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Georgia Football

Final Feelings: Must-Read Before Georgia-Mississippi State

November 20, 2020

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Matt’s Final Feelings

Final Feelings are back, and hopefully so are the Georgia Bulldogs this weekend. Last week’s game was postponed, as you know. But Georgia needs to play this game badly for multiple reasons.

The biggest reason is to try and find the quarterback of the future. It’s not Stetson Bennett, and it’s not D’Wan Mathis. It’s time to play both J.T Daniels AND Carson Beck against State. I’m hoping that was the plan for Missouri, too.

The Bulldogs have four games left still, and they should sleepwalk to wins against each team. Georgia could probably attempt zero passes the rest of the year and just run the ball every play and still win each game left on the regular season. Now is the time to play the other quarterbacks, see what you have, and then start to look forward to 2021.

It must be said, too, that the rest of this season is about the seniors and some juniors who have the opportunity to leave early. It’s important those players leave on a winning note after three or four very successful years in Athens.

Now, back to Mississippi State. This team is an absolute dumpster fire right now. They don’t seem “all in” with Mike Leach, and many have already jumped ship his pirate ship and quit on the team. Too many college players are doing that right now, but that’s another story.

Georgia should win this game easily, and on Saturday night, they’ll do it in black jerseys. I’m expecting a big game from Zamir White, James Cook and the offensive line. I’d like to see J.T Daniels show off the arm and try to push it downfield a good bit, but I think Kirby’s going to go with the Kentucky game plan and just run all over State for the victory.

In other news, former Bulldog Anthony Edwards was selected as the No.1 pick in the NBA draft on Wednesday. He didn’t win many games at Georgia, but not many have over the last decade. The University of Georgia is a football school that also excels in tennis, golf, swimming, gymnastics, softball and sometimes baseball. They’re pretty good at riding horses and making them jump over poles, too. And softball.

So there’s zero reason Georgia’s basketball program should be as bad as it is. Too many teams circle the Georgia game as win before the season. Tom Crean has done a fine job on the recruiting trail, but he has to start winning games. Georgia isn’t relevant right now in college basketball, and that’s a damn shame when you look at all of the talent coming out of the Peach State.

Edwards going No.1 will help the program. But Tom Crean has to take that, use it on the trail - and more importantly - turn it into some future wins.

Edwards went No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft. What about the  2021 NFL draft? Do you see any Bulldogs going in the first round?

Will Richard LeCounte be healthy enough for someone to use a first round pick on him? Tyson Campbell has played himself out of the first round this year, but his speed and length alone should get him drafted in the first three rounds. But first round? I don’t see it.

What about Eric Stokes? Right now, he seems like the most likely first-rounder. He has NFL speed, he’s got decent size, and he has a knack for the football. 

Azeez Ojulari has first-round potential, but I don’t see it happening if he comes out early in 2021.

Is Jordan Davis still a first rounder after this year? He’s one of the league’s best players when he’s healthy, but unfortunately, he’s never consistently healthy. I’m not sure I risk a first-round pick on him right now. 

A few others like Monty Rice, Ben Cleveland and Tre McKitty could be drafted, but it won’t be early on. My point is that if Georgia wants to get on Alabama’s level, not only do they have to win national championships in the fall, but they need to produce first-rounders in the spring on a yearly basis. The Bulldogs have excellent drafts and first-rounders here and there, but they aren’t producing them like the Tide. 

That’s more talk for the future, but Georgia needs to focus on the present, and they need to play this game and beat down Mississippi State to get back to their winning ways. 

Dylan’s Final Feelings

For those of you who have spoken to me or heard me speak, you know how big a fan of Mike Leach I am. For years, the man turned decent quarterbacks into record breakers, offenses into unstoppable juggernauts and consistently had a defense softer than butter.

When he came to the SEC, the amount of texts I received from friends was overwhelming. Overall, everyone was excited for me. They knew this was a dream come true for me. When K.J. Costello signed on board, that was a cherry on top. 

That dream though has ultimately floundered. Mississippi State is bad.

They started off with so much promise, beating LSU in a shootout in Baton Rouge. Then, to follow up, they dropped four straight games: Arkansas, Kentucky (where they only put up two points), Texas A&M and Alabama (where they couldn’t muster up a single point).

They then got a tight win over Vanderbilt, and now have Georgia this weekend, where Leach will lose his fifth game this season, his fourth by double-digits. He may have more passing yards in the matchup, but how much is he going to get out rushed by? I think it could be something astronomical; Georgia may have five or six times the amount of rushing yards that Leach puts up this weekend.

I guess part of that will also depend how this Georgia defense will do against Mississippi State. Personally, I have no concern that they are about to stop almost everything at the line. 

For guys like Zamir White, James Cook and other running backs—this should be a field day. It won’t be a matter of finding the hole. There will be multiple for them. This Georgia offensive line has been good all year, and this Mississippi State defense might be their easiest matchup of the season. Give me the Dawgs in this one 34-6.

As for the Horns…

I won’t lie to y’all—I’m getting fatigued writing about Texas. They’re winning their games right now, sure, but it’s all by the slimmest of margins. I watch their games, telling everyone with certainty that they will find a way to lose. For three weeks, they haven’t.

But I won’t give in. They’re just waiting for me to put my guard down so they can slap me right in the face with a loss. Well, just as many of y’all are ready for the Falcons to blow fourth quarter leads, I am prepared for the Horns to blow a game they shouldn’t. I’m prepared for them lose all games.

That includes their bye-week. They will lose this week. That might not reflect in UT’s (They are UT, not those hillbillies) record, but it will show when they face Big 12 leader Iowa State, who lost to Louisiana-Lafayette to open the season. Yes, the Big 12 is that bad. I’ll save those thoughts for next week, though. Until then, just know Texas is not winning their off-week.

Dean’s Final Feelings

Another week later into the season, and it is becoming harder to keep up with the calendar. Usually we have games like Auburn and Georgia Tech in November. Not this year. 

My equilibrium is totally off. Its like I’m in one of those astronaut machines where they spin you all around. Then you try to get out and walk straight for ten yards. I think I can do the ten yards, but it’s not going to be in a straight line. 

I spent all of last Saturday watching college football - all the way to Washington’s first game of the season against Oregon State. This season is a mess. Not much is making sense. We are getting games delayed, canceled or postponed. 

Frankly, Georgia needs to play. It needs to play all four of the games it has remaining one way or another if they can be played. Folks are losing interest. There’s not a lot of interest in general in sports right now, and getting knocked out of the season took a knife to the front tires of the car that is this 2020 Georgia season.

Not that the vehicle was moving very fast. 

Georgia’s offense is lost, and has been since the late 3rd quarter in Tuscaloosa. The lack of production from quarterback has made for a very grumpy bunch of Dawg fans. Something is going to have to happen there. I’m not sure what the future holds, but Kirby needs to roll someone else out there just to see what you’ve got in the program right now. 

What we’ve seen can not continue. 

You know what you have in Stetson Bennett - particularly a healthy Stetson. You know where you are at right now with D’Wan Mathis as well. Frankly, I expected more from him this season, but that was relying on heresy from folks like David Pollack, who seemed fully sold on his ability. 

This is where not being able to see any practices really has hampered those of us in the media, and fans, frankly. We’ve not been able to fill in the cracks. It has been hard to fully understand what’s going on. 

There’s no way Kirby Smart, crazy person that he is, wants to be in this position with his offense. I don’t want to be overweight. I don’t wan to be in this position. But it is what it is. The good news for both of us is that there’s something we can both do about it. He can go get another signal caller, and I can go run - or eat fewer numb numbs. 

As you know: I’m not eating fewer numb numbs. So, in order to change, I will have to get back producing sweat during exercise. 

I should add that I went all of the fall of 2018 without eating French Fries. It didn’t accomplish much. I decided to do it because I wanted to see if I could do it, and I did. Take that Ronald McDonald. I’m not aware, however, that I lost weight. I used to keep up with my weight on an every day basis. I know that if I ate Mexican the night before I would gain weight almost no matter how much I worked out the day before. I’m not sure why that is. 


Back to Kirby and Georgia - if you are reading this weekly feature on Dawg Post you know that we believe in nuance. And therefore, I feel like I need to recap how we wound up in this place on offense. 

First, Kirby and crew lost Jake Fromm early to the NFL. Then Kirby hires Todd Monken to run the offense. A couple of days later he got Jamie Newman, who was widely panned as the top transfer QB in college football. March welcomed (welcomed is certainly one way to put it) COVID-19 into our midst. 

No spring football for the Dawgs, but another QB, this time former 5-star USC starter JT Daniels transferred to UGA. But he has been recovering from an ACL injury. Still no practices of any kind until the late summer. 

August arrives with real practices starting. Newman opts out for COVID - that’s the official word at least. Daniels isn’t cleared, and Kirby and them know he won’t get cleared before Fayetteville. So someone else is going to need to start and play. Mathis starts getting a lot of reps as the No. 1 in practice. We start hearing about his prowess and throwing a ball through a car wash without it getting wet. Expectations start getting set. 

Mathis starts against Arkansas, and after he gets tagged pretty hard running the ball everything starting to fall apart. We are nearly at the half, and Georgia’s scored on a safety. It feels like the Dawgs could lose to lowly Arkansas. Here comes the Mailman. You know the rest. 

Kirby Smart, did all he could do in the offseason to be ready at quarterback. What he could not possibly have seen coming was Newman just plain checking out. I can confirm that the coaching staff was surprised by Newman’s move. They didn’t see it coming. 

So in a season where a program changed the offensive coordinator and lost its “starting” quarterback for the season, it can’t be surprising that the program struggled at that spot. 

So I have spent the last few weeks asking people I know who have a brain about football: Is this a systemic issue, or an isolated one? 

That’s the question. When you look at the 2021 depth chart at QB for the Dawgs they are scheduled to have two five-star signal callers on the roster.

How many teams have that in the nation? How many will have that in 2021? Usually 5-star prospects pan out about half the time. Needless to say, Kirby has an eye for talent. In his four years as head coach he’s signed three 5-star QBs, had one transfer in and will sign another in about a five weeks. 

Again, is this systemic issue, or is this a problem this season? Can we really say it is isolated to UGA that 5-star QBs transfer? The weapon Kirby needs to add to his impressive armory is development at that spot. He’s not a quarterback developer. I am going to let you in on a secret - neither is Dabo Swinney or Nick Saban. And yet, those two have brought folks in to handle that for them. 

The reality is that Kirby made a mistake going with James Coley in 2019 as offensive coordinator. That was the biggest mistake in 2019, and it set up an issue in 2020 because of what has happened in 2020. That was Kirby’s mistake. The constant sniping about not starting Justin Fields - OK, that’s great and everything, but he left before he was going to be ready to start at UGA. No one in their right mind picks him over Fromm before or during the 2018 season. 

It just doesn’t happen. It would have been the wrong move. Period. 

Moving forward, the program will need to continue to develop the guys they have at that spot knowing that guys will leave. That’s the missing thing right now. Mathis should be further along than he is right now. He’s the one guy that’s so very raw, and had to have development. 

Again, I call Kirby a crazy person in a non-insulting way. Now, there are crazy people… yes, they exist. You had girlfriends in college, and let’s be honest… you weren’t really sane at that point, either. 

The crazy I am describing with UGA’s head coach is that he’s extremely driven to win. Period. He’s not always right, and he’s still learning how to grow a program. But what I don’t have much doubt about is his drive to get it right. The magic, however, is doing exactly that. And you don’t have it until you have it. 

Magic is the wrong way to put it. Lining up all the moving parts to win the right games is a better way of putting it. Kirby’s record in top-ten games speaks for itself. 

Kirby will be judged on if he wins it all. He’s not got any institutional blocks - that is to say nothing at UGA is in his way. This is about finding the right quarterback to get the job done. That person doesn’t have to be a 5-star gunslinger. There are any number of different ways to win it all as a quarterback. What’s working right now might not work in two years. 

Keep in mind that with all of the excellent quarterbacks in college football right now, and all of the excellent play at quarterback right now in the sport - all of those guys are leaving in January. Justin? Gone. Trevor? Gone. Trask? Gone. Mac Jones? Probably done, but we will see. Ian Book? Gone. Kellen Mond? Gone. 

College football is about to see some major turnover at the most important spot on the field. 

I don’t know - I feel like I know less about quarterbacks right now than I ever did. All of these guys can throw - all of them - but can they play quarterback? 

Still… I will say this: I would start with as many 5-star players as possible at QB and take it from there. If they transfer they transfer. If you go all of the way with a 3-star that’s fine, too. There are no set rules here. Nick Saban waited until after halftime of the CFP NCG to throw Tua into a meaningful moment. That won it all for him. If that had not happened Alabama would have one fewer national title, and Tua would have transferred.

One other thing, until Kirby hoists the national championship trophy he’s going to be dinged for Justin transferring. Again, we are about nuance here at Dawg Post. No one would have started Fields over Fromm in 2018. It is what it is.

Doesn’t matter. 

The only thing that matters for Kirby is getting it right a few times from here on out and delivering the national title this program has figured out how to lose too many times. And he’s going to have his chance to do just that in the near future. 

It’s up to him.

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