Georgia “haters” exist. I know many of them, fans of less successful programs who are jealous of Georgia’s success and always find a way to criticize the Dawgs. “40 years,” they say, 40 years since Georgia has won a national championship, but I ask them, “Though we have not won a national championship, when was the last time your program was competitive?” I am 30 years old. I have been a Georgia fan my whole life, and Georgia has been a contender for most of those years.
I said Georgia would beat Clemson. I called the game in my last pre-game analysis near dead-on accurate. Haters said, “No, Clemson will dominate Georgia.” Well now that the game is over what do you think they say now? “Clemson’s offense was terrible, Georgia’s offense is terrible, neither are a top 5 team.” My response is that they are missing a few key points.
First – Clemson’s offense will dominate in the ACC. What you saw was the stellar Georgia defensive line making it impossible for Clemson to run any of the dynamic plays you expected to see from them (Clemson). You saw 5-star quarterback DJ Uiagalelei rendered impotent by the constant pressure of the Georgia defensive line. You saw a quarterback prized for his ability to scramble sacked 7 times. DJ was forced to make quick, short throws to his check down man, which in turn was swallowed up by Georgia’s stellar linebacker corp.
Second – Georgia’s offensive struggles have been overstated. Clemson has one of the top-ranked defensive lines in the nation. Georgia was able to get the run game going toward the end of the game, but it was tough to go up against Clemson’s line. The Georgia receivers were up against a highly experienced Clemson secondary. Not to mention, skill players like Dominick Blaylock, Darnell Washington, and Kearis Jackson were injured and unable to play, but they will soon return to the offense.
Offenses often struggle in the first few weeks of the season due to a key factor, timing. In practice, the offense can not duplicate the opponent’s defense completely accurately. In-game time, they are going full speed, running plays against quality defenses that will take advantage of any offensive misstep. Timing on the line, the receivers, the running backs, etc., all must be in sync with each other to maximize the potential for a successful drive. Both Clemson’s and Georgia’s defenses were both too good for the offense to succeed when not everyone executed properly. As Kirby said, “It is not a lack of ability.” When asked about the missed executions of offenses players, and also said “The greatest jump you can make is from game one to game two.”
Thirdly, there was an injury on the line, Tate Ratledge, on the first drive that caused a position shuffle. Warren Ericson, a center, came in to replace Ratledge at Guard. Even with this shuffle, which probably what prevented Georgia from running big plays, they only allowed 1 sack. Georgia has depth at offensive line. You can expect improvement in big plays once they find a solution to the Ratledge injury.
The solution is coming – Saturday.
Georgia’s special teams looked great, other than the one mistake. Clemson punted, the ball hit Kendall Milton’s foot, and Clemson recovered the ball in excellent field position. the Tigers were unable to capitalize on this turnover,
Issues with the Georgia offense are being overstated, partly because of perception. Georgia’s offense did not “look good”. That doesn’t mean that they weren’t good. They were ineffective against a stellar Clemson defense. Both Clemson and Georgia will show massive improvement in the next few weeks.