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Georgia Football

Why I’m a Believer in These Georgia Bulldogs

October 5, 2021
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Ok, I’ll admit it. I showed up to Saturday’s game nervous. I thought Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs would win, but I also thought that the Arkansas offense may give us some challenges. I also truly believed that we would need JT Daniels, and his computer-like brain, to find the holes in the Hog defense. I thought we’d win, but not until later in the game. And, boy, was I wrong. 

Walking out of a buzzing Sanford Stadium, the only thing going through my mind was the old Monkeys song “Now I’m a Believer”. I was part of a raucous crowd that truly impacted the contest. When I do attend a game (maybe 2-3 times per season based on where my Air Force wife is stationed) I spend most of the time watching and evaluating what I see. Of course, I cheer when we do something well. Saturday, though, I got caught up in the fervor that was the capacity crowd and yelled my butt off. I left the stadium hoarse and with my ears ringing. My grandson, who was with me, now wants to attend UGA. He got caught up as well! But I digress….for those at the stadium Saturday, we were truly elite, as Kirby asked us to be. The team fed off that energy. The Hogs felt it from the beginning. And truly, the game was over after the first TD drive. And they knew it. 

Now, back to the believing part. When you look at the remaining teams on the schedule, not one of them should scare you. Auburn? Please. Here’s a ranking of their opponents and the overall defensive ranking:

Akron – 125
Alabama State – FCS
Penn State – 3
Georgia State – 93
LSU – 63

While the Penn State defense is “highly” ranked, the gap between Georgia and PSU is significant. Auburn, with their 11th ranked offense (by points per game), has seen nothing like what will hit them squarely in the mouth on Saturday. This defense is not only talented but plays with speed and energy. And they play together. The Kirk Herbstreit piece Saturday on the defense was telling. Each player talked about connection and how they aren’t concerned with statistics. And it shows. They cheer for each other, even when not on the field. The defense is complementary, and they play for each other, the team as a whole, their school, and this crazy fanbase. They don’t care about anything but shutting down the opposing team and winning. I didn’t see a shutout happening Saturday. And I was way wrong. And I’m so bought in to this defense now.

I’m also bought in to the offense. Yeah, I’m concerned about JT Daniels’ injury, as we all should be. But what we saw Saturday was a clinic in offensive game planning. With the Hogs dropping 8, Todd Monken KNEW his offense could run. And run they did to the tune of 273 yards. The offensive line, which had struggled at times, played very well against an athletic front. They played bully ball and made Arkansas like it. I’ll admit I wasn’t enthusiastic when I learned that Stetson Bennett IV would start. I love his story, and he’s a DGD. But is he a championship quarterback? Probably not. But, with a true genius offensive coordinator, he doesn’t have to be….right now. Auburn will present some challenges when UGA has the ball. But after watching what the offense did Saturday, I’m a believer that, regardless of who is taking the snaps, that Monken will have a plan, and it will be executed. It may not be sexy, but the only thing that matters right now is that it wins games. The need for sexy will come later, and I definitely believe the Dawgs need JTD in order to do that. But I also believe now, completely, in Monken’s ability to get the most out of the offense regardless of who starts, and his gameplan and adjustments will be on point and on time.

Like many, I have very bad and recent memories of Dawg letdowns. 2014 South Carolina. 2018 LSU. 2019 South Carolina. I also have the inner “Larry Munson” syndrome. Saturday’s outcome has somewhat quelled those long-held idiosyncrasies that afflict many a UGA fan. While I don’t think that the final seven regular season games will be a cakewalk, I do believe that we’ll see a 12-0 UGA squad in the SEC Championship game. This team hits you in the mouth and then steals your soul. You can see the palpable connection this team has with each other and their coaches. You can feel the energy and belief the players exude on game day. This team is good. Like really good. Potentially great. Historically great. And each week that goes by proves to me this team is different. A 93.4% stop rate helps with that. A 57.4% third down defense will do that. 273 rushing yards against the #8 team in the nation while playing your backup quarterback will do that. To quote the Monkeys, “I’m a believer, I couldn’t leave her if I tried”.

 

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