If you are searching for any grounds for optimism after Saturday’s epic disappointment, I may have something to soothe your soul: Georgia’s last series of the game.
Dial up the clip to the two-hour thirty-minute mark and watch.
What you will see is an offense under severe pressure due to time constraints that manages to step up and execute almost flawlessly. Consider just a few things during those four plays:
- On the first completion to Terry Godwin, check out Tyler Catalina’s blocking of Barnett. He flat out stones him. The pocket sets up allowing Eason to deliver a nice ball to a wide open Godwin.
- On the next play, again watch the line keep things clean for Eason, but also notice that Michel completely upends the rusher coming in on the quarterback’s blind side. It’s a helluva job. Eason delivers the ball in a tight spot and McKenzie manages both to shield the catch from the defender, and to shake him off to pick up another five or six yards for the first down. That was huge, because the clock had to stop briefly to reset the chains.
- The third play saw the line do adequate work to establish the pocket, with Wynn sliding over to help Catalina on Barnett and Pyke managing his man on the other side. The real story on this play is that Eason’s throw is amazing. He really had to gun it to Blazevich because the defender had position to knock down a pass with less zip. The play is well designed, as you can see Godwin run off somebody in the secondary just far enough to allow Blazevich to pick up about eight or nine yards after the catch to convert another big first down.
- Then, there’s the touchdown pass, which I’ve already posted about. But take the time to look at how well the offensive line holds the pocket on the left side, as well as Pyke’s good work taking his rusher out. Eason maintains his poise and footwork, which allows him to throw as gorgeous a deep ball as you’ll see. (The irony here is that the throw reminds me of Lambert’s beautiful toss to Reggie Davis in last year’s game, with one slight difference.)
The only blemish in all that was Catalina’s false start.
All in all, given the circumstances and the way the offense had played for much of the fourth quarter, it was a remarkable turn of events and a demonstration of what the offense is capable of when things are clicking. It’s certainly not a guarantee of immediate greatness. But it does hint at better things to come.