Let me start by saying that this game worried me before kickoff, and the first quarter did not help my nerves. Tennessee did an excellent job offensively of taking what the Dawgs defense was giving them. The short throws at or behind the line of scrimmage opened up to single coverage on the deep throws. The defense for Georgia didn’t show up until the second quarter, but when they did, we saw accurate game plan changes and adjustments to stop the Vols all together.
If I had to choose a player of the game for either side, James Cook is the obvious choice. Cook carried the ball only ten times but ran for a total of 104 yards on the ground and two touchdowns and added three catches for 43 yards and another score. Stetson Bennett once again had a great game manager type of showing, not committing a turnover and converting well on third downs.
As stated already, this was not Georgia’s best defensive game, but a lot of that statement is due to just how dominant they have been all year. Tennessee scored 17 points, the most the Dawgs have given up all year. There were good things and several bad things on that side of the ball. The Vols may have exposed a small weakness, but the adjustments made hopefully keep that notion away.
Offensively, I still think JT Daniels is the best option as we advance. Bennett has been great, flashed some excellent decision-making, but still lacks the deep ball threat to make defenses play honestly. You may not see an issue until it’s too late, likely the SEC Championship game. Hopefully, I am wrong, it wouldn’t be the first time, but Daniels opens the playbook a little more and gives Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken more options if they play from behind.
Next week, the Bulldogs host Charleston Southern, which should give us a chance to see some 2nd and 3rd string players all over the field. I hope that all the guys that went down this weekend can rest up and be back full strength for the SEC title game in a few weeks. Look for James Cook to get more touches going forward, and I honestly cannot understand why he doesn’t already get more touches every game. We might also see a season debut for Dominic Blaylock and George Pickens; you never know.