Here is what I’m NOT worried about as we face the Jefferson County Dilfers:
1. 25% of the season is gone. We’ve played the same number of games this season as the number of postseason games we played, and won, last season. (That last bit is really to the “1980!” fanbases of Auburn, Florida, and Tennessee.)
With luck, it will be just 20% of the total Georgia Football available to us fanatics. But that is to be determined. Every year as the season starts, I never think about it ending. But you blink, and it’s over before you know it. Cherish real-life Bulldog football, folks.
2. UAB just isn’t built to stop an offense. They rank 126th out of 130 nationally in 3rd down defense, 116th in rushing defense, and 88th in total defense. As macondawg alluded to, they surrendered 41 points in a 20 point loss to Louisiana, and allowed Georgia Southern in the end zone 7 times the week before. I think their head coach said it best earlier this week… “It can’t get any harder than this, they’ve allowed 24 points this year and we allowed 24 points in the first half of one game. We got our work cut out for us.”
3. So many fans are upset about the South Carolina game. In my opinion, Kirby was just giving Beamer a little payback. Remember that SCAR single-handedly ruined the dreams of not one, but two rival fanbases last year. They put the nail in the coffin of Tennessee with a second notch in the L-column, and then pushed Clemson right off their razor-thin edge of making the playoffs. And then those two were relegated to playing each other in a bowl game. So to me, the Gamecocks were owed a solid. No matter how bad the season goes in Columbia, Shane can just harp that he was beating UGA at halftime by double digits. He might even get a contract extension. Bros just looking out for each other.
Now forgive me, as I was weaned at the nipple of Larry Munson’s scratch. So here’s what does worry me about facing Imagine Dragons:
1. 10-15 play drives down the length of the field are beautiful things. They crush souls, create lamentations, and can seal a game’s outcome. Even in the first half, they can set a tempo and put doubt in the opposing team – and who wants to come out after halftime for more of the same butt-whoopin’? But to fully accomplish that, you have to put points on the board.
15 plays: 62 yards (FG)
13 plays: 72 yards (missed FG)
12 plays: 64 yards (missed FG)
That’s 40 plays on 3 possessions, eating up 20 minutes of game clock, and half of Georgia’s offensive plays. For 3 measly points. A bad penalty or two, drives getting stalled late, and the place kicking game are all things that need to get cleaned up.
2. The Red Zone has not been our friend. For either side of the ball. Last season, the Georgia Bulldog red zone offense was truly a strength. In only 2 contests did the Bulldogs get into the red zone and not come away with points (1 vs. Samford, and 1 vs. Kentucky). While we started hot (6 for 6 vs. UT Martin), there was a missed field goal when Ball State came to town, and the 2 chip shot field goals against the Gamecocks are freshly burned into our collective memories.
And on the other side of the ball, the Georgia defense has allowed scores every time the opponent gets inside the 20. They even allowed a rushing touchdown, a thing that only happened once in the first seven games of 2022. One may note that most of the scores have come when the game’s outcome is firmly in hand and benches were emptied, but the trend remains and the SC scores were with first teamers on the field.
3. Saturday’s first 30 minutes were tough on the digestive system. Watching South Carolina march up and down the field, dinking a bit, hitting crosses left and right, and converting long 3rd downs with a passing game made me hit the medicine cabinet. At one time, I was honestly pondering the irony of Spencer Rattler setting a new SEC completion record in Athens. He didn’t miss the entire 1st quarter and was 10-10 at that point. The 2nd quarter wasn’t much better for the home team, as Rattler was 6 for 8 in that period. Thank goodness for the halftime/in-game adjustments made by the defensive coaching staff.
So why am I worried? Because we’re about to face a quarterback that is top 10 in the nation in completions per game. It isn’t a vertical passing game, but their receivers get open and #4 Jacob Zeno gets them the ball. And we saw a lot of that Saturday. You can bet Blazer head coach Trent Dilfer has been studying that game film and incorporating ways to move the chains.
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 Blazers of Alabama-Birmingham. And as always…