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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Good News, Bad News: Week 2

The good news? This feature got a good response last week, so we're bringing it back for a second showing.

The bad news? I'm pretty sure this installment isn't half as good as the last one.

But hey, it's something to read while you're at work, and after I let you down and didn't have a morning post yesterday, I suppose anything's an upgrade.

As always, we start with the bad news...

Bad news: That penalty problem from last year hasn't been solved. The Bulldogs had 13 flags thrown on them against South Carolina and now has 20 for the year, ranking them 109th in the country.

Good news: Georgia's two opponents have combined for 26 penalties so far this season, which would rank 119th in the country.

Bad news: Georgia's defense allowed 427 yards to a Steve Spurrier offense. Worse news is that it's not 1996.

Good news: Blair Walsh was allowed to kick it deep.

Bad news: Georgia's kick coverage still leaves a bit to be desired.

Good news: This clearly wasn't the prettiest win of Mark Richt's career, but for the second straight week, you have to be impressed with the heart shown by the Bulldogs. It seemed like the defense was on the field the entire first half, but the unit held strong and didn't surrender a touchdown in the second half. Meanwhile the offense was down 10 points before it managed to run a third play, but Joe Cox had his unit excited and ready to go. More than anything, however, the players approached this game with the enthusiasm and confidence they needed to win -- something that could easily have gone the other direction after an absolutely chaotic week.

Bad news: Georgia has averaged just 56.5 offensive plays per game so far this season. To put that in perspective, that's just seven more plays than South Carolina had in the first half alone last week. So far this season, Georgia's defense has been on the field for 38 more plays than the offense.

Good news: If Mike Bobo would give him the ball enough, Richard Samuel looked Saturday like he could be the type of runner that keeps Georgia on the good side of the time-of-possession battle this season.

Bad news: Rough start to the NFL careers of Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno. Stafford completed just 16 of 37 passes and threw three picks. Moreno had eight carries for just 19 yards. Both Detroit and Denver lost.

(EDIT: Bad news... I'm an idiot and Denver won. I believe I may have even got an email from Brandon Stokely's mom on this one. Sorry Mrs. Stokely!)

Good news: I chose to bench Moreno on my fantasy team in favor of Fred Jackson. I'm wise beyond my years.

Bad news: Georgia has just six tackles-for-a-loss through two games, ranking the Bulldogs 106th in the country. The problems at D end were to be expected, but where's the dominance from future NFLers Geno Atkins and Jeff Owens?

Good news: Ryan Mallet should provide a steady and slow target for the D line this week.

Bad news: South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders had eight catches for 96 yards and was open the whole second half. What's worse is that the task gets even tougher this week with Arkansas' D.J. Williams, one of the country's best tight ends.

Good news: Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten were on the field for some crucial plays late in the fourth quarter.

Bad news: That's the only time they were in the game, and it was for a whopping three snaps combined.

Good news: Georgia fans are getting, on average, an extra 19 minutes of football this season. As Marc Weiszer notes, the Bulldogs are averaging the second-longest games in the country at 3 hours, 38 minutes through two weeks. The average, nationally, is 3:09. As Claude Felton tells Weiszer, Saturday's contest -- a 3 hour, 54 minute marathon that made my deadline a bit rough -- was the longest for Georgia since 2002, also against South Carolina.

Bad news: All that extra time in the stands isn't necessarily a good thing, as reader Jim F. points out: "Before I comment about the game, just a few words about Sanford Stadium & the crowd. Would you please remind THAT GUY, the nearly 40 something Mr. David Pollack jersey wearing guy, that he had since 1:00 to find his seat for a 7p ko, and I really would have like to seen AJ Green’s lateral/ fumble without wearing his coke. Would you also remind THAT GUY, not every negative play deserves a F-Bomb followed by “that’s p#$$ poor coaching right there!” If you are around such people, PLZ tell them don’t be THAT GUY!"

In case you hadn't heard, we'll have another late kickoff for Arizona State, so things will surely be rough yet again. By the way, that will be Georgia's third straight 7 p.m. or later kickoff. Last year, Georgia only had two all season, and one was a 5 p.m. local start in Arizona.

Good news: Branden Smith, Brandon Boykin, Orson Charles and Marcus Dowtin all made some big plays against South Carolina, and it looks as if the group of young Bulldogs have a chance to be special.

Bad news: They're still awfully young, and as Smith's fumble showed, there are still some kinks to work out. That's probably going to be the story for Georgia this season -- or at least early this season. They'll have some highlight reel moments, and a bunch of ugly ones, too.

Good news: While the final score looked bad for the defense, much of South Carolina's done following turnovers or bad plays by Georgia's special teams. The Gamecocks had scoring drives of 23 yards, five yards and 25 yards and scored on a safety, had a drive extended with a fake punt, and an interception return for a TD. Of the 61 points Georgia has allowed so far this year, 42 of those points have come off drives of less than 32 yards.

Bad news: While the old adversity excuse is applicable in defense of Georgia's D, it should also be noted that the Gamecocks had two touchdowns called back because of penalties.

Good news: A week after mustering just 177 yards of offense apart from an opening 80-yard drive, Georgia's offense looked much improved this week in posting 41 points.

Bad news: Even with that solid performance by the offense, Georgia is still dead last in the SEC in total offense, trailing 11th-ranked LSU by 40 yards per game.

Good news: Barring an early departure for the NFL, fans get to watch Rennie Curran at least 22 more times in a Georgia uniform. I can't imagine South Carolina is looking forward to seeing him again next year though.

Bad news: Patrick Swayze died of cancer at age 57. As an avid lover of "Point Break," I'm in mourning today.

Good news: Somewhere in the afterlife, I'm assuming Swayze and Chris Farley are re-enacting the greatest Saturday Night Live sketch ever.

Bad news: Three more turnovers for Georgia on Saturday, bringing the Bulldogs' season total to six compared to just one takeaway. The number would actually have been worse -- and the Bulldogs would likely be 0-2 -- if not for Carlton Thomas' hustle following a fumble by Joe Cox in the fourth quarter. Cox was absolutely blindsided, so putting the ball on the ground wasn't a surprise, but some of Georgia's other turnovers have been downright perplexing. A.J. Green fumbled on the second play of the game -- and Georgia Sports Blog think that might be the third time he's done essentially the same thing in a bad spot, so perhaps there is one chink in the guy's armor -- and Cox's interception that Eric Norwood returned for a score was just a remarkably poor decision. Branden Smith's fumble coming out of the end zone on a kick return was simply a fundamentals thing, too. The Bulldogs have to play smarter football. You don't lose the turnover battle and win the football game that often.

Good news: Georgia's 1-0 in SEC play, which is something Tennessee, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Florida and Kentucky can't say. So officially, the Bulldogs are alone in first place in the SEC East. Who'd have thought we'd be saying that a week ago?


Anonymous said...

So apparently you turned off the Broncos game before it actually ended

Anonymous said...


Love your articles, but Denver won the game on a last minute touchdown. Sorry to point that out, but still.

Toom said...

The penalties continue, yes, but statistics also continue to show that championship teams tend to commit more penalties. I assume it is because they are on offense more (not our problem) or simply are more aggresive.

Also, Donnan said yesterday that everyone knows when that particular crew of officials is out there, it is going to be a flag fest. For what it's worth.

Anonymous said...

Hey David,

Are Neland Ball and Christian Robinson still on the roster?

Just curious as I have not seen them and apparently Ball's little brother turned to the dark side.

JRL said...

I enjoy your The Good & The Bad postings - perhaps you can add The Ugly next week. I can think of a few examples :-)

Anonymous said...

The two flags on Reshad this year have been 100% bogus.

ChicagoDawg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ChicagoDawg said...

David -- What makes the 42 out of 61 points being less than 32yds even more remarkable is that 7 of those remaining points (those not included in the 42) came on the pick-6, so now we are down to only 12 points having been scored on the defense from greater than 32 yards. I will take that all day long. The key stories thus far have been special teams, turnovers and time of possession. All of which need to improve for this team to make a difference in the Conference this year.

Anonymous said...

Bad: the ref's uniforms last night in the Buffalo-NE game. Wow!

Anonymous said...

I love the way Orson Charles is playing but if I'm not mistaken he has fallen to the ground after every catch he's made. Maybe he's anticipating being hit. Maybe they can coach him up to get some yards after the catch.

Anonymous said...


We've allowed 20 points on drives over 32 yards. Not sure where the other numbers are coming from.
Pokes had a drive of over 50 for a TD, USCc had a drive over 70 for a TD, and USCC had two drives longer than 32 for field goals.

Anonymous said...

Whoops, Correction, USCc had 3 drives of over 32 yards for fg's. Make that 23 points on drives of over 32 yards.

David Hale said...

Anon -- I actually didn't count one of the FG drives for SC because it only came after the fake punt. Essentially that amounted to two drives against the UGA D, but it'll show up in the stats as just one by SC. So I think our math is still OK. (Then again, I didn't get into journalism because I was good at math.)

Anonymous said...

Complete BS call on Reshad Jones! Complete and udder BS! And then you had Cliff Matthews tackle AJ in very nearly the exact same play, except AJ's helmet was ripped off in the process and there wasn't a flag. Still ticked about this one. I think I just might write a strongly worded letter to the SEC about it. After lunch.