This is where Todd Grantham earns his three-quarters of a million. No knock on the new defensive coordinator, but the Bulldogs could have won the three games they’ve won — Louisiana-Lafayette, Tennessee and Vanderbilt — with Willie Martinez or Marion Campbell or Kevin Ramsey as DC. But Georgia plays Kentucky on Saturday in Lexington, and the Wildcats can score some points.
And this is where we learn if all the talk about the schematic advantages of the 3-4 vis-a-vis the 4-3 was simply talk. This is where we see if having an extra linebacker will help Georgia slow the most dynamic player in the SEC East. He’s Randall Cobb, whom Kentucky deploys as a receiver and a runner and a kick returner and occasionally a thrower.
He’s officially listed as wide receiver/quarterback and essentially acts as the joker in Joker Phillips’ deck, Joker Phillips being the first-year Kentucky coach. Cobb nearly beat Auburn and did beat South Carolina. Against the Tigers he threw for a touchdown, caught a pass for a touchdown and rushed for two touchdowns. Against Carolina he caught the winning touchdown from Mike Hartline with 1:15 to play, then rushed for the two-point conversion.
Randall Cobb of Kentucky isn’t to be confused with Randall “Tex” Cobb, the boxer-turned-actor who played the dreadnought biker in “Raising Arizona.” (Holly Hunter, who played Ed in the film, referred to Cobb’s expertly realized character as a “warthog from hell.”) But Randall Cobb of Kentucky has the capacity to unleash all manner of havoc if the opposing DC doesn’t mind his X’s and O’s.
The Kentucky game, not to put too fine a point on it, is immense. Win and Georgia goes to Jacksonville with a chance to finish first in the SEC East, which seemed unthinkable a couple of weeks ago. Lose and Georgia is 3-5 and we’re treated to another round of Mark-Richt-has-lost-it screeds.
Richt took a risk hiring Grantham, who’d never coordinated a collegiate defense. This is the week we see if the risk carried a reward. This is where the new man earns his money. Or doesn’t.