Georgia Football: 10 Reasons to Feel Good About Football Again
#1. You Can Still Laugh at Tennessee
I want to live in a world in which Tennessee isn’t much better than average. For the past decade or so we’ve been blessed with that world. And based on what we’ve seen so far (including Saturday), we still live there. Rankings and feel-good-Butch-Jones-Definitely-Doesn’t-Look-Like-He-Walked-Off-The-Set-Of-Beavis-And-Butt-Head opinions be damned, does anyone really think Tennessee is a Top-10 team? Because I don’t. Georgia’s not a good team and Tennessee needed a collapse by a whole unit and a lot of luck to get the win. Make no mistake about it, Tennessee is in the driver’s seat in the East*. But winning the East isn’t the long-term end game here. They’ll get run by Bama or whoever wins the West.
*Believe it or not, Tennessee hasn’t “locked up” the East quite to the extent that people believe right now. They have Texas A&M on the road this week and next week Alabama comes to Knoxville. You can’t quite assume both of those are losses but I think there’s a better chance that Tennessee goes 0-2 in those contests than 2-0. Georgia needs Tennessee to lose at least three to get back in the division race, but Florida just needs them to drop one. And even lowly threats like South Carolina, Kentucky and Missouri (not Vandy) could get scary for the Vols when you consider just how awful Tennessee is capable of being for prolonged periods.
Tennessee trailed App State for 60 minutes. Tennessee didn’t lead VA Tech for the first 25 minutes of play. With 11 minutes left to play, Tennessee was clinging to a 2-point lead against Ohio (University…not State). Florida led Tennessee by 21; Georgia led by 17. This is not a team with a penchant for playing complete games. So the collective “we got this” mentaility of Vol fans who haven’t been to an SEC Championship Game in 3,229 days and haven’t won one in 6,512 days (but who’s counting?) is a bit premature.
#2. Jacob Eason
He’s so much fun to watch. Like…transcendentally fun to watch in the fourth quarter.
#3. It Was Better
A loss is a loss but compare Georgia’s performance on Saturday (a game some would say the Dawgs should have won) with what the team did a week earlier in Oxford (a game some would say the Dawgs didn’t even play) and even lackluster performances against the likes Missouri and Nicholls State. This was better. I’m not sure how you could collectively say otherwise.
#4. Jacob Eason
He’s also not Greyson Lambert. Just wanted to circle back around and hit that one.
#5. Brian Herrien
I love this kid and at this point in the season I think we can safely say this isn’t a one-off success story. He’s good. He’s consistently good, too. Herrien has logged carried in four games this year, he’s averaged 4.9 YPC or better in each contest, run for at least 45 yards in each game and hit a run of 15+ yards in every outing. He’s good. He’s consistent. He’s 18 years old. Get a load of his game log:
- UNC: 7 carries, 59 yards, 8.4 YPC, 1 TD, Long of 19
- Nicholls: 8 carries, 47 yards, 5.9 YPC, Long of 23
- Ole Miss: 11 carries, 78 yards, 7.1 YPC, 2 TDs, Long of 16
- Tennessee: 15 carries, 74 yards, 4.9 YPC, Long of 15
#6. Natrez Patrick
A lack of QB pressure and questionable play in the secondary has taken some of the shine away from linebackers like Natrez Patrick this season. But the NatPat (TM) had himself a game on Saturday. 10 total tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 sack and another QB hit. Big game. The NatPat leads the team in tackles (both solo and total), is second to Trent Thompson in TFL, tied for first in sacks.
#7. Young Defensive Front
In addition to the NatPat, consider the other players in Georgia’s front seven who are making plays. Trenton Thompson is second on the team in tackles, first in TFLs and tite for first in sacks. Roquan Smith is doing big things. D’Andre Walker is starting to come into his own. Julian Rochester is becoming a force. It’s terrifying to think about what this unit might look like next year. Lorenzo Carter may be tempted to go pro early (though I’m not sure 5.5 career sacks in 31 career games get him there), but if he stays Georgia stands to return everything along the front line.
#8. Jacob Eason
I mean Tennessee DBs stopped running because they thought the kid couldn’t throw the ball that far. He flicked his wrist and that should have been the end of the game. Geez.
9. Kirby Smart
Oh, I’m going to go there. Whether or not he gets Georgia to where Georgia wants to be remains to be seen (and even if Georgia was 5-0, the same sentiment would ring true), but I love the direct, unambiguous language he uses after a loss. “Bottom line is we’ve got to do better’ we’ve got to do better than them,”
Smart is a results-driven dude in a results-driven scenario and I don’t have major beef with anything he’s done so far with the program. Could Georgia be in a better spot right now? Sure. I think we all think the Dawgs could/should be 4-1 and the gap between there and 3-2 seems insurmountable given Tennessee’s sequential wins against the only presumed challengers for the division (Florida and Georgia).
But put all of this in perspective. Georgia’s first loss was to Ole Miss, a team that was tabbed as the 11th or 12th best team in the preseason (by the AP and Coaches respectively). Georgia’s second loss came to Tennessee, a team that was favored in the game and that was ranked in the preseason Top 10 by both the AP and the Coaches. Georgia entered the year ranked 18th by the AP and 16th by the Coaches. Polls don’t matter that much and preseason polls are kind of a joke, but who saw a schedule featuring three top 25 teams in the first 5 weeks (UNC was also ranked by both major polls)—two of which were ranked ahead of Georgia—and said, “We have to be better than 3-2 in year one of a new coaching staff with a freshman QB?” I didn’t.
10. It’s South Carolina Week
We hate South Carolina, remember? Sure, we hate everyone. But right now we hate South Carolina. Night game on the road in Columbia…whew boy, I’m tired of Sandstorm already.
That’s all I got/