Good day, UGA. Welcome to your one-stop shop for UGA football news and takes every Monday through Friday morning. Today, in the wake of this weekend’s misery, we try to find to find some positives from this season to dwell on.
Accentuate the positive
Over at DawgSports, MaconDawg took a break from all the negativity surrounding the Vanderbilt loss and tried to focus on some of the positives from the 2016 season. Those positives include the play of Jacob Eason, the emergence of Isaiah McKenzie and the young talent on the defensive line, among others.
I could use a dose of positivity myself, so I did some thinking and came up with a few positives of my own:
Defensive youth — Building on what MaconDawg wrote about the line, there’s reason for optimism across the entire defense. The only defensive starter the Dawgs lose this offseason is nickel Maurice Smith (see below). Sixteen of the 27 players listed on Georgia’s defensive depth chart are freshmen or sophomores; six are listed as starters. Roquan Smith, Natrez Patrick, Julian Rochester and Trenton Thompson — to name a few — have an opportunity to become really good players in this system. Those guys are getting tons of experience in Smart’s defense, and the growing pains now should pay big dividends in the future.
Rodrigo Blankenship — We’ve got the coolest kicker in the entire country. Just look at his rec specs. Those things are fly as hell.
I’m gonna say Rodrigo is the best kicker in the nation, and there are no stats or facts that will convince me otherwise. COME AT ME, COLLEGE FOOTBALL.
Maurice Smith — The grad transfer from Alabama had an effect on the secondary from his first day. He knew Smart’s system and didn’t have any problems adjusting to his new surroundings. And on the field, he just looks smoother and more in control than any other UGA defensive back. He’s the kind of player you expect Smart and this defense to produce once they get their footing. If Georgia can get a few more Maurice Smith-types strewn around the field, it’ll make for one hell of a defense. It’s a shame Smith will only get one season in the red and black.
Clutch moments — It’s hard to remember this with that horrible fourth-and-1 call so fresh in the mind, but Georgia has had a few clutch moments this season; the kind of moments that make your stop before nearly exploding with excitement. And we had one of those in Smart’s first game in charge, when Nick Chubb dashed 55 yards in the fourth quarter to seal the win over UNC. Since then, two more come to mind. There is, of course, Eason’s 20-yard TD strike to McKenzie on fourth down to beat Missouri, as well as the would-be game-winning bomb from Eason to Riley Ridley against Tennessee.
It seems like Georgia had a dearth of those clutch moments in Mark Richt’s last few years, which is probably one reason fans soured on him. But Kirby’s team has already proven capable of coming up with big plays in big moments, even if the Bulldogs haven’t done it every time it was needed. It gives me hope that he’s instilling a winning mentality where players expect to go out when the game is on the line and finish the drill.
And, purely as a fan, it’s damn fun to watch when those moments happen.
Now for the dreaded bye week
It’s gonna be a long two weeks, folks.
- Seth Emerson takes an in-depth look at that final fourth down and other key plays from the Vanderbilt game.
- Jason Butt looks at what Derek Mason adjusted to stop the Bulldogs on fourth-and-1.
- Kirby Smart’s rookie year is playing out on national stage.
- Georgia’s most important recruits say they aren’t shaken by the loss last weekend. We should all probably take a cue from them.
- One Georgia fan got seriously mad online over the loss.
Here’s where various outlets have Georgia going bowling:
|ESPN (Schlabach)||Music City||Iowa|
|SB Nation||Liberty||Oklahoma State|
|Campus Insiders||Music City||Penn State|
Former Bulldog moving up
Ole Miss has struggled at linebacker this year and that provided a big opportunity for former Bulldog linebacker and current Rebels graduate assistant Christian Robinson. From The Clarion-Ledger:
Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack had been primarily working with the linebacker, but Rebels coach Hugh Freeze announced defensive graduate assistant Christian Robinson will take responsibility for middle linebackers now.
“Christian Robinson is going to take the mike linebackers this week and coach them from this point forward,” Freeze said. “Dave will handle the stingers (outside linebackers) to try to get more attention to them in practice.”
Today’s good dog belongs to a Gamecock. Check out South Carolina defensive lineman Dante Sawyer’s dog Rex, a.k.a. Mr. Steal Yo Girl.
Why Rex was sitting like a dude trynna holla at someone girl ?? pic.twitter.com/kjPwPQVVH4
— Dante Sawyer (@BuzzSawww) October 11, 2016