Week one results can be misleading at times, and that’s exactly the case in Georgia’s home opener against Buffalo. Buffalo moved the ball with a mobile quarterback, and some had worries heading into Missouri against James Franklin and even if the Dawgs could get a win on the road.
Missouri’s only chance of winning last weekend was if Georgia beat themselves, or if Franklin played lights out. Neither happened and UGA has proven it can win in a hostile environment already, ultimately turning it on in the second half.
Just like every year, we hear preseason talk about Georgia and “this is going to be the year”. But I don’t think last Saturday in Columbia was a one-time success story – this team will be explosive all season on both sides of the ball.
Georgia is always known as ‘that team’ that boasts all preseason accolades but it never works out. It’s where five stars go to become irrelevant.
However, the talent influx is showing some development.
The defense could be the very best in the SEC, especially once the four suspended players return in Bacarri Rambo, Alec Ogletree, Sanders Commings and Chase Vasser. Commings and Vasser return this week. Jarvis Jones is the most disruptive player in the SEC and maybe the country.
Not only is the front seven nasty, but the offense is explosive, led by veteran Aaron Murray. With Murray under center and the emergence of freshman running back Todd Gurley, Georgia forces you to defend the middle of the field, along with every piece of real estate on the field because of Murray’s arm strength and accuracy at the third level (over 20 yards). With the emergence of Marlon Brown, Georgia has three legitimate receivers to throw to who can stretch defenses and make tough catches in traffic. And Malcolm Mitchell hasn’t played a snap at receiver thus far. This enables Georgia’s trio of running backs – Gurley, Keith Marshall and Ken Malcome – to face a lighter box and have much more room to run. The only questionable unit on offense is the line, and it will be a work in progress throughout much of the season. But the patchwork pieces and framework are there enough to not lose football games, as long as they stay healthy. Georgia has given up 10 sacks, good for 10th in the conference.
We’ll call it what it is – Old Man Football.
Last year, the Bulldogs got off to a wretched start, losing their first two games against Boise State and South Carolina that put them in the hole early. But to their credit, they finished the remainder of the regular season undefeated before losing in the SEC Championship and the Outback Bowl.
Now that the first major road test has come and gone, can Georgia finish the regular season undefeated?
That’s the million-dollar question. All three phases of the game – offense, defense and special teams – are coming along quite nicely.
Much has been made about Georgia’s easy schedule; it is easy. Tough, but winnable, games looming ahead are Tennessee, a trip to South Carolina, Florida and a trip to Jordan-Hare to play Auburn. That’s it. Mindfully absent is Alabama and LSU.
This won’t be the first time Georgia gets off to a sick start, though. In 2002 and 2005, Georgia entered Florida week boasting an undefeated record of 8-0 and 7-0 respectively and went on to lose to the Gators, thus breaking up a bid at a perfect season.
Led by an experienced and physical front seven on defense and a veteran leader on offense who can make all the throws, this Georgia team could be different.
It’s time to live up to the hype, Bulldogs. A date with a one-loss SEC West team in Atlanta, while boasting an undefeated record, is not out of the question.