Hold on a second.
Life comes at you fast sometimes. The Georgia rush defense takes advantage of pathetic ‘box reads’ (giggity) by UNC’s QB, and thus doesn’t have to defend the run…then they have to play Nicholls.
We all needed to take a breath.
No worries, I promise content tomorrow.
Hey @DudeYouCrazy readers: I’m on my second beer and will sit down and write over Cincy/Houston later. We just had to wash Nicholls off 1st.
— Chad Floyd (@Chad_Floyd) September 16, 2016
I mean…when things are gross, there’s only one thing to do:
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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With a solid week 1 win in hand, Georgia’s schedule sets up really nicely for the next two weeks.
The game against North Carolina, win or lose, ultimately meant nothing in Georgia reaching reasonable goals for the 2016 season, but a few things were established:
- Nick Chubb is 100% and will be the workhorse going forward, all while Sony Michel got an extra week to rest;
- The quarterback position may still be in a state of flux, but neither guy went out and LOST the job;
- The defense is still a work in progress– the front seven was decent, but not great on Saturday. The secondary, however, proved it is closer to its 2015 performance vs. the numbers, not the competition it faced. That’s a great sign.
As such, the game against Nicholls State (and to a lesser extent, Mizzou, who probably couldn’t hang 20 on Buford High School right now) provide great opportunities for Georgia to establish some semblance of consistency going into the meat of the schedule.
Here’s what I want to see on Saturday against an overmatched opponent:
An Alabama-style beatdown
Here we go comparing the program to Alabama again. My apologies. The 52-20 wins over Buffalo, 45-21 over North Texas…they need to become a thing of the past. Under a new regime, I want to see every player who can reasonably call himself part of the future of Kirby Smart’s program face live bullets. I want to see Jacob Eason get enough snaps to where there’s comfort unleashing him into hostile environments, and allowing him to go out and win games if need be.
I want to see a defense get three-and-outs, swarm to the ball, and destroy an opponent’s will to live.
Yep, back to Eason
Andrew and I discussed it on the Week 1 pod, but Georgia’s ceiling can only be met if Jacob Eason steps forward as QB1. I was shocked to see Greyson Lambert go back in for victory formation on Saturday, but perhaps that was a wink and a nod to him for being good enough to win.
Now its time to bury him.
Take some deep shots early against Nicholls. Based on the results against Carolina, Eason is already the upside call (10.9 YPA to Lambert’s 6.8, three touchdown drives versus one) and Georgia needs to take the early ‘bye’ week to show the nation that he can compete on this level.
If nothing else, it gives defenses pause about loading up the box to try (and fail) to stop Nick Chubb.
Work the injured guys and young two-deep in a rhythm
Rico McGraw may have gotten Wally Pipped by Malcolm Smith on Saturday, but that’s fine. He’s a sophomore and needs reps. Sony Michel’s presence in the running game would be nice to give Chubb a breather, even with Brian Herrien looking damn good on Saturday.
On the defensive side, I liked what I saw from Roquan Smith and Natrez Patrick in their first extended LB duty. D’Andre Walker and David Marshall acquitted themselves well, too. Trent Thompson and Julian Rochester both played plenty of meaningful snaps on the DL.
Whereas this still serves as a honeymoon year for smart, getting the young guys meaningful reps and separating the future from the future transfers will allow Georgia to establish a baseline of excellence for legitimate title shots in 2017 and beyond.
After week 1, the Bulldogs are playing the next two games with house money. Time to double down and establish a core that will exceed expectations in 2016, and exceed the Richt standard beyond.
In that regard, yes, the Nicholls State game is very meaningful to the future of Georgia football.
How’s that fancy-ass special teams coach workin out for you, Kirby? What a glorious $300,000 mistake that was. Great call Kirby. You were so set on being the anti-Richt that you felt hiring an incompetent son-of-a-coach would check the vacancy at special teams coach and yield results. It yielded results alright. For the other team. North Carolina scored 24 points. Half of them came on Special Teams. That’s not good seeing as Special Teams is just one-third of the game. Hell of a hire, Kirbs.
But Kirby really figured out that passing game, didn’t he? What a mervelous job he did there. He added the most talented freshman in the country and said, “Hey you know what, you can’t be our starter.” Instead he started a dude who was only man enough to attempt eight passes. Greyson Lambert literally looked like a bug on his back for most of the game, but even bugs are able to move through the air sometimes. What was that? It wasn’t coaching. Oh, and Kirby is sticking to his guns (water guns, apparently) for week two against Nicholls State. Great call coach. Go with the who completed 62.5% of his passes instead of the guy who hit on 66.7%. Go with the guy who averaged 6.8 yards per attempt instead of the guy that average 10.9. Go with the guy that threw for zero touchdowns instead of the guy that threw one. Go with the guy with a 119.2 rating instead of the guy with a 185.9 rating. Go with the guy that was sacked three times instead of the guy that was sacked once. Go with the loser.
Where do we go next? It’s almost hard to know where to start so let’s just hit some high points:
- Georgia did not convert a single fourth down attempt.
- Georgia was out-rushed 5.6 yards per attempt to 8.4 yards per attempt.
- Nine penalties for 70 yards? Good grief. Mark Richt called. He wants his “lost control” back.
- Georgia lost the turnover battle and committed infinitely more turnovers.
- Georgia only completed 13 total passes with two QBs. That’s 6.5 completions per passer. One North Carolina passer completed 24 passes.
- Georgia’s best running back (Brian Herrian averaging 8.4 yards per attempt) only got seven carries. Meanwhile Nick Chubb got 32. Hmm…
Can’t wait till we start playing real teams. Those Kirb-stompings are gonna feel real great. Miss Richt yet?
-The Kirby Smart Hater