1-2 Punch. About halfway through Georgia’s 48-7 dismantling of South Carolina yesterday, the justifications for why we were being administered such a thorough beating starting pouring in: what do you expect they’re number one in the nation, we’re missing five defensive starters, and my personal favorite – it’s going to take time! The justifications were a response to angry and frustrated fans as a virtual “CALM DOWN” to those raging about a pathetic and frustrating performance against the defending national champions.
As someone with an unquenchable thirst to win at anything at any time, during the heat of the moment these all come across as excuses, not reasons. Of course my resonable side takes over at some point and I regain the ability to recognize there are some very good reasons we are nowhere close to beating Georgia right now. But those reasons don’t cover up the disturbing observation that we simply don’t appear to be very well coached at the moment. Shane Beamer is wonderful at all the off the field stuff, including recruting, but on the field we have no offensive identity, our offensive linemen are constantly making the wrong choices leaving defenders running free, our defense is getting physically whipped. Someone will come back at me about how it’s the players and the recruiting and how the coaches aren’t the ones responsible for missed assignments or dropping passes or bad routes.
But I have a secret, the coaches ARE responsible for those things. They’re responsible for recruting the right people. Coaching them up. Teaching them to catch and run and block and recognize formations and get stronger and TACKLE. The accoutability lies with this coaching staff.
I saw many comments along the lines of “did anyone really expect us to be anything other than 1-2 at this point”. With all due respect that’s a lazy take. I’d say if we were all betting our life savings on what our record would be after three games that 95% of us would’ve said 1-2. That’s not the point. The point is for two weeks against big, strong, fast teams, we have looked small, weak, and slow. The competition has been tough, we have not.
Use your eyes and tell me what you see. If you’re disappointed but encouraged by what you’ve seen in this 1-2 start then I don’t think you’re looking very hard.
Offensive. I have been very benefit-of-the-doubt-ish about Marcus Satterfield until yesterday. We had one of the worst offenses in the SEC last season (and we’re 13th so far the season), but we also had the worst quarterback room. Early in the season the offensive line has played very poorly. Can’t blame these things on the OC, right?
But on the first series of the game yesterday, facing 3rd and 6 on the third play of the game, Spencer Rattler was replaced with Dakereon Joyner. I think everybody in the house knew what was about to happen, and sure enough Joyner tucked the ball and ran, and came up well short of the first down. We punted.
Instead of putting the ball in the hands of a former Heisman trophy contender, he put the ball in the hands of a guy who hasn’t played this season and has essentially had ONE good game in three years at South Carolina. It was absurd. Satterfield continued to make poor decisions on third down the rest of the game.
Satterfield needs two great games against inferior competition the next two weeks or his stint at USC will prove to be a short one.
Wet paper bag. Of our two coordinators Clayton White certain drew the most praise for the performance of his defense last season. But after three games we are last in total defense in the SEC and only have two sacks on the season. White is coaching with one hand tied behind his back so far, and he proved last year he can coach, so I’m not quite as concerned on the defensive side of the ball. Yet.
Squeezed. Juice Wells was leading the SEC in receiving after two weeks, but caught zero passes yesterday. Josh Vann continues to be milk-cartoning his way through this season, but did have a catch yesterday. Without looking up his stats I believe that’s two for eight yards on the year.
Rattled. So much of the blame was placed on our quarterback play last year, it stood to reason the addition of Spencer Rattler would be worth 1-2 more wins this season. But he has been extremely inconsistent so far, throwing five interceptions against only two touchdowns. Like Satterfield, he needs to gain some confidence over the next two weeks against non-SEC opponents.
Emmanworrior. The one person who does not deserve an ounce of blame or criticism for our play so far this season is Nick Emmanwori. This true freshman is an absolute ball player and I can’t wait to see him continue to grow and make plays.
GET OFF THE FIELD. No idea what was going on between quarters that led do a delay to the start of the second quarter, but that was the embarassing cherry on top of an embarassing Saturday.
Mr. Brightside. I know this hasn’t been fun to read. But I’m still optimistic we can reach a bowl this year. We need to settle in and play well against these teams where we have a decided advantage, win our toss up games and possibly pull an upset or two against teams not named Georgia.