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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Good News, Bad News: Week 1

I'm not sure whether or not we'll make this an ongoing feature, but I figured we'd give it a try.

On the upside: I needed something I could work on ahead of time for Tuesday mornings before heading over to Mark Richt's weekly news conference.

On the downside: Much like the players eventually have to move on from the previous week's game, so do I, and by Tuesdays, I'm tired of writing about it and you're of reading about it.

But, like with a freshman wide receiver, there's only one way to find out if it's going to work out, and that's to get it out there and see what happens. So, here's my ode to fair and balanced reporting... Good News, Bad News. As with any of these scenarios, always give bad news first...

Bad news: Georgia's 257 yards of total offense was its lowest output since the ugly loss to Tennessee in 2007.

Good news: Georgia's secondary looked awfully good. Last year, Dez Bryant averaged seven catches for 114 yards. He was well below that against Georgia, although his three catches were pretty big ones. Still, the secondary had to be a worry, and Prince Miller, Brandon Boykin, Vance Cuff and company really answered the bell. Against a team like Okie State, big plays will happen from time to time, but Georgia's secondary really limited what the Cowboys did in the passing game, which is even more impressive because, as Jeff Owens said, the game plan was to worry first about stopping the run.

One other thing: Bryan Evans hit on Bryant that dislodged the football on what would have been a nice game set a great tone. Despite the ridiculous flag, Reshad Jones' hit in the second half did the same. Fans should be thrilled -- make that Thrilled, with a capital 'T' -- about the physical play in the secondary. That's a Georgia standard, and Evans and Jones seem to be embracing it.

If I'm a South Carolina receiver -- a group that combined is not half as good as Bryant -- I wouldn't be too excited to be coming to Athens this weekend.

Bad news: Mike Bobo's offense mustered less than half the yards that Neil Callaway's did on Saturday.

Good news: The first drive of the game looked great. It was thoughtful, dynamic, inventive and successful.

Bad news: None of the rest of the drives looked anything like the first drive.

Good news: As bad as the offense struggled at times, the D was really good, and I probably failed to give enough credit yesterday to how well they played. First, the defense held Oklahoma State to 240 yards less than what it averaged a year ago on offense. More importantly, the D showed a ton of heart. You have to love when your D allows a scoring drive that goes for minus-5 yards. They nearly had another stop inside the 10, if not for a debatable spot on fourth down. And Willie Martinez deserves a ton of credit for his creativity in how he deployed his personnel, from using Geno Atkins at defensive end to getting Marcus Dowtin on the field for a career game to deploying Vance Cuff, who was extremely impressive.

Bad news: Trinton Sturdivant saw all of 40 minutes worth of action this season before tearing his ACL. You've got to feel for the kid. I can't imagine what that must be like after all the work he put in to get back on the field.

Good news: Georgia actually has a little depth to handle the crisis this time around. Isn't it amazing how little the Sturdivant injury has really riled anyone up? Do you remember the absolute apocalypse that happened when he went down last year? It's nice to have options.

Bad news: Georgia is just 6-4 in its last 10 games. It's the second-worst stretch since Mark Richt arrived at Georgia. The only worse stretch was from Oct. 7, 2006 through Sept. 8, 2007 when the Dawgs lost five of 10 games, starting with the 51-33 defeat to Tennessee and ending with a 16-12 loss to South Carolina.

Good news: Following that 5-5 stretch, Georgia won 14 of its next 15 games.

Bad news: Georgia scored just 10 points last week.

Good news: South Carolina scored just seven... against a much worse opponent.

(Side note: How embarrassed should the ACC be? Wake Forest lost at home to Baylor. Virginia lost to a Division I-AA school. Virginia Tech was smoked by Alabama's new look offense to the tune of nearly 500 yards. NC State mustered a whopping three points with supposedly the conference's best QB. They made the Big Ten seem impressive by comparison.)

Bad news: A.J. Green had just four catches. All offseason, A.J. touted the fact that coaches were moving him around to give defenses different looks and get him open. Against Oklahoma State, that all seemed to be out the window. He's Georgia's best offensive player by a wide margin. He needs to touch the ball more than four times no matter how it happens.

Good news: Did you know yesterday marked the 54th birthday of Waffle House, which opened on Labor Day weekend in 1955 in Avondale Estates, Ga.? My cholesterol would never be the same. (Yes, I know this isn't Georgia-related, but I think it's important information to have.)

Bad news: This is the first time in Mark Richt's career he's been 0-1. Not his career at Georgia. His career, period, since becoming a full-time coach at East Carolina in 1989.

(Side note: It was amazingly easy to find out the game-by-game results for the 1989 East Carolina team. God bless the Internets.)

Good news: Georgia is still 0-0 in the SEC, and Sanford Stadium will be all lit up and ready for football in a mere four days.


SL said...

Didn't quite realize that we are 6-4 in our last 10 games. Maybe worse is that two of the last three seasons (2006 and 2008) have been busts. Sure hope this one doesn't make it three of four.

BulldogBry said...

The Good News:
David, I really like this feature.

The Bad News:
I can't finish reading it, because now that I'm salivating, I have to head to a Waffle House RIGHT NOW.

PS. Thanks for keeping your head and being a beacon of light while the Bulldog internet meltdown continues. Everyone's a fan when we win, and an AD when we lose.

Travis said...

lets hope we hear some good news from the weekly Richt conference today. I'd like to hear some words about getting Marlon worked into the offense more, and get AJ better looks and moved around like he said he worked on in the off season.

Lee said...

Hopefully its easier to think of good news next week than bad news.

In other good news Caleb King is reported to be ready to play next weeks game! Funny how quickly that came around from him not even traveling with the team this week.

Also you know what would also be good news to hear? A Wednesday chat with the great Dave Hale at noon tomorrow!

Dog44 said...

If the freshman WRs' debut had been as enjoyable as this new feature I'd be much more excited about the season. (Oh, wait, I forgot they actually didn't play)

Bulldawg23 said...

Great stuff David. Heard your interview on 960 AM this morning also and you had some great perspective on things. Thanks for the work.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe worse is that two of the last three seasons (2006 and 2008) have been busts."

That 2006 team ended on fire, and set the tone for the great '07 season.

They also had the same record as Florida did in Tebow's Heisman campaign.


Travis said...

The bad news is that if we don't come out of the gate swinging against the head ball coach and south carolina, they risk starting the season 0-4 possibly 0-5 and look at a 7 win season.

no good new to report about ANY of that! Other bad news is how well any and every spurrier program plays against UGA. There is a week to dissect that last game and figure out how to fix it. If not, things will snowball quick.

BassinK9 said...

Dave, it's pretty simple to me. When Brian VanGorder left, because of his relentless nature and perfectionist drive, the entire coaching staff relaxed, not just his defensive assistants.

VanGorder was the coach nobody liked..... he worked relentlessly.... didn't care if he was popular and forced the entire coaching staff to work just as hard and as passionately as he did. When he left, everybody relaxed and got comfortable, Richt included.

This team hasn't looked the same since BVG left and until we get the same "bad cop" to balance the CMR "good cop", we're going to continue to be passed by our competition in the SEC.

Anonymous said...

"This team hasn't looked the same since BVG left"

Number of SEC Championships, Richt Era w/ BVG: 1

Number of SEC Championships, Richt Era w/o BVG: 0

Highest final ranking, Richt Era w/ BVG: #3

Highest final ranking, Richt Era w/o BVG: #2

Anonymous said...

Oops. Make that 1 SEC Championship w/o BVG.

Anonymous said...

David: Can you please ask CMR why he didn't challenge the spot on their 4th down try that they appeared to be short on. Haven't seen a quote on it, and I am almost positive you can challenge something like that.

Anonymous said...

Why for heavens sake didn't Bobo let Logan Gray play more ????

Anonymous said...

Great feature, David. Cracked me up a couple of times, too.