The Q&A returns for one final week for the 2021 iteration of Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate. We can go ahead and predict there’s going to be a lot to hate about this game. Today, we chatted with Macon Dawg of Dawg Sports. Georgia looks like the best team in college football this year, and Tech is one of the worst P5 teams in the country. It’s probably going to get ugly this weekend.
1) Georgia’s defense is historically amazing and rightfully gets all of the attention, but the offense hasn’t been put in a position where they had to score this season. Outside of the Clemson game in Week 1, where they only managed 3 offensive points, the Dawgs haven’t even played in a game decided by less than 3 scores. If Georgia is going to get over the hump and finally win a title this year, are Stetson Bennett and the offense good enough to put the ball in their bands with the game on the line?
It remains weird to me that a team ranked 7th in the nation in scoring offense has to keep proving itself. Stetson Bennett is the third highest rated passer in the SEC. Brock Bowers has amassed 552 yards receiving from his tight end spot. And Georgia is averaging 40.3 points per game.
In short, there’s every reason to believe that Georgia might not have to score more than 24 points in any game they play this season. But there’s also every reason to believe they could.
2) We saw it against Notre Dame, and we’ll presumably see a similar result this week, but Georgia’s defense will probably outscore the Yellow Jacket offense on Saturday. Who in the front 7 do you like for having a big game on defense against us this week? ... I’m excluding the secondary because between our offensive line and Georgia’s defensive line, I don’t think whoever plays QB will get a pass off on Saturday :(
Don’t sell the Jackets short. They’ll get off some passes. But the Bulldog defense has been excellent at getting pressure with a minimal number of rushers. I’d looked for linebacker Nolan Smith, a versatile outside rusher, to have a big game. I’d also look to hear senior defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt’s name called. Jordan Davis deservedly gets most of the headlines, but Wyatt is slightly smaller, a little quicker, and has been extremely productive as a pass rusher.
3) I know Georgia has the conglomerate #1 recruiting class over the last 5 years or so, but what have you seen player-development-wise that has impressed you from this coaching staff? I know there’s often not much to develop with 5* recruits, but whose growth over their time between the hedges has stood out to you?
This tweet. Just this tweet.
I said Kirby should be SEC COY (although several have a case). No. 1 objection is his teams are loaded because of recruiting. I don't have heart to tell them Jordan Davis was ranked 424th in nation. Here are the leading receivers in order followed by Stetson with national ranking pic.twitter.com/YLyHzQWDC7— Dr. SEC (@thedrsec) November 22, 2021
The truth is that most of the big name players contributing for the Bulldogs were guys the coaching staff felt strongly were underrated. Jordan Davis was a three star recruit ranked outside the national top 400. Stetson Bennett chose Georgia over offers from the likes of SMU and Georgia Southern. Ladd McConkey, who’s led Georgia in receiving for much of the season, had no FCS offers until Georgia gave him one just over two weeks before Signing Day.
This could have been a very good Georgia team if the five stars on the roster had panned out. But it was the contributions of these less heralded recruits that really put the Dawgs over the top.
4) Bennett seems to have locked down the starting QB job... Is there any room for playing time for JT Daniels going forward? If not, do you think he stays in Athens?
It remains to be seen whether Daniels stays if he doesn’t win the starting job back. But with both players again be eligible next year I’d expect that a healthy JT Daniels would win the starting quarterback job all over again.
Right now however Daniels remains a little rusty after a long layoff due to a series of upper body injuries that kept him from throwing consistently for over a month. Kirby Smart has therefore gone with the guy who’s been running the offense well and built chemistry with the receivers. For the moment that’s Stetson Bennett, who’s completing close to 65% of his passes and has thrown 17 touchdowns against 5 interceptions.
5) As a Georgia fan who has presumably watched a lot of COFH games, how much do you miss Paul Johnson and the flexbone?
Funny story: as a high school player I actually attended camp at Georgia Southern and met Coach Johnson. I would have loved to have played for him but didn’t get the chance.
Later I got to cover him as a reporter, not on a weekly basis, but consistently. I always found him to be funny, smart, and respectful. So I kind of miss Coach Johnson, but I’m glad he seems to be enjoying retirement.
I like the flexbone as an offense, I just don’t miss playing it. Candidly, I think Georgia Tech missed the lesson of Moneyball by deciding to compete against Georgia, Clemson, and other schools for recruits it wasn’t going to get to run a system that’s much easier to prepare for. But thanks for that.
6) Georgia is going to win this game handily, so what are you wanting to see on Saturday from the team ahead of the SECCG the following week?
As long as no one gets seriously injured (or suspended for throwing Tre Swilling into a wall to shut him up) I’d be happy with a one point win.
[Editor’s note: I would be ecstatic with a one point loss this weekend.]
Thanks to Macon Dawg for taking the time to answer some questions for us this week.
Kick is at noon on Saturday.
As always, go Jackets!