Posted: 12:57 am Tuesday, September 19th, 2017
By Jay Black
ATHENS – Alright it was a laugher, it should have been a laugher, it was a laugher.
But this is nothing to joke about.
The 2017 Georgia Bulldogs have a lot of running backs. A lot of good running backs. Yes this school likes to pride itself as Tailback U. You certainly got to watch a lot of good tailbacks tonight.
We didn’t exactly learn a whole lot on this Saturday. Samford didn’t pull off a Nicholls State type-scare and UGA wins 42-14. Wahoo.
But we did learn, or confirm, this should and will be a running football team. No matter who is playing quarterback.
“That’s one of our depth spots,” Kirby Smart told the UGA Radio Network after the game. “We got a lot of guys who can play.”
Yeah no kidding.
Let’s start with the bell cow climbing up the UGA record books. Nick Chubb rushes for 131 yards on 16 carries and shows the patience and the vision that’s made him the second leading rusher in school history.
Now he’s also second by himself with 19 100-yard games. He trails only Herschel Walker. That’s not bad. Chubb also passed the legendary Charley Trippi to move into a tie for fourth in UGA history with 33 career TD runs.
To wedge yourself between Walker and Trippi on any list is a good night.
Imagine what could have happened if he didn’t blow out his knee on that sad excuse for grass they call a field in Tennessee?
Does Nick Chubb pass Herschel? Probably not, because those stats are still silly good, but it would have been fun to watch.
Speaking of injuries, Chubb’s understudy didn’t even play tonight. Sony Michel has a bad ankle. Even if it’s five percent hurt, there was no reason to play tonight. There’s plenty of reinforcements.
For example, the freshman.
“What a special talent D’Andre Swift is,” said Smart.
Kirby was kind of complaining on our air last week that this kid wasn’t getting the ball enough. He got a few chances to show off tonight. Swift had nine carries for 54 yards and a 10 yard catch. Oh yeah, and that touchdown.
“You’ve got to see that one on replay tonight,” said UGA analyst Eric Zeier.
Swift hit the Circle Button, dropped a beautiful spin move and zoom, into the end zone for his first career TD. He sort of reminds me of Sony Michel when he was a freshman, but I think he might be (gulp) swifter than Sony. The kid can fly.
That’s your third string running back folks. But UGA goes five deep.
“I still don’t think we’ve seen the best of Brian Herrien,” said Smart. “We see it everyday in practice, but he hasn’t had a chance to show off his skills.”
Herrien also got five yards per touch tonight. Walking away with 45 yards on nine carries. He’s smaller, won’t run a lot of people over, but in the last two years, we’ve seen flashes of a guy who deserves more than fourth string.
And that goes double for the fifth-stringer, Elijah Holyfield. He was a 4-star recruit and the guy many thought would step in and be the man after Chubb and Michel. He finally got eight carries tonight and only had 28 yards behind the second-string offensive line. But we saw on the kick return that got called back against Notre Dame, that Evander’s son can still be a weapon.
Credit to Jim Chaney for finding ways to get all of these guys touches in the early going. Even if it means Holyfield returns kicks, they are all involved.
“They run hard, they protect the ball, they protect the ball,” said Smart. “I was proud of the toughness they ran with tonight. They deserve that opportunity.”
UGA still has plenty of questions and they weren’t going to be answered tonight. I still don’t know what to make of this offensive line and Jake Fromm is still a freshman.
But this team can play defense and it can run the rock. That recipe generally works.
Now we find out for real what Kirby has in year two. SEC play begins and the real football starts now.