My Take (ND at UGA)
Han Vance on Georgia football: Just win, baby!
That’s first and foremost. Winning is the great tonic which covers the otherwise harsh vodka or gin taste of mistakes made. And make no mistake about it: everybody makes mistakes…often. They can explain it away all they want, but a bad decision (the fake field goal at LSU, the fake punt at Atlanta) is one.
An afterward overanalyzed moment, when Kirby seemed to be clinching too tightly again in a contest of seemingly equal sides, the aborted giving of the football to Jake Fromm to make a play on 4th and one, after he had trucked two Golden Domers for nine tough yards, after two Notre Dame stuffs of predictable AF straight ahead runs, was not the key mistake of this contest.
But what message does that send your offense, Kirby? …They can’t get a yard when it is needed.
For the record: yes, getting three end-result meaningless points there was ultimately enough to prevent the still-feared scenario of overtime in the state of Georgia, and no that type of imposter syndrome decision won’t ultimately lead to the erection of any statues. That’s not big boy football.
Run is not working straight up the middle anymore? Toss sweep is what built this city, that and rock-n-roll. How about a tight end slant, with Charlie Woerner falling down for a single yard with the ball where only he can get it. Jake needs to be trusted more. You want to rely on your defense? You’d need them if the play did not work. Don’t take the ball out of the hands of the steadiest force in Athens.
Enough about that one questionable decision. To me it is more about what it shows, anyway.
Circa 2019, teams need to score and score often to beat the best competition, more than half the time. Notre Dame may or may not be the best Georgia sees this year, as you have to win more to even get to the great teams in consecutive games. But they will probably be the best team to visit Athens, where Georgia should be able to win out for a third-straight year behind the fans. WE RULE!
They jumped offsides seven times, which has to equal some points off the board. The great “havoc” rate discussed to tears showed Georgia get zero sacks Saturday, after 12 in three early blowouts. If this same meeting played out at a neutral site or say a similarly big game in The Jungle, would Georgia win?
Jake Fromm should be calling his own plays. He is waiting for the plays to get in, seeing if they are right, then an audible situation often occurs. Take out the middleman. Fire nobody. You older guys get him ready during the week, between drives; let him call the game. Great field generals like Jake have often been allowed to do this in college football by the smartest head coaches. Jake knows offense. He’s plenty conservative and run-oriented by nature, often switching into runs at the expense of his stats anyway. So, you wouldn’t have to worry about him going all old-BYU and slinging it. It’s time for Jake to lead this team, beyond when needed in clutch situations. Smart CEOs delegate.
I’m still not convinced we aren’t being led by basically a great recruiter/ stellar defensive coordinator/CEO. Why? Because we are. Kirby has his strengths…and weaknesses. Look at the point total all-talented best-recruits-ever Georgia has mustered in recent games with top 10 opponents: 23 versus ND (barely won); 21 versus Texas (lost but made it look closer than it really was); 28 versus Bama (but we yielded 35 in a choke). 1-2. No 17-year-old can fix that, later. It’s a now-problem, for a head coach.
The team is scoring 42 points per contest this year, but we are living in a cupcake-filled fantasy. 23 points at home is not close to College Football Playoff championship level football, y’all. We are looking a bit like Alabama of the 1970s, which is a great thing to be, until time runs out on you.
Fromm had one incompletion in the first half, on a busted protection jailbreak. The UGA team had only three possessions that half and mustered just seven points. A better opponent could have had Georgia down by two touchdowns or more, when you would have been able to hear my pen drop in Sanford Stadium.
Throwing to Swift out of the backfield was not working for much net gain as the – I told you they would be – whole Notre Dame team was extremely well prepared and tackled especially well. As predicted, the fact that the game was at 8 p.m. at night and on a day that was 10 degrees below the daytime temperatures in the weeks before, and still after, it is going to be almost 95 in ATL tomorrow, was an extreme advantage for the heartland-based road team. They came in having won 15-of-16 games with a better record than Georgia over the last two years, a period in which Georgia won 11 or more in consecutive seasons for the first time in UGA’s football history (since 1892)…unrelated: 1785 forever!
Ian Book came in 11-1 as a starter and schooled a Georgia in the first half expecting him to pull it down and run. Instead, he simply scrambled and threw to open targets. Georgia powered through without its top two cornerbacks admirably enough, but why was the middle of the field so open? Because it always is in college football (pro too, by the way). This is where I envisioned Issac Nauta the last two years.
The reason the Georgia defensive coaches were so utterly unprepared for Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet was because it was his first game healthy enough to play this year; early Brian Kelly out-schemed them. The reigning AP Coach of the Year trusted his team to make tackles in space, which they did, holding Georgia’s best weapon to a still successful 98 yards (Swift) rushing. Their tight end had about 110.
The D stiffened. Fromm made the key plays, when allowed. Georgia won the game. I predicted 20-19 Georgia and it was 23-17, so I’m overall very pleased: it was less than I thought they would score and more than I thought we would score. Any win works.
Senior Tyler Simmons is a drastic downgrade from Mecole Hardman, an All-SEC punt returner. And too much dink and dunk football is a poor counterpart to power football because the box stays too full.
Otherwise, the talent is in place to make a run at the CFP. Jake will lead the way.
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