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Georgia Football

Giving Thanks for Georgia Bulldogs QB Stetson Bennett

November 18, 2021

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I don’t get all the hate being thrown at Georgia Bulldogs QB Stetson Bennett. Sure, his play isn’t always pretty. He has some poorly-thrown balls each game. He has some misreads. But, he continually finds ways to put the offense in situations to score that leads to wins. And right now the only thing that matters is that W at the end of each game. Period.

Last I checked, UGA has 10 wins - in 10 games. 

A lot of us have heard, or seen the transcript, of Dawg Nation’s Mike Griffith’s take on Bennett. I don’t think I can write the words that came out of my mouth when I saw that, so these will have to suffice. It’s mind-numbingly off base, especially to suggest that Kirby would take Hendon Hooker over Stetson. All the kid does is win.

UGA has the third highest average points per drive (3.58) in the nation, behind only Alabama and OSU. That sounds pretty dang good to me. The net points per drive for UGA, which is a simple math formula where you subtract the defensive points allowed per drive from the offensive points created per drive, is 3.20 which is higher than the No. 2 team (Bama) by almost a full point. This not only speaks to the dominance of the defense, but also to the consistency of offensive production. Stetson has lead the offense over 6 of the 10 games UGA has played, so he’s gotten the majority of the snaps. Did I mention that UGA was undefeated?

Sounds successful to me. 

I have seen multiple takes from multiple “expert” personalities on every sports channel there is. Some agree that Stetson is the guy, while others pine away for the return of JT Daniels. As I wrote prior to the season, I thought that JTD had what it took to “be the man” - and I still do think that.

However, he got Wally Pipp’ed due to injury, not poor performance. All Stetson has done during his time as the starter is win games. He’s had what may be termed as breakout performances as well as ones we would consider sub-optimal. As I stated before, we all see the misreads or poorly thrown balls every game. We see the times where he holds the ball too long. But, he’s also made plays that JTD more than likely would not have made, usually with his legs. Yeah, I want him to tuck the ball a little more firmly when he takes off. But there were at least three plays against Tennessee that either result in a loss of yards or a turnover that Stetson turned into a positive - one for a touchdown. JT doesn’t do that. In short, I don’t think there’s a QB controversy at UGA. Stetson is the starter. He’s playing well enough to get the team behind him, and to win games.

Nothing to see here. 

I’ve also heard the takes about whether UGA can win a shootout with Bama or other potential playoff opponents. My first thought about this is: Have you seen the UGA defense? Do any of us truly believe this defense will forget how to play and give up 35 or more points? And is there a defense out there in the potential playoff pool that truly scares you? Allow me to offer a couple of thoughts here.

First, it does appear that the offense is getting healthy at the right time, especially at the skill positions. Let’s be clear, they’ve done pretty well up to this point of the season. But it wouldn’t hurt to have George Pickens, even at 80%, and Dom Blaylock back and healthy enough to contribute. I’m also anxious to see what Jamaree Salyer’s return to the offensive line will look like. Interior guard play has been inconsistent, at best, all season.

Xavier Truss looked pretty good there Saturday in the place of Warren Ericson. Is the best of the offensive line yet to come? A more solid offensive line performance can only help Stetson, especially with the interior running game. Inside zone is one of UGA’s favorite plays to run because of the pressure it puts on the opponent’s linebacker corps. Getting a better, or more consistent, push in the middle opens the QB keep as well as quick throws to wide open tight ends. It’s a play, or concept, that needs to work for UGA going forward. So, getting healthier on the outside as well as more consistency with the interior line play can only help Stetson going forward.

Finally, I have to rant for a second: We have all waited 41 years for another championship. We are five games away from that opportunity. So why, for the love of all that is holy, are people writing on social media that Stetson needs to get hurt so we can get JT in the game? Why are people like Mike Griffith making vitriolic statements about Stetson?

I, for one, don’t want Stetson playing with a chip on his shoulder. I want him playing with confidence. Playing with a chip on your shoulder leads to trying to do too much in a effort to make a statement or trying to prove people wrong. Stetson needs to have confidence that the entirety of Dawg Nation is behind him.

He’ll play cleaner, and he’ll play within the Monken system that continues to find ways to get into the end zone. I don’t care how sexy the offense looks. All I care about is that we have more points on our side than the other team. We have two regular season games left to refine execution, develop depth, and stay healthy. Then the fun will begin. It’s a great time to be a Dawg fan. And to hell with Mike Griffith. 

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