Boys, are you still pinching yourself?
I really do feel like I’m living in a dream. Ben will get to hear my sermon, but I can’t promise it’ll be my best. Thank the Lord I had the foresight to write it shortly after Christmas. I finally got to watch the whole Rose Bowl and the first half of the Sugar. A few Rose thoughts:
· I’ve been to 3 Sugar Bowls, 2 in NOLA and the one in the ATL. The Rose is epic. I’d imagine the Sugar is pretty good as a playoff site, too. But it was epic. Everything. The parade, the stadium, the field, the flyover. Just epic. Then the game happens. I do believe that field and the scene pulls the best out of the kids.
· A million unsung heroes in the game. My favorites are the 3 WRs in the game on the winning play: Crumpton, Simmons & Blount. Those were literally our 3 WRs on the biggest play in UGA history since we carried Vince off the field in the Superdome. Their job is to block. They did it. If I’ve learned anything from Kirby, it is THIS belief and system of getting players to buy in. Richt believed that (see his reaction to Richard Samuel at Mizzou in 2012), but I’m not sure he could get 85 guys to do it.
· Our D settled in. That offense is no freaking joke. I’ve heard Kirby talk about facing Manziel. Sometimes you just get in a match like that. I’m not sure any other team in the country could have beaten OU but us that night. I really believe that. They might not have scored 48 on Bama or Clemson, but they’d have scored enough and I don’t think their offenses could have kept up.
· Chase had sent me the video of Sony’s wild dawg score against the Cocks, but it was a designed run up the middle that he bounced to the outside. I looked at Chubb’s vs. Miss St. and the one to tie the game at the end of regulation. They both went opposite Jake. Sony ran to Jake’s side. Why does that matter? One, it was a great call. If you watch the play, OU lines up 6 to the other side and 5 to Jake’s side. They were even literally leaning the other way as the ball was snapped. Essentially, if Nauta could hook the end, everyone was blocked. Tyler Simmons did a phenomenal job of not getting a holding call by releasing as his guy fought toward Sony. Sony shook the tackle and was off. Two, for Monday, do we see a play where Sony/Nick pitch it back to Jake for a TD to the weak side? If you see us with a similar set, but say, Godwin, is in there with 2 blocking WRs…look out. Or, I know Stanley is suspended and would usually be in there, but did we put Crump in there as a guy w/ speed to show the look?
· From :06 in the 2nd QTR, Kirby coached actual circles around Lincoln Riley. BTW, I like a coach w/ emotion, but I really like Kirby’s. He doesn’t get riled up about TDs in the middle of the game. Riley was all over the place jumping up and down. Kirby has gotten excited 3 times this season: Bellamy’s strip in South Bend, Swift’s TD in the Benz, and Sony’s run. Huge, game-clinching plays. Don’t celebrate a TD in the 2nd QTR…they mean nothing.
Monday Night Thoughts:
· We have 4 decided advantages, in my book:
- QB. I think Jake is light years better than Hurts in nearly every area but running. If the cat from ND can’t get loose on us and Baker can’t…I don’t think he can. I don’t think he can throw it on us, either.
- Leadership. What we have in Nick, Sony, Dom, Wynn, Bellamy, and Zo is something that I can’t even remember seeing in college football. Too many players leave early. We’re like that ’06 Florida basketball team.
- Hunger. We want it more than they do. I believe they wanted Clemson in a bad way. I do believe that ’15 Bama game will come into play a little. Do they think we’re still THAT team? Do they guys that played in that game want to show something to those Bama boys?
- Coaching. Seriously. Saban is the greatest in the last 40 years. But I think Tucker and Chaney are light years better than Pruitt and Daboll. Bama’s offense is boring.
· My brother commented how good their kicker and punter were. Kept them back up all night. The kicker missed a chip shot FG, though.
· Just don’t turn it over. Simply. Don’t. They’ll score on it if we do. Jake needs to play very, very smart.
· They have better players, across the board, but it’s not by much. We have so many better, front-line players, I think it’s a wash.
· The biggest advantage is they have numbers on their helmets and they’re Bama…and we have to decide we don’t care.
· After some time to digest it, I’m glad it’s not Clemson. I hate them, and I’d be sick thinking about losing to them. Moreover, we’ve got to climb that Bama mountain. Had they beaten Auburn, we might not even be here. We might have lost to them in the Benz. I feel much more confident now that I would have then.
· After getting here, I’m not sure how to tell this to some fans of, say, a South Carolina, but…they’re never going to get here. It’s so freaking hard to get here. You have to do so much. You have to win so many games and beat so many good teams. If we can pull this off, our last 4 games will be wins over Tech, Auburn, OU and Bama. Whew. You have to be really good and have a bunch of really good players and have really good coaches. This season has taught me that middling programs that dream of a national title have a loooooooong way to go to get there. It’s hard enough for the blue bloods.
· Quick Trivia: Did you know Kirby Smart is 3-1 vs. Top 10 teams?
We’re going to win by double digits. We’re better than these guys. We are truly the most complete and best team in America. We did what I wasn’t sure we could do – win a shootout. Bama isn’t going to be able to score on us. Kirby is going to be ticked about the last game and our D is going to come in laser focused and they’re going to have trouble moving the ball. We’re not going to do that sideways crap Clemson does. We’re going to come right after them with the best backfield in America and through the ball downfield. We’re going to get to Hurts with a pass rush, and we’re going to win.
There’s one thing left, well, two, that this senior class hasn’t done they can do on one night in the same game: win the natty and beat Bama.
Dawgs 31 – Tide 19