The Georgia football program stacked up 615 yards of total offense up on SEC East rival Missouri on Saturday afternoon.
That was telling, but the mere 200 yards the Bulldogs allowed defensively was a sporty figure in its own right on the opposite end of the feel-good spectrum.
What did the Tigers and head coach Eli Drinkwitz have to say about it all? The big takeaway was where he saw the difference in the game.
It was not the play of Georgia quarterback JT Daniels. Nor was it the high-flying excitement provided by a resurgent George Pickens.
It was what usually almost every game between a pair of top 25 teams comes down to in the Southeastern Conference. The difference was upfront.
“In the trenches,” Drinwitz said. “On both sides of the line of scrimmage. They rushed for 316 yards and we rushed for 22. So, both sides of the line of scrimmage.”
Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz
His opening statement: “Good football team. Congrats to them. We’re just not there right now with our program and able to compete every down. You need your best stuff in order to beat a team like that and we didn’t have it today. We got to get it back. We got to find a way to fix it and get it back. But hats off to them, we got to play better. We didn’t play well enough on offense or defense. I thought our special teams gave us a chance, but our offense or defense didn’t really do anything to give us a chance.”
On what Drinkwitz learned about the foundation of his football team on Saturday: “I was proud of the way our guys fought. Everyone was still trying to encourage everybody on the sideline to keep on going. But we don’t have enough depth. We are playing with 59 scholarship players right now. The NCAA gave us a four-person penalty. That’s pretty bad. That’s a significant penalty. We’ve had transfers and opts-outs. We just don’t have enough depth right now. We have to find a way to manufacture some depth, you know? We’ve been able to do that when the offense is able to keep the ball, but we weren’t able to keep them ball away from them today and just exposed our defense.”
On Georgia’s having some success on third downs, in particularly on third-and-long: “I’ll have to go back and look at the tape. Some success is putting it nicely. I’ll have to go back and look at the tape and figure it out. They were open. You know we got pressure a couple of times in the second quarter when we got back in the game but it didn’t seem like we could get back to that pressure. We’ll have to go back, check the tape, figure out what it was and try to fix it.”
On what he told his team at the half: “Felt good at halftime being down 21-14. I told our team ‘Hey we’re right in position and needed to come out and get a stop’ and we didn’t. They scored every possession in the third quarter and offensively we weren’t able to do anything with it. We weren’t able to mount that charge but I thought we were in good position.”
On what he’s learned from this season: “Our goal is to be competitive in the SEC East and right now the two teams at the top of the SEC we weren’t competitive with. So we’ve got our work cut out for us and that starts with me in recruiting and player development.”
On the collision with Missouri QB Connor Bazelak and a couple of Georgia defenders in the game affecting his play: “Yeah, he was beat up. We are all beat up. Everybody is beat up. Ninth game of an SEC schedule. We’ve been practicing since July 24. It is December 12. We are all beat up so it is what it is.”
With the early signing period coming up, what do the Tigers need in recruiting to close the gap on SEC East powers like Florida and Georgia: “Yeah, I mean it is a combination of recruiting but we’ve had opt-outs. We’ve got NCAA penalty. It is not like, you know, we just don’t have enough guys right now to play an in-depth team the way we need to. You know I don’t know. My mind is not really focused on that question, to be honest with you I just got my butt whipped by Georgia I’m trying to figure out how to improve my football team. We’ll go recruit but I don’t have any philosophical answers about who we are going to go recruit and all that right now. I just know that we have got to improve.”
What was Georgia’s running backs able to do against the Missouri defense: “I don’t know if it was the running backs or the offensive line. You know there were some good holes. They made us miss a couple of tackles but we didn’t chase it down the backside in some of our schemes. Sometimes in our schemes, they had us with cut-off blocks so I’ll have to go back and watch the tape. We knew they had a good offensive line. We knew they had a good run game. We just weren’t able to stop it.”
On trying to limit George Pickens and his production: “Well, we gave up 316 yards rushing. We were trying to load the box and if you load the box you leave the wideouts one-on-one it is kind of pick your poison-type deal. We felt like we needed to stop the run and we weren’t able to do that unless we put extra people in there and that opens up the passing game. It just wasn’t very effective today.”