Saturday, September 6, 2014

Questions. Answers?

Even after a convincing win over a ranked opponent to start the season, by Sunday afternoon I was staring at a practically empty pitcher of kool-aid. Now here we are a week later with nothing to do but watch our competitors eat cupcakes. While we wait, here are my concerns/comments/observations/questions.

First, how good is Clemson? In all honesty, and as our own head coach has clearly intimated, we don't know the answer to that question any more than we know how good Georgia is. We know Clemson wasn't good enough to win on the road last weekend, but that's about it. We may not be able to answer this question with any conviction at all until mid-October after the Tigers have gone on the road to Tallahassee and finished a homestand that includes a couple North Carolina teams and Louisville.

My guess? That defense will rebound, at least enough to win them several games in the ACC. The offense is the bigger question. And I think it depends on how soon Chad Morris can feel comfortable enough turning over the reins to DeShaun Watson.

So then, how good is Georgia? Easy answer is better than Clemson. The proof will be in the chicken pudding. Nothing like an early road test, especially with a game that will have so much on the line. Don't wet the bed again at Williams-Brice and we could be laying the foundation for a great season. Kick the OBC in the nads and suddenly all the hype and glad handing seems nearly deserved.

How much is that purely dominant fourth quarter hiding the flaws? I think the answer is a lot. This defense has much work to do. They will face an offense that is better than the one they dominated for 15 minutes. Maybe even as soon as a week from now.

And Bobo's offense doesn't have an identity yet. If Mason torches Carolina a time or two, well then, the sky is the limit. After all, feeding it to Gurley 30 times a game will eventually become a necessity. Right?

Does the week off before the conference slate starts actually work against us now? I can think of seasons where I'd prefer to get right back out there. But this doesn't strike me as a team that needs its ego stroked in order to keep the momentum. A cupcake in between opening games would only take away from the focus of such an important conference opener.

So I like that the coaches have had a week to break the team back down. I like that Bobo is challenging his quarterback and Pruitt is suggesting much room for improvement. I like all of that and more. But I love that it's being played out publicly, even the slightest bit.

Lastly, what does this season remind me of thus far? Ever since the clock drained last Saturday I've been thinking about 2005. The similarities, at least at this very early point in the season, are seemingly endless. Shockley and Mason. Hyped up home opener against a difficult opponent ends in a dominant win for Georgia*. New defensive coordinators, and both coach(ed) the secondary.

Now, Shockley had played more significant minutes than Mason had up until the Kentucky game last season. But that Boise State win proved to everyone that that was DJ's team. I've read and heard that ever since Gator Bowl practices began last December outside the shadow of Aaron Murray, there was a definitive shift toward this being Todd Gurley's team. Saturday night's victory over Clemson only solidified that idea in the local, regional and national psyche.

The 2005 national title campaign was derailed in Jacksonville when Shockley came out on crutches. Keep Gurley off those things, and well..

*Yes, the 2005 opener was clearly a dominant win as Georgia had their foot on the Broncos' throats from the start. Whereas Clemson was within a field goal to start the fourth quarter. However, the wins mirror each other in excitement, hype, opening rankings, and national attention in my opinion.