My Big Takeaways From Georgia v. Clemson
photo credit: thestate.com
Saturday night’s Georgia-Clemson matchup was a heavyweight fight and that’s the only way to describe it. The Bulldogs came out on top 10-3, thanks to Christopher Smith’s pick-six in the second quarter. The defensive lines for both teams dominated, and both quarterbacks looked to be very confused for most of the game. Hats off to Brent Venables and Dan Lanning for their tremendous game-planning.
My Big Takeaways
Georgia looks to finally have the pass rush it’s needed. Kirby Smart’s defensive lines since he took the job at Georgia have always been good at stopping the running game, but they have lacked the ability to get to the quarterback which has haunted them in recent big-time matchups. This year may be different though, as the Bulldogs were able to sack D.J. Uiagalelei SEVEN times.
Don’t worry about the secondary. The defensive backfield was my biggest concern coming into this game for Georgia. They had plenty of talent but didn’t have much collective playing experience; and without West Virginia transfer Tykee Smith, who was going to be the anchor of that group, I wasn’t sure what to expect. They blew me away. Other than one big pass play and a couple of pass interference calls, they played lights out. Derion Kendrick, Kelee Ringo, Latavious Brini, and of course Christopher Smith all made outstanding plays against a talented wide receiver room. A few of the sacks should be credited to them as well when they forced DJ to hold the football for longer than he wished.
Offensive struggles are a concern, but the game plan was most likely pretty conservative. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken was well aware of how good the opposing pass rush was and he wasn’t going to let J.T Daniels hold the ball for very long. From the start of the game, it was apparent that they were going to rely on the short passing game and of course, the run. Don’t forget the number of offensive weapons out due to injury; J.T didn’t have access to his full armory. Once the defense showed that it was going to dominate, there was no reason for them to get aggressive and risk making a mistake. I’m not concerned about J.T’s ability or decision-making and neither should you. Over the next few weeks, I think Monken will open up the offense and show us what they can do.
Special teams are going to be…well special. Jake Camarda was the MVP of the first half with his punts and Jack Podlesny nailed the only field goal he had to make. Gotta clean up punt coverage a little, but Georgia is going to be solid in this category.