Georgia Football Knee Jerk Reactions: Nicholls State Edition
After moving back to the great city of Atlanta a year and a half ago, it’s been interesting to find how I fit back in my city and my state after two years away. Atlanta has changed dramatically from the city I grew up in, but there are some constants. The Dungeon Family will remain a galvanizing force in the city, evidenced by the amazing performance this Saturday night at Lakewood (it’ll always be Lakewood, renamings be damned). The Falcons will always find a way to go full Falcon, either in week 1 or later in a season, usually causing the maximum amount of pain to the Falcon fans. And finally, Georgia will follow-up a big win that engenders actual, real, tangible hope, and then squander it by laying an egg at the least opportune time.
In a lot of ways, I had a very Atlanta weekend.
– Go ahead. Lie to yourself. Squint at those numbers on your smart phone or your laptop and tell me what a growing experience it was to let the true freshman get the first home start, that this was the right move by a first year head coach, that he in no way jeopardized the future of Jacob Eason by throwing him out there with a deplorable offensive line against a team hungry to get famous off this game.
– Offensively, this team has a big undeniable problem that doesn’t start with who is taking snaps under center. I am a firm believer in “if your line can’t block it, you can’t run it,” and right now, there isn’t much this offense can run consistently. Against North Carolina, the running success was more a factor of the talent in the backfield than solid blocking up front, and it showed against Nicholls this weekend. Linemen getting pushed back, straight up missing blocks, and all in all looking slow off the ball. Could this be getting used to a new cadence? Sure, but they weren’t exactly world beaters with Lambert under center.
“We can’t change the guys out, we have no free agency, we can’t make cuts so we have to take what we got and we have to make those guys better,” – Coach Smart
– The quarterback play was poor, at best. Eason’s numbers ended up fine, I guess, going 11/20 for 204 yards and a touchdown, but film doesn’t lie. A good number of passes were thrown in bad locations for the receiver to make a play, or just flat-out thrown too hard for the distance traveled. Arm talent is one thing, but all that ability needs to be tempered with experience that he just doesn’t have yet.
– Defense wasn’t TERRIBLE, but there is a tacit understanding that with a young quarterback you will occasionally find yourselves in bad position, and need to fight out of it. This is a defense that gave up no runs or passes over 20 yards, and still found themselves in a dog fight. Gotta be more secure as a unit while the offense finds itself.
– Turnover bug is back. Sure, we HAVE a special teams coach now on paper, but do we? REALLY? Shouldn’t be depending on the returner to provide a spark against Nicholls State anyway.
I’m worth every penny.
— UGA Special Teams (@UGASpecialTeams) September 10, 2016
– Not only did the Freshman throw a bad pick, Chubb fumbled because this weekend went full Atlanta.
Survive and advance.
That has become the mantra of college football these days, stolen from the inferior product that is college basketball. And, to be fair, this is a team that survived a scare from an over matched opponent. Also being fair, this was not the only notable team that had to hold on to the bitter end to put away a team who showed up for a check. But, we can’t look outside of ourselves for a gauge on our program. We can only look within, and games like this are why rookie head coaches and freshmen quarterbacks exemplify the phrase “growing pains”. Let’s aim for a little more growth and a lot less pain this weekend.
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