It’s settled, and early.
Naturally, Vegas has already weighed in.
Let’s see… Alabama just crushed LSU by 29… LSU beat Georgia by 20… carry the one, subtract the… ah, hell, forget it.
Sure, it’s hard not to be shocked and awed by this Alabama team after watching it grind LSU into dust last night, but there is still quite a bit of football left to be played, and to my eyes, at least, it appears this Georgia team is beginning to live up to its enormous potential.
There was a fair amount of passionate despondency after Baton Rouge — understandable to some extent — that Georgia’s loss was more than a one-off, that is exposed the structural flaws of both personnel and coaching staff. Yet here we sit three weeks later having seen this same team dispatch two top ten teams in a row, clinching the division for the second year in a row.
Which is how you get to a sentiment in the wake of last night’s success that would have been widely mocked, even in our own fan base, during the bye week.
I may not be willing to go that far into the future that confidently, but it’s pretty clear this team has more in the tank than many of us thought after the LSU botch.
I’m not predicting back-to-back SEC championships here, but there are trends that at least suggest Georgia will show up next month to play. For one thing, in what some called the SEC East’s biggest game of the year, a lot of youth was served, and served well.
Although it’s all about this season for 6th-ranked Georgia, those who watched Saturday’s 34-17 win over Kentucky received a glimpse of the future as well, on both sides of the ball.
Take linebackers Brenton Cox and Channing Tindall. They each recorded their first career sacks, while quarterback Justin Fields, offensive lineman Trey Hill, along with defensive back Otis Reese, defensive lineman Jordan Davis, and linebacker Adam Anderson made their presence known.
Head coach Kirby Smart was certainly pleased to see his youngsters take advantage of their respective opportunities.
“It builds confidence. I mean, Channing Tindall needs confidence. I’m telling y’all that guy is fast, he’s athletic; he just needs confidence. He’s been playing well on special teams. Same thing with Adam Anderson. He’s got to gain some weight; he’s got to get better,” Smart said. “Otis is a big, physical guy that has a presence. There are just a lot of young players. But look, there are guys all over that field. Jayson Stanley today makes plays, and all he’s done is contribute to special teams.”
Hill in particular came up huge.
After Lamont Gaillard went out early in the game with what Smart described as a possible hyper-extended knee, Hill went in and played the rest of the game at center.
With the exception of a high snap that resulted in one of Georgia’s two fumbles on the day, the former Houston County standout appeared to play well.
“To be honest with you, there were times this year during fall camp, when we thought Trey Hill may be a starter,” Smart said. “We kind of tossed the idea around a lot of times. He’s just continued to work. A lot of these freshmen who are on our team—highly regarded, talented players. They just keep working and they take on their roles.”
Once Gaillard went out, Georgia’s starting offensive line consisted of sophomore left tackle Andrew Thomas, redshirt sophomore Solomon Kindley, Hill, true freshman Cade Mays, and redshirt freshman Isaiah Wilson.
Two sophomores and three freshmen took it to Kentucky’s experienced defensive front and more than held their own. Think about that for a minute. Then think about that all those kids have three more games to play before facing ‘Bama.
And while you’re thinking about that, maybe you should think about the improvement at the most important position on the field.
Again, I’m not making any shock the world predictions here, but when Jake Fromm says, “We just want to get to Atlanta. Whoever shows up shows up. We’re going to give it our best and just try to get better and win that football game.”, I’m not going to sneer at him for the suggestion, either. Nor should any of you, Dawgnation.