Again, no great insight here watching the replay. But there are two points worthy of emphasis.
First, we’ve had the wrong “who should start” position debate. The big question after Saturday shouldn’t have been at tailback – and Richt’s put that to bed, anyway – but over who should start at the OLB slot opposite Jordan Jenkins. Lorenzo Carter had a superb game, not just in rushing the passer, either. In a little over half a season, he’s shown that he is better than Floyd in holding the edge defending the run. I hope that’s plenty of motivation for Floyd to step up his game; if Carter can keep it up, Floyd risks being turned into a pure pass rushing specialist.
Carter and Floyd are listed as co-number ones this week, by the way.
Second, it occurs to me that I may have been understated in my praise of the offensive line’s effort. That group may have turned in the best performance I’ve seen from a Georgia line since 2002. They didn’t allow a good Kentucky pass rush to sack Mason a single time. In fact, I’m not sure Georgia’s quarterbacks were ever even flushed from the pocket.
The best by-product of that was how quickly Mason realized he could trust the blocking. You could see it on the first third down conversion of the day, when he calmly sat in the pocket and waited for Michael Bennett to clear enough space to pick up the first down. Compare that to several conversion throws that came up short against Florida because Mason was nervous about the Gator rush. The other benefit in the passing game when Mason’s comfortable is that his footwork noticeably improves. It’s apparent in the beautiful deep throw to Conley on the sideline that Mason dropped in perfectly.
Georgia is currently fifth in the conference in sacks allowed. If that holds up, it would be the line’s best performance since 2009 (I guess Joe Cox avoided getting sacked by throwing the ball to the other team). A lesson to draw from this season is that Searels’ cross-training philosophy, which Friend continued until this season, isn’t the best way to build cohesiveness on the offensive line. Pick your five best guys, plug ’em in their spots and let them learn to play together. Sure, it’s helped that, outside of Andrews’ sprained ankle against Florida, the line hasn’t suffered any injuries, but there’s little question we’re seeing more consistent line play than we’ve had in years. Keep it up, fellas.