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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Game Day Revisited

I'm not going to lie. I enjoy complaining, much to the consternation of friends, family and virtually every girl I've ever dated. But part of the reason I like to complain so much is because the sheer conglomeration of forces that converge at times to screw me over is so unbelievable, I feel it requires discussion.

Which brings me to my trip to Columbia yesterday. I left in plenty of time for the game, but my lovely navigation system in my car decided to take me about 50 miles out of my way down dozens of back roads that ended up taking me an extra hour to get into town. Along the way, my cell phone died. No, not the battery. The phone. This is the fifth time I've had to replace this same model phone. If I don't want to pay for a new one, however, they simply keep giving me the same model.

I was meeting my coworkers at the stadium, but since I went out of my way getting there, had no cell phone use and then sat in traffic for more than an hour trying to park, they were forced to pull some Ferris Buehler-material to get into the game because I had their credentials.

After the game, I looked up directions to make sure I was taking an effective return route home. I then joked to the Telegraph's Coley Harvey to make sure someone came to check on me today because I was sure my car would break down and I would have no working cell phone.

Well, that's not exactly how things went down. I was running a bit low on gas because -- due to the hurricane -- the gas station I had stopped at on the way to the game limited purchases to 10 gallons. So by the time I got to Augusta on my return trip, I was getting pretty low. Unfortunately, due to the hurricane, gas in Augusta was more than $5 a gallon. I refused to pay this based on some sort of short-sighted moral stance.

I figured I'd go a little further and get gas as soon as I got off the interstate. So I got off on Rt. 22 to head back to Athens. There was, thankfully, a gas station just off the exit. Only it was closed, and it didn't take cards. At this point, I'm scary low on gas. But I figure, there has to be another gas station soon. Wrong.

I drove nearly 25 miles before finding another gas station. I was on fumes. I was in the middle of nowhere with no cell service. Not fun times. So I pull into a gas station, thrilled that I made it. Only that gas station was out of gas. So I suck it up and go a little further. I miraculously make it to Lexington, where I'm sure I'll be able to fill up. At this point, the needle on the gas gauge is lower than I've ever seen it in any car -- and I've run out of gas my fair share of times.

In Lexington, however, apparently folks were more than a little worried about the hurricane because every single gas station -- and I stopped at five of them -- were out of gas.

So I got back in my car, stared at my nav system which said I was still 12 miles from Athens, and figured I'd go as far as I could and walk the rest -- at 1 a.m.

So I kept driving. 10 miles to go, 9 miles, 8.... and magically, I managed to make it to a gas station just outside of Athens will working pumps and gas for sale. I don't know how it happened. It was a miracle.

The point of all this is, yes, the sheer insanity of the convergence of forces that left me in that position is so insane, it makes for a great time to complain about how much the universe hates me.

Of course, I could also look at it as a terrible experience that somehow managed to work out for the best. I came out of it with no harm done. And that's how fans should feel about yesterday's Georgia game.

It was ugly. It was scary. Poor decisions were made. Things didn't always go Georgia's way. But when the Dawgs got home, they were still undefeated, dreams still intact, and they had a 'W.'

So, with that, here are five things to complain about from Saturday's game, and five things to be happy about.

5 reasons to complain:

1.) The play calling. Not enough Knowshon in the game. Yes, he ran 20 times, but he disappeared for long stretches during the game. Again, Georgia struggled on the goal line, and again coaches refused to give the fullback the ball. Stafford's runs worked, but they went to the well once too often. It wasn't the worst play calling, but there was room for improvement.

2.) The offensive line. The first real test of the line didn't provide tons of encouragement. Virtually all of Knowshon's big runs came by taking the ball outside. There just wasn't running room down the middle. The pass protection was spotty at best, with Stafford being sacked four times. And the bungled snap at the goal line may have cost Georgia four points.

3.) The penalties. Yikes. This is getting to be a problem. The Dawgs were flagged 11 times for 112 yards, bringing their season total to 31 penalties in three games. This needs to stop.

4.) The pass rush. Georgia got to Chris Smelley twice, but on far too many occasions, he was able to stand in the pocket and find an open receiver. Sure, the secondary didn't do much to help the situation, but the Dawgs' DEs need to do a better job of making the quarterback uncomfortable if the D is going to compete against more high-octane offenses.

5.) Kickoffs. This might be a lost cause for a while. Jamey Lindley came on to replace Blair Walsh for the Dawgs' final kickoff, but the results weren't pretty on any of them. The average starting field position for Georgia opponents after a kickoff this season is the 32.

5 reasons to rejoice:

1.) The run defense. Wow. Georgia's big guys up front are simply giving no one a chance to run the ball. Here are the numbers: Against GaSo, 2.9 yards per carry. Against Central Michigan, 2.7 yards per carry. Against South Carolina, 1.1 yards per carry. Now that's impressive.

2.) No turnovers. It was close -- Georgia fumbled twice, but recovered both, and Stafford had a sure interception that was overturned by a defensive penalty. But the point is, a turnover-free ballgame is a good ballgame. Stafford has yet to throw a pick so far this season, and those numbers will need to continue next week against Arizona State.

3.) The linebackers. Dannell Ellerbe and Rennie Curran played spectacularly. They were all over the field, making tackles in space, and it was Curran who knocked the ball loose on Mike Davis' goal-line run late in the fourth quarter.

4.) Knowshon. Heisman voters won't count this game as an award-winning performance at season's end, but Moreno won the game for Georgia. He fought for yards where there weren't any to be had. He ran as hard as he has in any game. South Carolina's fear of Moreno is what opened up the running lanes for Stafford's two big runs, and Moreno's ability to keep his knees off the carpet on an amazing 4-yard TD run was truly spectacular. Oh, and let's not forget his punt return. You heard it here first: I'm guaranteeing he returns a punt for a TD before this season is over.

5.) A.J. Green's development. Don't underestimate what you're seeing from the kid just because you've come to expect it. The catches that he made Saturday were all incredible -- and catches I'm not sure anyone else on the team would have made. And to do it in his third career game in front of hundreds of his hometown fans -- well, that just shows what this kid is made of. He's going to be really special -- not in a couple of years, but maybe in a couple of weeks.

And one thing I'm not sure whether you should complain about or be excited about...

Arizona State lost to UNLV. Given the results around the country yesterday (not including USC), I think it might be safe to say the Pac-10 just isn't as good as we all thought. Of course, the Sun Devils could just have been looking ahead to Georgia, and may be ready to take out some aggression on the Bulldogs now.

I think it could go either way, but since I'm feeling thankful about not having to walk home last night, I'll go ahead and look on the bright side.

Sorry, no links today. Don't forget to check out our coverage of the game at, however, as well as our photo gallery.

I'll have an update with quotes from Mark Richt's Sunday teleconference later this evening.


Anonymous said...

Can you make the background white again? The gray is hard to read.

Anonymous said...


strick9 said...


Your blog is great, thanks for all the info. Your assessment is right on. Bobo's play calling was terrible at times. I wondered if Stafford was changing the plays at the line. Knowshon should be getting more touches, period. I will never understand why we don't feed him the ball more, especially at the goal line. W/o Knowshon we loose that game. The biggest concern I have is the lack of a pass rush. People want to blame the secondary, which had their issues, but an average QB will light up a defense if he has all day to sit in the pocket. Staffords performance was average. You would expect more from him at this point in his career. No picks is good, arm is great, but decision making needs to get better, ie. throwing to the correct receiver. However, his TE and FB did very little to help him out.

Anonymous said...

I thought maybe not going too much to Moreno was a way to keep the D guessing vs. being predictable. And maybe audibles due to them keying on him. And maybe not wanting to get him too beat up blocking 260 pounders.

ChicagoDawg said...

Ha!! Loved the story of your travels yesterday and your overall world view about such matters and the art of complaining -- all of which seemed all to familiar. Also, the good/bad/ugly points on the game yesterday were right on. Conference road victories are never to be taken for granted and many are ugly -- this is especially true of the Columbia trip. The real worry for me at this point is the lack of a pass rush, this must be dealt with and soon. They can't be forced into blitzing as a strategy for getting pressure. Blitzes should be rare and strategic, but that is the only way they have been successful this season. The front 4 has to improve it's rush or there will be some long days ahead, perhaps this weekend.