Saturday, November 28, 2015

It could get much, much worse before it gets better ...

I'm furiously refreshing my feed to see if Schotty has been fired.  I don't think it will happen.  I could be wrong.  I'm just a Georgia fan sitting in Los Angeles typing into a computer and have absolutely no barometer for what happens inside the walls of Butts-Mehre.  But, I don't want you to believe this is a post about our much-maligned Offensive Coordinator.  It is not.

Many UGA Faithful today are looking forward to January...not because our Beloved Dawgs will be playing in a major bowl, but because Jacob Eason will be enrolling at UGA.  Now, there are many detractors who would say it doesn't matter.  They would say that there is no way that Richt and Co would start a true freshman when there's a 5th-year senior who won 9 (possibly 10) games and protected the ball well on the roster.  They would say that Eason won't be able to learn the offense quickly enough to unseat him.

I disagree.  First, four weeks was apparently long enough for Lambert to learn the offense and surpass all existing UGA QBs on the roster.  Second, starting a true freshman phenom is something Richt loves to do.  Plus, he is beyond the "redshirt a kid just to redshirt him" phase of his career.  If Eason redshirts, it will likely be because he isn't good enough to beat out Lambert (or Bauta)... and if he isn't good enough to beat those guys out, then UGA is in serious trouble, as is Richt.

So, I fully expect Jacob Eason to start for UGA next season.

That could be trouble.

In 2006, the season after our last SEC title, we welcomed Matt Stafford to campus.  Our season was a 9-4 affair (including a bowl win), with early wins against garbage teams, and then a 3-win streak against ranked opponents to close the season.  It took Stafford a while to truly take hold of what Richt and Bobo were teaching him, and we didn't see him lock in on the starting job until later in the season (Joe Cox and Joe Tereshinski also started at QB that year).

In 2010, Aaron Murray burst onto the scene, and went 6-6 before dropping the bowl game to the UCF Golden Knights.  UCF.  Seriously.  Now, it happens that 2010 was an 11-3 season for UCF, seated between a couple of stinkers, but still...  2010 was a particularly troubling year in UGA history, as we went 0-5 against ranked teams.

The past two seasons, UGA hasn't had spectacular QB play.  Now, that's not to discount what Mason did in 2014.  He held a 4-1 mark against Top 25 teams, a high completion percentage, high efficiency, etc.  He did what he had to do to win in most cases ... just not in ENOUGH cases to get us to Atlanta.

This year, our QB play has been nothing outside of sad.  I'm not talking about completion percentages (which is actually in the mid-60's and serviceable).  I'm not talking about turnovers, as Lambert has only 2 INTs all season.  I'm talking about truly PLAYING the position of QB.  Too often, Lambert has proven to not be a clutch QB.  He consistently checks-down to underneath receivers when we need long gains.  He misses open receivers on deep balls, and sometimes doesn't see them altogether.  Now, perhaps that checking down has enabled us to scratch out some wins because he has protected the ball.  It's hard to say, because you can't play the "what if" game.  Still, there's a spark that Lambert is missing, and many are hoping that it rests in the body of Jacob Eason.

Still, hoping that Jacob Eason will solve all the ills of a UGA offense that can't get out of its own way is folly.  It is unlikely that Eason will come in and lead UGA to Atlanta.  I won't call it impossible, because I'm not an imbecile.  It is unlikely.  We will still have Chubb, Michel, Blazevich, Godwin, Mackenzie, Chigbu, etc.  We will still have a defense that has improved its numbers over those of the squad that went 4-1 against top 25 teams last season.  Of course, they've faced only 2 top-25 teams this season, and gave up over 50 points to them.

Eason will have the job of "Hey man, don't screw it up."  His first priority will be to protect the ball.  His second priority will be to distribute it to playmakers.  The offense will probably look very vanilla as he gets his feet under him.  The fans will call for Schotty's (or insert name of whatever OC follows, because you know...it's definitely going to be HIS fault) head.  The defense will have to carry us.

It's quite possible that games against North Carolina, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, and Georgia Tech will be very scary.  Going 4-2 against those squads would be a blessing.  Going 3-3 is more likely, and going 1-5 is quite possible.

It could get worse, folks.  It could get much much worse.

But hope springs eternal, and I predict Eason leads the Dawgs to a 15-0 season and a National Title...because screw reality.  This is football, and conjecture is far more entertaining.

Go Dawgs.






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