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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bad vs. Ugly: Tebow Takes on the Dawgs' D

It's sort of odd, isn't it? Georgia has struggled to the point of fans demanding coaching changes on Mark Richt's staff, and yet, thinking the Dawgs have a shot to beat No. 1 Florida -- the defending champs and the same team that beat Georgia by 39 last year -- doesn't seem entirely unreasonable.

The rationale, of course, is that while Florida clearly appears to be the more talented team, the Gators have hardly been impressive, despite their unblemished record. Last year, Florida blew the doors off all comers, save a flukey loss to Ole Miss. This year, it's all been a struggle, even against also-rans like Arkansas and Mississippi State.

So, assuming Georgia's coaching staff has done its job during the bye week, the Bulldogs could potentially be poised to upset the Gators, right?

Well, maybe. But there's also a reason that Vegas calls Florida a 16-point favorite.

That said, it's intriguing to see the fallout surrounding Florida in the wake of yet another mundane offensive performance against an otherwise lackluster opponent last week.

From Chris Low's blog yesterday:

Florida’s passing game: The Gators rank a robust 80th nationally in passing offense this week, which is one spot behind Ohio University and three spots behind South Florida. Florida can’t throw it down the field at all right now, which better improve if the Gators want to win a second straight national title.

Those are the stats alright. No more Percy Harvin. No More Louis Murphy. No more Dan Mullen. And now? Florida simply doesn't have a vertical game.

Heck, it's gotten so bad, some Florida fans are asking for Tim Tebow to be benched in favor of backup John Brantley. Sort of puts that whole Joe Cox-Logan Gray debate into perspective.

Of course, we've heard this before, right? Struggling passing game gives Georgia's beleaguered secondary a shot at redemption? Actually, I wrote about it before the Vandy game just two weeks ago.

In that contest, Georgia's D actually took advantage of the Commies' struggling passing game. But that certainly hasn't always been the case, and Tebow is certainly a good bit better than Larry Smith, even if his star wideouts aren't on the roster this year.

In fact, Georgia has allowed three different quarterbacks -- Stephen Garcia, Ryan Mallett and Johnathan Crompton -- throw for at least 300 yards already this season. And none are exactly superstars just yet. Just compare how those three fared against Georgia with how they fared against the stalwart defense of Alabama:

vs. UGA
Garcia 31-53-313, 2/1
20-46-214, 0/1
Mallett 21-39-405, 5/0
12-35-160, 1/1
Crompton 20-27-310, 4/1 21-36-265, 1/1

Actually, there's an even more direct comparison for Mallett and Crompton, who have both played Florida this season, too. Against the Gators, Crompton was 11-of-19 for 93 yards, no TDs and 2 INTs. Mallett was slightly more successful, but his line of 12-of-27 for 224 yards and a TD still didn't come anywhere close to his huge performance against the Dawgs.

And again, Tebow is a better QB than any of those three.

So the basic question is this: Which will mean more come Saturday -- Florida's 80th-ranked passing offense or Georgia's 90th-ranked passing defense?

Before you answer though, remember this comparison as well:

Arkansas' pass defense is even worse than Georgia's, ranking 111th nationally.

When the Dawgs took on the Hogs, Joe Cox threw for a whopping 375 yards and five TDs.

When the Hogs played Tebow's struggling offense, the Gators threw for just 255 yards and one TD pass.

So Tebow is better than Crompton/Mallett/Garcia, and the Dawgs couldn't stop them. By that logic, Georgia won't stop Tebow.

But Georgia's D is better than Arkansas' D, and Arkansas did stop Tebow. So by that logic, he's in for another frustrating day against the Dawgs.

Which is really just a long way of saying, we really don't know what the heck will happen. But that alone is probably cause for encouragement for the Dawgs.


Anonymous said...

Gee, the only chance we have is that we will be on the same field. Do you think the Fla coaches watched the Tenn game from a defensive perspective? Expect our offense to be pathetic and at some point they will wear down our defense. We will of course give up the short passes, the passes to the tight end and allow Tebow to run successfully against us. The last time we beat them we scored 40+ points and they scored 30. I expect they will get their 30 but we will not get the 40 we need to win.

Doug said...

I agree that we've been giving up a ton of short passes, but hopefully that is the adjustment they have worked to make with the off week. If we all see it as obvious then Sweet Willy must see it too.

Never mind.

Anonymous said...

Hope our coaches watched the Viking - Steeler game. Vikes could not run so they used short passes as a replacement for the run game. I remember Spurrier killing us with those plays at UF

Anonymous said...

"The last time we beat them we scored 40+ points and they scored 30."

7 of those were on a pick-6. Twice Georgia was penalized pre-kickoff. And don't forget the Penn Wagers Effect probably gave the Gators an additional 7 points straight up.

Matt Christie said...

The vertical game has really only given UGA problems against Arkansas. Against USC and UT they got beat up with the under neither stuff and run after the catch. Spurrier eat CWM alive with short throws and quick drop backs. The only reason Arkansas was able to throw it deep is, 1) they have an NFL QB with a huge arm, 2) they receivers that had height and straight line speed. UF has neither of these type players. So look for the under neither stuff, especial to UF out standing TE. If CWM cant, or will not, adjust during the game it will get bad.
The only reason to think UGA has a chance is the game is rivalry. Anything can happen. If the players and coach's cant get up mental, physically and emotionally for this game they need to get out of Athens! The whole program needs to show they at least have backbone this week, win or not. If they lose but it is close and they don't look like a bunch of lost puppy's on the field I for only will at least be less disturbed by the direction of the program.

Anonymous said...

"The only reason to think UGA has a chance is the game is rivalry."

Georgia > Arkansas
and on the field this year,
Arkansas = Florida

Auntie Rae said...

Ga < Tenn by 26
Fla > Tenn by 10

Ga < LSU by 7
Fla > LSU by 10

There's actually no reason to think Georgia can beat Florida. They have better players and better coaches. Just like the nineties.

T-Rey594 said...

I think it was TK who they interviewed after the Vandy game...could be wrong, but anyhow, the player said, "we have no pressure, all the pressure is on them. We have nothing to lose." I think our best chance to win comes only if we play with that mentality. Yes they are a better football team, but a team that has nothing to lose, and coaches playing for their jobs, is a potentially threatening combination. Go dawgs.

kc said...

AJ will get a long TD...

We will get some interceptions early and sack T-Bag a few times...

Moore will have a catch in the endzone after one of those INTs...

We'll be up 17-10 at the half...

Then they will grab a FG after a UGA 3-OUT and then take the lead 20-17 after a fumble...

However, Boykin will run the ensuing KO back for a TD to put us up 27-20... then FL will punt, Miller will return to the 50 and we'll score on the next play with a PA deep ball to AJ or King, a reverse to Smith, or a screen pass to Thomas.... Dawgs lead 34-20.

Then we go vanilla, but our D holds them to only 1 score after we get 2 sacks near the end of the 3rd Qtr...

Dawgs take a 34-27 lead into the 4th Qtr and we all anxiously await the refs to step in and hand the game over to FL... but IT DOESN"T HAPPEN!!! Slive can't take the heat anymore and he says "Let the boys play!"

FL grabs an early 4th Qtr FG right after Urban Meyer has a brain hemmorage cuz we stuffed T-Bag a yard and a half short of a 1st down and the refs didn't give him the spot... Score: 34-30

Dawgs get the ball, run 3 crappy plays and punt... but Florida muffs it, Dawgs get on it and run another 3 crappy plays to settle for a FG and a 7 pt lead

Walsh tees it up and proceeds to kick it out of bounds at the Florida 2 yd line... UF takes over at the 40, runs 2 quick plays and is sitting on our 25 yd line with 2:30 left... Every male Dawg fan hears Larry say (very faintly) that's about a hundred thousand years and proceeds to drains the drink in his hand, along with the one of the girl next to him, unless he spills it trying to wrestle it from her hand as she tries to pound it...

Verne Lundquist remarks how this is where T-Bag is at his best and the entire Dawg Nation proceeds to sweat pure bourbon...

BUT WAIT! Tebag runs right, and has his shovel pass tipped into the air... Curran cathces it and lumbers 5 yards before he's tackled!

Dawgs have the ball on our own 14 with 70 seconds left after a well-warranted excessive celebration penalty is called on 50% of the fans in the stadium... Gaytors have 2 time-outs and Urban puts TBag in at SAM...

Dawgs run a sweep and, believe it or not, TBag makes the tackle for a loss and Florida calls time out.

Dawgs run it up the middle, T-Bag misses the tackle and Ealey is dragged down by the safety... 1st down Dawgs!!!!

And that's how we beat the Gators in 2009.


UGA69Dawg said...

I for one have lost faith in our coaches to prepare our team to play anyone. We will be playing a D that is better than UT which held our O to 3 points. We will be playing an O that has a mobile QB, great tightend and a sneaky little S of a WR (Cooper) who is the past master of the push off or jersey tug. CWM will not have even paid attention to the way UT defended against UF's misdirection tendencies by spying the backside with a safety. I could go on but I just threw up.

Anonymous said...

I think a big chunck of the yardage gained in the 2nd & 4th qtrs were on late drives and the D is playing 'bend don't break' to prevent scores, thus allowing our RB to gain easy yards outside the red zone. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Auntie Rae:

"Ga < LSU by 7"

Still pretending that this outcome was legitimate, eh? A Penn Wagers fan, no doubt.

BurritoDawg said...

The main problem with this debate is the assumption that Tebow is a better QB than the others. I would argue that while he is clearly a better overall quarterback than the other SEC QB's we have faced, I don't think that he is a better passer than any of the others. Of course given our track record so far this year, you can still bank on him going for at least 100 more than his YPG thus far.
I want to believe it will happen for us on Saturday, I just can't get there yet.

Jeff said...

KC... I got goosebumps reading your post, haha however unlikely it is.
You know what? I don't care at all about statistical chances. Since when have those made a legitimate effect on outcome? Florida statistically was supposed to kill Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi State. Well they didn't quite kill any of them, now did they? Screw this, our players are going all out with nothing to lose. Their fans should as well. I pray to God that none of the fans read some of the blogs or comments out there, where their own fans are abandoning them. This is the first year that I will actually going inside the game (assuming I'm not too drunk to function) and I intend on being the "finest thing in the land." Go Dawgs.

SCdawg said...

mallett is a MUCH better QB than teblow. heck, even cox has better passing numbers. garcia will be better and crompton... well nvm.

the only reason ppl think that fag tbag is any good is cuz of the media worshiping him like they do. he has done NOTHING worth a damn this yr.

Anonymous said...

Our coaches have shown that they do not know what is wrong with the team. Yes, they may get saved by amazing effort and an off week against Florida. However, Richt is on record saying things that are simply not true about why our defense is poor.

I get the sense that Richt hopes character and being a good person will overcome everything. Character is great -- but if you don't know exactly how your team is doing and why, you are not doing your job and should step aside for someone who will study the numbers and make the tough decisions.

Being a good guy does not excuse a) not getting the job done (loosing) and b) being unable or unwilling to diagnose what is wrong.