Georgia football is coming: thoughts on the opener

It’s been a while since we’ve been in the position of waiting to see what a new head coach brings to the table.  I’ve mentioned before the feeling I had, after Georgia lost its first conference game under Richt, of I’d seen the same show before under Donnan.  Then, two weeks later, I watched the hobnail boot come crashing down in Knoxville and bought in to what Richt brought.

So, win, lose or draw tonight, I won’t be drawing any ultimate conclusions about the Smart era.  (YMMV, of course.)  That doesn’t mean I won’t be sweating the small stuff, though. There are enough question marks coming into tonight — Lambert, the offensive line, the defensive front seven, special teams, for starters — to allow us to make some determinations about the coaching abilities of the new staff when the game is over.

I won’t be coy.  I predict a Georgia win; not a blowout, but a touchdown spread wouldn’t surprise me.  The difference will be Nick Chubb versus the North Carolina run defense. It’s a great matchup in Georgia’s advantage.  I do think Fedora’s offense will have its moments, as there’s too much talent there for the Dawgs defense to shut down all game, but if Smart has the opportunity to control the game with Chubb’s running, that’s exactly what he’ll do.

A few other random thoughts:

  • Sure, Chubb is a big deal, but just as big will be the line play on both sides of the ball.  If Pittman’s managed to fashion a functional offensive line, aside from making Chubb and the running backs look better, it’ll give Lambert a real chance to have a productive day.
  • I don’t expect to walk out of the Dome hearing Lambert for Heisman talk.  I’ll be happy to settle for people thinking, “hey, nothing wrong with being a game manager”.
  • North Carolina’s secondary is good, but when Georgia is in single back formation, they can’t cover everybody.  This year, I hope the “our offensive coordinator knows how to use the tight ends” talk is more than just wishful thinking.
  • If that open practice I sat through is any indication, I expect to see Isaiah McKenzie in a variety of roles.
  • Will Ridley and Chigbu be significant contributors?  If so, Georgia will be okay at wideout.
  • Counting on true freshmen in the defensive line rotation makes me nervous, I admit.  If there’s one area where controlling the game with Chubb and his cohorts will help, it’s here.
  • I’m looking forward to seeing if Roquan Smith is ready to step up.  I also hope I’m able to control my shock if the defense has an ILB whose a positive in pass coverage.
  • I have a feeling Mo Smith will show out as a big addition in the secondary, both from a skills standpoint and also from having great familiarity with what Tucker and Smart want.
  • If there’s a real black hole in terms of my expectations, it’s special teams.  New punter, new place kicker, new kickoff specialist, all being added to an area that’s been inconsistent for years is not a formula for confidence.  We haven’t talked much about Shane Beamer, but I guess we’ll see if that changes after tonight.

Your thoughts?

64 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

64 responses to “Georgia football is coming: thoughts on the opener

  1. Scorpio Jones, III

    I hope this is not true, but the Kharmic Bitchez may well have spoken.

    This very morning, my older girl dog lost control of her aging bladder on the only slightly valuable rug we own.

    “Double Double” the new handbook put out by the Kharmic Bitchez Association lists accidents like this as indicative of a future mistake by a rookie head coach.

    Many people are saying the only remedy for this kind of problem is the right hat.

  2. simpl_matter

    If our DL contains the run, we win.

    • The Lone Stranger

      … And I’ll consider containment to mean < 200y in this particular case. (Most indicative will be forcing their Trubisky to flush out … the guy played 9 games last year and was 40-47 with no INTs)

  3. Jared S.

    I with you on not making any ultimate judgments on CKS after this game. I hope, of course, that he looks in control and we look put together overall. I imagine there will be a few moments where there seem to be a breakdown in communication, dumb penalties, etc. that drives everyone crazy. Hopefully will make some big plays and be in such control that it doesn’t matter.

    Which brings me to the biggest thing I’ll be keeping my eye on. It won’t be the play of individual players and position groups as much as the attitude of the team as a whole. What do the players and coaches look like and how do they react when sh*t happens. Because it will. I’m hoping we look like we’re more focused on getting the next play right than moping about mistakes made.

    I think it will be a good game. But I agree with the TD spread. Georgia wins 31-24.

    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      “I imagine there will be a few moments where there seem to be a breakdown in communication, dumb penalties, etc. that drives everyone crazy. Hopefully will make some big plays and be in such control that it doesn’t matter.”

      Damn. I hope to not see that. I hope you’ve just been conditioned from the last 10 years to expect that.

      • Jared S.

        It wasn’t so much that I’ve been conditioned for years to expect is as much as I expected it from the first game in a “neutral” site where it was the players and coaches (for the most part) in a real-game situation for the first time together.

        Were there problems? Sure but overall I was really happy with how resilient (Kirby’s words) the team proved to be, even when the going got tough.

        Go Dawgs! Great win!

  4. Derek

    We have:

    Chubb
    First game excitement
    More players on both sides of the ball
    Huge crowd advantage

    I expect a fairly comfortable win for the good guys. If their defensive front is good enough to slow the running game and lambert has to make plays, that’s an entirely different thing. I just think Chubb will be able to run at will. If I’m wrong, it’ll be a long night.

  5. Athens Dog

    Nervous

  6. JCDAWG83

    If O line and D line look good enough against UNC, I’ll be optimistic for the game and the season. If they don’t, I’ll expect a long season. Our skill position players can match up with most anyone. Our linemen, on both sides of the ball, worry me.

  7. Biggen

    If UGA owns the ground game then Lambert will be able to throw. Hard to foresee UNC stopping Chubb, Holyfield, etc…

    I’m excited to see if the OL really is better or it’s all been “happy talk”. We will now pretty early on if Lambert is running scared and forcing throws or if he is poised and comfortable in the pocket.

  8. Uglydawg

    Everyone seems to be of the same mindset today..imagine that!
    SCORP…what does this mean?
    In other news, GT squeeked by a BC team that didn’t bother to bring it’s offense to Dublin with the rest of the team.

  9. The other Doug

    I’ve bought into Pittman and the O Line. I predict a blow out. UGA scores over 40 and UNC doesn’t get to 20.

    • RugbyDawg79

      “With You” after we get a lead I expect our Freshmen RB’s Holyfield and Herrien to run wild –they will give everyone something to talk about.

  10. Red Cup

    I think we will win, by 7 to 10 points. I want to see a disciplened team that doesn’t jaw at the other team and doesn’t commit stupid penalties like hitting out of bounds, etc.

  11. Rival

    I think we lose, which is what I’d expect from a first year staff going up against a more veteran team.

    As long as the team shows some fight, doesn’t have too many WTF moments, and nobody gets hurt, then I won’t panic.

  12. I really don’t know what to expect with the result. What I do expect to see is a team that comes out focused and plays hard for 60 minutes. That’s pretty much what we’ve been sold since mid-December. If we see that, I believe the talent advantage will work itself out in a 7-12 point win. If we don’t, I wouldn’t be surprised to see us get beaten because old habits die hard.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      Well, EE we have certainly been TOLD about focus and playing hard, it remains to be seen if we have been sold, or, more importantly, if the players have been sold.

      What we are left with, pre-game, is what all Georgia fans have been cuddled up around for decades…that greatest of all human delusions…hope.

  13. CannonDawg

    If we show clear evidence of a sixty-minute physical and mental toughness, especially in the 4th quarter, and we don’t get undone by a lack of attention to detail in any of the three phases, then I’ll take the outcome whatever it is.

  14. Pumblechook114

    Details. The Process, above all, demands attention to the details, and this was something sorely lacking under Richt. If we get beat by a better team, I’m ok with that. But if we get beat by ourselves through stupid penalties, blown assignments, missed tackles, special teams miscues, etc… Then I’ll be ready for a long season.

  15. Macallanlover

    Admit that I can see a 1-2 TD win by either side, we just don’t know enough to be comfortable or sure of anything. Gun to my head, I feel Pittman may have raised our OL enough to make UGA’s offense work. I expect north of 50 total points so it should be an exciting opener with both sides having their moments. Mostly concerned about stopping their run enough to win and, most of all Chubb’s good health. Go Dawgs!!!

  16. W Cobb Dawg

    I’m also expecting a big game for Chubb – maybe 3 TDs. One of the differences I believe we’ll see this year is our long overdue return to the Heisman trophy competition. Saban isn’t shy about adding Heisman’s to the trophy shelf on his way to championships. Just like getting 93k to the spring game, Kirby understands the Heisman race is an important team building goal.

    Next concern is our young, but talented, front 7. I expect us to be very aggressive early this season as the newbees acclimate. Perhaps one of our ILBs will shadow their top RB, Hood, allowing the rest of the front 4 or 5 to come at the QB hard.

  17. Dawgs win but should be a good game probably the best of all the games today. Take nothing away from Fedora. I watched his Southern Miss. teams out class many opponents live and in person.

  18. PTC DAWG

    Excited for the first time since 2012. GATA

  19. Sh3rl0ck

    Well, if Jim Chaney doesn’t work out, Bobo might be available after next season. CSU looked terrible last night. It was nice to see Bauta get a chance. To me, it looked like he won over his team out there.

    • W Cobb Dawg

      Aaron Murray might be available too. I’m absolutely sure he’ll be a coach somewhere in the not-to-distant future.

    • The other Doug

      Bobo is most likely doomed. McElwain had one good season because of a weak schedule. He promptly bolted and paid his buyout. Bobo has to either recruit his ass off or catch a lucky season.

      • Yeah Bobo got his ass handed to him last night. Lucky to go 3-8 this year

      • Sh3rl0ck

        CSU is one of the best Group of 5 jobs. There really is no reason not to be able to compete for MWC titles there. He isn’t doomed. If he doesn’t win, it will be because he did not do a good job.

        • The other Doug

          CSU last won the MWC in 2002. There is almost zero talent in the state and the few quality players leave the state. Also, they are the little brother to a bad Colorado team that is on an upswing.

          • Sh3rl0ck

            Georgia last won the SEC in 2005. There is zero reason for Georgia not to be able to compete for SEC Titles. None of the Western states have talent except for California. They won’t be at the top of the PAC-12, but there are a lot of reasons for CSU to be at the top of the MWC

            They have the largest Athletic budget of any MWC school
            A president that is committed to Athletics. He is determined to bring in more out of state students and views Athletics as the means to do it ala the Oregon method (and CSU is a better school than Oregon).
            With the exception of the Air Force Academy, they are the best academic school in the Conference
            Only school in the MWC with legal weed. I would think this would be a huge advantage.
            Ft. Collins is a really nice town
            New stadium on the way

            Their division consists of Air Force, Boise State, New Mexico Utah State, and Wyoming. There is no reason not to be in a battle with BSU for the division title most years.

      • No One Knows You're a Dawg

        I’m afraid Bobo’s going to be in Columbia or Tuscaloosa next season

        • Sh3rl0ck

          I don’t see Muschamp getting rid of Kurt Roper after one year. I don’t see CSU firing Bobo after two years either (I can see 3 and out if it gets worse). That said, if he was fired and someone hired Jr. as a head coach, I do imagine that Nick Saban’s first phone call would be to Mike Bobo’s agent. I dream about what Bobo could have done with Bama’s OL from 2012.

        • I see him at the U as OC in 2 years

  20. doofusdawg

    I think Eason comes in during second quarter and never leaves. We struggle running early and then Eason comes in and slings it around… opens up the running game and dawgs roll.

    We could be 5-0 after tennessee and still get no respect. Media loves to pick on us. This year we change that.

    Everyone have a safe and fabulous day. Go Dawgs!

  21. Scorpio Jones, III

    Oh…as to Bluto’s black hole….yep…Appy State.

  22. A10Penny

    I would love a win. But also, I want to see Chubb run like before. I also don’t want to see him toting the rock in the 4th Q of a game that’s in the bag.

  23. 86BONE

    No time to read ANY of this thread as I am too busy flipping between great games. I want to make a very bold statement…..If UGA plays with half the passion the University of Houston just showed, we will have one hell of a year!

  24. Normaltown Mike

    wow, your special teams anxiety was spot on.

  25. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    I have been a staunch advocate of play reviews, but they starting to get annoying, partly because it interferes with tempo, partly because when you see the replay it still isn’t conclusive but sometimes it gets reversed, but other times it doesn’t, and finally, I think the officials have quit trying to make the correct call because they have the safety net of the review.

  26. JBC

    “I predict a Georgia win; not a blowout, but a touchdown spread wouldn’t surprise me. The difference will be Nick Chubb versus the North Carolina run defense. It’s a great matchup in Georgia’s advantage. I do think Fedora’s offense will have its moments, as there’s too much talent there for the Dawgs defense to shut down all game, but if Smart has the opportunity to control the game with Chubb’s running, that’s exactly what he’ll do.”

    “If that open practice I sat through is any indication, I expect to see Isaiah McKenzie in a variety of roles.”

    “I’m looking forward to seeing if Roquan Smith is ready to step up. I also hope I’m able to control my shock if the defense has an ILB whose a positive in pass coverage.”

    “I have a feeling Mo Smith will show out as a big addition in the secondary, both from a skills standpoint and also from having great familiarity with what Tucker and Smart want.”

    “If there’s a real black hole in terms of my expectations, it’s special teams. New punter, new place kicker, new kickoff specialist, all being added to an area that’s been inconsistent for years is not a formula for confidence. ”

    Damn, Senator…don’t think I ever remember anyone (the so-called “experts” included) being so spot on before a season-opener, much less one involving a brand new coaching staff. Bravo good sir.