Bulldog Blasphemy on a Sunday: Gurley over Herschel. Yeah, I Said It.


I don’t really write “columns” all that often.  I’m equally averse to devoting a thousand words to stating the obvious.

But Todd Gurley makes me do crazy, crazy things.  And I’m not too proud to admit that.

Todd Gurley is the best Georgia Bulldog I’ve ever seen. 

Every single time he touches the football, I get the feeling he just might score.  As often is the case, I’m sure the statistics aren’t skewed on paper quite the way they are in my mind, but it seems like more often than not he finds his way into the end-zone.

Run it inside, Gurley may score.  Run it outside, Gurley may score.  Find him on a slip screen, Gurley may score.  Find him out in the flats or on a shallow crossing route, Gurley may score.  Let the junior running back return a damn kickoff, Gurley may score.

I’ve never seen a player perform with such an outrageous awareness of both the spotlight and the moment and still somehow surpass the Blood Mountain-sized heap of Georgia expectations.

Todd Gurley is the best Georgia Bulldog I’ve ever seen.

But then again, I probably should have said that this summer.  Instead, deep down inside I cowered in latent fear.  As a Bulldog fan, the only thing I know better than lofty anticipation at the beginning is devastatingly bitter shortcomings in the end.  Surely, one plays into the other.  The Georgia team that came up a few yards short on an errant completion (of all things!) from Aaron Murray to Chris Conley in 2012 wasn’t a bad team.  We just expected a handful too many yards.  The Stafford/Moreno 2008 campaign wasn’t a disaster, we just read too much into a strong 2007 finish.  David Greene and David Pollack were overachieving stars, but they were never meant to be the national champions we so eagerly mistook them for.

Perception is not reality.  Not when it comes to Georgia football.  So this summer’s Gurley hype wasn’t just terrifying; it was crippling.  In a series of internal negotiations I tempered expectations.

Todd Gurley wasn’t going to have a bad 2014 season, he just wasn’t going to meet our impossibly presumptuous presuppositions.  That is to say: He was never going to win the Heisman Trophy, lead the team in rushing, receiving and smiles for the camera and mean mugs on the field while carrying the team to the college football playoff.  And in the kind of sick and twisted justice that only a die-hard Georgia fan can understand, he would be condemned for that collective shortcoming in the harshest, most passive-aggressive of ways.

“Todd Gurley was good,” we’d all say some day.  “But he wasn’t Herschel Walker good.”

That’s how I thought this year would play out.  What that looks like statistically, I don’t know.  If pressured I would have pegged Gurley for 1,300 yards on the ground and 15 TDs.  Georgia could win 10 or 11 games, hopefully a bowl victory at the end of the year.  Then we’d all move on and watch Gurley leave—underappreciated to an extent we were all blind to—for the NFL.

Todd Gurley is the best Georgia Bulldog I’ve ever seen.

He cemented that should-have-been-obvious observation on Saturday night against Clemson.  He touched the ball just six times—four runs, one reception and one kickoff return— in the first half, but already he had proved the point I was afraid to make.

And then that second half happened.  And to quote the teenage girl-inspired internet meme of today…I can’t even…

As in, I can’t even begin to describe it.  I can’t even do it justice with highlight videos.  I can’t even process the numbers.  I. Can’t. Even.

All I can say is Todd Gurley is the best Georgia Bulldog I’ve ever seen.

I never saw Herschel in person or even in real-time.  He played his last game as a Bulldog some 70 months before I was born.  I do know, however, that Herschel never accounted for more than 293 all-purpose yards in a game.  I know that, because Todd Gurley did just that on Saturday and set the school record in the process.  And this will look like a typo to those who didn’t watch, but Gurley racked up those 293 yards on just 17 total touches.  You read that correctly.  Seventeen—as in one more than sixteen and one fewer than eighteen.  Gurley touched the ball 17 times.  He scored four times.  He racked up 293 yards.

I’m not saying Herschel wouldn’t have done exactly the same thing against what was supposed to be one of the best defensive front-sevens in the country.  I’m sure he would have done something comparable.  I am, however, saying that he never did do that.

And yet, the parts of Gurley’s effort on Saturday were even greater than the whole.  Gurley was stopped behind the line of scrimmage on two of his 15 runs.  He ran for 20 or more yards on three of his runs.  He had seven runs in excess of 10 yards, eight runs of 10 or fewer.  More than half his carries resulted in a first down or a touchdown.  Who does that?  Gurley wasn’t consistently good on Saturday.  He was consistently unstoppable.

Todd Gurley is the best Georgia Bulldog I’ve ever seen.

And I have a feeling a few other Dawg loyalists should be admitting the same thing.  Granted, he needs to stay healthy.  And sure, he needs to continue to perform at this level.  I suppose he needs to win a Heisman Trophy and lead his team to an SEC Championship, too.

But after last night, which of those unknowns gives you sincere pause—let alone substantiated doubt—as a Bulldog optimist?

Todd Gurley just might be the best Georgia Bulldog you’ve ever seen.

Let that soak in for a moment.  Ruminate on it.  Don’t say it aloud, at least not if you don’t really mean it yet.  After all, Sunday is a day for reverence, not Bulldog blasphemy.  But I think you might come around.  Sooner, rather than later.

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

 

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About dudeyoucrazy

College Football Writer

Posted on August 31, 2014, in Blog, Georgia Bulldogs, SEC, The UGA Vault. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. That is blasphemy but I know where you are coming from. I was 3 years old Herschel’s freshman year so I don’t truly remember seeing him play though I have watched replays that while great aren’t like seeing it and appreciating it all in real time. Georgia has had many good running backs since Herschel Walker that I do remember, Tim Worley, Rodney Hampton (who also had a game with all purpose yardage in excess of Herschel), Garrison Hearst, Robert Edwards, Musa Smith, and Knowshon Moreno (and the underutilized forever monument to the stupidity of Ray Goff, all-pro Terrell Davis) but Gurley is head and shoulders above all of those guys. Last night, I dared ask my father for the first time in my life if a Georgia running back since Herschel was truly comparable to Herschel and my father said that he thought Gurley was comparable and in an approximate league with Herschel though the two play in such wildly different eras it is hard to make an apples to apples comparison. My dad went on to say that while Gurley is basically as powerful as Herschel was he still thinks Herschel was probably a little bit faster. I think that was a pretty good darn answer to a very legitimate question. Gurley’s name deserves, absolutely and forever deserves to be uttered in the same breath as No. 34 but at least until Gurley leads us to a national championship we should just leave it at that and enjoy the ride.

  2. Good post – I’ll say it this way as someone who did see Herschel, the Goal Line Stalker never had a performance like the one Gurley had last night. Herschel had more yards, more carries, etc., but the total package of what Gurley did last night was something special.

    • That’s what I keep coming back to. No, Gurley doesn’t have the carries (he’s barely over 50% the carries per game Walker got), but his output per touch is far above Walker. Again, not to say that could be maintained on 30 carries per game, but still. It’s definitely a fun conversation.

  3. UGA was in no way as offensively balanced in Herschel’s day. He carried a big load. Gurley is as capable, but not called upon in the same way. I want the students to start the cheer TOOD–GURLEY!! That is what happened in my day!! HERSCHEL–WALKER !!

  4. UGA was in no way as offensively balanced in Herschel’s day. He carried a big load. Gurley is as capable, but not called upon in the same way. I want the students to start the cheer TODD–GURLEY!! That is what happened in my day!! HERSCHEL–WALKER !!

  1. Pingback: I Hope I Never Have to Watch Todd Gurley Play for Georgia Again | DudeYouCrazy

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