There is not much left to say about the football game in Oxford, MS. Ole Miss kicked Georgia’s butt all over the field on both sides of the ball. It would be helpful to have some viable excuse, but the fact is that Georgia was out-coached and outplayed in all aspects of the game.
What fans take away from the game will be determined to a great degree by their notions about the team going into the contest. Kirby Smart has been telling us since the day he arrived that his team has a size and talent deficit to make up and in college football that shortcoming can only be made up through recruiting. It is going to take time. Just how much capital Kirby has with the fanbase is to be determined, but blow-outs like Saturday are sure to try their patience.
The biggest takeaway for me was the attitude of the team. They were getting their heads handed to them all day, but they did not quit. The team played until the final whistle. During the second half, I started watching the Georgia bench carefully. Nothing signals a team that is not buying into the message of the staff more than an inattentive bench, and I never saw it. It was obvious that the Dawgs were not going to come back to win the game but the coaches kept teaching, and the players kept listening and working. Sure, they were disappointed, and there were some long faces, but they did not cash it in and stop trying.
The coaching staff had a tough job after their team got behind in the game but they kept on coaching and teaching. Screaming at players who are being overwhelmed on the field is usually counterproductive and, to their credit, the staff kept it positive and tried to move forward during the game and establish a basis for future success. Jacob Eason, for example, spent almost all of his time between possessions being coached by offensive coordinator Jim Chaney. They huddled after each series with Chaney giving the young quarterback immediate feedback.
The fact that Georgia fans, especially those sitting the southeast corner of the stadium, stayed and cheered for their team throughout the second half was noticed on the UGA bench. It was a very hot day, and one might have expected those in red and black begin to retire to a cooler environment after the score got ugly, but they stayed and supported their team.
The game in Athens next Saturday is far more important to the Dawgs. Let’s hope Georgia is ready for the invasion of the orange-clad visitors who have already knocked off Florida.