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3 Things That Worry Me About TCU

Facing another Heisman finalist QB, one with a penchant for heroics, a team that prefers to beat you late with a comeback, one with a mascot and a “team of destiny” moniker, that most of the country seems to be pulling for. What, me worry?  

NCAA FOOTBALL: OCT 29 Texas Tech at TCU Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Here is what I’m NOT worried about as we face the Fort Worthless:

1) I love LA. And why not? Pasadena and the Rose Bowl is nearby, and that has a special place in any Dawg fan’s heart. SoFi Stadium itself is both the current home of, and site of, Matthew Stafford’s Super Bowl win 11 months ago. In October of 2021, the Braves captured the pivotal game 5 win in Chavez Ravine on their way to a World Series title. I mean, there’s a lot not to like about the area, but the sports teams I root for have had some nice moments there of late.

2) Depth matters. It allows Georgia to maintain its offensive and defensive philosophy. It allows Georgia to keep its identity and not to be forced into unnatural habits. For example, even though UGA is loaded with gifted pass-catchers at the TE position, they are blockers first. With 2 on the field, you can interchange who seals the edge or who chips the backer or who double teams the DT and still have a great target to throw to. With Darnell Washington dinged up (and there’s no telling if he will play or how effective he will be), Oscar Delp stepped in admirably. He isn’t the blocker Washington is; he’s not the route-runner and freak athlete Bowers is; but he can do the job as he’s proven in big stages.

And the depth timing in the wide receiver room couldn’t have been more perfect. Just when Ladd McConkey goes down in the SEC Championship, Arian Smith and AD Mitchell are plugged in just enough to cover the loss and show the rest of the country what we’ve been missing all season.

3) If TCU has a weaker side of the ball, it would be the defense. Their unique 3-3-5 alignment is designed to confuse offensive linemen and result in missed assignments. And it probably does in the defense-optional Big 12 conference. Our great outside blocking (tight ends on the end of the line, our wideouts, our running backs picking up blitzes) should negate that and prevent big mistakes.

The Horned Frogs did not shut anyone out this season. Only 4 times in 14 games have they held an opponent under 20 points. They don’t have many sacks; while as UGA fans we know that doesn’t always tell the story, they have the same QB pressure numbers as the Bulldogs. Seemingly they break up a lot of passes, but I didn’t think the Big 12 was known for elite QB to WR connections in 2022.

Now forgive me, as I was weaned at the nipple of Larry Munson’s scratch. So here’s what does worry me about facing that little ol’ team from Texas:

1) Depth matters. Until you’re cut deep. And the cuts to our edge rush are getting dangerously close to the bone. First we lose Nolan Smith for the year, leading the team in sacks. Then Marvin Jones suffers an ankle injury, and now Chaz Chambliss was hurt in the Peach Bowl. We’re really going to need Smael Mondon, and Mykel Williams, to once again step up. And I’d love to see more of Bobby Beal and some other guys that have had brief flashes. We’re going to need everyone and everybody.

Even more than against other opponents, because this Toad team is always horny for a comeback: trailed by 14 against in the 2H to Okie St and won in OT; down 18 in the 2Q and 11 at the half before beating Kansas St in the regular season; behind 4 points to Texas Tech in the 3Q before pulling away; were down 8 in the 4Q and kicked a walk-off field goal to beat Baylor; lagging Kansas St. the entire game before the Duggan heroics and a 2 pt. conversion forced overtime in the Big12 championship. They took the “60 minutes” thing way too seriously.

2) I guess Dan Jackson was that important. Because I can’t figure out how a defensive secondary that held Bo Nix to his worst performance in 2022, Hendon Hooker’s lowest output in 2022 for yards, yards per attempt, and scores, and kept pretty much every single opposing offense to their season low, is suddenly the weak link.

But 500 yards surrendered to LSU through the air, and a CJ Stroud passer rating of 192 in consecutive games is telling. The Georgia secondary only allowed 4 touchdowns passing before Dangerous Dan went down with a foot injury. Since that time, they’ve allowed 11. Was the schedule back-end loaded with better offenses, and the fact that LSU suddenly figured everything out, and OSU had NFL 1st round talent at the receiver position? Yes. But Oregon and Tennessee were not slouches, were actually some of the better offenses in the nation and we shut them down unequivocally. By process of elimination, the root cause is Dan Jackson’s absence.

And now we’re facing the Heisman runner-up. Who happens to be the 2nd best running back on the TCU team (when accounting for sack yardage). If CJ Stroud can buy time and improvise from the pocket to pick the Bulldog secondary apart, what do you think Max Duggan will do to us? This guy sees the field well, recognizes coverages pre-snap, and can elude a rush to deliver the ball to the right spot. That’s a tough combination to beat.

3) TCU is just a very good team. They have but a single blemish on their record, and that was an overtime loss in a conference championship after a perfect season. I don’t see that they do any one thing spectacularly well, but they do have balance and can get you in any number of ways. They run very well (over 200 yds/game) and throw the ball better – because while the yardage isn’t super-gaudy, it’s high completions and they throw it only to their team. They keep the ball, take it away more often (just ask JJ McCarthy), and are very disciplined.

Early rumours say that TCU RB1 Kendre Miller is questionable for our game Monday night. Considering he’s scored in every game this season and has amassed about 1,400 yards just on the ground, you’d think it would be good news. But you know who also played without their #1 back but relied on a Heisman-finalist QB? I don’t need to see this again while my Crestor prescription awaits a refill. When you’re the favorite, it’s easier to wish they played the games on paper.

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 Horned Frogs of Texas Christian. And as always…