So, how good are these Georgia Bulldogs?
That’s a question a lot of folks are now starting to ask after Saturday night’s 31-3 blitzkrieg over Mississippi State.
Kirby Smart was quick to try and curb any premature excitement, pointing out the 177 yards rushing allowed by the defense and a dropped pass by Terry Godwin, although he didn’t mention the junior wide receiver by name.
It’s wise to be cautious. After witnessing a game like that, it’s easy to get hyperbolic with claims of greatness and visions of grandeur.
So, allow me to borrow Jonathan Abram’s brakes.
Please, please, please, don’t get me wrong. Four games in, there’s certainly a lot to like about this Bulldog football team.
I absolutely love this defense.
Georgia has had some fast defenses before, but this pack of Bulldogs is as fast as any Georgia unit I've witnessed in recent years. Combine that speed with unrelenting effort, and this Bulldog defense is going to assure Georgia will be competitive in every game it plays the rest of the year.
Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy are playing as well as any outside linebacker duo in the SEC, while the fact that Georgia rotates seven, eight and nine defensive linemen assures the Bulldogs will stay fresh up front throughout the course of the game.
Roquan Smith, meanwhile – with apologies to Kirby Smart – continues to play like Roquan Smith, which is good for Georgia and bad for future Bulldog opponents.
Georgia’s secondary, led by J.R. Reed, is playing much more physical than many expected and came up with the first two interceptions of the year. You knew they would.
Special teams have improved a hundredfold.
Punter Cameron Nizialek continues to get tremendous depth and hangtime, while kicker Rodrigo Blankenship continues to kick extremely well. For those counting, he has 14 consecutive touchbacks. MSU had zero return yards tonight
We must give credit to Jim Chaney, too.
Chaney is the favorite whipping boy of many a Bulldog fan, but considering the fact he’s playing a freshman quarterback for a second straight year with an offensive line that remains a work in progress, Chaney has been rather aggressive with the number of formations he’s employed.
Georgia’s offensive coordinator showed his level of unpredictability goes beyond the “Wild Dawg,” which I should point out worked to perfection against Mississippi State with a 28-yard touchdown run.
Last night, Chaney planned a flea-flicker on the game’s first play, and Jake Fromm hit Terry Godwin for a 59-yard touchdown, setting the tone for the rest of the game.
Even Georgia’s offensive line is getting better and better. Slowly, sure, but improvements are being made.
Now allow me to play Devil’s advocate.
It’s early. It’s very early. As Mississippi State learned, one week you’re the cat’s meow, the next week you’re the litter box.
Fortunately for Smart, this team doesn’t appear to have any overconfidence about its 4-0 start. "Humble and hungry" was the sentiment echoed by three Bulldogs after Saturday’s game. That’s a good mentality to have for a team that still has plenty of room to get better.
The journey is a long one. So while no one is suggesting fans shouldn’t be excited, an ounce of caution is always a good idea.
So, special? You can’t say that about this team yet.
Still, it’s certainly a fun start and that beats the alternative.
Now on to Tennessee.
Anthony Dasher is the managing editor of UGASports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at AnthonyDasher1.