Top three things to know: No. 16 Georgia at Missouri 

Posted: 11:05 pm Friday, September 16th, 2016

By Jay Black

Can the offensive line/Nick Chubb fix whatever broke last week?

The last time we were here in 2014, Nick Chubb started his streak of 14-straight 100-yard rushing performances (not counting the Tennessee game where Chubb was injured on the first play). Who knew he would have to start a fresh streak on Saturday after only getting 80 yards against Nicholls State?

“Bottom line,” says Kirby Smart, “We have to block better.”

Yes the same unit that helped Chubb get 222 yards against one of the better teams in America (North Carolina) looked lost against a team that couldn’t win a game two years ago.

Football is weird like that.

So far Missouri ranks 11th in the SEC allowing 191 yards per game. However, it’s week two and I know they are a better defense than that. Charles Harris (18.5 TFLs), Walter Brady (12.5 TFLs) are no joke up front. Plus 355-pounder Josh Augusta is off to a good start.

If Georgia couldn’t block Nicholls State, what’s going to happen here?

Sophomore QB in a new system vs. whatever Georgia will do

Georgia still has a QB controversy in week 3. Missouri doesn’t.

Sophomore Drew Lock might have run it up a little bit against Eastern Michigan, but he still threw for 450 yards and five TDs and is now the leading passer in the SEC at 365 yards per game.

His offensive coordinator Josh Heupel was co-offensive coordinator at Oklahoma when they put up 45 points on Kirby Smart’s defense at Alabama in the 2014 Sugar Bowl. That doesn’t mean anything for this game, except Heupel is no dummy and his offense isn’t slow.

Meanwhile, it appears this QB battle is going slower than Smart wanted and there have been no leaks about who is starting Saturday for the Dawgs.

Will Jacob Eason start on Saturday?

UGA color analyst Eric Zeier told me he’d be “a little surprised” if it was Jacob Eason getting the call in the SEC opener on the road.

“When Kirby Smart made the move he made it clear Eason wouldn’t be starting forever,” said Zeier. “My expectation is that Greyson Lambert will start, but we will see Eason.”

That worked out ok enough against North Carolina and Eason didn’t play bad against Nicholls State, but you have to feel Smart and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney were looking for more.

Either way, this needs to be settled pretty soon.

Has Trenton Thompson finally taken over?

According to the recruiting nuts, the 310-pounder from Albany was the best high school football player in the country in 2014.

Trenton Thompson did not have a superstar freshman year, but he was fine.

Well Thompson was more than fine last week, totally dominating an overmatched team (he seemed to be the only Dawgs to do that). Thompson had the best game of his career with 11 tackles and three behind the line of scrimmage.

Georgia is extremely young and undermanned up front. That’s why I said Thompson was the Dawgs most important player this season.  In Smart’s 3-4 defense, Thompson doesn’t always have to make tackles, but at worst, he’s got to hold things up for the linebackers to get there. If he can make 11 tackles a game, even better.

Right now Georgia is dead last in the SEC with nine TFLs and it only has three sacks. You’d like to think Kirby Smart wants those numbers to be much higher.

Missouri is going to throw it a lot, so there should be plenty of opportunities. If the light has finally gone off for Thompson the Dawgs should be just fine to take the SEC opener and head on to Ole Miss next week

 

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