Call me a perfectionist, but I see plenty of room for improvement in Georgia’s 40-13 win over South Carolina. There were some really good things, but still, some errors that you can’t make against an SEC opponent every week and win out. One of the first mistakes of the game was trying to make a substitution and allowing South Carolina to go hurry up and hit a big play down the sideline on their first drive, which only cashed as a field goal. But with that much confusion and being out of place all over the defensive side, someone should have called a timeout. Like I said, call me a perfectionist, but these little things can be costly down the stretch.
I am also quite shocked that Kirby didn’t challenge the Kendall Milton fumble; it looked close to me live and looked like he was downright before the ball came out when viewing the replay. Enough about what I would have done differently; let’s talk about what the coaches did call correctly. We finally got to see our backs in space; I have been screaming at my television all season that we were only running the ball up the middle and not finding success. We finally saw what James Cook could do with a bit of running room, and I was impressed. The receivers did an excellent job of winning against different coverage types this week as well. This was the first game so far that I saw someone not named Brock Bowers be open on a throw of fewer than 15 yards.
Offensively, I think you will see a little more continuity as the season goes on. The Bulldogs are still without their top two tight ends in Darnell Washington and Arik Gilbert and several wideouts in George Pickens and Dominic Blaylock. Getting all of those guys back could be a scary situation for any defense in the country in the future, but just getting our play-making tight ends back will be something to see. The offensive line continues to be inconsistent, but that should go away as the season goes on. This group has new faces at three of the five starting spots from a year ago, and it takes time to mesh as a group and learn to lean on each other.
Defensively, I feel like I am spoiled beyond saving. I was pretty upset that the Bulldogs gave up the touchdown late in the game. My prediction for the score was 31-6 in favor of the Dawgs, and I predicted no touchdowns given up, so naturally, it offended my little ego to give up that late touchdown, but that shows you where this defense is compared to expectations. I haven’t seen a defense get this kind of pressure without blitzing since Kirby Smart was the Defensive Coordinator for Uncle Saban at Alabama. And it’s worth noting that I have said for years, this defense would mirror that of the great championship teams that Alabama has had if they could develop an elite defensive line. Well, this is pretty elite to me, and this entire front seven has the country on notice.
A win is, in fact, a win. I would have liked to have seen things play out differently, but that is where the perfectionist in me comes out. Leaving any game healthy is essential, and I think that was accomplished this week for Georgia. Next week, the gang travels to Vanderbilt, a game that should see similar numbers across the board, and the oddsmakers will probably give Vandy a 35-point cushion.
I look forward to seeing this all play out as the season goes along, and I feel like this might be a special team when the season is over.