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Monday, November 1, 2010

Fleeting thoughts: After Florida

First off a quick apology: Normally the postgame grades would’ve arrived the day after a game, but I spent my Sunday driving back from Jacksonville.

And along the way, as I wrote in today’s paper, I saw a sign posted on a barn that read: “RICHT, 53K PER WEEK FOR THIS? BETTER FIGURE IT OUT.”

Yikes. I guess a loss to Florida – even one in overtime – will rile up a fan base.

But I’m sure a win over Idaho State will make up for it.

QUARTERBACK: I had a sneaking suspicion about Aaron Murray all week – and Dean Legge and Fletcher Page can vouch for this, because I said so at dinner on Friday night. The freshman had been so smooth and mistake-free all season, he was due for a clunker. And wouldn’t it just be like Georgia’s luck that it would happen in Jacksonville.

Well, guess what: Three interceptions, tying his season total entering the game, and his first lost fumble of the season. To be fair, one of the picks wasn’t his fault, going off Aron White’s hands. And Mark Richt blamed the overtime pick on blocking.

Murray did throw for 313 yards and three touchdowns, so the Bulldogs probably wouldn’t have been close without him. But one or two less mistakes, and they win.

Grade: C.

RUNNING BACKS: There’s a scene in a Simpsons episode (Season 7, “Radioactive Man,”) where an Arnold-like movie star character utters the line: “Ze goggles, they do nothing!” Well, that’s how I feel when I see Georgia’s running game. Every week it’s another thing, and this week Caleb King was the goggles, and while he had a good game off suspension (64 yards on 12 carries), the run game still wasn’t there.

Washaun Ealey’s knee apparently still bothered him, which is why he was limited to 37 yards (and four less touchdowns than last week). Plus, Georgia did spend a lot of the game playing from behind. Still, the run game for Georgia remains a disappointment for most of its nine games.

Grade: C.

RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS: I’d like to introduce you to Orson Charles, who if he’s used like he was on Saturday, can be a star in the SEC. One of his six catches came on a tight end screen – and there aren’t many teams that can call a tight end screen. On the flip side the other tight end, White, only had one catch and had that interception go off his hands.

The receivers were a mixed bag: Tavarres King (three catches for 104 yards and a touchdown) was good, and A.J. Green (four catches for 42 yards) emerged later in the game. But there appeared to be a lot of mis-run routes in the game, even on the fateful interception in overtime. Was that why Green didn’t get the ball as much as designed?

Grade: B-.

The Bulldogs started a different line yet again. This time Kenarious Gates came off the bench, with Trinton Sturdivant going back to the first unit, and Clint Boling shifting to right guard.

Whatever the combination out there, it was inconsistent. Murray was sacked twice, most critically on the fumble. Richt also mentioned the pressure, which may be why Murray for the first time this year completed less than half his attempts. As for the run-blocking, take away a 14-yard scramble by Murray, and the Bulldogs averaged just 3.3 yards per attempt.

Grade: D+.

DEFENSIVE LINE: There’s not really too much to say for this unit. After all, Georgia opened with only two of them (Demarcus Dobbs and DeAngelo Tyson) on the field, and played with a four-linebacker, five-DB unit for much of the game. Dobbs had a sack and Tyson split another one. But the Gators had too much success running past the line of scrimmage – there were only a couple lost-yardage runs.

Grade: C.

This unit shares the blame for the run defense, especially when it came to Chris Rainey, Trey Burton and Jeff Demps going to the outside. The inside guys (Akeem Dent with 13 tackles, 10 solo, and Marcus Dowtin with 10 tackles) had better games. Justin Houston split a sack with Tyson and had another tackle behind the line. But he only totaled three tackles, as the Gators successfully ran away from him. On the other side, Darryl Gamble and Cornelius Washington were pretty quiet.

Grade: C.

SECONDARY: It wasn’t all bad. Brandon Boykin had a key sack on a cornerback blitz. Branden Smith had an interception. Bacarri Rambo had a team-leading 14 tackles, then strangely chose to do a bit of trash-talking after making a tackle on a long pass play. But Florida also discovered its passing game, after a lot of struggles. John Brantley was able to move the ball downfield too much in the second and fourth quarters.

Ze goggles, they do nothing.

Grade: C.

COACHING: The overtime loss to Florida was eerily similar to two other losses: Arkansas and Colorado. In each game, the Bulldogs rallied to either take the lead (at Colorado) or tie it. But it could never close the deal.

In each of its five losses, Georgia did not score first. In each of its four wins, it did. And apparently the Bulldogs not only need to score first, but score a lot, in order to win. Their wins have come by an average of 32.75 points, while the losses have been by a combined 35 points.

Is that just freaky? Or does it indicate a lack of proper preparation in those five losses, and again at Florida?

Grade: C.


VineyardDawg said...

I think what you meant to say is that Georgia's average margin of victory in four games is 32.75 points, and their combined margin of loss in five games is 35 points.

Anonymous said...

I heard we had a lot of substitution issues on defense. Can you ask the coaches what was up with that and whether the hurry up played a role?

dawgjammin said...

Personel packages continue to be complete mind F@!K. Why shake the line up and put Josh Davis back in when the unit had been playing so good the other way. I don't have anything against him. He played great last year and a few shoulder surgeries ago. When Gates came back in at guard in the 2nd half, we started moving the ball and the pressure eased on Murray. Why keep brining in C Thomas at running back. Pick a guy and feed him the ball. I heard Richt is like 44-4 when a single RB goes for over 100 yards. Shouldn't that be the goal every week? Shawn Williams cost the team 2 td's. I can't figure out why the coaches will not let the growing pains happen this year with Ogletree vs next year when the D might have a chance to be a bit better. There should be 8-9 guys returning on D next year if you take out Dent, Dobbs and Houston. 2011's offense will look a lot like the first four games of 2010 except with out as much depth on the OLine and without a 4 year starter that can play 4 of the 5 positions. If the coaches can't be dedicated to running the ball its going to get UGLY.

Anonymous said...

"But I’m sure a win over Idaho State will make up for it."

Is that sarcasm. Your right your predecessor was much better than you.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's sarcasm. If you can't interpret that, don't read this blog. Seth, your humor is spot on. Keep it coming.

Anonymous said...

I have refused to jump on the "Richt has to go" bandwagon, just feeling that was the mindless way to go. But this team clearly was not ready to play Saturday. Yeah, great, they showed some heart and came back after being down. You know what? The stinking game is 60 minutes. So play in the first half. I don't want to hear any more "finish the drill" nonsense. Start the damn drill. It was the same thing against Arkansas, Mississippi State and Colorado. Show up in the first half in all those games and this one, and who knows what possibilities are on the table.

RE: Florida, Richt is our John Cooper. Do we really need to give him three more years (Cooper was at OSU 13 years)?

Here's the last line in Cooper's wikipedia entry: "His dismal record against the school's arch-rival, a lackluster 3–8 bowl record, a bowl-less 6–6 season in 1999, and pervasive academic and discipline problems amongst his players led to Cooper's firing after the 2000 season."

Sound familiar? Everything in there except the lackluster bowl record applies to Georgia under Richt.

Anonymous said...

Are grad students doing the pregame prep and game plan? I have come to the conclusion after 9 games that is what has been going on. Why that conclusion? The arm band on Murray and the coaches with those play call sheets. Murray is a RsFR [2 springs;2 falls, & 09 season], but after 9 games how much more of the playbook is there. Maybe we miss understood the coaches when they said they would bring Murray along slowly with the playbook. Just maybe the other 10 need an armband, too. Perhaps this is why this offense plays tentative, slow, and with no explosiveness.

Taylor said...

Hey Seth, just an FYI. That sign is the same one last year that "Wanted - defensive coordinator. Interested candidates apply 30 miles ahead" or somethin to that effect. Also, that sign was painted a 3 or so weeks back. It's probably going to change this week and demand for his job.
As for me, I'm just baffled by all of this. It's definitely not the talent. We've as good or better recruiting classes as Auburn, SC, Florida, LSU, and Bama yet all those teams have their act together(mostly, at least florets beat us and SC has been ranked and with weaker talent). From a person just looking at the program, the team just plays flat. We come out flat, look to mechanical/stiff on both sides of the ball, fail to make adjustments on defense, and are predictable still on offense. There is no tenacity with this team. It's disheartening to watch.

Anonymous said...

Fewer touchdowns, Seth, not "less touchdowns"

Taylor said...

Forgive my many typos.. iPhone auto-correct did not cooperate with me today.

Anonymous said...

The 2010 schedule that favors the Dawgs.
SC had 3 extra days to prepare. 7 home games.
Arkansas had two cupcakes before coming to Athens. 7 home games.
Colorado had two weeks to prepare for a home game against the fly-us-anywhere dawgs.
Florida had two weeks to prepare for a home game. 7 home games.
Alabama 7 home games.
Auburn 8 home games.
Open dated after the SEC season ends.
Can the new AD do something about this?

Anonymous said...

8 home games and a bye week before florida next season.

devildawgNC said...

I think it's 7 home games, with Vandy and a bye week leading up to Florida next year. The schedule shapes up decently again, but the team has to be ready to play.

I agree with the earlier comment: sure, the Dawgs need to finish the drill. Of course they do. But they need to start it, too.

The funny thing is, people say the Dawgs came out flat, but if anything, Aaron Murray and a few of those guys looked frenetic early on. He was on fire once he turned workmanlike in the second half.

These guys need some good Tyrtaios, some Spartan battle poetry, to teach the virtues of resolution, conviction, execution. Getting hyped up will only take you so far. And yes, I just brought up Tyrtaios and Spartan war poetry...

Willb said...

Taylor dude I know what you mean! I use an iPad most of the time and when I read back some of the stuff I say I wonder myself what I was trying to say.

Wonder if there is a way to turn off the auto correct thing?

Anonymous said...

The team did not come out flat. That is crap. Aaron Murray just did not hold his water in the first half. After the first interception, the defense stoned the Gators. Murray even said he was too amped, and it showed in the overthrows. By the way I was at the game and I counted four picks. The first play from scrimmage, the ball off Aaron White's hands, the first two point conversion attempt, and the nail in the Dawgs coffin in OT. Murray is a better quarterback than most in SEC but somebody for the Dawgs had to soil themselves. He just drew the short straw. I don't mean to bang on Murray; he is better than solid. No different than Terrence Edwards, Billy Bennett, Brandon Cotou, Matthew Stafford, etc. Somebody always decides to wet themselves in this game. It stinks worse every year is not the coaches fault. The Gators are too good and too well coached for us to decide to beat ourselves with turnovers. Why couldn't Rambo have just caught Brantley's giftwrapped pass late in the fourth? I wouldn't be whining right now.

Paul said...

We can talk about schedules, injuries, suspensions and whatever else. The fact is, this year we are a team that finds a way to lose. We have yet to win a close game. Period. I love Mark Richt. I hope he is our coach for many years to come. The truth is though, we have been on a downward trend for a couple of years. We play in the SEC. He's only going to get one more year to right the ship. That's a shame but it is what it is.