All eyes on #4 Georgia vs. #7 Auburn
Welcome to the audible presented by Creator Joe's I'm Stewart Mandel joined as always by Bruce Feldman for our second episode of the week. It's a kind of a light slate of games this week Bruce, but there is one pretty big one in primetime the SEC Georgia Auburn, and that's why we wanted to bring on our excellent. Georgia. Beat writer Seth Emerson. We are pleased to be joined now by the athletics Georgia writer. Seth Amerson nobody covers the dogs more thoroughly than sat than. Obviously they're playing in a big game. This week I know every game is is seems big in the sec these days but certainly, Georgia Auburn and prime time up both teams ranked fairly high. But Georgia coming off not the greatest debut against Arkansas what southwest the panic meter in Athens right now after they had to. Change quarterbacks pull out of that hole against was supposed to be a pretty lowly Arkansas team. Well the the panic meter is lower than it would have been if they hadn't gotten things in order in the second half there, you'll hear from some people saying look they still covered the spread They'll be fine with sets and Bennett. But if they hear that doin mathis might start again they're gonNA. There's GonNa be some who say well, we'll WHOA. That's you know. It's it's interesting. They're playing auburn they're playing this huge game and it just it feels weird they the Auburn game historically is like the second or third last game of the year and it's in mid November when it's cold when there have been nine or ten games, it's the stretch of the season instead it's game to. And you're thrown into this, suddenly, this top ten matchup that isn't this fun. Top Ten matchup like Notre Dame type game we comparing yourself against someone it's it's a game that is going to have huge implications for Georgia and they're still figuring out their offense they're figuring out their quarterback they're figuring out their offensive line there trying to figure out if they've got as good a running back as they've had in past years and so yeah, there's there's I wouldn't say there's panic around here but there's definitely some reservations. South I wanted to ask you. So there's a lot of eyeballs on the quarterback spot I Jack Jamie Newman talented, but wake forest transfer didn't stay there very long. He ends up opting out and you have jt Daniels transferred in from USC and he had a big reputation because he was a five star guy from. Powerhouse Program at Modern Day that cranks out quarterbacks. And there was you know granted he graduated early to go to USC but it was up and down no doubt and I think there were some people at USC who quite honestly felt like, okay. Keaton slow us even though he's a three star guy has a lot of qualities that they didn't see in jt Daniels but still jt Daniels five star guy and when five star guys especially at that position transfer people just kind of the hype cranks up and so he goes there and. Right now I, mean some of the things I had heard was again he's coming off a knee injury. I had heard he had a procedure in January. I guess and his mobility is still a little bit of a question. It was not great beforehand and given the struggles of the offensive line especially on the right side. How much do you think that factors into how Kirby smart looks at this quarterback situation? Yeah I think factors A. Lot into it when Kirby announced. Monday. Morning that he will be clear. That's the term he used quote he will be cleared for the Auburn game that the narrative than immediately emerged despite people like me pointing out in the same tweet saying that he'll be confirmed that Kirby says I don't know that this changes much in terms of the equation developed whatever. But the narrative people was here comes Daniels to the rescue. He's the new starter. Look I don't know if he's GonNa play Saturday. He's. Available which apparently he wasn't Saturday at Arkansas but. As were talking right now on. Wednesday, not sure when you're listening to this out in podcast land. But I've heard that on Monday, doin Mathis got most of the first team reps and practice which for a lot of teams Monday is kind of a cleanup fix the mistakes from the previous Game Day anyway. So don't look too much into that. But on Tuesday, it was a little bit more split between Matheson. Stetson. Bennett. Now. Do we get around to Wednesday and we start to hear that J T Daniels getting more work I think it would be a lot of work to make up at this point for jt Daniels to be the star into play. So I think you're probably at this point still going in with Stetson Bennett and doin Mathis competing. and. Yeah what you said about the mobility thing and when you've still got a line that has some questions. Stephane Bennett has mobility as well. So I mean he's like a legit four five guy. So he and Mathis are away similar but Bennett offers them experience. He saw when he went in the game, the passing game was more crisp. They were able to get into tempo into rhythm. But they chose doin mathis to be the starter after like you said, not from the beginning of preseason because Jamie Newman was going to be the guy at first but they had about three weeks where they were working with the assumption of Doin Mathis being starter. So are you going to throw that out the window based on a quarter and a half of just? Not, looking, ready for it maybe they do. But maybe they don't maybe they give him another shot I mean look. They've got three quarterbacks right now and. Was the John John Madden popularized the expression of if you've got two quarterbacks got none I don't know if he ever said anything about if you've got three quarterbacks. So Georgia's got itself a muddle right now. Yeah I mean let's just follow that up and clarify because I think a lot of people out there and I saw in the reactions to accommodate my mailbag Wednesday just assume that the only reason to one mathis was starting in the first place was until jt Daniels comes back but that it's not my understanding of how the preseason played out. I mean I know he never Kirby never actually had to make this announcement, but it is your is it your read of what happened in preseason that Mathis just? Moved ahead of him on the depth chart yeah. I, I think it's a mixture of the two I on the one hand. On the one hand they weren't absolutely sure jt as would be able to play in the opener which obviously he didn't. He couldn't He was healthy enough to make the trip and get into uniform but I think you have him on the sideline there so that he's part of the conversation, he's in the pre game meeting he's on the sideline. So he you know so you're he definitely. is in their plans all along but they didn't know for sure he was going to be cleared. So they didn't WanNa. Waste a bunch of reps on somebody who might not be cleared on the other hand. They really liked what they saw from doin Mathis. So you're kind of going on two different tracks here and you're going with two different quarterbacks to to on Matthews's dual threat guy. J, Daniels. Jake frahm type and Doin. Mathis showed them enough and impressed them enough. They said well. You know, let's not split reps with JT Daniels and then find out closer to the game whether or not he can play. Let's roll with Mathis because we think he can do it. He brought his confidence. So I, don't know if you can say for sure student that like he beat out Daniels, it was a little bit more of a nuanced decision but. Mathis did not get it by default that just because Jay Daniels wasn't available, and then by the way you had steps in Bennett hanging in the background the guy who has been around Georgia's program left and came back. But he's been around long enough that he was mimicking Baker Mayfield during rosebowl prep in two thousand seventeen. So the fact that they able to throw him in the game, the way they did without him getting that many first team reps if any in the lead up to the Arkansas game speaks to Bennet. It'll make it interesting I it complicates the decision. because. On, the one hand you could say right now give and Bennett's and first team reps and he'll be even better or you could say well, look look how well he did as the fallback option. So let's keep them as the fallback option and roll out doin' Mathis again and give him another chance or jt dams. Back to the podcast in a second but first word about draft kings. Last week is in the books, and now it's time to review the tape and prepare for this week. There's no better place to get in on all the action. Then with draftkings the leader in one day fantasy sports to add to this week's excitement draft kings has a free shot at millions of dollars in total prizes up for grabs. If you haven't tried draftkings yet head to the APP store now because you don't want to miss this, you drafter lineup and feel the sweat like never before every run passing catch means more with draftkings. It's simple. You just pick your lineup stay with the. Salary cap and see how your team stacks up against the competition nothing as the excitement of watching the game quite like having a shot at millions of dollars in prizes draftkings his paid out billions of dollars to winners since twenty twelve. So they know a thing or two about cold hard cash download the draftkings APP now and use code run for a limited time. New Users can get a free shot at millions of dollars in prizes. This week don't miss out on the week four action and our code run to get a free shot at millions of dollars in prizes with your first deposit. That's code run only at draftkings. Make It rain minimum five dollar deposit. Eligibility restrictions apply see draftkings dot com for details. Set I, think this is interesting year in that for the first time in a while that Florida's the team, a lot of people are picking. They were the preseason pick for the SEC east title and when you look at what Georgia has especially after what a dud of first half they played against it's probably the worst team in the conference in the opener. So now you look at. The next five weeks, it is a interesting sprint. So George will play Auburn. We Know Auburn even though they lost Derrick Brown still has some studs on defense. Then Tennessee comes in there and Tennessee's top twenty five team. I don't know if they're ready to knock off Georgia but there are formidable. Then they got to go to Alabama than they gotta go to Kentucky and then they play Florida. When you look at what Georgia has right now, how do you see them getting through that that next five weeks of these next five weeks. Before the year, I picked them to be. Five and one at that point with the Alabama game as the the loss. But I still felt like Alabama game was kind of a coin flip especially in a year where home field advantage would be very minimal. I want to overreact week one too much I I WANNA see how Georgia looks against Auburn but. The way their offense did struggle and the uncertainty that emerged at not says quarterback but running game. A central point to all this? Is that with a normal Georgia where you've got A. Couple of great running backs. And a lot of five stars and just a big great offensive line that is. Bashing over defenses, you can get by with an okay quarterback situation. I mean they still were eleven one heading to the SEC championship last year. In a year where Jake from had regressed and wasn't as good as he was a freshman and sophomore. The problem this year guys is that they're run game needs to be better. They I don't. As a mere white got better as the game went on against. Arkansas not explosive early starting to get better James Cook the other guy. Is just the he he had a rough game and he hasn't showed it yet, and their offensive line wasn't able to get this great push. So they may do some tweaks this week they may move some guys around. But if an Auburn's a test because like you said they, they've got those D. lineman whether or not Derek Brown whether or not became. Bryant is able to play right now that looks like it's questionable but it still Ronnie Garner recruiting that D. Line so. This is going to be a test, and if they're able to come out in three able to run the ball better between that and their defense, they should be okay if they're just solid quarterback, but the quarterback issues are going to be magnified as long as the running game and the. Pass blocking pass blocking was still okay. It was mainly the run game was mainly going forward but. It the quarterback issues are GonNa be magnified until the whole offense is in better shape So it it's. quarterback like I said, it's going to get all the attention, but it's not the thing that you have to answer on this offense and yeah, I mean if if they look like they did. In the. First Half Against Arkansas. Loss. Alabama certainly loss Florida's probably loss and Kentucky. Tennessee are going to be competitive but they're not as bad as they showed in the first half against Arkansas. The question is how much better are they? In that game, they could still come out of this like six. Or five and one in good shape. But Yeah, Florida looks more competitive now. I mean, it was going to be competitive, but it looks more dangerous now and every game in this upcoming five game stretch looks competitive unless they get this offense order. Yeah I. Think it's interesting in the SEC this year with a ten game schedule. I feel like like you said earlier, you know, Auburn Big Game Conference title implications but not quite as much as it would have been in an eight game schedule like it's just such a long season that they could. They could get off to a rough start. They could lose to Auburn and then you know six weeks later everybody else has a loss or to to we'll just we'll have to see but in terms of the SEC east kind of looking at the bigger picture here. I was very surprised I think a lot of people were to win the SEC precinct meal media preseason poll came out last week in Florida was actually picked to win the east because I think that the the general perception is that while Florida's had a good couple of years, the past couple of seasons under Dan Mullen that they generally overachieved in Georgia still. Has You know they've signed number one number two recruiting class every or they're still the far more talented team okay. I. Don't want to overreact too much too week one but Georgia had the issues they did and then conversely kyle trask in kyle pits I mean just went out and put on a show against Amiss in Tennessee at a nice road win in South Carolina so. What is your feeling on on the state of the SEC east right now. I. Definitely I I was with you and a lot of other people that I was surprised when I saw Florida was the pick because I know that there was some Kinda loud voices in the preseason saying Oh. This is Florida's year and I kind of thought it was just boredom people are looking for a new angle and the SEC East Georgia won three years in a row and it wasn't close. You still look at the talent gap and say, well, you gotTa Pick Georgia. But they they found enough voters to pick Florida and week one gave them reason to feel vindicated. But we've got a long way to go I wanNA. See How Georgia looks against, Auburn. And you WANNA see a Florida's able to get its defense in order but. Look I mean I covered a Georgia team last year that relied on his defense and there were a lot of people I wasn't one of them but there are a lot of people saying, oh, defense wins championships. They'll shut down Joe Borough and Lsu they've you know Yada Yada Yada and we saw what happened I mean this is this is a different day and age in college football and would you rather have a strong offense or a strong defense right now and that's why Jordan needs to get better on offense because. will their defense automatically shut down? Florida's offense enough and win enough games if their offense is not moving the ball well enough no, I won't I'm not ready to change my pick I. I want to give it another week, and like I said, the thing that Georgia's still has going for it is its depth and its experience for as much as it struggled. It's still pulled away and basically covered the spread depending on when and where you placed the bet and I think Georgia may have actually still had the biggest margin of victory of any as game last week. It's just how bad it looked in the first half is, is everyone's takeaway so Yeah. But I I've been on the Tennessee I. Don't know if I'd say bandwagon but I've been saying for a while that Tennessee's on the arrows up there Jeremy pruitt was going to recruit well, and I, think he's shown himself to be a better coach than people thought he made me mark stoops has a solid program there at Kentucky that could be dangerous. and. Even. Looking further down like I know South Carolina lost a Tennessee I covered a game where South Carolina Georgia last year. So it it's it's getting tougher for Georgia in the SEC but I'm not ready to bury them yet. South as we're taping this earlier this month, you released the book attack, the day, Kirby Smart, and Georgia's return to glory I. Appreciate you send in a copy my way. Something I actually already started reading and thank you So I have two questions for you. One what made you decide to write this book now at this going into twenty twenty And that what that decision making was like and to as you're sitting there watching the Arkansas game, knowing you have a book coming out a book that is out how much are you thinking man? This is not going to do well for my book. If they lose this game to this Arkansas second question I I'm thinking well officially, I'm not thinking. About. My Book that selfish but I'm thinking thank goodness. They moved the season back by four weeks because that gave me twenty six days. The game was on the twenty six released was on the first twenty six days for people to have nothing to do and to think about what's about to happen, and so they read about what did happen. It may turn out. Okay. I just it. The best thing for my book sales because Christmas is the next like run you know this bruce haven't done books is that Georgia continues to do well but the bottom line is this book is about the last five years of the program Twenty fifteen to twenty, nineteen and A. Especially, that era that twenty fifteen to twenty, seventeen, nine era. But like part of Georgia history that I think is so key the triumph books came to me with the idea actually after the two thousand seventeen season long story short going back and forth in terms of timing, giving time to write it and research it it came out when it did. Before the twenty twenty season but I really focused on that zone starting in Twenty fifteen mark ricks last year and everything involved in that Kirby smart coming in what he did to change the culture the things he's done to improve the recruiting around here But what I think really carries the book is is the stories from people inside the program. Talked to former players I, I didn't want this to be a cookie cutter just rehash of things that had already been out there I went and interviewed especially for the book former players, former staffers, coaches, even some people still around the program, and then of course, there's my own kind of institutional knowledge being there every day and kind of paint a picture chronologically of of what I think is a cool story about a if you're a Georgia fan I think it's A. You'll love it. Even if you're not a Georgia fan it, it's an interesting story about a program that a lot of people thought was. Should have been one of the elite programs in the country but wasn't quite there. That this is how they got there and there's they're still there as we record this on Wednesday morning. We'll see what happens in the Auburn game but this gaped disaster at Arkansas and Georgia is still a national title contender in twenty twenty s we record this. Yeah, I mean it's it's interesting time for them in that. You use word national elite I mean. Based on the record they've had since two thousand, seventeen based on where they are compared to where they were those last three or four years under Mark Richt obviously the recruiting success like they have established themselves. As one of the you know most formidable programs in the country, and yet there are people who are going to hold it to the standard of while m won the national title they they ended up in the sugarbowl the last couple years so sorry. They don't get to call themselves that and I would just say, well, if that's your standard than I guess, there are three programs in America. They can call themselves that because a lot of people would like to be in Georgia's shoes right now they are the Atlanta braves of the Bobby Cox era without the one title that some people still put an asterix because it was a strike here but I don't think that's fair but look braves fans ultimately will take that. The around here I'm in braves land here and I think Jordan fans. Ultimately, we'll take that to they want to championship and I don't think people around here are GonNa Fire Kirby smart in the next five, ten years as long as they're in the conversation every year most every year and right now they're in that position. Back to the podcast in a second but first bruce word about one of our sponsors artifact. So, STU artifacts set you up with one of their professional interviewers to capture stories about the important people or things in life think about it like your own favorite podcasts. But about whatever you want, you can do things like have them interview your parents about what their lives were like before you were born or a birthday gift for your significant other or have them interview close friends about her and the importance of their relationship there's all sorts of ways to use artifact, and in fact, you used artifacts to podcast episode where we were interviewed about our friendship and meeting back at ESPN magazine in one, thousand, nine, hundred, eighty, eight, and. The origins of the audible you can listen to that episode by the way at Hey artifacts dot com slash audible. And? The other thing is not to get cheesy. But like we both known each other since we were single, then we both eventually got married and we both had children and we've. I, think that's that's the end of the day like that's much deeper. Bond Than College football. Here's how it works for you go to hair dot com tell them a few basic things about what you want artifacts to be about, and then what we did was we answer a few pre interview questions scheduled the interview. The whole thing only took a few minutes in our interview was about thirty minutes long it was easy. You just call in over your phone from your living room from there are facts, professional editors and sound engineers take care of the edit and the final product is great. You can listen to it for yourself at Hey, artifacts dot com slash audible, and you can see great examples of how people use artifact start your own at hey artifact dot com. So use Promo. Code audible and get forty dollars off your episode get hey artifact dot com slash audible. I think that's That's an interesting way to frame it because like I talked about this and I think we had it on the podcast maybe a year about like because of just the staggering number of five stars brought in. Your already had the expectations. Rick did very well, I think it was a very good program maybe never great just because of no national title and that's the that's the metric when when Nick, Sabin your. Division in one Florida's conference on Florida's one one titles and now Lsu has won a title and an Auburn had won a title i. think that you know people look at that and that's what the measuring sticks GonNa be in here. Right? It's GonNa. It's GonNa be fascinating to see because I the way I looked at it was. Usually, if you do if a coach doesn't win a championship in like within the first five years at the school, it doesn't seem like it. It's very rare that that happens later in the process. Yeah I I guess I, guess that's right. You Know I. Guess Sabin won it fairly early? Well, how long did it take sainted Lsu? Only a couple of years. The best. The Best Sparrow comparison to Kirby in this assuming he does eventually, breakthrough is Mack Brown at Texas because he would he just. He would sign these great recruiting classes and then they go and lose to Oklahoma again and end up in the holiday bowl and he was just everybody focused more on the negative, the positive, and then he gets Vince young and they finally win the national title but that was probably seven or eight years into his tenure. So we'll let let us also not ignore how close they were in year two I mean, they're one busted coverage away from winning at all I mean they were they were in overtime of the National Championship Game Sometimes People Act and look I don't WanNa come off as a homer but some people act like they haven't been close they were. Yeah. That's the only your they've been in the playoffs but they had Alabama in the way two years ago the Lsu in the way last year and then three years ago they were in it. They basically had that game one now. Yeah. They didn't finish it but look this this team's been this team's been really close. Another one who would fit in that category of not a right away championship coach albeit much different circumstances. Dab Oh, I think it was in his seventh year at Clemson before they won a national title and kept on felt like they kept on elevating and elevating and getting closer and closer Seth The people can buy your book at I would assume the easiest way to get attack the day is to go. To Amazon, dot com the other places you would like to plug. Yeah. I I've done stuff with avid bookstore, which is a small Athens bookstore here in Athens Georgia that does a great job at local everybody but you know try books is a good outfit if you Google attack the day. Seth Emerson even attack the Day Kirby Smart. Google you can get to wherever platform you can to to buy it. Ra Seth what we really appreciate coming on and looking forward to the big game the Saturday cannot believe it's week two in they're playing Auburn. It is a weird weird season suffice to say. That is for sure especially since it's actually week five. The. Okay. For me it's week to hear. We hear you. All right. Thanks so much. Thanks guys. Always great talking to seth. We will see you guys Sunday morning after that game and so many of. You haven't done. So already please subscribed the audible. Apple PODCASTS spotify or wherever you get your podcast and while you're at, it gives us a review and a five star rating helps get the word out and you can subscribe to the athletic right. Now for just a dollar a month go to the athletic dot com slash the audible our producer on the audible is John Hayes our theme song is dangerous by Kevin and the octaves you can get their music on spotify. Saturday night after the games remember to email us at the audible pod at gmail.com. We can get your questions on Sunday mornings. We'll see you next week.