As an Athens, Ga., native and proud supporter of the Red & Black, I can attest that Georgia’s 38-10 curb stomping at the hands of Alabama, for lack of a better term, sucked.
But at least it may serve one purpose, Dawgs fans: maybe people will now forget about the butt-kicking the Tide delivered here in 2008, because I’m tired of hearing about that one. (Actually that didn’t make me feel any better after I typed it.) While this one may sting, Georgia can’t let it snowball into another loss against a reeling Tennessee squad seemingly looking for revenge from about a decade of losses. (Zing!)
And I believe UGA will have a chance to avenge this particular loss in the SEC Championship Game, where a group of young skill players will be used to the rigors of big games, and a turbulent quarterback situation will have played itself out so that the team, staff included, can rally behind one signal-caller — instead of playing musical chairs at any sign of adversity.
No matter how I try to spin this, it’s hard to glean anything from a game where the Bulldogs were dominated along both lines, which dampened the effectiveness of a team with a boatload of targets for a quarterback who was white hot coming into the game.
A defensive front I believed could have Bama QB Jacob Coker seeing ghosts was deployed in a manner that made it seem like the coaching staff was afraid to expose its young secondary, while an offensive line I touted as the best in college football was completely over-matched while the game was still in contention.
However, we must not bury the lede — which is what I did — as Nick Chubb somehow ended up cracking that magic century mark on the ground that has eluded some of the best rushers this conference has seen in recent memory. But moreover, he broke Herschel Walker’s legendary record for consecutive 100-yard rushing performances with 13.
And he did it in emphatic fashion.
Chubb’s 83-yard scamper was an inside-zone run complete with doubles at the point of attack from John Theus (left tackle) and Isaiah Wynn (left guard) as well as Brandon Kublanow (center) and Greg Pyke (RG). “Y” Jackson Harris and RT Kolton Houston sealed the edges as neither exterior defensive linemen took an inside move as it’s their job to set the edges.
With this essentially being 6-on-6 football, every role is crucial for the defense to corral the run, and it comes down to the second- and third-level defenders. No. 19 Reggie Ragland, the strong-side inside linebacker, was caught in a conflict of assignment as he had to guard the flat in case QB Greyson Lambert came out the backside with the ball — better known as a zone-read keeper. (There was also a legit threat that Chubb would cut back against the grain.)
This put the onus on No. 10, Reuben Foster, to fill either the play-side A- or B-gap with free safety Geno Smith becoming the last line of defense. Smith’s additional duties had to do with filling a huge crease created in the C-gap. All it took was for Foster to guess wrong (a mistake I made playing the same exact position in the same exact style of defense) — with Smith over-committing to that gap — for Chubb to etch his name in the history books alongside the greatest Dawg of them all.
Here’s hoping we see a few of these against the Vols.