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Wednesday ‘Dawg Bites: Just Like Football (In A Good Way)

2023 SEC Championship - Georgia v Alabama Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

It’s only nineteen days until Christmas, and zero days until we bring you the freshest, hottest news in Bulldog Nation. Let’s dig right in.

If you haven’t seen it already, Kirby’s postgame speech to the team after Saturday night’s defeat is below. Avoid watching if you happen to have a rare condition that could cause you to die if you tear up easily.

Somehow the man is perhaps even a better coach in defeat than he is in victory.

He is right about a lot, but perhaps nothing more than when he told the team they just made too many mistakes to deserve to win this one. It was a statistical dead heat that was ultimately decided by a fumble and a false start on a field goal. That’s frustrating because it happened. It’s encouraging in the sense that a Georgia team in a supposed rebuilding year had to play some of its sloppiest football to lose to Alabama by 3.

The outcome may also have been swayed by that controversial Isaiah Bond reception in the second quarter that set up Alabama for a touchdown. In the CBS booth the crew wondered why the catch wasn’t reviewed. On Tuesday the SEC replied that in fact it was.

I think there’s a game of semantics going on here. If the league means by “review” that the official in the booth watched the play live on the screen (as they do every play), considered whether or not to stop play in order to rewatch it from a different angle, but declined to do so then yes, technically that’s a review.

But it was obvious to anyone with even a cursory sense of time that the next play was run within 40 seconds of the Bond catch. That’s not enough time for what the average fan would deem “a review.” Remember, when it comes to protecting the officials the league office will insult your intelligence as long as you allow them to, and then they’ll just continue to do it without your permission.

Okay, that’s enough about the past. Let’s talk the present and future of Bulldog athletics. Things have been slower in the transfer portal for the Bulldogs so far, with the only new announcement yesterday coming from kicker Jared Zirkel, who’ll be exploring his portal options with a UGA degree in hand and two seasons of eligibility remaining.

Fare thee well, Zirkules.

Zirkel was the kickoff specialist in 2023 and did a great job with it, but it’s not clear to me that Peyton Woodring can’t handle kickoffs and scoring attempts, thereby freeing up a scholarship. The staff will also probably consider adding a walk-on to compete for those duties.

I don’t think the ‘Dawgs are done shedding players yet, but I also don’t expect we’ll see an exodus quite like what we saw last season, when 16 Bulldogs decamped through the portal. I could see this year’s number going as high as 12 or 13, but it may also stay as low as 10-11. Seven players have entered the portal so far this year.

On the other side of the ledger we’re seeing some players hit the portal who Georgia will likely take a shot at bringing to the Classic City. On Monday we talked about Vandy freshman receiver London Humphreys. Since then Texas A&M defensive tackles Walter Nolen and LT Overton have entered the portal as well.

Nolen chose the Aggies over Tennessee and Georgia as the top prospect in the class of 2022. Overton was the 17th ranked prospect. Interestingly Overton is an Alpharetta native and his dad Milton is a former Oklahoma Sooner lineman and the current AD at Kennesaw State. Given the Red and Black’s struggles on the defensive front this season I wouldn’t mind us adding a couple of guys from the unit that led the SEC in total defense in 2023.

Speaking of that Texas A&M defense, it only placed one player on the All-SEC first team announced on Tuesday, despite a statistically dominant season. Georgia, ranked second in the league in defense also had one player on the list, safety Malaki Starks. Alabama, ranked third in total defense, had five. The lesson to be learned here is to never seek external validation when your competition has branding and momentum on its side.

Away from the turf and over on the hardwood Coach White’s squad notched a solid victory over Georgia Tech last night, prevailing 76-62 in Stegeman Coliseum. Jordan Hill of Dawgs247 notes that there were some encouraging takeaways from this one, which ran Georgia’s record to 6-3 as the non-conference slate winds down.

That should get you through your first cup of coffee. Now go be great. Also remember to check in on our 2024 Transfer Portal Tracker, which will be updated in the coming days as the annual fruit basket turnover continues. Until later…

Go ‘Dawgs!!!