Let’s hear it Georgia fans. Another year, another early loss, and Alabama continues to own us. I’m pretty sure you said or heard these things so far:
“Stetson Bennett sucks, put J.T. [Daniels] in!”
“Georgia is never going to win a championship!”
“Fire Kirby Smart!” (Yes, we have a few people that feel that way)
“We can’t beat Bama!”
And most popular with other Georgia sports teams having a bad day,
“Georgia teams are cursed!”
Losses like this make you believe that the sky is falling, the world is coming to an end and that the Bulldogs are never going to win a national championship no matter how much talent is brought in.
Games like this will have you feeling some type of way but at the end of the day, you have to take the good with the bad. Let’s start with the good.
The running game was great but was abandoned TOO EARLY
The coaches panicked in this game too early. Even from the first offensive series, they seemed hesitant to run the football. Ultimately, their hesitation and panic to stick with the ground game showed its truth in the middle of the third quarter until the rest of the game. The team rushed for 145 yards on 30 carries which equals 4.8 yards per carry. Zamir White led the Bulldogs in rushing with 10 carries for 57 yards and one touchdown.
As the Bulldogs continue play, if they are put into this situation again and get the rematch against Alabama in the SEC Championship game, they should stick with their bread and butter much longer which is running the football.
Now let’s acknowledge what needs to be improved. Beginning most importantly with Bulldogs fans favorite topic, quarterback!
Stetson Bennett played … below average
Bennett finished 18-40, 269 yards, two touchdowns and three turnovers. This is not a performance Bulldogs fans expected but is also one in which Bennett would love to redo. When you are playing an Alabama team led by one of the greatest coaches in Nick Saban, you cannot turn the ball over. You cannot turn the ball over three times and spot them 21 points off of turnovers if you expect to win.
Bennett also got away with some things that would have been costly while also doing some things well. Whether it was missing wide open receivers or making terrible throws in hopes of his receiver to bail him out, he has to be better.
Here is what head coach Kirby Smart had to say about Bennett’s play:
“I would argue that he doesn’t like to take chances. There [were] other poor decisions that didn’t cost him. He’s not perfect, he’s learning, he’s growing up. He also made some good throws and plays. Stetson gots to play within himself and allow the people to help around him. We can’t throw the ball that many times and hope to be effective.”
Defense got exposed
This was a bad game for the Bulldogs defense who came in ranked first in defensive efficiency and only allowed a total of 30 points in their last three games. They also did not allow over 100 rushing yards to their opponents on the season. In this game, they allowed 41 points, and 147 yards on the ground.
Let’s break it down:
The defensive frontline played well this game but was ultimately overwhelmed late in the fourth quarter. They finished the game only allowing 3.4 yards per carry.
The defensive backs and secondary got exposed and gave up big plays. Most notably, cornerback Tyson Campbell giving up the 90 yard touchdown reception to Crimson Tide star receiver and All-American Jaylen Waddle swung the momentum to the Tide. While other defensive backs such as Tyrique Stevenson, Eric Stokes Jr., Mark Webb was up to the challenge and held their own, you cannot teach speed. While the Tide deserves a lot of credit for this win, the Bulldogs defense will need to regroup and find ways to get better if they want to win out and win the SEC which will likely be against the Tide.
Conclusion and Solution
The most important question Bulldogs fans have is if Bennett should be benched. I simply say no, not right now. One bad game on your first true road game against a top-five opponent should not call for your job to be lost. While he should not be benched, he has to continue to show that he is capable of leading the team and offense. If he shows otherwise, J.T. Daniels or D’Wan Mathis should get a chance. As for why Daniels or Mathis have not replaced Bennett yet, I am not too sure. It is my guess that they are not ready yet or coaches see something that we may not see.
The defense and team cannot let this one bad game dictate their season. They are simply too talented and great to let one loss throw away their opportunity for everything they are still seeking. They should use this game as a lesson as they strive to get better.
Many fans are angry and are saying Smart should be fired. This is just simply crazy and should not happen. Calm down, It is one game and Smart has set the standard for Georgia. The Bulldogs are so close to reaching their goal as a national champion and Smart has shown repeatedly that he is more than capable of guiding them.
Moving forward, the Bulldogs will have an off week and prepare for Kentucky on Halloween. The Wildcats have much confidence after soundly defeating and upsetting Tennessee. For the Bulldogs, they will have to take it week by week and capitalize on each opportunity to get their chance at redemption.