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Staring into the Eyes of Giants: Georgia vs. Auburn

November 12, 2011

Goliath, being a giant and all, casts a shadow that goes well beyond the walls of a Sunday School room or even the farthest church pew from the pulpit, and like any figure from ancient times, he goes by many names and comes in many forms. The first Goliath I ever met was William Lattimore: he was the fastest kid in the third grade, and despite shooting a basketball like a Mujahideen with a rocket launcher, he never missed. Then there was Quentin Moses who in middle school stood like a Philistine above a bunch of musty-smelling adolescent Hebrews, and the list could go on to include Michael Hudson of Battlefield Middle or Reed Fairchild of Spotsylvania Middle. Different names. Same effect. When coach asked you to guard one of them one on one or you found yourself eye to eye with them across an imaginary yard marker, you knew they were better, that your legs weren't fast enough, that your arms weren't long enough--that you needed the miracle of a slingshot to slay the giant standing before you.


But slingshots are not allowed on basketball courts or football fields, so your own nose winds up a bloody mess on your jersey, or you sit quietly on the bench with four fouls, or Cam Newton, a quarterback, runs for 151 yards--more than the top two Bulldawg rushers combined--against the Georgia defense as Nick Fairley illegally punishes the quarterback, and a fourteen point first quarter lead disappears into the branches of Toomer's Trees just as quickly as tailgate smoke. 

Georgia's season started off full of doubt and with talk of hot seats, but a seven-game win streak, with wins against Tennessee and Florida, has drained a sea of apprehension just as quickly as pulling the stopper out of the kitchen sink (and some South Carolina injuries and the dismissal of a quarterback helped a bit too), so going into this year's Auburn game, Georgia fans are feeling more optimistic than they have in years. The team is playing for its first berth in the SEC title game since 2005, and across the field of battle, the opposing players are human-sized in both physical stature and ability; and that, in and of itself, is empowering.

Growth spurts often happen in this manner. An individual goes to sleep one night as a pining runt and wakes up the next morning inches taller on the doorframe measuring stick. At first, the added height is awkward: sleeves that don't make it all the way to the wrist, pants that hang above the ankle, clumsy scrambling, stupid decisions, and a voice that cracks under pressure. Then, one day, even the awkwardness is outgrown, and you find yourself both humbled and inspired by the fact that you are eye to eye with giants and the question becomes not how badly will they beat you up but whether or not you will blink. And that is where redshirt sophomore, Aaron Murray, and freshman running back, Isaiah Crowell, now find themselves, for the first time in their brief careers, having as much to gain as there is to lose, and hopefully, that's all they need for a slingshot--a bit of confidence and a whole lot of motivation.

7 comments:

Langston said...

I was going to do a pick post this week, and then I looked at the schedule. Apart from this, there wasn't a lot. ODU plays a struggling W&M (The only thing on the line is a first-round bye for ODU), JMU plays URI (a game they need to win, but not really an intriguing match-up), UVA plays Duke (self-explanatory in its irrelevance. Though if UVA can win their last three, they go to the ACC Championship) and lastly, the second best game in the SEC is UT-Arkansas (The Vols have yet to beat a ranked team under Dooley and with all of their injuries I'm not optimistic. Though, apart from the second half against Alabama, they have played great defense the last three weeks). I like Aaron Murray to continue his stellar play, Crowell to shore up the run game and the Dawgs to make it to 8-0 since their 0-2 start, 31-24.

November 12, 2011 at 1:28 PM
Teach said...

I hope you're right. Who do you have in the UT game?

November 12, 2011 at 1:47 PM
Langston said...

Arkansas wins. It will be a close game in the first half but Arkansas rolls in the second. There isn't enough depth on either side of the ball for UT (yet) to contend in the SEC for four straight quarters against quality opponents.

On a related note, Clay Travis is calling for Dooley's head which is exceedingly premature. If we fire him and don't get the right guy, it will be a long time before they're back contending for SEC titles. We need to give him four years, basically enough time to replenish the roster from the two coaching changes in the last 3 years. If they still suck in year four, it's time to move on. And to be honest, I think next year is when they start to show their talent and play more competitively. Bray and Hunter will be back (losing Hunter was a death knell to this season), the Freshman and Sophomores (that make up most of the roster) will be that much better, and his third year of recruits will fill out the roster to help them keep up for more than two quarters.

November 12, 2011 at 2:08 PM
Teach said...

Yeah, I think it's too early to call for Dooley's head. While the results so far haven't been good, there is something to be said for some semblance of stability following everything that's happened post-Fulmer.

November 12, 2011 at 2:13 PM
Langston said...

Right, they'd be looking at their fourth coach in five years. That's Oakland Raider territory. And we all know how long it's taken them to find the right mix of coaching and talent.

On an unrelated note, Jonathan Grimes of W&M is in beast mode. He's having the type of game that makes you wonder how they ever lose, let alone miss the playoffs. The Tribe just took a 28-21 lead in the 4Q.

November 12, 2011 at 2:47 PM
Langston said...

And less than two minutes of game-time later, the Monarchs march down the field to tie it up at 28. 10+ minutes left. If it's being aired up there in NOVA, you should turn it on. An amazing finish is on the horizon.

November 12, 2011 at 2:56 PM
Langston said...

Thanks to two 4Q interceptions by Erik Lewis, the Monarchs win 35-31 and move to 9-2 on the year. This more than likely locks up a first round bye for ODU, which would be just another great moment to add to many of their first year in the CAA.

By the way, Grimes went for 227 yards rushing and 3TDs. Just a ridiculous day from the Tribe RB.

November 12, 2011 at 3:35 PM

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