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Georgia Football

Legge's Thoughts: UGA Football Can't Miss Field Goals If they Score Touchdowns

September 17, 2023

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ATHENS -  UGA Football and Kirby Smart limped their way to another win on Saturday. Amazingly, Georgia’s performance was better than what Florida State, Alabama and Tennessee put on the field over the weekend.

If anyone had told you heading into the weekend that Georgia would not perform up to the standard we’ve grown accustomed to, but it would be a worse weekend for those three would you have believed them? 

At the half it looked like Georgia was on the path to losing its first game in a while. South Carolina was ready to play on Saturday from the opening kick. That can’t be said for UGA. Kirby Smart is an excellent coach - the best in college football today. But his team was not ready to play on Saturday. And that’s something he needs to get with his staff about fixing. 

That he’s the best doesn’t mean that there isn’t still room for improvement. South Carolina was ready. Georgia was kicking the opening kickoff out of bounds (of of many kicking errors on the day), and allowing a touchdown on a third and 17 from Spencer Rattler to Antwane Wells. 

Can’t happen. Can not happen. 

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And then Georgia’s offense was moving the ball, but figuring out how not to score touchdowns in the red zone. A 15-play drive that ended at the USC 13 ended in a FG. A 13-yard drive that ended at the USC ten-yard line was another short FG miss. 

Those things take the air out of the stadium. 

Any points are good points. Period. Georgia is missing too many field goals BECAUSE IT IS ATTEMPTING TOO MANY FIELD GOALS, AND ITS PLACE KICKER RIGHT NOW IS NOT GETTING IT DONE

Rattler said after the game that South Carolina should have won - he must be drinking the same kool-aid his fans guzzle in the summers. The Cocks should not have won the game - far from it. But they certainly competed. And Georgia certainly did all it could do to make things hard on itself. To be frank, this is the sort of game Georgia has lost in the past. Too many missed FGs. Too many offensive mistakes. 

And yet Carson Beck, who has yet to earn the love of many or more fans, didn’t turn the ball over, and went 27 for 35 for 269 yards. Beck is playing just fine. And now that Georgia’s powerful run game (44 for 189) has returned, the biggest thing on the entire team to clean up is red zone execution. 

Again, too many missed FGs. But you aren’t even attempting those if you are scoring touchdowns. It sounded tonight like Kirby was going to make some changes in both departments. But it is totally a matter of execution. 

If Georgia converts those two FGs into successful attempts you are talking about a 31-14 win. If you are scoring touchdowns you are looking at 38-14, which would be the lopsided win most expected. 

Georgia will lose at some point this season if they are too dependent on FGs. Missing easy field goals is not going to cut it. Something has to happen there - quick. The Dawgs also seem to be missing on cheap, easy points. That is something that’s going to have to improve as well. We are three games into this, and it seems clear that the defense is legit. But Georgia’s offense is going to have to level up. That might be the wrong way of putting it. They need to play to their ability. 

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When they do that they are the best team in the nation. They also need to close out games better. Saturday was a great example of what they could have done, but it didn’t happen. And yet, even with the stress of the first half behind them, Georgia probably played its best half of the year as a team collectively in the final 30 mins on Saturday. 

South Carolina managed no points, 101 yards and two turnovers. Georgia was 276 yards, 21 points and a win. The Dawgs need to replicate the second half of the USC game as many times as possible this season. If they play like that, the FG miss and three-and-out not withstanding… they won’t lose. 

Its also OK, and allowed by rule in fact, to play like that in the first half. If Georgia goes up 21-0 into the half, and adds a FG with USC scoring a 3rd quarter touchdown with a score under a minute to play in the game… there is nothing to talk about. It would be a ten-point win, but it would be forgotten. 

And UAB was absolutely trashed Saturday night, so that game could be a way for UGA to settle down, execute and continue to get better as the SEC schedule starts to take off in about two weeks at Auburn. 

I’ve seen worse from UGA, but I’ve seen a whole lot better lately. This team is better than it has shown this season. I say that, but that might not be quite the way to put it. They are about what you’ve seen. This isn’t going to be an explosive offense - not right now at least. The SEC isn’t going to be a pushover (it wasn’t last season, either - games with Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee were tests). 

They need to take each game totally seriously; get healthy; and then go play. They are making this harder than it has to be. But I do think you have to give South Carolina a lot of credit. Their coaching staff did a better job than Georgia’s for a time in that game. 

Then halftime came, and the game was totally flipped. Advantage UGA’s coaching staff. Kirby probably adjusts better than anyone in college ball. He’s amazing at it. 

I’m not sure if I know much about college football these days. I got a chance to watch several games Saturday, and I am just puzzled as we move to the quarter-way point in the year. Perhaps there have been overreactions about a lot of teams (UGA folks would never do that with their beloved Dawgs…). 

If I told you UGA’s odds to win it all have gone up of late would you believe me? They have. That’s probably more to do with Alabama and LSU’s fall, but still… I’m not sure I am a great barometer of what is college football right now because I am totally confused with things. 

Literally no one seems to be playing well. 

Florida State was in a total fight with Boston College, and nearly lost that game. Tennessee went to the Swamp and was dominated by the Gators. Colorado was about as fortunate as anyone this weekend to escape with a win. Alabama, which is listed as a touchdown favorite to beat Ole Miss, is in total soul-searching mode… and they continue to look for a quarterback as well. 

Missouri’s thicker kicker is out here nailing 61-yard field goals to win games. 

Texas was totally outplayed by Wyoming until the fourth quarter. Wyoming. Could you imagine being tied with Wyoming going into the final quarter of the game? Frankly, Washington, with its lopsided wins over Boise, Tulsa and Michigan State looks like one of the top five teams in the nation. Penn State has been solid if not spectacular. Notre Dame and Ohio State is going to be a very real fight. The Buckeyes are a field goal favorite at South Bend. I can’t process what the Gators did to the Vols. LSU totally throttled State. Oregon State and Duke continued great starts to the season. Iowa scored over 25 points… amazing. 

But Vegas is telling you all you need to know. They are expecting Georgia to get it right - and are not concentrating on the details of Georgia’s double-digit wins. 

College football teams with three or more double-digit wins this season: 

Georgia, Michigan, Texas, USC, Ohio State, Penn State, Washington, Notre Dame (4), Oregon State, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Duke, Miami, UCLA, 

College football teams with three double-digit wins this season that have also won a league game: 

Georgia, Ohio State, Penn State and Duke. 

We are going to see if Georgia can start playing better at the start of game. We are going to see if Georgia can figure out field goals - that’s a major problem. We are going to see if Georgia’s offense can close in the red zone. 

Those are the problems that are most noticeable right now. Two of them - perhaps all of them - can be fixed by scoring touchdowns rather than attempting field goals. 

You don’t miss field goals when you score touchdowns.

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