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15 Thoughts and the Quest for a 3-Peat

Georgia was seemingly missing about half of its roster, yet romped. Y U B So Mad?

NCAA Football: Tennessee-Martin at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Well, hello there. It’s great to be back to-back (to-back?)!

1. I must admit that I was seriously contemplating retiring from the blog after we walloped TCU last January. Earlier this summer, I had pretty much made my mind up that I was going to go out quietly, and perhaps hand this particular weekly feature over to someone else if they wanted it. There’s a lot going on in my life, mostly good, some a little bit not so good - but that’s life, right? Have you seen the price for a stick of butter these days? Anyway, as I was mulling over whether or not to call up Macondawg and hand in my “two-weeks notice,” something hit me:

Never, ever mess with a streak. Ever.

I personally could use a winning streak and am seriously considering the “wearing women’s underwear” angle...

When we beat ‘Bama not even 2 years ago to win our first Natty in 41 seasons, Stetson Bennett post-game told ESPN’s Holly Rowe, after fumbling and setting up the Tide’s 4th quarter touchdown and brief lead, that he “wasn’t going to be the reason why we lost.”

If I gave up “15 Thoughts,” I’m not going to be the reason why we don’t 3-Peat. Am I inflating my importance to the fortunes of the 2023 Georgia Bulldogs? Of course I am. But as I’ve said before many times, I’m not just a little bit stitious. I’m Superstitious. I’m not going to be the reason why we don’t 3-peat. So for better or worse, I’m typing again and it feels good.

On to the game...

2. You think UT-Martin was a little bit fired up to be playing in front of a “sellout” crowd of 95+ thousand? Of course they were. I don’t think there was a kid on that team that thought at any point during those hot August practices, “Oh, Lordy. We are going down into the Dragon’s Lair to never be seen again.” To the Skyhawks credit, they wanted to be there and it showed. That’s the trouble with opening against a “lesser” team. Jason Simpson has a well coached Skyhawk squad who came to play and they have some talent on that team and will probably acquit themselves quite well over the course of their season. Motivated opponents? Get used to it. Forever. We are getting everyone’s best shot (to borrow from Senator Blutarsky’s Lexicon list). There aren’t many feathers that are bigger in the ‘ol college football cap than being that team that knocks off the two-defending National Champions. Books will be written about it. Pay site subscriptions will be canceled, ESPN will create documentaries. Finebaum will turn on Kirby. All 23 AJC subscribers will rejoice. One day it’ll happen. I hope this isn’t the year.

3. I tried to watch the game in its entirety, but my craptastic cable provider wouldn’t cooperate, so I missed a good portion of the 2nd quarter. During this streaming downtime, I perused the other blogs and sundry dot-com pay sites to see what some of our fanbase thought. I was amused and here’s what I learned:

  • We should despair because obviously Carson Beck is the worst quarterback to ever suit up Between the Hedges.
  • Dom Lovett can’t catch.
  • Mike Bobo hasn’t learned a thing from Todd Monken.
  • We don’t care if Bobo was running a vanilla, base offense. We should score on every play!
  • Okay, running Cash Jones in the 2-minute drill in the middle of the field with no timeouts was a bit of dejabobo vu.
  • Kirby was right. This team is complacent.

This all very troubling. On second thought, Maybe I should retire from the blog. Jimmy Buffett has passed, I’m 25 lbs. overweight and the end is obviously nigh.

4. Allow me to editorialize for just a moment: There’s quite a few folks out there that are incapable of enjoying success on its own merits no matter the competition or margin of victory. To some, we have to be perfect, every play, in every phase, every time, all the time. I’m not saying you should not expect us to win. You absolutely should. That’s where we are as a program and that is a damn fine thing. However, if any one performance negatively affects your overall enjoyment as a Georgia fan even after a victory, congrats! You are now what every Alabama fan became 19 months ago 60 years ago. I know. I matriculated there for 2 years when Bill Curry was coach. When winning is never enough, a recalibration might be in order, which reminds me of a lyric from days gone by:

“A millionaire looking for a million dollars, a poor man looking for one. Chain store owner lookin’ for another store, a hungry man lookin’ for a bun.” - Mother’s Finest, Piece of the Rock

5. About the game: The offensive line was great in pass protection. That was absolutely to be expected. What I didn’t expect how poorly we blocked, especially in trying to create running lanes. It was simply too inconsistent given our talent. UT-Martin was pushing our horde of All-World big uglies around a bit, particularly early. I’m sure that’ll get fixed this week in practice, but to me - more than anything else that transpired on Saturday - was the biggest disappointment of the night. And I am absolutely not worried.

6. Having typed what I typed, we still rushed for 159 yards on 30 total carries with a hodge-podge of running backs, which will have to be the plan, at least for now. Daijun Edward’s vision and wiggle was missed. Kendall Milton still takes the middle of the line when the outside might be a better option, although I missed his long 37 yard scamper (Thanks Blue Stream Cable!). Having said that, it’s great to see #2 out there and if he can stay healthy will be fine. I liked what I saw from Rod Robinson II. He’s a load, with a good burst and when going downhill will cause problems once he learns the playbook a bit more.

7. The two best things about Brock Bower’s performance were these: He’s still Brock and looks to be even more elite, which is saying something. He didn’t have to play another snap after the half. Oscar Delp had a fine touchdown catch on a difficult underthrow from Brock Vandagriff, but no complaints on a successful scoring play.

8. We had a ton of talent on idle yesterday. Across the board. We also played a ton of really young and super talented guys. Will this pay dividends down the road? Just look at Kirby’s first seven seasons here in town and decided for yourself.

9. This game was maddening from a rhythm standpoint, from first snap to finish. I’m not accusing UT-Martin of anything, but they sure had a lot of guys go down with injuries when we had the ball and this affected the offense. I think what affected Carson Beck in his first start (other than admitted 1st half jitters) was the lack of a running game.

10. My only bone to pick with the defense is they lost contain on the edge a few times, probably from over-aggression. The Skyhawks rushed for 129 on the evening, a good portion of that coming on their only (dubious) scoring drive late.

However, I love watching the young guys get to play and this was a nice moment late, as Kyron Jones made a heady play on a mishandled pass.

11. In a game like this I focused on some of the new guys, especially on defense. C.J. Allen is going to be a player. Some of the big, young dudes on the D-line are going to be a problem for SEC offenses, hopefully sooner than later. Christen Miller, Jamal Jarrett and Jordan Hall are all massive and can move.

“Georgia did not accomplish what fans were craving, a bajillion point shutout.

But they did put a decisive win on the board despite many of the players they’ll ideally be relying on later in the season spending the evening as spectators. Daijun Edwards, arguably Georgia’s most reliable tailback, sat to nurse his sprained MCL. Ladd McConkey, Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, and Jackson Meeks we’re out of the receiver rotation.” - Macondawg

12. Is Mekhi Mews the second, thicker coming of Isaiah McKenzie, a.k.a. “The Human Joystick?” Mekhi is fast, twitchy and gets lost amongst the tall trees at times. Zoom Zoom...

He practically stole the show at G-Day. The reaction on the Georgia bench after his long score was pure joy and love. He’s going to pay some big dividends as he gets more experience and confidence.

13. UT-Martin’s punter, Aiden Laros, is a freak. The South African punted 8 times for a 50 yard average, including a 66-yard bomb and pinned the Dawgs deep twice. They took him out late because his leg was sent to the GBI Crime Lab for testing. No weapons are allowed in Sanford Stadium and evidently they didn’t find any. We’ll give him a pass because he ain’t from these parts. At least his leg ain’t.

14. Special teams had a solid day. Peyton Woodring was perfect on the day and Brett Thorson punted 5 times, with 2 inside the UT-Martin 20. The aforementioned Mekhi Mews had only 1 punt return for a solid 19 yards and a nice kickoff return for 31 which showed, again, how dangerous the kid is in the open field. He was a block away from a much longer gain.

15. Georgia will get some things cleaned up as Ball State comes a’callin’ next Saturday. This one will be a nooner on ESPN’s SEC Network. Kentucky handed the Cardinals a 44-14 loss in Commonwealth Stadium. The scheduling gods are unkind to the Cardinals, as they now go from the fire to the frypan when they visit Sanford Stadium in 6 days.

Things are never as good, or as bad, as they seem after any victory - or loss - especially after the first week*. We have lots of film to break down on a lot of guys who played. Carson Beck’s first game yips were pretty much quelled after the half as he looked more decisive. He’ll get on the same page with the newer transfer receivers in short order. One thing I am not worried about is the QB position. Brock Vandagriff looked just fine throwing and his ability to run is solid. He had a nice scramble for a long gain that was nullified by holding. If something - God forbid - were to happen to either guys, Gunner Stockton is a talented 3rd option and looked fine during his opportunity.


  • *I just lied. I said, “Things are never as good, or as bad, as they seem after any victory - or loss - especially after the first week.” Unless you’re Florida. Florida might be a bad team. Like, 1979 bad.
  • Spencer Rattler was sacked NINE times last night. When he wasn’t being tackled behind that pesky line of scrimmage, he was scrambling for his life. When he wasn’t doing that, he was throwing under duress. I heard he was even sacked by the North Carolina ball boy on his own bench when he was trying to get a sip of water. South Carolina’s offensive line looked absolutely lost all night. You hate to see it.
  • That Colorado/TCU game was absolutely entertaining. I guess Deion can coach a little. But TCU looked like they haven’t gotten over a 8+ month hangover, at least on defense. I think we blew their minds. I also think that Shadeur Sanders and Travis Hunter are pretty special. Anyway, Coach Prime is a hype machine that, at least for this week, and his machine is on purrrrrrrr. If the Buffaloes make it to a bowl game (and they’ve already matched last year’s win total), Deion will win Coach of the Year honors.

That’s all I’ve got. See you next week!

As Always, GO DAWGS!