Georgia just lost its SEC opener, is already one game down in the East and next must play Arkansas, which has one of the top quarterbacks (Ryan Mallett) and offenses in the nation.
Georgia Tech just lost a non-conference game to Kansas, a seemingly punch-drunk program that was reeling from a defeat against North Dakota State, and doesn’t seem nearly ready for conference play (notwithstanding that the ACC didn’t exactly look like a super power this weekend).
Which program do you feel better about right now? Or worse?
Will Saturday’s losses prove to be aberrations or tone-setters for the season? It’s probably too early to tell, but here are both sides of the arguments for both schools:
♦ Georgia will be fine: Things haven’t exactly been stable off the field in Athens, and that invariably is going to have an effect on the team. But getting into structured game weeks should (in theory) quiet matters. The Dogs lost to a solid South Carolina team that may be Steve Spurrier’s best team since he left Florida. Quarterback Aaron Murray looks like the real deal and he’ll continue to get better, which translates to a more productive offense. Todd Grantham’s 3-4 defense should improve as the season goes on.
♦ Georgia is in trouble: Regardless of A.J. Green’s suspension, Washaun Ealey’s fumble or anything else you care to point to, here was problem No. 1 Saturday: The Dogs got beat physically. That’s an indication of either size or attitude problem — the latter being more likely. There doesn’t seem to be any consistency with what coach Mark Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo want to do week to week. What is the Dogs’ identity? Barring a win on appeal of Green’s suspension, Georgia will be missing the team’s biggest playmaker against high-scoring Arkansas and at Mississippi State (a game that suddenly doesn’t look like a gimme). As for the defense, notwithstanding the talents of South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore, there’s a problem with an opposing running back rushes for 182 yards. Either players are still uncomfortable with the 3-4 scheme or there are deficiencies.
♦ Georgia Tech will be fine: The Jackets faced a fired up and desperate opponent, Kansas, that probably wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked the week before. Struggling defensive players will better adapt to the 3-4 scheme as the season goes on. Coach Paul Johnson was upset his vaunted offense produced only three touchdowns — one in the final nine possessions — but that isn’t likely to happen again. Similar to Georgia, the Jackets’ transition to the 3-4 defense should improve as the season goes on.
♦ Georgia Tech is in trouble: This is really two unimpressive performances in a row (even the lopsided win over South Carolina State included obvious shortcomings), and now Tech must travel to North Carolina, where the Tar Heels have been resting for a week. The Jackets’ defense has been extremely soft against the run, particularly in the middle, and the offense is clearly missing wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (now in the NFL), as replacement Stephen Hill has struggled with both route running and holding onto the ball and running routes (notwithstanding his late-game touchdown at Kansas). Despite an emphasis on improving the passing game, quarterback Joshua Nesbitt hasn’t been any more proficient than before.
Those are my thoughts. What are yours?
Which team is more likely to bounce back, Georgia or Georgia Tech?
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