I’m really looking forward to what Jones does against Alabama.
Daily Archives: September 8, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted Georgia games last season to be limited to attendance of 20,524 with socially distanced seating and no tailgating allowed.
This season, Georgia is going back to how it was before — full attendance with no social distancing with tailgating back on.
It should feel more like it did in 2019 with Uga and the cheerleaders back on the sidelines.
“I think we’re all looking forward to that full crowd roar when the team runs out and those special moments after a big play,” Georgia athletic director Josh Brooks said.
Georgia athletics has encouraged fans to get vaccinated, but protocols at home games follow the guidance of the University System Board of Regents which is not requiring masks on campus and has not required vaccinations.
“We have no higher priority than the health and safety of our fans, students, and staff,” Georgia athletics said in a statement. “We work closely with the SEC medical task force, healthcare professionals, and healthcare organizations on all best practices and guidelines. The State of Georgia and the University System of Georgia Board of Regents currently prohibit us from requiring proof of vaccination, but we strongly encourage all members of our community and all campus visitors to get vaccinated.”
Georgia athletics may not have a higher priority, but Georgia athletics isn’t calling the shots. (See what I did there?)
UGA athletics said the “University System strongly encourages, but does not allow us to require, the use of face coverings. Our primary focus is the health and safety of students, employees, and fans through a variety of measures including the promotion of vaccination and use of masks. We will continue to evaluate every aspect of our approach and mitigation efforts … in accordance with all applicable rules and regulations.”
I’m sure they mean well. Will it be enough, considering?
He mentioned Athens-Clarke County’s 550 new cases a week per 100,000, easily above the 100 new cases that the CDC classifies for a high level of community transmission.
“In Georgia, less than half the population (44 percent) is fully vaccinated, that’s also true among young people who make up a lot of the crowd,” Ebell said. “There have been a lot of breakthrough cases even among people who are vaccinated. Last week, six percent of students without symptoms who got tested were positive.”
I’m not worried about the tailgate, or even once seated inside the stadium (okay, maybe a little about that, considering folks’ enthusiasm). It’s the getting in and out with the crowds that’s a real concern. If you’re going, wear a mask. If you haven’t been vaccinated, well…
I’m in the midst of composing my Observations post about the opener, and one thing I have to admit is that I didn’t notice that Xavier Truss played.
Now if he can just translate that into consistent play at left tackle…
Statistically, it was one of those games that can only be put into context by turning to the archives. Prior to Saturday, Clemson hadn’t been shut out of the end zone since a 24-6 loss to Alabama in the 2017 Playoff semifinal (starting quarterback: Kelly Bryant) or held to as few as 3 points since September 2007. The Tigers’ output in terms of total offense (180 yards) was their worst since 2004; their final total on the ground (2 yards rushing) the worst since 2008; their average gain (3.0 yards per play) the worst since 2006. DJ Uiagalelei’s pass efficiency rating (86.4) ranked among the bottom 5 performances by a Clemson quarterback in the past decade. Georgia racked up 7 sacks, forced 5 three-and-outs, and limited the Tigers to no gain or a loss on nearly half of their total snaps.
You can give me all the DJU this, offensive line that you want, but the fact remains that Georgia’s defense laid an ass whooping on Clemson the likes of which hadn’t occurred since Dabo became the head coach there. Smart and Lanning painted their masterpiece in Charlotte.
Collins is 6-16 in his third season in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets, who play FCS state rival Kennesaw State on Saturday, have lost six of seven since a 2-2 start to the 2020 season. The latest loss was especially damaging to hopes the 2021 season could provide signs Collins can build a winning team.
Among low points in Collins’ three seasons, perhaps only a loss to The Citadel in his 2019 debut season compares with last Saturday’s 22-21 loss to Northern Illinois. Georgia Tech was favored by 18 1/2 points.
The visit from Kennesaw State was expected to generate momentum for Georgia Tech’s Atlantic Coast Conference opener at No. 6 Clemson on Sept. 18. Now, with new questions at quarterback, no one dares to look past Kennesaw State…
Yeah, that’s definitely keeping it real.
Speaking of keeping it real, as much as I would enjoy back to back upsets, there’s a part of me that would love to hear Coach 404’s fake optimism if Tech narrowly scrapes out a win against the Owls.
… here’s a take at The Athletic ($$) about the home opener.
UAB at Georgia -24.5, 3:30 p.m. ET, Saturday
This UAB defense didn’t just look good because they were playing Jacksonville State. It has played very well over the past few years. They have made things difficult on some of the more prolific offenses in the NCAA. They will not be intimidated by Georgia’s offense. They will welcome the challenge. The Dragons’ offense will be intimidated, or at least they should be. The Georgia defense is for real. The job of the UAB offense will be to not give up points to Georgia on that side of the ball. If they take care of the ball, the UAB defense will hang with this Georgia offense. They won’t shut them down, but this will not be a blowout.
Pick: UAB covers, 24-3 Georgia
“If they take care of the ball” is the magic phrase there. UAB is certainly a respectable program and when I saw that spread, I did wonder about it. But if Georgia winds up in positive turnover margin territory, I don’t see UAB covering.
Did you know that Georgia didn’t score an offensive touchdown Saturday night? If you didn’t, here’s Matt Hayes to remind you.
This can’t be overlooked: The past 3 quarterbacks to play Clemson in a CFP-type atmosphere averaged 389 yards passing and 4 touchdowns.
Daniels threw for 135 yards and no TDs, and more disturbing averaged a pitiful 4.5 yards per attempt.
Those three quarterbacks who gutted the Clemson pass defense were the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft in 2020 (Joe Burrow), and 2021 first-round pick Justin Fields in his sophomore and junior seasons.
Daniels is a potential first-round pick, has an NFL arm and a high football IQ. But he and the Bulldogs were flummoxed by Clemson’s sink zone, forcing Daniels to take checkdowns and making receivers earn first downs.
The Tigers dropped seven and eight in coverage at times, and Georgia didn’t have an answer because, with the injuries, it doesn’t have a deep threat or a tight end with the athletic ability to stretch coverage down the seam.
That’s how you get 4.5 yards per attempt. That’s how you get a frustration interception by Daniels, when he stared down a receiver while trying to make an intermediate throw.
Daniels will see those sink zone defenses all season until Georgia adjusts. The easiest way: crossing routes, but those take time, and the Bulldogs’ offensive line had trouble in pass protection.
Yeah, that’ll happen when you lose your starting center and starting right guard (who was replaced by the injured starting center for virtually the entire game) to injuries. That’s not to make excuses — hell, Georgia won the game, so who cares? Instead, it’s something that should improve over the course of the season as some of those receivers make it back.
Which makes this comment especially funny:
One more thing: The narrative that Clemson will be the best defense Georgia faces until Alabama is ludicrous. First and foremost, Georgia plays 8 SEC games against teams that know their personnel and know how to scheme against it.
That’s how you get an upset loss to South Carolina 2 years ago. And those same three teams that can hurt the Georgia defense with a running quarterback vs. man under defense (Auburn, Florida, Kentucky), are the same three teams with good enough personnel on defense to cause problems for Daniels and the Georgia passing game.
Next up, PFF, which has never been on the Daniels bandwagon.
Brandon Marcello, too, has his doubts.
I have long been high on JT Daniels as a quarterback, but the lack of time in the pocket and the frustrating absence of playmaking receivers against Clemson should open eyes to a problem that has long (and frustratingly, I might add) plagued the Bulldogs. For whatever reason, Georgia just isn’t a complete team and hasn’t been for some time. This is Georgia’s best defense yet under Smart, and it just might be the best — by far — in the country. The Bulldogs have championship players on paper nearly every year, but playing together consistently throughout a 12-game schedule has never been their forte.
Listen, Clemson’s defense is also incredible and should not be taken lightly. Veteran Clemson assistant Brent Venables has, on paper, the best defense of his career, but at some point it would have been nice to see Georgia be more dynamic. There were flashes of potential, particularly when Daniels lifted the ball over the heads of linebackers in the second half to keep drives alive, but little else popped other than Zamir White (74 yards on 13 carries) salting the game away on the ground.
Until Georgia puts all the pieces together, I hesitate to say Smart has turned the corner in Athens. There is plenty of time to work out the kinks (and there might be only one more defense on the schedule in the same neighborhood as Clemson) but what we saw Saturday in Charlotte is yet another example of a well-rounded Georgia team transforming into a one-armed heavyweight fighter.
“Veteran Clemson assistant Brent Venables has, on paper, the best defense of his career, but at some point it would have been nice to see Georgia be more dynamic.” Well, yes, but I don’t think that was on Venables’ agenda. Sometimes you have to tip your cap to the other guy. Then again, if Matt Hayes is right, look out for Todd Grantham!
Perhaps this was a problem.
Georgia got contributions from McConkey and Johnson. I’m pretty sure back in the spring nobody was counting on that from the receiving corps against Clemson. It is what it is. Kirby knows it, too.
“The perception is we didn’t score a touchdown and we didn’t,” Smart said. “We’re a very matter of fact judgment. And it’s OK, we didn’t score, but why? Why didn’t we score? You go through the reasons why, you go through each play, a lot of it was attention to detail. Not converting on third down, missing explosives.”
You beat the third ranked team in the country as an underdog and still have things to fix? That’s Kirby Smart’s wet dream. Let’s see where attention to detail and getting the walking wounded back over the next few weeks takes this offense before we start shoveling dirt over their grave.
Interesting analogy, Kirbs.
So, who’s the Stetson Bennett of the receiving corps?
This is… impressive.
Yikes, indeed. That front seven was hot shit Saturday night.
The fire hose that was Week 1 of the college football season saw stirring upsets, loads of surprises … and one team, Nick Saban’s Alabama, clearly standing out ahead of the pack. The numbers very much reflect that. While this week’s SP+ ratings see teams bunched together from top to bottom (the No. 5 and No. 12 teams are separated by a minuscule 1.6 points, No. 29 and No. 43 by only 2.8, etc.), No. 1 is miles ahead of the pack.
At 32.9 adjusted points per game, Alabama is 8.1 points ahead of No. 2 Georgia, meaning Bama would be projected favorite of 8.1 points on a neutral field; that’s nearly the same distance separating UGA and No. 17 UCLA.
Now there’s many a mile between Week One and the SECCG, so that isn’t dispositive of the 2021 season, but Georgia’s got its work cut out for it. I suspect that will make a good motivational tool for Kirby when the time comes.