Georgia closed the effing deal.
Daily Archives: September 4, 2021
Georgia has a game today. You may have heard something about it. It’s kind of a big thing.
Seriously, it’s not every opening week you’ve got two top five teams facing off against each other. Finally, we’ll get to trade the preseason yakking for the postgame overreactions. Such a deal!
Here are three pieces to get you warmed up for today’s action.
- Seth Emerson’s last stab at a depth chart ($$). Hey, Kirby hasn’t provided one (that’ll screw with Dabo, yeah?), so somebody’s got to do it. The mysteries, such as they are, can be found at offensive line and secondary. Same as it ever was, in other words.
- Jake Rowe’s “Who has the edge: Georgia vs Clemson”. The scorecard: UGA 4, Clemson 2, Push 4.
- Marc Weiszer’s 5 things.
If you’ve been following the game over the summer, the bottom line is that there aren’t a lot of new hot takes left to make. Neither of these teams really have what you’d call weak spots. It’s more the case that some areas aren’t as strong as others.
Nothing has changed my mind to think line play won’t decide this, as clichéd as that no doubt sounds. Although I do worry about how Georgia will defend Ross working out of the slot.
Wild cards? Turnovers and COVID protocols, I guess.
The thing I’m most curious to see is what Monken, Year Two: The Offense has to show for itself. More than the win or loss, I’ve got the feeling that’s going to have more of an impact on Georgia’s season than anything.
Speaking of win or loss, this game could go any way and I wouldn’t be surprised. In my gut, though, “been there, done that” sounds most convincing. I think Clemson wins and just covers. Prove me wrong, Dawgs!
As always, consider this your game day invitation for commenting. Have at it.
Here is today’s watchable feast.
If I find a sports bar today, I’ll try to check in on a few things. Alabama-Miami, obviously. LSU-UCLA is something I’ll watch when I get back. I’m a little curious to see if Texas has any trouble handling Louisiana.
Anything else there catch your eye?
My goodness. If I didn’t know any better, I’d suspect someone kidnapped Kirby Smart and replaced him with a body double. I mean, does this sound like the guy who hired Jim Chaney?
“When we first got here, the first couple of years, you didn’t feel like you had to outscore people,” Smart said. “We felt like we could win with a good defense and a solid offense, and, to be honest, Alabama wasn’t that much different than us the year they beat us. Most of the [Crimson Tide] wideouts that just went in the first round [of the NFL draft] were freshmen that year. To me, nobody really had that model until LSU did it [with quarterback Joe Burrow in 2019].”
With Daniels and a talented receiver corps returning this season, Smart believed he had the “perfect storm” to open things up on offense. But then star receiver George Pickens tore the ACL in his right knee in spring practice. It’s unknown whether he’ll play this season. LSU transfer Arik Gilbert, who was supposed to play receiver at Georgia, hasn’t been with the team for weeks because of personal reasons. Tight end Darnell Washington broke his foot last month and probably won’t play against Clemson.
With so many playmakers out, Georgia figures to rely on its running game and defense, at least early in the season.
“Everybody makes it about my philosophy, but I’ve wanted to score ever since I’ve been here,” Smart said. “All I asked was that you have a tight end and you have running backs because that attracts the best quarterbacks. The best quarterback wants to play in an NFL-style system.”
Smart admits that his offensive philosophy has evolved over the past couple of years.
“The NFL has changed in the last five years, too,” he said. “Now it’s five [wideouts], pass-happy and running backs like [Christian] McCaffrey and [Alvin] Kamara who are great receivers. When I got the job at Georgia, that wasn’t the way the NFL was. It all changed when LSU started throwing it around and breaking all the SEC records on offense, and then Alabama broke all their records the next year. That’s the model now. It’s not the model built around having a great defense; it’s the model having really elite wideouts and a quarterback that can make really good decisions.”
I keed, I keed, of course, but that quote reinforces my belief that the 2019 SECCG was Smart’s come to Jesus moment. Evolve seems an almost too gentle way of describing things; it feels far more abrupt than that. After all, we’re only one season removed from the days of Coley and Fromm (Fromm’s second half, more accurately). I don’t think Smart had a choice, but that’s not the same as saying he made the choice. I’m just glad Brady and Burrow made it easy for him.
It’s go time.