We’ve already hashed out so much, that I don’t think a lengthy exposition is called for here. But there are a few things worth noting. Bullet points, you ready?
- The good. And there was plenty. Isaiah McKenzie looks smoother on returns than last year, which should scare the crap out of opposing teams. Begone, spirit of Logan Gray! Malcolm Mitchell looks like he’s got his old toughness back in spades. There is ridiculous defensive speed. The offensive line held up in the face of eight and nine men in the box, as well as safeties crashing the line of scrimmage, to pave the way to 284 rushing yards against a decent SEC defense. Wynn’s improvement in one week was noticeable. Jordan Jenkins has taken his game to another level. Leonard Floyd in the middle of the field has worked better than I thought. Sony Michel. Speaking of which, did anybody catch Terry Godwin’s block on Michel’s touchdown run?
- The bad. Receivers struggled on occasion to get separation. The defense still lacks a presence at inside linebacker in pass coverage, which is why I keep hoping Roquan Smith can get up to speed soon. Marshall Morgan can’t miss field goal attempts like that. Natrez Patrick losing contain on the fumbled punt snap that went for a first down.
- The ugly. Lambert’s first half. The hands to the face penalty called on Leonard Floyd. Letting Vanderbilt run 94 offensive plays (to give you an idea of how ugly that was, the only game in the last seven years I could find close to that was Georgia Tech’s 92 plays in 2010).
- The disappointing. Letting Vanderbilt score late. Another pooch kick misadventure. Another ejection for targeting. Not cashing in on a couple of pick-six opportunities. Not opening up the playbook on offense for a second week.
- The weird. It’s Nashville, so weird comes with the territory. But I think what qualifies as weirdest is characterizing Nick Chubb’s day as “quiet”. (By the way, he leads the conference in rushing yards, despite averaging less than eighteen carries a game.)
The key moment of the game for me came in the second quarter. Lambert threw a pass that was ill-advised, to say the least, and was fortunately bailed out by the stone hands of the Vandy safety. On the next play, Sony Michel took off for the end zone and 31 yards later, it was 14-0. Georgia wasn’t threatened after that.
Just like the rest of you, I have no idea why Schottenheimer’s play calling has been so constipated. Is it lack of faith in the passing game? A strong desire not to show much until the meat of the schedule arrives? Your guess is as good as mine, but one thing I’ll point out is that when Georgia appeared to hit that “enough of this shit” moment in the third quarter, Schottenheimer called his best series of the game, topped by a perfect option read by Lambert for the score. You tell me what that means.
This could have been a more lopsided game, true. But it’s also worth noting that Georgia didn’t win the field position battle, which is something that makes its offense a more efficient machine. How much did the officiating and Patrick’s mistake play into that?
Survive and advance, people. Survive and advance.