Two weeks ago when they announced the time for Saturday’s game a friend who is a USCjr fan texted me. My response was, “Oof. Trap game.”
I’ll be honest, I thought we’d struggle early but eventually end up winning by 14 or so. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d lose. And yet, the unthinkable happened and Dawg fans are reeling talking about how we should fire the whole staff and start over. I even saw a few people talking about people jumping to the transfer portal.
Dawg fans gonna Dawg fans. You know… be more dramatic than middle school girls.
Regardless, Saturday was atrocious from every angle. I’m not sure there is one positive to take away from the game. Fromm was bad. Rodrigo was bad. The offensive line was bad. The coaching staff was bad. The defense only gave up ten points. But, they were bad because the whole day was bad. And yet, it’s not hard to see how we got here.
The signs were out there. The way I see it, football is composed of scheme, talent, and physicality. The team that has it all is the team that usually ends up winning the whole thing. For most of the season, Georgia has relied on talent and physicality. We’ll take the Tennessee game for an example. For the first quarter, Tennessee was the better football team. They had a better scheme and were playing physical football. Defensively, Georgia adjusted and shut down the UT offense. From there, UGA’s physicality and talent were simply too much for the Vol’s. However, there was nothing spectacular about the way the offense played. Eventually, the “bully ball” mentality was gashing the Volunteer defense. UGA didn’t have to scheme anything. They just had to outlast the Volunteer team.
Much has been said about the slow starts this UGA team has had this year. It’s not hard to see why. Every team UGA plays is going to give them everything they got. Their coaches are going to exploit every small chink in the armor. As we have seen, UGA plays the rope-a-dope and lets the other team exhaust themselves and eventually runs away from the game because of their physicality (and endurance) and talent.
But the question has always been, what happens when UGA’s physicality is matched by the other team? Well, we turn to schemes and talent. This past Saturday, the talent failed and the scheme wasn’t adjusted. UGA turned the ball over four times and kept trying to run the ball right at a USCjr team that wasn’t going to back down.
It’s hard to say exactly where the blame falls. The coaches made some stupid decisions but the players have to execute. If you take back two plays, we aren’t having this conversation. I will say this when the bully ball approach isn’t working, you have to be willing to adapt. Heck, put Swift, Cook, and White all in the backfield at the same time and put Fromm on the bench. Attack the edges. Spread ’em out and go up the middle. Do something to get the other team off balance.
The bottom line is this: when the talent wasn’t performing the coaches couldn’t or wouldn’t adapt.
I do think UGA is a better football team than what we saw on Saturday. It remains to be seen how much better. Kentucky will give us some clues this weekend. If we start out slow and eventually pull away then we may be in for some more games like last weekend. If we can control the game from front to finish, make some explosive plays, and leave no doubt, we might just turn this thing around.