From The Field: Georgia vs. South Carolina

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From The Field: Georgia vs. South Carolina

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Turnovers! Turnovers and penalties! Erratic passing and dropped balls! Don’t blame the refs, or look any further than the play on the field. The simple fact is, Georgia has to exit the locker room and play like a champion every week. The Bulldogs are going to get everyone’s best shot every week, and that is especially true of a conference rival and next-door neighbor like South Carolina. Saturday afternoon should have driven this point into the mindset of the program. We’ll see if the message takes root.

Eli Wolf (17)
Eli Wolf (17)

To me, the first inkling that the Gamecocks might not be getting the full attention of the Dawgs was the Dawg Walk. Players always greet their families in the tunnel as they enter Sanford, but for most of the walk, their expressions and body language are deadly serious. Focus and eagerness for the upcoming battle are the order of the day. This week struck me as different. Smiles, relaxed banter, and confident strolling had replaced the usual stern continence.

I don’t want to turn this into a Jake Fromm hit piece, so let’s go with understatement and say that he had a crappy day. The interceptions hurt, obviously, but his passes seemed to be slightly off-target all-day. Of course, Fromm has won a ton of games for UGA over his career. If anyone deserves to be given a pass on a bad day, he is certainly deserving.

Rodrigo Blankenship (98)
Rodrigo Blankenship (98)

I like to think of myself as an optimist. That glass is half-full, you know. This morning, however, I’m at about a four on the euphoria/depression scale – with one being ‘just-won-the-natty’ and ten being ‘Georgia-went-0-and-12.’ The only thing keeping me from moving past five is my faith in Kirby Smart and his leadership of the program. Sure, a great staff gets its team ready to play every week, and there is evidence that UGA’s preparation for the Gamecocks fell short of the mark. However, I’m willing to write this one off as an aberration and trust that Kirby will get the ship righted and back underway – immediately.

Kentucky will be coming to Athens next Saturday. Unless Georgia puts the South Carolina loss out of its mind and plays winning football, the visiting Wildcats are capable become the next team to embarrass the home team – on homecoming.

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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.