1. Everyone is aware of Nick Chubb's talent. Yet he has struggled in back to back weeks. Is the offensive line really that bad? How is that possible?
The offensive line has been pretty questionable. Which is disappointing with three seniors, two juniors, and a redshirt sophomore in the rotation. Kirby Smart has questioned their effort and enthusiasm, bemoaned their technique, and poo-pooed their collective size and strength. None of it is inaccurate.
But part of the issue has also been new offensive coordinator Jim Chaney trying to figure out what he can do with those guys. When Chaney was coaching the biggest offensive line in all of football at Arkansas in 2014 he was able to just ram the ball into the A gaps. He can't do that with a line that averages 304 pounds. He's beginning to find ways to emphasize the edge rushing game, which allows those smaller, athletic linemen to get out and move. But it's going to continue to be a process.
2. Talk about Nicholls State, generally, and how that game stayed competitive so long.
Georgia was actually up 26-14 and driving inside the Nicholls 10 early in the 4th quarter, having apparently seized control of the game. Then Jacob Eason threw a pick that was returned 91 yards, and Isaiah McKenzie fumbled a punt which was turned into points.
One freshman interception turns that from being a 33-14 win (narrative: "Georgia sleepwalks after big UNC win, but wakes up to cruise past Nicholls") to a dogfight ("Georgia narrowly avoids worst loss in program history.") My sense is that it was a combination of the hangover from the opener in the Georgia Dome, not taking an FCS opponent seriously enough, and just making mistakes that you can't make against any team. My suspicion is that Coach Smart and his staff still need to find the emotional buttons to push with this group, as well as the team leaders who can help with the pushing.
3. Where do you envision UGA having the upper hand on offense? Defense?
On offense, if Ole Miss follows the Mizzou game plan and stacks the box to stop Nick Chubb then Jacob Eason will have opportunities. If he's able to convert on them a little more efficiently than he did against the Tigers, Georgia could really keep the Rebels off balance and have a real shot. Defensively, I don't know that Georgia has any advantages. Ole Miss has scored 40+ on defenses far more experienced and deep than the group visiting from Athens. If there's any advantage whatsoever, it's that Kirby Smart has experience against Freeze's system. But then, we know what the results of that experience was the last two years, right?
4. I've heard that many fans think y'all haven't utilized the tight end position as well as you could. What do the TEs bring to the table, and can they exploit our mediocre play at linebacker?
Jim Chaney has been getting the tight ends on the field more than his predecessor Brian Schottenheimer (crosses himself, says a Hail Mary) ever did. Three tight end sets have been a common occurrence, in part because the Red and Black have a ton of talent at the position.
At this point it seems Chaney and Jacob Eason are still feeling out how to use that talent. Four different Bulldog tight ends have caught a whopping 7 passes for 68 yards. Freshman Charlie Woerner leads the group with 30 yards on 2 catches, and fellow freshman Isaac Nauta has 3 catches himself. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that no UGA TE has a touchdown catch through 3 games.
It would make sense for this to be the game in which those guys are utilized a little more, but I imagine the Rebel staff and linebackers are aware of that as well. So this may be one of those matchups in which the group that steps up makes a big difference in the outcome.
5. What's your prediction? Give a score and how it gets there?
There will be blood. An Ole Miss squad with its back to the wall heeds the pregame sermon of Reverend Freeze and comes out playing like its hair is on fire. A young Georgia team shows flashes of what's to come in 2017, grows up a little more, and takes a 41-28 loss that isn't actually as close as the final score implies.