It's so good to be back.
You guys have no idea, NO idea how wonderful it was for me to make it to my seats and watch the game unfold below me. Amazing. The only downside was not having my regular seat mate to my left. I miss you Anna.
Pretty good atmosphere for the most part, although it's obvious now that our crowd is really only going to get excited and loud for big games. We never really intimidated UNC the way we're capable of, we just came in and ho-hummed our way through a win. The good news is that we are a top tier team. Even though we played flat and uninspired at times, the difference in talent level between the two teams is apparent. Turns out recruiting does matter.
I'm tempted to give Shaw an A, and I'll probably catch flak for this, but Shaw still misses open reads, still hangs onto the ball too long, and looks to run too early in his progressions. Hey, at this point, we know what we have in Shaw: A tough as nails QB with quick feet, a better than average arm, and one that puts an emphasis on ball security. All the guy does is win. Dylan did what Dylan does, comes in, throws a touchdown, and drops the mic on the way to the sideline. It's a good thing we've got him, because Shaw still hasn't learned to slide.
Booyaka-sha! Mike Davis had quite the coming out party. The guy has incredibly strong legs and legit breakaway speed. Wilds ran like a guy that wants the number one spot and showed tremendous push at the point of contact. Not only that, but both backs blocked well last night, which was my one remaining concern. Although Spurrier wasn't sandbagging last night, we kept one part of our offense in the garage, not throwing to either of these guys last night. We know they can catch, so look for us to unveil that against UGA next week.
With Anderson out and Adams gimpy, the TEs never really got a chance to shine last night. We ran a bunch of 2 TE sets, but didn't really target them in any meaningful way. Drew Owens stepped up and had a pretty good game, but look for the TEs to be more of a factor when Busta heals up. Hey Shaq! Watcha doin there? Catching 65 yard TD bombs? Cool, cool. If someone sees Jody Fuller let me know. Nick Jones is going to be solid, solid, solid for us this year. Hey coaches, Damiere Byrd DOES NOT WANT TO BLOCK, DOES NOT LIKE TO BLOCK. So... how about throwing the screen to him, and letting Jones block next time?
Sweet! Our OL played the way we've wanted them to play for like... forever. Great pass protection (Shaw occasionally took off while the pocket was still viable, it's going to take him some time to trust them) and they absolutely imposed their will on UNC during most run situations. We lined up and blew a smaller line off the ball. Finally. Hey Cody Waldrop, on those crossing delays, you need to engage the LB. Just saying. This was NOT the best D-line we'll face all year, but it's nice to see us do what we're supposed to.
Ugh. They did NOT play like the nation's best defensive line last night. Clowney issues aside (and yeah, he HAD to be sick, there's no WAY he's that out of shape) none of them performed particularly well. Sutton had a decent game, and it was great to see English step up, but this unit needs to get better, in a hurry
. The inside of the line was getting NO push, and allowed themselves to get sealed off too many times. Trust me, UGA is going to run right at us after watching this game film. We're missing big Byron this year (anyone catch him on the sideline) and Surratt needs to step up. Deke rotated everyone ALL night long. Rotated so many that it was hard to tell who the first line group was. Maybe that was it. Maybe they all had JD's stomach bug. Regardless they better fix it before next week or Oh God.
Spurt was right, these guys came to play. There were one or two times they got out of position, but overall this YOUNG unit performed flawlessly, against a great offense. Skai Moore is the real deal. Roberts is going to have a hard time holding on to his starting spot if Skai keeps playing like that. Once he masters his tackling technique he's going to be a beast. Golightly and Diggs did a great job of shutting down UNC's beast TE and did a great job in run support.
Yes, I was a bit worried that DJ wasn't out there. Yes, Legree got abused on ONE play. Other than that, our secondary put the clamps on UNC. Shutting down that passing game is doing something. Test passed.
This is your kicker:
He's 12 years old, broke his leg kicking a fire hydrant after bullies took his lunch money, and his tendons healed in a way that gives him freaky leg strength.
We're a top 10 team and we can't find a kicker outside of a walkon that never kicked a FG past 45 yards in high school. Our kickoffs still consist of waffle cones warbling towards the sideline, or pooch kicks with little height that land at the 10.
Yes, Hampton's our best return guy. That being said, he has another, more important job. Can we let someone else do it?
We did what we were supposed to do, come out and beat UNC in convincing fashion. However, this SHOULD have been a rout. For some reason every now and then our coaching staff seems to go to sleep. It usually happens after a 10 point lead. We could have, and should have, scored 40+ in this game. For whatever reason we took our foot off the gas pedal. Also, is Shaw our best running back? THEN WHY DID HE CARRY THE BALL THE SAME AMOUNT AS WILDS AND DAVIS? Are they trying to get him hurt? Speaking of which, I would have really liked to see Dylan get a series or two in the second half. But hey... we won.
Maybe our coaches are smarter than I gave them credit for. Maybe they realized that with a top 6 ranking and a blowout of UNC our guys would have come into the UGA game over confident. Maybe. All I know is we won, and played extremely well for a season opener.
Our defense showed hints of what it's capable of, and (can't believe I'm saying this) if our D-line plays to it's abilities, we're going to be really, really good.
Next week is big and huge. The important thing to remember is that even if we lose next week, EVERYTHING we want to do is still on the table.
I'd type more but my fingers are KILLING me.
Add your final thoughts below.