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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fleeting Thoughts: Arkansas Edition

This one's going to have to be brief (or at least shallow) as I have a plane to catch in about 45 minutes.

-- Let's officially put to rest any of the talk about Joe Cox not having the arm to play quarterback in the SEC. The kid has all it's going to take to lead the offense, and his attitude in the huddle Saturday night was awesome. From Orson Charles: “My feeling was that we couldn’t be stopped, and Joe got in the huddle and said, ‘We can keep going, they won’t stop us.’”

-- A.J. Green is a man among boys. I dare another cornerback to question his ability. I honestly want to see what will happen.

-- I look forward to Stafford and A.J. playing together again in two years when Detroit has the No. 1 pick again.

-- Georgia is going to look back on that Okie State loss and wonder what went wrong. This offense has the potential to be very, very good. Orson Charles and Green are simply better than anyone they're going to go against this year. It's a mismatch every game.

-- Michael Moore may have had the quietest 6-catch, 91-yard performance in history. I was shocked looking at those stats at the end of the game. But thinking back, a number of those grabs were just huge and came at crucial times.

-- Georgia is not going to continue to win games when they turn the ball over three times.

-- Fourteen more penalties against Arkansas. I know Richt doesn't want to hurt the aggressiveness, but a lot of this had nothing to do with playing hard. It was playing stupid. I'll go back and count tomorrow, but there had to be at least a half-dozen false starts. That's just unacceptable.

-- The line had some nice plays -- obviously the 80-yard run by Samuel tops among them -- but overall I didn't think this looked like the best performance. I'll be interested to hear what Richt and Bobo say about how it looked on film.

-- Speaking of the 80-yard run, it was nice and it really demonstrated Samuel's impressive speed, but take it away and he had 24 yards on 15 carries. Caleb King was the stronger runner by a wide margin Saturday.

-- Rantavious Wooten saw a good bit of action. I may be wrong, but I think Marlon Brown got two snaps. Tells you a lot about who has the confidence of the coaches right now.

-- I've been critical of Mike Bobo's play calling in the first two weeks, but the game plan was exceptional for this one. He never backed off, and there wasn't a single stretch in which I disagreed with his calls. Just a beautifully called game on his part.

-- The defensive line isn't going to chalk Saturday up as one for the ages, but they played alright. Justin Houston had seven tackles, they got occasional pressure on Ryan Mallett, and outside of a few long ones in the fourth quarter as the wear and tear of a shootout had to be adding up, they stopped the run altogether.

-- Key stat of the night: Arkansas was 3-of-14 on third down.

-- Speaking of that key stat, that will be one of four excuses given to the defense in the coming week. Here are the others:

2.) We just need to execute.

3.) We held them without a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

4.) Vance Cuff and Akeem Dent didn't play and that really hurt our depth.

-- All of those excuses will be B.S.

-- The Bulldogs have allowed 721 passing yards in the past two games.

-- The Bulldogs have allowed 912 total yards of offense in the past two games.

-- There were some plays where Georgia's DBs were burned, but worse, there were others where there simply wasn't a DB within 10 yards of the receiver. It was as if Georgia was playing with eight defenders.

-- Brandon Boykin looked great in the kick return game again, but he was awful in coverage. By far his worst performance.

-- I love Bryan Evans. He's a good kid, a hard hitter and a smart football player. But honestly, I'm not sure he belongs in coverage. He gets burned more often than a pack of Camel Lights. (Lame, I know, but it's 8 a.m.)

-- Mallett is a stud. If he sticks around next year, Arkansas is going to be the favorite to win the West. But to be honest, I could see him bolting after this season. The kid has NFL talent and then some. Very impressive performance tonight. Yes, Georgia made his job easy, but he didn't miss a throw.

-- I know everyone wants Willie fired right now, but that's not a solution. At the end of the year? Who knows? But who is Georgia going to hire tomorrow that is going to remedy these problems? And to be honest, I'm not sure at this point how much can be pinned on Willie and how much needs to be pinned on just some awful coverage, execution and the worst tackling we've seen since Georgia Tech. Fundamentals just went out the window.

-- Drew Butler is one heck of a punter, eh?

-- A lot of this game reminded me of how last year spiraled downhill, but nothing more than Blair Walsh booting consecutive kickoffs out of bounds following big Georgia touchdowns. But give the kid some credit -- he's 6-of-6 on FGs so far, and that last one before the half was a game-changer in terms of momentum.

-- We got completely robbed of what should have been the best play of the game. On third-and-long in the fourth quarter, Mallett took off running and slid well short of the marker. Had he gone for the first down, Rennie Curran was right there to stop him. The slide prevented 5-9 Rennie from absolutely dismantling 6-7 Mallett. It would have been great.

-- Aside from the final score, I can't decide if this game was more like the Georgia Tech game last year or the LSU game. I'm leaning toward the former.

-- Arizona State won't present a fraction of the problems Arkansas did, but Georgia needs to use next week to fix a lot of problems before LSU comes to town.

-- Georgia is 2-0 in the SEC, should have an easy time of it next week, and if the Dawgs beat LSU, things could shape up to be pretty interesting this year after all. Sure wouldn't have thought that after Week 1.

-- I said this last week and I'll say it again: It wasn't an easy game to watch if you're a fan (or a writer on deadline), and there's plenty to complain about now, but man oh man was it fun.

-- Fayetteville is a fun town, and the loss seemed to do little to dampen the spirits of the Arkansas fans. I give it two thumbs up.

-- Erin Andrews said two syllables to me. It was a good day.

21 comments:

Gen. Stoopnagle said...

David, agreed on Moore (and almost all your points, really). MM stepped it up today with very big catches on third downs. And on Bobo, too. I thought the offense was resilient and aggressive. Kudos to that side of the ball.

But we have got to get this turnover problem under control.

Are the defensive problems schematic? Or is it just the secondary? One option for Richt might be to bring in a secondary coach and let WM co-coordinate. I think that the idea MR will bring in an outsider to take over the defense is unrealistic. It's just not his style (like, when did Bowden ever do that in Tally? I'm not completely up to speed on FSU football history, but Jimbo Fisher is the only outside hire I can recall FSU making at such a high profile position. Everyone else was homegrown: Richt, Scott, J. Bowden... of course on D it's always been Mickey Andrews.)

Stacey Searles (I apologize if I'm misspelling his name - I feel like I am) is maybe the exception here?

Note, though, I'm continuing to be agnostic on the issue of whether we should make a change or not.

Do you think we'll see Caleb start now due to the turnovers? We got really lucky that RS didn't have a second in the 4th. What was the feeling in the press box about that play?

Anonymous said...

There were some plays where Georgia's DBs were burned, but worse, there were others where there simply wasn't a DB within 10 yards of the receiver. It was as if Georgia was playing with eight defenders."

CWM plays probabilities. If you go back and watch old games you will always see receivers not covered under our defense. We rely on pressure from one side to push the quarter back out of the pocket and away from the receivers who are not covered. You end up over covering the side of the filed the quarterback is on so we limit their ability to be successful. It works when you have pressure and the quarterback is an average passer. However, a good quarterback (Ainge) can chew you up if there is no pressure.

maconducks said...

Mallet is a stud, but he cried like a baby when he slide and got a nudge by a defender late. Jumped in the refs face and stomped his feet for the flag. I laughed hard! Penalties and turnovers go away and we become a real contender.

Anonymous said...

What did Erin say to you? Hello? Lick me?

Also - I thought I saw Cuff play? I could be wrong, but I thought he picked up the incomplete pass and ran it back for a TD.

Great job with the blog man.

Anonymous said...

You put a nail in Willie's coffin with a backhanded comment that the DBs were poor in coverage and the tackling was terrible. Forget the schemes - coaches need to TEACH the fundamentals. Jones always goes for the big hit and rarely wraps guys up. It might be time to give Rambo, Pugh, or Commings a shot at Evans job.

I never saw our DBs look back for the ball. They never read the WR eyes. Balls just zoomed over their helmet.

NCDawg said...

1) The defense is not terrible. They have been put in deep holes, and Mallet rarely had much time to throw. Unfortunately, he rarely needed much time.
2) Willie's scheme may not be broken, but our secondary is. What are the chances of a mid-season hiring of a stud secondary coach.
3) I was on the fence on th e special teams philosophy, but I believe Walsh's out of bounds kicks are the result of trying to achieve directional nirvanna. Bogatay's attempt was a bigger disaster. We need a specialty teams change now.
4) Quote of the day: Richt talking about Butler punts, "We would like some more ups, and he doesn't need to worry about his yonder."

chillydawg said...

The secondary has absolutely too much athletic ability to be this unsound. For the last two games I have watched the secondary get picked apart. Their coverage fundamentals are ridiculously poor; their ball awareness is poor and their ability to read routes seem non-existent. The Linebackers have a responsibility in this as well- curl, flats and middle zones. Our LB’s must get a deep enough drop to help. Besides Rennie, their coverage skills have been awful. So, it’s more than a secondary problem. Arkansas ran the same underneath crossing pattern three times and there was no one covering the zone. Poor coverage, poor coaching, poor adjustments.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more with the "we just got to execute" theory that is coming. Willie, man up and just admit that your coaching needs to improve. Mallett might be a stud, but I'll hold judgement on that until he actually plays a good defense. Bryan Evans has been moved from corner to saftey and now neeeds to be moved to the kickoff team only. Any team that tries to establish the run first against our team is a complete idiot!!!

bnwdog14 said...

David, some may see these comments as excuses, but.....

1. Mallet is obviously an exceptional passer and the Hog receivers made some amazing receptions. Additionally some of Patrino's scheming contributed to coverage issues as well.

2. I was glad to see some different defensive schemes yesterday (besides cover 2), designed to put pressure on the quaterback. I felt WM got outside his safety zone, that could be seen as progress. This left some of our young secondary in man situations and they were obviously lost and confused at times. I feel confident those mistakes will diminish as they mature.

3. We made some phenomenal, hard hit, pass breakups yesterday, which appears to be a focus this season.

4. All these people chewing on Willie should focus their attention on turnovers and mental mistake penalties. To me, those were ultimately what could have resulted in an L.

5. A WIN IS A WIN IS A WIN. We have gotten better with each game this season. With all the youth, injuries and first year starters on the field, I think that says alot. Our players keep fighting like they have, and who knows where we may be at the end of the season. I for one am proud and see more determination in this team than I have the past 3 years.

GATA DAWGS!!

MetalSteel Chair said...

Your take is Right On (as usual), David. Gotta stop playing stupid and start getting D-line pressure to help out our clearly overmatched D-backs.

What I can't believe no one has mentioned yet is the Amazing no-reverse of the 4th Qtr official review of what was (on review) obviously a UGA fumble.

Talk about a potential game-changer that didn't happen - - that would have put tremendous pressure on our tired D to step up and given the Arky fans and O big-time new life. I was both listening to the UGA radio call and watching on ESPN (I know, I'm a dork), and the UGA radio crew was clearly expecting a reverse of the call. The ESPN replay was also clear. We really were extremely lucky that the officials in the booth did not have the TV angle (I guess). We're also fortunate that ESPN went to a long commercial break during the review and came back after the no-call, thereby not giving the TV crew much of a chance to talk about it.

That was one of the biggest moments of the game and truly helped secure the win. We got lucky there, too. Phew! (But just by the skin of our teeth.)

Anonymous said...

1) Why does Boykin look so hapless in the secondary? He's clearly a first-rate athlete, yet he looks utterly confused in his role. 2) How is it that we had an ENTIRE OFFSEASON to fix our kickoff woes and we seem to be in worse shape? Seriously? Talk about a failure of coaching. 3) Samuel should be benched. He almost cost us the game. And I could've run through that hole on the 80 yard play.

Anonymous said...

Also, David: Your blog is the best source of Georgia football information on the Internet by a mile. And I include the AJC in that. Please keep up the great work.

bnwdog14 said...

Metal Steel Chair.

U talkin about the Samuel Fumble? From what I saw it was clear that he fumbled but recovered

MetalSteel Chair said...

bnwdog:

That's the one - - but it looked to me (and, as said before, to the broadcasting crews) like Arkansas recovered. Still, I hope you are right and my eyes deceived me!

Anonymous said...

From what I saw of the Samuel fumble, it was most definitely a fumble, but I thought he recovered it as well. I think he just fell on top of it. I know this kid makes a lot of mistakes, but keep in mind he's only 18. He came here when he was 16. He's going to eventually mature and stop making those mistakes. To be honest, though, I thought Caleb King looked like the better back out there yesterday. It was obvious the coaches didn't want to use him too much for fear of aggravating that hamstring but I think he may end up taking the starting role.

Jeremiah said...

Excellent work on this blog David.

The D-fense obviously has MAJOR problems and it will be interesting to see what CMR does to correct it in the off season. If we don't have the pass rush, shouldn't we throw in some unusual schemes (i.e. Jon Tenuta) to confuse these young college QB's? I mean Garcia and Mallett both looked like Tom Brady... they seemed to have been coached exactly what to expect from UGA's Defense and they made perfect reads/ passes all night. What we are doing clearly isn't working and someone needs to figure out how to stop the hemorrhaging! To me, it doesn't seem unreasonable to throw some wrinkles in every game to confuse these young QBs!!!

Cox has improved greatly but that was an embarrassingly bad Arkansas defense.

AJ Green & M Moore: Stellar

I get the feeling that Richard Samuel in very close to becoming something truly special. If he can continue to improve, learn to deflect off defenders and run, decrease turnovers, he could be nearly unstoppable. He has all the tools but needs to bring them all together.

Bottom line: these are fun games to watch against SEC perennial bottom feeders, but we will get crushed against the big boys (like last year) if penalties, turnovers and defense don't improve significantly.

Jeremiah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Warren T said...

On your comment about the penalties, here is the breakdown (courtesy of ESPN.com's "play by play"):
false start: 6
holding: 3
personal foul: 1
block in back: 1
offsides: 1
delay: 1
illegal formation: 1

You are absolutely correct that the large bulk of these cannot be blamed on "aggressiveness," but rather are a product of poor focus and just plain silly. I know what Paul Johnson would say (see Tech-Miami game the other night)...

Anonymous said...

The D was put in some very bad positions by turnovers last night. They held when it counted. Held Arky to field goals, got pressure on the QB, got sacks, knocked the hell out of people but yet get no credit? Not surprising.
Guess Erin didn't tell you about Martinez' 3rd quarter speech to the linebackers about if they hit their assignments, they would be fine.

Anonymous said...

Any news on Cuff's injury? It did not look good. We can't afford to lose another key contributor

The Watch Dawg said...

David - if the two syllables were "call me," than I'd say it was a good day indeed. But should you find yourself entertaining Erin, you should suggest that she lose the glasses. I'm not sure what kind of message she's trying to send by dressing like a school teacher, but it's not working.

This is by far the least football-related comment I've ever left here.