Alright Bulldogs fans, it is a new day and I hope you all were able to digest the upsetting 20-17 to the South Carolina Gamecocks. An ugly, heartbreaking loss like that can leave a bad taste in players, coaches and fans. Mentally it can also be draining for a program who has not won since 1980 and seems to always get in their own way at times.
Nonetheless, a loss is a loss and it can either make you better and stronger or linger and hurt you for the rest of the season.
With that being said, here are the takeaways from Saturday’s game.
The offensive line is big and talented but is underachieving
Lets face it, everybody knows that the Bulldogs are talented at the offensive line position and can control things in the trenches. In the past few games, that seems to not be the case. The starters weigh an average of 320 pounds and is at least 6’4 or taller. With a backfield featuring D’Andre Swift, Brian Herrien, Zamir White and James Cook along with an offensive scheme to be physical and run the ball, it is no excuse for the Bulldogs offensive line to not win in the trenches. The Bulldogs rushed for 173 yards but still had trouble getting a push in much needed situations.
Along with the offensive line struggling within the trenches, pass protection seems to be a weakness as well. The offense allowed quarterback Jake Fromm to be sacked four times in this game. This in turn had an affect on Fromm being able to be comfortable in the pocket to drop back to pass.
If the Bulldogs plan to contend for the SEC East title, SEC championship and a spot in the college football playoffs, they will need to be able to control the line of scrimmage and be able to rush for 200 yards plus.
Jake Fromm played terrible and average is not going to cut it
Many fans were quick to get into the Fromm vs. Justin Fields and Fromm vs. Eason debate on social media and how Kirby Smart handles the quarterback situation at Georgia. While this column won’t dive into that debate, the stats will speak for themselves.
Fromm went 28-51, 295 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions with one fumbled snap. One of the main reasons the Bulldogs is a national title contender and top five (at the time), top 10 team in the nation is because of Fromm’s play. Four turnovers with three interceptions is not going to cut it if the Bulldogs are trying to win an SEC title and contend for the College Football Playoff. Some plays can be blamed for the offensive lines lack of protection but Georgia fans need to hold Fromm accountable. Also, Fromm is winless (0-5) in games that he has thrown 40 or more passes.
Even after a poor performance, Smart still believes in Fromm and his true potential.
“I believe in Jake Fromm,” said Fromm. “Jake Fromm’s a leader of men, give sacrifices week in and week out. Tough day.”
Moving forward, Fromm has to be a leader and lead by example. That means little to no turnovers, accurate throws and moving the offense efficiently downfield.
The defense was played good but no pass rush was present
Overall, the Bulldogs defense allowed 13 points and the defense kept them in the game because of their performance. However, the Bulldogs defense got zero sacks. Bulldogs linebackers Monty Rice and Tae Crowder tied for the most tackles Saturday with 12.
The one part of the defense that needs improvement is pass rush and getting home to the quarterback. Players such as Tyler Clark, Michael Barnett, Nolan Smith and Azeez Ojulari have to step up and sack opposing quarterbacks. Crowder and other defensive players who spy on quarterbacks need to also make sure they get home and not miss tackles as well.
Along with getting to the quarterback, the defense also needs to force turnovers and create havoc as they plan to.
The Bulldogs because of turnovers
Outside of everything else that went wrong for the Bulldogs, the reason they lost is because of four turnovers. The Bulldogs led in the turnover battle 4-0 and Smart knows that is not going to get it done moving forward.
“Obviously when you open with four turnovers, you can’t beat anybody,” said Smart. It is not much more to be said but for the Bulldogs to take care of the football to give themselves a better chance to win football games.
Georgia can still win the Championship, however the road is tougher
Every year, it seems frustrating for Bulldogs fans to lose a game during the regular season because it puts more pressure on the team. While that frustration is understandable, one game does not define a team’s season unless they choose to let it linger into other games. Yes, they have to play a tough schedule to end the season to make it to the SEC Championship but players and coaches understand the circumstances.
“For us, it’s not about this game anymore, it’s about the next game,” said Smart.
“I think it will be a good opportunity to see how this team responds to the opportunity and adversity,” said Bulldogs kicker Rodrigo Blankenship.
“We just have to stay tight as a team and come closer together,” said Bulldogs safety J.R. Reed.
The next games and upcoming week will determine the Bulldogs fate. They host Kentucky at Sanford Stadium Saturday at 6 p.m.