June 9, 2018 8:30:52 AM
Every day from 99 days out (May 25) until kickoff, I'll put up a post telling you how many days until kickoff and breaking down something about the upcoming season related to that number.
Today, since we are 98 days away from kickoff, we take a look at: Remember when Gerri Green, of all people, took an interception 84 yards back to the house against Kentucky? Let's relive it step by step.
So I was inspired to write about this play for two reasons. First of all, let's be real here: 84 is a strange number in football. We don't see it all that often give receivers are starting to trend toward jersey numbers fewer than 30 and we don't see it unless a team scores 12 touchdowns. But also, this play was beautiful. That terrifying beautiful, like when you see a flyover and the jets are in perfect unison, you can tell they're dangerous machines and they swoop down a little over the stadium, then climb back up as they exit, all in unison? That is terrifyingly beautiful to me, and this play meets that description.
As with anything terrifying, it all starts with Jeffery Simmons.
When Green catches the ball, Simmons has his back turned the original line of scrimmage, facing Green: the throw being a short one, I'm guessing Simmons turned around to see if he could chase the play down from behind. He immediately turned around and charged down the field -- terrifying -- right toward Green's primary threat -- a Kentucky wide receiver. Since both of the outside receivers on that side cut in on their routes, and the defense followed, there was nothing on the outside to account for him; had Simmons not seen him, he could have easily cut down Green's ankles and ended this return before Green even reached midfield. But Simmons saw him...and missed. The wide receiver ducked under Simmons (wouldn't you?) but by the time he got out from under Simmons and found Green again, it was far too late.
Now, a wide receiver has a pretty good chance of catching Green from behind. This one didn't because of the carnage taking place in front of him.
The best move Green made in this return was a nicely timed jab step to the outside that took him just out of reach of a Kentucky offensive lineman. Johnathan Abram took matters into his own hands, peeling off from behind Green to lay a hit on this Kentucky lineman; Cameron Dantzler came in from the top to sandwich him, throwing all of their bodies to the ground right in front of the aforementioned Kentucky wide receiver.
From there, Green was cleared: the lone wide receiver and offensive linemen that were threats were handled, so Green had nothing to worry about before the end zone. Now allow me to go fantasize about Jeffery Simmons as a fullback.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson