It should come as no surprise that Georgia is already making waves on a national scale in college football. In Week One, the Dawgs came out firing against Clemson and put the rest of the football world on notice, at Clemson by the way. The performance will be one to watch over the season, especially when it comes to what the Tigers do on the field.
The Dawgs followed up the win at Clemson with a thrashing of UAB. Now, one of the most interesting parts of that win came in the form of backup QB Stetson Bennett, who was thrust into the role as JT Daniels dealt with an injury. The shocking part were the 5 TDs that Bennett threw and his accuracy, not the final score. So, as coaches at Georgia worried about the health of the starting QB, the Dawgs went out and put up a great defensive performance. Turns out, this is a defense that could potentially lead them to a Playoff spot, and one that has already destroyed one SEC opponent, as South Carolina learned the hard way.
Even during the Week Three game against the Gamecocks, you witnessed a ferocious defensive line that should cause problems for just about every team on the Georgia schedule. Kirby Smart spoke about the consistency of his defense on Thursday, after they gave up only up 296 total yards against South Carolina last Saturday.
"They play hard. They play with effort. They are good football players. I mean UAB ran the ball on us really well. We have to be able to play with a lot more consistency in what we are doing. We have to be able to mix that at a rate that we don’t give up explosive passes like we did last week. You can’t be good at one thing. You have to be good at both, and we’re not. We are functioning at one or the other each week and not both. That is what our goal is."
As for the Georgia offense, well, that centers around JT Daniels. The quarterback returned from injury against the Gamecocks and looked comfortable in the process. He finished the game 23-31 for 303 yards and 3 TDs with 1 interception. The best part about his performance was his ability to exit early, after building up the lead. You can tell by listening to Daniels that he doesn’t take the opportunity to start at Georgia for granted, as he mentioned this week:
"I just continue to take it day by day. …When I look back, I see a lot of growth on my part. Significantly in terms of my leadership, my ability to develop connections with the whole team. I’ve gotten a lot better with that. I think I have gotten significantly better in terms of understanding the game of football, and it helps coming to a new league. It is very different schematically, offensively, and defensively. But in terms of what is left, I am just going to keep taking it week by week. Always have, always will. That is a big emphasis for us. I am fully focused on Vanderbilt, the Vandy game we got on Saturday. I am not worried about what comes after that."
The Dawgs (-34.5 on FanDuel) should have an opportunity to clean up any kind of problems this weekend when they travel to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt. I would imagine Kirby Smart would like to get his starters out by the 3rd quarter, and after watching the Dores, I suspect this shouldn’t be an issue.
The main concern is coming out of this game healthy, as the schedule gets a bit tougher following the the trip to Music City. The Dawgs will play Arkansas, at Auburn, Kentucky and then play the Florida Gators in Jacksonville. So, if they want to get some areas cleaned up, Saturday would be the right time to do it.
This team has the opportunity to make a serious run at the College Football Playoff, just as long as they keep bringing the chaos on defense and are consistent in their offensive attack. This just might be the year of the Dawgs, though we’ve heard that before. It’s time to prove it.