The fans who made the trip to Athens on Saturday probably won’t agree, but that debacle of a game might have been the best thing to happen to the Georgia Bulldogs this early in the season.
Yes, it was hard to watch, and it’s a good bet it was painful for the players and coaches to sit through the video afterward as they went over and over the many mistakes the team made. But it probably also got the Bulldogs’ attention.
Or at least, they better hope it did.
Georgia was bad last week. There’s just no way around that. The Bulldogs squeezed by an FCS team — and a bad one at that — in Nicholls State.
Georgia won by two points, and it actually trailed in the third quarter. But the win likely feels like a loss to many fans because of just how poorly the Bulldogs played.
That said, Georgia’s coaches — and fans — have to hope this is just the game the Bulldogs needed to get focused for a tough stretch coming up. Sure, it would have been nice to coast through last week’s game and continue the terrific momentum that came out of a season-opening win over North Carolina.
It would have been great to remain in the AP top 10 and have all the warm and fuzzy feelings — and pats on the back — of that kind of 2-0 start. But this 2-0 start could be even more beneficial.
Georgia needs to be focused and be ready for some difficult games that are on the horizon. It doesn’t need to be overconfident with its first SEC game coming up Saturday at Missouri, followed by a road game against Mississippi, a home date with Tennessee and then a road game against South Carolina.
None of those games can be considered a sure win, and the players need to ready to go for a stretch that just might define their season. In his first season with the program, head coach Kirby Smart really hasn’t had a chance to put his fingerprints on this program just yet. How he handles the team’s sloppy performance against Nicholls State and how he gets the players’ attention will be the first true test of his young tenure.
If Georgia can shake off last week’s game and get going, it certainly can have a good run the rest of the way. The game at Mississippi looks like a loss, but the other three games certainly are winnable if the Bulldogs are playing well. But if they’re unable to get the mistakes and problems of last week fixed, they could be in some real trouble these next few weeks.
How they handle that started this week with their reaction to last week’s win, and we’ll find out soon enough if that was a good day disguised as a day or just a really bad one.