From The Field: Clinching the East on the Plains

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From The Field: Clinching the East on the Plains

UGA's Travon Walker (44) with the sack on Tiger QB Bo Nix (10) during the fourth quarter of the Georgia vs. Auburn game on Saturday, November 16, 2019
UGA’s Travon Walker (44) with the sack on Tiger QB Bo Nix (10) during the fourth quarter of the Georgia vs. Auburn game on Saturday, November 16, 2019

That was scary, but Georgia’s defense again saved the day.

Let’s start with that defense. For a unit playing several true-freshmen, Dan Lanning’s charges have done a masterful job against some SEC powers this season. Admittedly, Auburn came back to score 14 points in the second half. Still, considering the amount of time the defense was on the field, any finger-pointing should indict the Bulldog offense. But no one should be looking for failures; the Dawgs just won the SEC East for the third consecutive year by beating an ancient rival on its home turf. Style points don’t count.

As the season has progressed, UGA has developed quality depth in every defensive position group. Under Kirby’s management, at this time in the season, even the true freshmen have gained enough experience for the staff to insert them confidently and expect quality time. Travon Walker, Nolan Smith, and Nakobe Dean are three who jump out. Georgia’s defense will be stout as we head to the SEC Championship game and into next year.

Changing the subject for a moment, the accident involving Chamberlain Smith unfolded before my eyes. I was shooting Brian Herrien through a 400mm lens from about 30 yards away when he ran out of bounds and unavoidable collided with Ms. Smith. Although it was a bang/bang play, and I did not know who had gotten smoked at the time, it was clear that the photographer had taken a severe hit, and she was not moving – speaking of scary moments during that game. When one has a camera to one’s eye – usually with a high magnification lens attached – one’s field of vision is severely limited. I have been hit on the sideline and never saw the player who hit me because I was shooting another player. It is the ultimate tunnel vision. UGA announced later that night that Chamberlain was OK. Hopefully, she will be back on the sideline in Athens for TAMU.

Kirby insists that his players have 24 hours to enjoy a win, but fans should be entitled to, at least, three days of celebration, especially when the victory lands one’s team in a championship game. Let’s enjoy Auburn’s sadness and their shoulda, coulda, woulda excuses – then think about Texas A&M on Wednesday.

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Greg is closing in on 11 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.