Monday Down South: Georgia’s offense is built to win one type of game. Alabama’s is built to win them all

Weekly takeaways, trends and technicalities from the weekend’s action.

If the past decade in college football has taught us anything, it’s that offense reigns supreme. To quote Nick Saban himself: In the spread era, good offense beats good defense. And if there was any larger lesson in Alabama’s 41-24 romp over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, it’s that absolutely nothing has changed.

In defense of the oddsmakers and pundits who installed the Bulldogs as clear favorites, there were many good reasons prior to Saturday to suspect that just maybe it had. Georgia’s defense was not only the nation’s best over the course of the regular season – it was the best in years, a deep, abundantly talented, consistently dominant force that swallowed up all comers and spit them out on a weekly basis. Through 12 games, opposing offenses had managed a grand total of 8 touchdowns, all but 1 coming with Georgia already leading by at least 14 points. The Dogs hadn’t been challenged, or even close; they were the outliers, the vanguard of the counter-revolution, the total package.

Meanwhile, what offense could say the same? Certainly not Alabama’s. For all their talent, the Tide often looked like a unit in rebuilding mode following a mass exodus from the highest-scoring attack in SEC history in 2020. They were mediocre on the ground, at one point managing just 6 yards rushing in a close, low-scoring win over LSU; they struggled to protect Bryce Young, giving up more sacks (35) than in the previous 2 years combined; they closed out the regular season looking listless and exhausted in the Iron Bowl, where they were shut out for 3-and-a-half quarters and felt their national championship hopes hanging by a thread.

Auburn, a squarely middle-of-the-pack defense across the board, dropped Young 7 times and hit him a half-dozen more. And suddenly, what, this group is going to turn around and light up the college football equivalent of the ’85 Chicago Bears?

Well, yeah, actually, as it turns out that’s exactly what. When Alabama is at its best, even a defense that had yet to show so much as a sliver of vulnerability all season is at the Tide’s mercy.

After falling into an early, 10-0 hole, Bama achieved liftoff, scoring on 5 consecutive possessions (4 touchdowns, 1 field goal) covering at least 75 yards apiece – the cast majority of them courtesy of Young, who found himself with ample room to survey the field from the pocket, or to take off running, or generally to do whatever he pleased en route to accounting for 461 total yards and 4 touchdowns on a Heisman-clinching afternoon. The same o-line that all but collapsed in a heap at Auburn responded to its worst outing of the season with its best, by far, limiting UGA’s vaunted front seven to zero sacks and just 3 hits, per Pro Football Focus. Wideout Jameson Williams, sidelined for most of the Iron Bowl following an ejection for targeting, stretched the secondary past the breaking point, finishing with 184 yards and 2 TDs on 26.3 per catch. As a group, Bama’s receivers generated more yards after the catch (195) than 9 of the Bulldogs’ 12 regular-season opponents managed through the air altogether.

Alabama blew past Georgia’s season average for yards allowed before halftime, with plenty of room to spare. Between their 4 scoring drives in the second quarter and a quick strike from Young to Williams to open the third, the Tide scored more points in a span of about 18 minutes (31) than UGA allowed in all of September (23), October (30), or November (30).

What does a championship offense look like in 2021? Based on everything we know about how the sport has evolved over the past few years, it looks like that: A Heisman-caliber, NFL-ready quarterback – a Deshaun, a Tua, a Trevor, a Burrow, a Mac, a Bryce – blessed with next-level playmakers – a Mike Williams, a Calvin Ridley, a Justyn Ross, a Ja’Marr Chase, a De’Vonta Smith, a Jameson Williams – combining to make elite opponents in big games look like ordinary. It looks like good offenses not just beating good defenses, but treating them like speed bumps.

And based on everything we know about these two programs and their head coaches, maybe it should have been obvious all along which team was built to win big on those terms and which team clearly was not.

A “wake-up call”

Georgia, by virtue of its wall-to-wall dominance in the regular season, is in the extremely fortunate position of treating the loss as a mulligan.

Once they sober up from the letdown, the Bulldogs are still Playoff-bound – albeit as the No. 3 seed against surging Michigan, rather than the No. 1 seed against a game but outmanned outfit from Cincinnati – and still have a realistic shot at winning it all. More importantly, they know now exactly what they need to do to maximize that chance: Bench Stetson Bennett IV for JT Daniels.

Admittedly, yes, at this point in the season demoting the starting quarterback reeks of desperation. And credit where it’s due: Prior to Saturday, Bennett had done everything right, going 7-0 since taking over for an injured Daniels in early October while finishing second nationally (ahead of Young) in pass efficiency, yards per attempt and QBR. By the time Daniels was cleared to return to the lineup, even the skeptics had to admit the former walk-on had earned his keep, and by mid-November the window for getting Daniels back up to speed in time for the postseason had apparently closed. He hasn’t taken a meaningful a meaningful snal since Week 4 against Vanderbilt, and that’s only if you consider a game that may as well have been over before the coin toss meaningful in the first place. Bennett was playing well, or at least well enough to keep playing.

After Saturday, though, the next few weeks leading up to the Orange Bowl are looking more like desperate times. After a reassuring start, the final 3 quarters, and the second half, especially, were the Bulldogs’ worst fears come true: The ground game stalled, the defense cracked, and the mounting deficit forced them to rely on Bennett’s arm against a blue-chip defense that had very little reason to respect it. Although he finished with 340 yards (easily a career high) and 3 touchdowns, he had to put the ball in the air a staggering 48 times to hit those marks, more than twice his season average, and for the second year in a row against Alabama, the negatives were far more memorable than the positives.

I think we’ve seen what we needed to see here. That was the second of 2 costly picks in the second half, the first of which had already snuffed out a crucial red-zone scoring opportunity in the third quarter. Going back to last year’s regular-season loss in Tuscaloosa – a game that ended with an identical final score, 41-24 – Bennett has thrown 5 interceptions in the past 2 meetings, 4 of them with the Bulldogs trailing in the second half.

Bennett was hardly Georgia’s only problem, nor, on a day when the running game made no impact, wide receivers generated no separation, and the defense got exposed at every level, was he necessarily the biggest. Still, it’s clear enough that as long as he’s in the lineup, the Bulldogs will always struggle to win games that deviate from a defensively-driven script that Alabama has no interest in playing along to.

In stark contrast to Young, Bennett offered very little in the way of downfield juice and inspired even less confidence in his capacity to transcend the team’s larger issues. He connected on 1 attempt beyond 20 yards, an early jump ball to George Pickens that gained 37 yards and set up UGA’s first touchdown, and didn’t threaten the Tide deep again. All the while, Daniels, the blue-chip transfer with an NFL future, looked on idly.

Obviously, Kirby Smart is not paid $7.1 million a year to be obtuse about the most important position on the roster. On the contrary, he’s made quarterback a priority, signing 5-star or borderline 5-star prospects in 4 of the past 6 recruiting cycles and pursuing Daniels and Jamie Newman on the transfer market to bridge the gap until the heir apparent, true freshman Brock Vandagriff, is ready to take the reins in 2022 (if Daniels leaves early) or ’23. And yet here he is, again: On the losing end of a big game in which his team was outgunned in a career-making performance for the other side’s star QB, while arguably the most talented signal-caller on his own depth chart remains nailed to the bench.

After the game, Smart described the loss as “a wake-up call,” and technically he didn’t rule out the possibility of making the switch to Daniels while reiterating his confidence in both quarterbacks. At the end of the day, though, nothing in his answer or his track record suggests the status quo is likely to come under serious scrutiny between now and New Year’s Eve. Why would it, when it’s already carried him this far? But there is still time to wake up before the next big opportunity, and in the wake of the latest reality check there’s more urgency than ever. In the aftermath of the wipeout in Atlanta, how the Bulldogs got here is just a story. What matters now is the hard decisions they’re willing make to give themselves the best chance to go all the way.

Superlatives

The best of the week year.

MVP/Offensive Player of the Year: Bryce Young

I might be more agnostic than the consensus about the inevitability of Young’s pending Heisman win — of course he’s going to win — only because he seemed to spend so much of the season in cruise control. But I’m not about to sit here and deny a man with 43 touchdowns to 4 interceptions. Not many campaigns have culminated quite as dramatically in the home stretch, either. Young’s last 3 times out have been classics of very different stripes, with his record-breaking outing against Arkansas, death-defying comeback in the Iron Bowl, and slaying of the Georgia juggernaut serving to paint a much fuller picture of his game and his indispensable role in Alabama’s offense. Other recent Heisman QBs have put up better numbers; arguably none have meant more to their team.

Defensive Player of the Year: Will Anderson Jr.

I’ve been on the Anderson For Heisman bandwagon since midseason and I’m riding it all the way across the finish line. Anderson closes the regular season as the FBS leader in sacks and tackles for loss, distinctions he held for virtually the entire year, and tied for 3rd nationally with 73 QB pressures; the film eaters at PFF also singled him out for the top run defense grade of any SEC defender, a reflection of his emergence as a balanced, every-down anchor who is even better than his elite pass-rushing rep suggests. He was on the field for more than 90% of Alabama’s total defensive snaps and his tank never ran out of gas.

Most Exciting Player: Jameson Williams

Where would Williams have landed in Ohio State’s stacked wide receiver rotation if he’d remained a Buckeye? The world will never know, and is better off for it. At Alabama, he burned white-hot, exploding over the second half the season to account for 1,081 yards and 12 touchdowns in the last 8 games alone, on a Jaylen Waddle-esque 21.1 yards per catch.

His home-run speed added a dynamic to the offense that was just as conspicuous in its absence against Auburn, where the offense nearly ground to a halt after his ejection for targeting, as it was when he was on the field. No player at any position who passed through the transfer portal in the offseason has had a bigger impact on his new team, and with running mate John Metchie III out of commission due to a torn ACL, it’s very possible that Williams’ share of the offense — like De’Vonta Smith’s following Waddle’s injury last year — is just going to keep on expanding.

Freak of the Year: Treylon Burks

Burks, an Arkansas native, could have taken his imposing size and decorated high school résumé just about anywhere. Instead, he opted to play close to home for a program at rock bottom, and his upward trajectory over the past three seasons has mirrored his team’s. At 6-3/225, Burks’ combination of high-rise skills in the red zone and legitimate breakaway speed in the open field are unmatched by any active college receiver, and may very well make him a first-round pick.

The only thing stopping me from comparing Burks to the guy who claimed the Freak crown in 2020, Kyle Pitts, is his height — Pitts stands a legitimate 6-6 and probably lacks Burks’ straight-line speed. But in terms of ball skills, body control, mismatch potential, and the all-around absurdity of a human being that big moving with such fluidity, he’s in the same class. There’s no one else right now quite like him.

Fat Guy of the Year: Darian Kinnard

Kinnard has been a rock on Kentucky’s o-line over the past 3 seasons, logging 38 consecutive starts at right tackle and consistently posting top marks for mauling. As a junior in 2020, he earned the top overall PFF grade of any SEC offensive lineman (91.5) en route to a second-team all-conference nod from league coaches; as a senior, he not only improved on that number, finishing with a SEC-best 92.2, but actually graded out as the conference’s best individual lineman in both pass and run blocking while playing a little more 95% of the Wildcats’ offensive snaps. Postseason accolades should be rolling in in due course, followed by what figures to be rising draft stock over the next few months; if he ultimately makes good on his first-round potential, Kinnard would be the first Kentucky OL to earn the distinction since 1977.

Sleeper of the Year: Josh Paschal

Paschal, a 5th-year senior at Kentucky, is a great player with a great personal story, overcoming malignant melanoma on his foot as an underclassman to grow into one of the league’s steadiest and most productive edge defenders — he tied for 2nd in the SEC with 15.5 TFLs, trailing only Will Anderson, while rivaling Anderson as one of the conference’s best players against the run, per PFF. And while he might not get much face time outside of Kentucky, in Lexington he should be a household name.

The next time someone tries to tell you NIL right are bad for the sport, just show them that.

Breakout Player of the Year: Antonio Johnson

Johnson, a true sophomore at Texas A&M, may have been most notable in his first year as a starter as a reliable ball hawk, finishing among the Aggies’ leaders in tackles and TFLs from his nickel corner role. But he was arguably their most reliable player in coverage, too, limiting opposing receivers to just 5.6 yards per catch on 41 receptions — best in the SEC among all defensive backs with at least 100 coverage snaps. His name should become very familiar in the all-conference lineup very quickly.

Most Underrated: Cam Smith

Boring name, good player. Smith, another true sophomore at South C

arolina, was the standout in a completely rebuilt Carolina secondary and very quietly one of the feistiest young cornerbacks in the conference, finishing with 14 PBUs and 3 interceptions in the Gamecocks’ last 4 games.

Per PFF, Smith allowed just 184 yards and 1 touchdown on 32 targets, good enough to share the top coverage grade among SEC corners (89.7) with Auburn’s Roger McCreary.

Most Improved: Charles Cross

Cross, the rare 5-star recruit to land at Mississippi State, has always projected as a future pro on raw talent alone, but the results haven’t always been pretty: As a sophomore in 2020, he gave up an alarming 44 pressures and 6 sacks as the Bulldogs’ starting left tackle, including 3 sacks in a single disastrous outing against Auburn. As a junior, though, he made the leap into one of the league’s best lineman, allowing just 16 pressures and 2 sacks on more than 900 pass-blocking snaps. At 6-5/310, he looks like a no-brainer for the first round next April, and very possibly for the top 10.

Rookie of the Year: Brock Bowers

Bowers, a true freshman tight end with bona fide wide receiver skills, was the brightest spot in Georgia’s SEC Championship loss to Alabama, finishing with season highs for receptions (10) and yards (139) in his introduction to a national audience.

But his performance against the Tide was consistent with his role throughout the season, which saw him emerge as the only reliable target among an inconsistent and injury-plagued group of receivers. Bowers was the only UGA player to finish among the top 30 in the SEC in receptions (47) or yards (791), and he ranked among the top 3 in yards per catch (16.8, 3rd) and touchdowns (11, tied-2nd).

At the end of Year 1 he already looks like the complete package for a “move” tight end, equally comfortable in a traditional inline blocking role or as a receiver from the slot, and as he’s healthy you may as well go ahead and pencil him in as an All-American in the next two.

Best Position Group: Georgia’s Defensive Line

Yes, they ended on a low note in Atlanta, and yes, Jordan Davis‘ Heisman campaign was always destined to be more of an oddity than a legitimate run at the award. Nevertheless: Over the course of the season, the starting rotation of Davis, Jalen Carter and DeVonte Wyatt was the driving force of the Bulldogs’ defensive dominance, overpowering blockers, absorbing double teams, and generally rendering opposing ground games irrelevant while supplying a better-than-credible pass rush for a trio of 300-pounders. No other offense prior to Bama’s managed to make so much as a dent in the wall they formed up front, and if Georgia gets another crack at the Tide a more typical effort from the d-line will be essential to disrupting Bryce Young and flipping the result.

Moment of Zen of the Year: Lane Kiffin returns to Neyland

Ole Miss’ 31-26 win at Tennessee in mid-October will be remembered less for anything that happened in the game itself than for the literal mob scene that broke out in the waning seconds, when a subset of disgruntled Vols fans capped a long, exhausting night by heaving an eclectic assortment of garbage, condiments, and foreign objects onto the field. Kiffin himself was hit with a golf ball, leading to a lengthy stoppage to hustle the band and cheerleaders to safety and allow the toxic energy to run its course. It eventually did, kind of, just long enough to play out the remaining 54 seconds.

It’s worth emphasizing again that this was a long night: From kickoff to triple zeroes, the game spanned just over 4-and-a-half hours, easily the longest non-weather-delayed regulation game involving an SEC team since at least 2009, finally ending at 12:13 a.m. local time. Pac-12 games that kicked off a full hour later finished earlier. The riot delay contributed to that, but it was already well over the 4-hour mark by the time the game was stopped. The 4th quarter alone dragged on at a brutal pace for more than an hour as players from both teams hit the turf at an alarming rate, some of them hurt, some of them cramped, and some of them just gassed despite mild temperatures. The thermometer may have read mid-50s, but emotionally the scene was at a fever pitch.

And now: The Monday Down South All-SEC team

Here’s my personal all-conference lineup for 2021, based strictly on my own observations and opinions over the course of the season. (That is, it doesn’t reflect the observations or opinions of anyone else at Saturday Down South.) If an obviously deserving player from your favorite team didn’t make the cut, it can only be because I harbor a deep, irrational bias against him personally, and certainly not because some of these decisions were tough calls between more credible candidates than the format can accommodate.

Offense
Quarterback: Bryce Young • Alabama (So.)
Running Back: Tyler Badie • Missouri (Sr.)
Running Back: Chris Rodriguez Jr. • Kentucky (Sr.)
All-Purpose: Wan’Dale Robinson • Kentucky (Jr.)
Wide Receiver: Jameson Williams • Alabama (Jr.)
Wide Receiver: Treylon Burks • Arkansas (Jr.)
Tight End: Brock Bowers • Georgia (Fr.)
Line (T): Evan Neal • Alabama (Jr.)
Line (T): Darian Kinnard • Kentucky (Sr.)
Line (T): Charles Cross • Mississippi State (Jr.)
Line (G): Kenyon Green • Texas A&M (Jr.)
Line (C): Luke Fortner • Kentucky (Sr.)

Honorable Mention: QB: Matt Corral (Ole Miss); Stetson Bennett IV (Georgia); Hendon Hooker (Tennessee); KJ Jefferson (Arkansas); Will Levis (Kentucky); Will Rogers (Mississippi State) … RB: Brian Robinson Jr. (Alabama); Tank Bigsby (Auburn); Tyrion Davis-Price (LSU); Isaiah Spiller (Texas A&M); Devon Achane (Texas A&M) … WR: John Metchie III (Alabama); Kayshon Boutte (LSU); Makai Polk (Mississippi State); Dontario Drummond (Ole Miss); Cedric Tillman (Tennessee) … TE: Jalen Wydermyer (Texas A&M) … OL: Beaux Limmer (Arkansas); Jamaree Salyer (Georgia); Warren McClendon (Georgia); Dare Rosenthal (Kentucky); Michael Maietti (Missouri); Cade Mays (Tennessee); Layden Robinson (Texas A&M).

Defense
D-Line: Phidarian Mathis • Alabama (Sr.)
D-Line: Jordan Davis • Georgia (Sr.)
D-Line: DeMarvin Leal • Texas A&M (Jr.)
Edge (OLB): Will Anderson Jr. • Alabama (So.)
Edge (OLB): Josh Paschal • Kentucky (Sr.)
Linebacker: Nakobe Dean • Georgia (Jr.)
Linebacker: Damone Clark • LSU (Sr.)
Cornerback: Roger McCreary • Auburn (Sr.)
Cornerback: Cameron Smith • South Carolina (So.)
Nickel (CB): Antonio Johnson • Texas A&M (So.)
Safety: Jordan Battle • Alabama (Jr.)
Safety: Lewis Cine • Georgia (Jr.)

Honorable Mention: DL: Colby Wooden (Auburn); Jalen Carter (Georgia); Devonte Wyatt (Georgia); Neil Farrell Jr. (LSU); Jaquelin Roy (LSU); Matthew Butler (Tennessee); Jayden Peevy (Texas A&M) … Edge: Derick Hall (Auburn); Brenton Cox Jr. (Florida); Nolan Smith (Georgia); Travon Walker (Georgia); BJ Ojulari (LSU); Sam Williams (Ole Miss); Kingsley Enagbare (South Carolina); Byron Young (Tennessee); Micheal Clemons (Texas A&M) …LB: Christian Harris (Alabama); Hayden Henry (Arkansas); Grant Morgan (Arkansas); Bumper Pool (Arkansas); Zakoby McClain (Auburn); Channing Tindall (Georgia); Quay Walker (Georgia); Micah Baskerville (LSU); Chance Campbell (Ole Miss); Aaron Hansford (Texas A&M) … CB: Jalyn Armour-Davis (Alabama); Kaiir Elam (Florida); Derion Kendrick (Georgia); Kelee Ringo (Georgia); Kris Abrams-Draine (Missouri); Miles Battle (Ole Miss); Theo Jackson (Tennessee) … S: Smoke Monday (Auburn); Christopher Smith (Georgia); Yusuf Corker (Kentucky); AJ Finley (Ole Miss); Jaylan Foster (South Carolina).

Specialists
Kicker: Cade York • LSU (Jr.)
Punter: Nik Constantinou • Texas A&M (So.)
Returner (KR/PR): Velus Jones Jr. • Tennessee (Sr.)

Honorable Mention: K: Harrison Mevis (Missouri); Parker White (South Carolina); Seth Small (Texas A&M) … P: Oscar Chapman (Auburn); Grant McKinniss (Missouri); Paxton Brooks (Tennessee) … KR/PR: Jameson Williams (Alabama); Lideatrick Griffin (Mississippi State); Devon Achane (Texas A&M); Ainias Smith (Texas A&M).

Thank you for tuning in to another season of Monday Down South!

View Comments

    • Looks good to me too. I find it hard to leave Metchie out, but you also can't argue with Burkes.

    • Not a complaint, but an observation. Three teams are left out altogether. Vanderbilt and Florida are understandable as they are the two worst teams in the conference. Considering that Ole Miss is clearly the third best team in the conference, it is interesting that they didn't have a single player worthy of the SDS all-SEC team. I guess that just means that they were so balanced that no one really shone. I'm good with that.

  • I remember saying a few years ago that great defense no longer wins championships. It seemed Kirby was about to prove him wrong and still might, but I think the writer here is correct: it takes a great and complete team, but if only one of them has a legendary QB, that seems to make the difference. Bryce Young made quite a few scheme busting plays and had a season worth of highlight in that game.

  • Kirby is stuck in 2010 and maybe to stubborn to ever change...I don't know...it's still hard to believe Alabama's offensive line performance in that game though after looking average most of the year...it was almost like the UGA coaches never even bothered to watch film from the LSU or Auburn games...if Kirby thinks coaching up the same old game plan is gonna work the next time... it will be just another @$$ kicking by Saban and Young... their only shot is to use the Auburn example and send everyone... yeah Young might make you pay for doing so...but he's already made you pay by not doing it... ofcourse he has to get past Michigan first and that's certainly not going to be easy...

    • That surprised me, too. I was sure Kirby would watch the LSU and Auburn film and bullrush Young all game long. I'm sure Georgia is capable of doing that. Young is still going to make a few plays, and Georgia still has to outscore him. But blitzing him on every down helps to limit his plays.

      • If Kirby did watch an LSU game to plan Georgia’s defense, it must have been one from the Les Miles era.

    • I dont think you can compare what LSU and Auburn did to what UGA did. UGA had a defensive plan and scheme that worked all year and was dominate. Kirby wasn't going to change what got them there. On the other hand, LSU and Auburn had absolutely nothing to lose and had struggled all year so they made changes and tried completely new things which happened to work.

      Bama did an incredible job picking up blitzes. Robinson and Sanders were stoning LBs all game long. Bama's O-line finally played as a unit and did a great job communicating and handling the defensive line stunts.

      • Well hopefully if they meet again UGA will take the LSU/Auburn example and play like they have nothing to lose... because if they try the same old thing they'll get the same old results...and yeah they still might but they know for sure they can't stop Bama by not changing something

    • I would have felt better about playing UGA IF Bama's O-line had been playing at least average. They were playing far below that level.

    • G-fan, thumbs up! Look what stubborn did to Dandy Dan and as far back as Les Myles. Do what has yo be done.

    • UGA lost for one reason and one reason alone. Coaching.

      Nick Saban and his staff did an outstanding job of coaching to prepare Alabama and in particular shoring up an offensive line that was abysmal against Auburn. Bryce Young was literally running for his life all night long. It was only when Auburn went (for some strange reason) into a "prevent" defense that Young was given the time to throw and well....the rest is history. Saban's decision to put an extra "tackle" in the game allowed Alabama to double team UGA's mammoth three down D-Linemen and wear them out.

      By the same token Kirby Smart and his staff did IMHO a terrible job of coaching. All you had to do as others have already said was watch what LSU and AU did which was rush 5 or 6 all game long. If Bryce Young has a "weakness" it is he doesn't handle heavy pressure that well. However, rather than follow that "blueprint" Smart just stuck with rushing no more than 4 and usually only 3 (just like he's done all season) and Bryce Young carved UGA up.

  • Lots of grumblings about Kirby...fair enough. Hey Kirby, if UGA lets you go Bama will make you the highest-paid DC in the country the next day. :)

      • So I get the smack talk from the Bama Fans, but there is an awful lot of smack being thrown around by teams UGA beat by 3 scores going on

        • As a Tennessee fan every article about the Vols ,,, Corch or someone else always has negative and personal attacks alot if the time… So other fans can comment and the Dawgs got beat down,,, We are fans of football,, not just the favorite team… Dawgs got ran through,, 12-0 to get destroyed in the title game,,, you didn’t play or make a tackle,,, and have no business thinking you are a spokesman for Georgia football… Bigger question is how do the BullDawg’s respond.. Leave the personal attacks out,, as I believe mist fans do,, but Corch and Neegan are why a lot of people fire back at the Dawgs fan.. I believe Georgia Georgia will rebound well against Michigan and set up for a much better performance if they get a shot in the title game.. Still a great team ,, just ran into one the best QB performances I have seen.. Good luck to Bama and the Dawgs

        • Haha...have you read any of gwhite's bs? Or sec123 who wished serious injuries on UGA players...I'm not defending guys like Negan or so on...but the trolling certainly goes both ways...

        • Corch and Negan are trolls that have multiple names posting for multiple teams. If you let the trolls control how you post or interact, then you are only going to be reactimg instead of making your point.

  • Amid all the criticisms, do not forget that Bama needed to play its best game of the year and hope for some UGA missteps to win. This is the flipping of the script that the Dawgs have been seeking for our program. Historically, we are the ones needing to play a perfect game plus get some breaks.

    This time,however, Bama played an excellent game and we did give them the breaks they needed - pick-6, failure to recover a fumble in their territory, failure to kick a field goal on 4th-and-9. In addition to the mistakes, we generally did not play up to our best in any aspect of the game in which we needed it the most.

    Ultimately, two great teams, #1 and #2 in the nation, stood toe-to-toe and the better team that day actually won.

    Let's look ahead and seize the opportunities that are still out there.

    Go Dawgs!

    • One of Saban's worse teams since 2010 just dominated one of the best teams in UGA history. That is the gap.

      • Disagree. It wasn't a "gap" in talent that costs UGA last Saturday. It was a "gap" in coaching. Saban and his staff did an outstanding job and Smart and his staff did a poor job. Great coaches learn from mistakes, make adjustments, and study what others have done against an opponent that works. Smart did none of those things (as was evident from watching the game) and Saban did all of those things and the result was a decisive Alabama victory.

  • I wish people would stop saying things like "Kirby is stuck in 2010." The reason: Alabama's initial national titles WERE NOT won by walk-ons who lack Power 5 height, arm strength and skills like Stetson Bennett IV.

    Greg McElroy: 3 star recruit and #11 QB nationally from Southlake Carroll football factory. He passed for nearly 3000 yards for an Alabama team that didn't have anywhere near the talent at WR and TE that UGA does.

    AJ McCarron: nearly 3000 yards with 30 TDs and 3 INTs with 175 QB rating his best year. And again, no superstar WRs really. The 6'4" McCarron was a 4 star recruit, the #5 player from the state of Alabama and the #7 pro-style QB nationally. McCarron had the arm strength to make nearly all the throws and stuck around for 5 years in the NFL.

    Blake Sims: didn't win a title (because Kiffin) but was a 5 star recruit.

    Jake Coker: the last QB before Bama went with more of a wide open offense. On one hand he was only a 3 star recruit and the #18 pro-style recruit nationally. On the other, he was 6'5" with a very strong arm. Had Jameis Winston stuck with his original plan to go to Stanford (or play baseball) instead of FSU, Coker is who would have started for Jimbo Fisher instead. He had 3100 passing yards and 21 TDs.

    There is absolutely no way that a 2 star, 5'10" recruit whose only other offers were Columbia (FBS), Mercer (FBS), Georgia Southern (Sun Belt), Middle Tennessee State (Sun Belt) and Wake Forest (his sole P5 offer ... and for "reasons" they recruit 2 star guys all the time) becomes essentially a 2 year starter for a Saban program, whether it was Michigan State, Alabama or LSU. The closest thing to it was when Saban was forced to play Marcus Randall at LSU in 2004 after a rash of injuries and early exists.

    Even when it a run first (and second) I-formation offense Alabama ran under Gene Stallings, you need a P5 caliber athlete at QB just like you do at the other 21 positions on the field. I know a lot of people bash Smart for choosing Jake Fromm over Jacob Eason and Justin Fields, but Fromm was actually a big time recruit who actually would have signed with Alabama had he not decided to jump ship and follow Kirby for faster playing time.

    But a powerhouse program like UGA that can sign virtually anyone they want from anywhere in the country to give Bennett a scholarship and actually make him the starting QB for 2 years ... it is amazing that more people aren't talking about how incredible that is, and I don't mean in a good way.

    • I'll agree that Rudy being the starting QB is not a good look.. especially when he has 5 stars riding the bench...I wasn't comparing Bennett to former Bama QB's...I meant that Smart thinks he can still beat every team by being a defense first team...in today's game there's gonna be teams capable of scoring on ya no matter how good you are on defense...

  • Desperation? The GOAT replaced Hurts with Tua after halftime in the CFP.

    JT has plenty of time to get ready. Few teams get a mulligan for the CFP. Hope Kirby doesn’t waste it.

      • JT has played multiple games as the starting QB. Tua played mostly in mop up duty in garbage time. In the end SB can’t cut the mustard when it’s crunch time.

  • A 12-team Playoff would be:

    Alabama
    Michigan
    Georgia
    Cincinnati
    Notre Dame
    Ohio State
    Baylor
    Ole Miss
    Oklahoma State
    Michigan State
    Utah
    Pittsburgh

    If you can look at that and say less football is better then you're nuts.

    • So, you put 6 2 loss teams and 1 3 loss team in the playoffs. Why don't you just go ahead and give everyone a trophy and be done with it. So yeah, less football. Why don't you have Houston in there, they only lost 2 games, one to the number 4 team in the country?

      • Ask the Committee those questions donk. This is their list, the same committee who came up with the Top 4. There is no parallel universe where less football is better, no universe where a 4 team playoff is good for the sport. It's only the one in which we live that apparently feels that way. It's dumb.

        • No Donk, the top 4 teams are the playoffs, according to the committee, the rest are playing in Bowl games. You are the one that made it the 12 team playoff.

        • You also fail to mention that it is the only one with 130 members. Each playing 12 teams to add to the data points. It is impossible to reliably pare it down properly, it is also the only group that plays a 12 game schedule, making it close to an NFL schedule. Cut the number of FBS teams to 80, and the schedule to 10 or 11 games to allow for the extra playoff games and keep the 12 best teams requirement.

    • Nice job!

      Although then it would be Oregon, Wisconsin and Wake Forest whining about being left out!

      • Well probably. But the point isn't to get less people complaining about being left out, the point is to have more meaningful football and a lot more interest. If nothing changes other than more football how is that a bad thing?

    • Whatever happened to the days when the purpose of college football was to develop the moral and physical character of the young men who played? At the rate the "playoff" is expanding the college season will be longer than the NFL season which is ridiculous. The bowl system worked. It allowed schools to be generously rewarded and in years when there was no clear cut #1 it allowed multiple teams to say 'we're number one" which kept fan interests peaked.

  • On the UGA defensive line, I am not trying to make anyone mad but, they seem very old school. In plain English they are large overweight, read that as fat, guys that are tough to move, but are gassed after 3 straight plays. It this age of HUNH quick paced offenses, they are dinosaurs. There is a reason you don't see any more Mt. Cody's.

    • They did seem winded/Tired quickly. Bama kept them on the field by running tempo and it seemed to pay off quickly.

    • For teams that aren’t substituting as often as Kirby would like, it definitely throws a wrench in the gameplan.

      Jalen Carter would fit the bill for an every down player but just barely doesn’t make the cut for the same run stuffing ability Wyatt and Davis have (the larger guys as you might point out).

      • It makes me feel better that a UGA fan saw what I saw and does not take my comment as taking a shot at UGA. I am old, so I like old school. It just isn't effective in this age of offense at a breakneck pace.

    • 2nd guessing and critique typically comes after losses. i get it and understand your comments, but i think it's really tough to question the effectiveness of the current personnel on the uga front considering they're a big part of the #3 def in the country against both the pass and rush...even after what they gave up this past wknd.

      maybe it wasn't just a bad game individually, but collectively across the d-line. sluggish play can be contagious...just like energetic and aggressive play. idk....i know i hope saturday was just that...and not a forecast of what a potential second match-up might reveal.

      i personally don't expect many adjustments or personnel changes from the uga staff along the d-line, so we'll see how well they look the next game...and hopefully another game after that.

      • You could be right, but Wyatt was sucking wind in the 1st quarter, and it just got worse. I liked it old school, it just is not going to work well against the up-tempo offenses, when they don't substitute.

      • UGA defensive stats were against 11 teams, none of which loss less than 4 games. Not UGA’s fault as they can only play what is scheduled. Still, I think a lot of us were reading or listening to the rat poison. I certainly was. If a rematch comes it will require a big adjustment to stop that passing attack.

      • UGA better have the chin straps buckled going into the game against Michigan. After finally beating OSU...Michigan is on an emotional and physical roll right now and momentum and self confidence are huge attributes in football. I do believe that this UGA team is overall the best one UGA has had since 1982, but if they plan to get past Michigan (who is very physical and very athletic) and (assuming they beat Michigan) Alabama, Smart will have to do a great job of preparing those kids.

    • That's a very good point. Georgia is phenomenal against the run, with discipline and solid tackling. But for the most part, their pass rush pressures are all based on scheme and not raw individual talent... for all those stars, they don't have that one guy who can take over a game at the edge and disrupt the opponent's passing game.

      Which is why Alabama's offensive line -- which played extraordinarily well -- was so effective. They lost a couple one-on-one battles, but generally anticipated and picked up the stunts and blitzes until Lanning got frustrated and started sending six guys. If he does that the next time Alabama and Georgia meet, though, Young will feast on the blitz.

        • Sounds about right. I suspect if an opponent tries that in the CFP they're going to see the dreaded Alabama quick slant.

        • Exactly! When UGA did what LSU and, especially, Auburn did and rush at least 5.....Young was contained. I was shocked to see UGA stick to rushing 3 or 4 for the overwhelming majority of the game. Then again I was shocked to see Auburn go into a "safe" (i.e. prevent) defense during the last 98 seconds that "prevented" Auburn from defeating Alabama.

    • Jordan Davis runs a 4.8 sec 40. I can't help but laugh when people say he's "another Terrance Cody" (5.7 sec 40 time). The average 40 yard time for NFL DTs is 5.06. 330 pounds accelerating that quickly and coming at you at 17 mph is a frightening prospect.

      • I don’t think they are complaining about his speed as much as his stamina. At his size, how many times can he run the 40 at that speed before running out of gas.

      • Obviously not for Bryce Young. Alabama did a brilliant job putting in a blocking TE who used to be an OT and allowing Alabama to effectively double team UGA's D-Lineman. UGA played into that plan by continuing to rush no more than 4 and quite often 3. Both LSU and Auburn sent 5 and even 6 quite often and overwhelmed Alabama's O-Line.

Published by
Matt Hinton

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