What’s blowing my mind a little — and I know it’s early — is how easy they’re making it look. As of this morning, they’ve outscored their first three opponents by an aggregate 130-10 and I’m not sure even that manages a complete impression of how dominant they’ve been. You really have to see it to believe it.
And if you think I’m being overly exuberant and exaggerate, consider this: Oregon, a team these Dawgs waxed in the season opener, just beat the number 12 team in the country by three touchdowns. (As my tweet indicated, this game felt like a rerun of the opener.) It’s crazy.
Yes, this team is supremely talented and well coached. But, even more than that, it’s unselfish. The best example of that comes play after play on offense, when you watch how well they block downfield. There don’t appear to be any prima donnas out there (although you couldn’t blame Bowers if he wanted to behave like one).
Let’s have some bullet points, shall we?
- They put on a clinic on how to shut down a raucous road crowd, that’s for sure. The last peep we heard out of ‘Cock fans came after the fake punt and nice run by Lloyd. Four plays later, SC turned the ball over on downs and the Dawgs turned around and scored their third straight touchdown of the game.
- The o-line rebounded nicely after their sluggish performance against Samford. Pass protection was excellent for the most part and I can only recall them giving up one tackle for loss. They also blocked well in short yardage when it was needed. Ratledge looked far better, in particular, which I hope means he’s really starting to recover physically. Truss looked better, too. As for Van Pran and the tackles, well, they never slowed down in the first place.
- One of the luxuries of blowing teams out is that the backup offensive linemen are getting plenty of work, something I heard Blackledge mention. And not just in the sense that they’re getting more reps so they can step in if something happens on the first string line, but also in terms of meshing well with each other. Beck got plenty of time to throw the ball without pressure, too.
- If there’s anything I’m troubled about on offense, it’s how tentative Milton looked running the ball. He’s a masher, but yesterday he was trying to trick defenders instead of bulling his way through them. And it wasn’t just on running plays, either. He caught a pass on the wheel route wide open and got up a head of steam, with only one defender to beat… and couldn’t. I hope it’s something a little coaching can fix.
- It seems like every week, Daijun Edwards makes a case for getting the ball in his hands more.
- Maybe it’s just me, but Branson Robinson looked a little quicker than he appeared previously.
- Bowers is Bowers. Washington is Washington. And now Delp showed up. My 13 personnel wishes can still be fulfilled!
- The offense continues to spread the ball around to the receivers and it’s a beautiful thing to watch. And they’re still not throwing it deep much. I can only think of a couple of deep balls on the day, neither of which were completed. Then again, does it matter much?
- They hardly missed AD Mitchell. Man.
- I loved the completion to Blaylock, who ran a great route, looked smooth catching the ball in stride and managed a 20-yard gain like it was old hat.
- McConkey just keeps doing McConkey things, week after week. He’s the third leading receiver on the team. His play to salvage what could have been a disaster when a punt hit a Georgia blocker was heady.
- Stetson keeps avoiding the stupid plays that bogged his game down in previous seasons. Sure, it helps that he hasn’t been in pressure situations much, if at all. Still, they hit on five of nine third down conversions. He’s also been very good at not forcing himself to run. But what’s most striking is how much his field awareness has improved, right from the snap. The most absurd example of that was the play when he held the fake so long that when he finally turned, he had a rusher in his face, but still managed to get off a throw to Bowers (and what a catch that was!) that turned into a first down completion. He’s playing like a confident quarterback who knows he’s got an offensive coordinator who excels at play design.
- I’ll say this again as a long suffering Georgia fan who thought one of Richt’s game management flaws was not giving backups meaningful snaps in blowouts: I’m thrilled to see Monken and Smart continue to keep the playbook open when Carson Beck comes in. And it’s paying off, too. Beck looked really good running the offense. The TD throw to Delp was a beauty. He showed some wheels on that RPO run (and knocked the defender back on the first hit). If Stetson had to leave a game, I wouldn’t fret… well, much, anyway.
- Damn, no sacks from the defense and it didn’t matter. I’m beginning to think they’re overrated. Sacks, not the defense. 😉 They harassed Rattler all game long and took him out of his comfort zone. (It’s no surprise that his one big completion on the day came on a beautiful deep ball when he had plenty of time to set and throw.) And that came despite a hobbled Jalen Carter. (By the way, nice job keeping that quiet, Kirbs.)
- Add in a half a dozen or so tackles for loss and that’s how you restrict an offense that actually gained a little yardage into not scoring until the end of the game.
- Hey, who was that guy who said he was worried about the safety position in the preseason? Starks continues to wow me with his field awareness. Sure, his interception came on a ball that went straight to him, but his coverage was perfect and he put himself in position to make the play. Jackson looked good getting the first interception of his career. And it dawns on me that I never seem to have anything to say about Smith, but that’s because nobody tests him in pass coverage. He did have a tackle for loss, if I recall correctly.
- Outside of that one big completion, the corners acquitted themselves reasonably well. Perhaps the biggest thing to note is that SC’s leading receiver was shut down on the day.
- It’s hard to believe how much improvement we’ve seen from the inside linebackers since the start of the season, especially Mondon. The coaches were confident enough in him, Dumas-Johnson and Marshall to blitz the crap out of South Carolina right up the middle. Dumas-Johnson looks so comfortable out there directing defensive traffic. And that interception by Marshall was as an athletic a play as you’ll see out of a ‘backer in pass coverage.
- Man, it’s a pleasure watching Nolan Smith play the way he does. He’s an anchor, who chipped in with a tackle for loss and a pass defended.
- The defensive line play has also continued to improve, led by Mykel Williams, who’s really coming on. As good as he was pressuring the quarterback, what I really liked was that he’s been much, much better with containment.
- Special teams weren’t much of a factor, although I’ve already mentioned the McConkey play that avoided disaster. They did allow a fake punt to succeed, although I’ve got to say the Carolina punter looking the coverage away before making the throw was damned impressive. (And I loved the way he tried to convince his coaches to let him run another play.)
- When you are fifty-three seconds away from back-to-back shutouts, it’s clear that your defensive coaches nailed the game plan. Georgia is yielding less than 3.5 points per game. What more really needs to be said about the job Boom and Schumann are doing?
- I could say the same thing about Monken, in spades. I loved hearing McDonough tout him as the leading candidate for the Broyles Award during the broadcast. The scary thing is, it doesn’t seem like he’s really had to dig very deep into the playbook so far.
- After last season, it’s hard to say that Smart’s doing a better coaching job this season, so I won’t. But I will say it’s extremely impressive how he’s managed to keep this team focused on the business at hand.
It’s funny to think that with Kent State next on the table, I’m expecting something of a let down. The Flashes have gotten whipped by the two P5 teams they’ve faced and it’s a stretch to see them as much of a threat. But, as we saw against Samford, let downs are relative.
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