterful Playcalling
- The Youth movement
- Playing the bench...on the road...in a hostile environment (at least for a quarter)
15. Special teams, outside of a shanked punt by Brett Thorson, were solid if not spectacular. Thorson atoned by also hitting an absolute moon-shot 56 yarder. Jack Podlesny and Jared Zirkel were perfect in kicking and kickoffs with no return yards. We still need to work on punt returns, but that’ll be something for later.
For a noon start in Columbia, the day could not have gone much better. When the Washington Post starts throwing shade, you know it’s a good day. Remember, A.D. Mitchell was out for the game, but no matter. What Georgia does on offense, especially with how versatile Brock Bowers and all the tight ends are (hello, Oscar Delp) burdens opposing defenses anywhere he’s lined up on the field. Our weapons cache is very well stocked. I think Todd Monken is still holding back some really groovy stuff, too.
Nice pitch and catch, Beck to Delp.
If we can continue to develop some young wide receivers and get them on the same page as Stetson Bennett, this offense might go to some sort of “next level.” We have the luxury of time (and cupcakes) right now. Next up: Kent State, following by another business trip to Columbia (west), to take on an average Mizzou team, then a reeling Auburn comes to Athens, then Vandy before the bye week before Jacksonville.
This is as good as it gets, folks. We are reigning National Champions and have to be considered the favorite to repeat. This team has the right coaches, right blend of team leadership and depth. If we can get guys like Arian Smith back, A.D. Mitchell and more involvement with Dominick Blaylock and get some of the younger skill guys to “click,” this offense might be unstoppable. Hell, it’s pretty unstoppable now. I’ve been dreaming of this scenario for a long, long time and as good as last year was, this year might end up being better. I need to take a really cold shower now. You probably do, too.
- How long will Tech stick with Geoff? I guess he’ll coach out the string, but that experiment was a disaster. Not that I’m complaining.
- Oh, Auburn. You’ve got some issues. We can help.
I’d say, “keep your chin up, dude” but it only gets worse from here. Trust me...
- ESPN goes to all the trouble of traveling to Boone, NC for Gameday for everyone to see Appalachian State and Troy...wait what!? Streaming only? How galactically stupid. Either way, Hail Mary! I wish I could’ve seen this “live.”
A MOUNTAIN MIRACLE FOR APP STATE!— ESPN+ (@ESPNPlus) September 17, 2022
And you only saw it on ESPN Plus! pic.twitter.com/XKCdJ2riwo
FEMA might have to set up some temporary shelters up in Boone. I hear they partied a bit last night...
- Texas A&M and Miami was about as ugly a snooze fest as possible. I heard the Aggies won.
- Florida is lucky they aren’t 0-3 right now. I bet they wish Emory Jones was their starting QB.
- Sam Pittman IS a national treasure.
- And I’ll leave you with this gem:
Auburn literally paid Cam Newton when it was illegal and now it’s legal and they can’t find a QB for shit— Caroline (@_supcaroline) September 18, 2022
Truth to power...
That’s all I’ve got. As Always...