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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fleeting Thoughts: Arizona State

A few thoughts following Georgia's last-second win over Arizona State…

-- A.J. Green is freaking amazing.

-- If you replaced Green with even an above-average receiver -- say Mohamed Massaquoi -- I think there's a good chance that Georgia is sitting at 0-4 right now.

-- Georgia has 12 turnovers now and has created just three. The fact that the Bulldogs are 3-1 is absolutely stunning.

-- The offense looked bad Saturday, but the conditions were hardly accommodating. I'm not writing the game off and saying Georgia should get a free pass, but it was also far from optimal playing conditions. And Cox is hardly the type of QB who can handle the wet weather.

-- The defense played a strong game, but not a great one. On the plus side, ASU mustered just 204 total yards, which is exceptionally impressive. Georgia essentially shut the door in the fourth quarter, too. But for three quarters Arizona State ran the ball well, and a good quarterback would have converted a number of the throws Danny Sullivan missed.

-- Cox has a lot of strengths, and he's been integral to the 3-1 start, but for someone supposedly as knowledgeable and intellectual as he is, his interceptions so far have been disheartening. At least three of the four were simply bad decisions.

-- Playing Baccari Rambo more = a very good idea. He played an exceptional game.

-- Justin Houston was exactly what we were promised during the offseason. He was a beast off the edge. He had four tackles, two for a loss, and a pass breakup, and he had pressure on Sullivan throughout the second half. Now, let's see if he can keep it up against an SEC opponent.

-- Geno Atkins looked a lot more like a future NFL defensive lineman this week than he has all season.

-- As good as Tavarres King, Aron White and Orson Charles looked last week, none really caught fire this week.

-- Having said that, I spoke to Mike Bobo, and he said the reason Green had man coverage on that big third-down conversion on the final drive was because Orson commanded a double team.

-- What happened to that dominant offensive line? OK, some questionable play calling on the toss sweep to Samuel from the 1 or fourth-and-inches handoff to Fred Munzenmaier. But come on, Georgia's line was supposed to be the foundation of the offense, and it simply hasn't looked anything close to that this season.

-- While the run blocking wasn't what it should have been, kudos to the line for keeping Dexter Davis at bay. Arizona State didn't blitz much, which was probably smart, but they also didn't get a single sack of Joe Cox. It wasn't the biggest challenge the line will see this year, but Davis is the real deal and the line managed to still give Cox time to throw.

-- Blair Walsh deserves a lot of credit. He's 8-for-8 on the season now, and he's handled his job on PATs and field goals like a steely veteran. Regardless of all the controversy on kickoffs -- which really does sound more absurd every time I type it -- he's compartmentalized well and he's delivered every time out.

-- A few folks will knock Mike Bobo for this, but all in all, I didn't think his playcalling was awful. There were a few questionable calls, but save one or two, there was a good rationale behind all of them.

-- In the two non-SEC games this season, the officiating has been downright brutal. What happened on the fourth-and-1 play is inexplicable, and the fact that officials reviewed Green's catch in the end zone and still ruled it incomplete is absurd. There are several still-camera shots of Green making that grab with his foot down.

(EDIT: From an anonymous poster -- "David, love the blog but one small correction...the refs were from the SEC not the Pac-10. By the way, the umpire who got in the way on the 4th down play should look familiar...he was the one who leveled Stephen Garcia near the goal line last year when South Carolina played LSU." My bad. I was thrown off by Richt's "in our league" comments after the game.)

-- Green, by the way, now has 309 receiving yards against Arizona State in the last two seasons. He has to be a bit disappointed they're coming off the schedule next year.

-- Mark Richt talked after the game about what led to Green playing on special teams to make that block of the field goal. Apparently John Jancek insisted Green play, but Tony Ball didn't like the idea. He was worried his top receiver could get hurt too easily and said it wasn't worth it. He was overruled. So, for all the fans who A.) Don't like Jancek, and B.) Complain about how few top players get special teams duty, keep that play in mind.

-- I didn't see a good replay of Caleb King's fumble, so I'm not sure if it was fundamentals, weather conditions or simply a good defensive play that caused it. But if you look beyond that, I don't think there's any question at this point that King is Georgia's best runner. Outside of two carries, Samuel produced nothing against ASU.

-- No, Arizona State hadn't played anyone yet this season, but their D was led the nation in total defense for a reason. It's a good unit, led by Dexter Davis and a very athletic group of linebackers.

-- It should also be noted that this was the fourth straight team that had been gearing up for Georgia for months. Okie State called it the biggest game ever in Stillwater. South Carolina always looks at Georgia as the cornerstone of its season. Arkansas and Arizona State each had scrubs and bye weeks leading up to the game. Georgia may not have looked great, but the Dawgs have taken the best hits from four straight teams and come out 3-1. That's pretty good.

-- Yes, Georgia is 3-1. Yes, they could easily be 0-4. But it really all depends on how you want to look at it. Notre Dame is in a similar situation -- 3-1 without ever really looking all that impressive. But the difference is, I really think that Notre Dame was outplayed in three games this year. As much as Georgia may have not looked great in their three wins, I think anyone watching the game has to admit the Dawgs were the better team each time. If Georgia stops trying to beat itself, there is an awful lot of potential there.


rbubp said...

The only possible justification for the TD-not-TD catch was that you couldn't really tell on the replay if he had full possession of the ball. But I wasn't looking at that, either, just at his toe touching down on the turf.

An amazing catch. What a great player that guy is. I hope he gets to play a meaningful game sometime the rest of his career at UGA.

Anonymous said...

If you were to create a receiver on NCAA and gave him 99s on everything, I still think AJ Green would be better.

Jason said...

On one of the 4th down attempts Ariz St lined up offsides and there was no call.

rbubp said...

I noticed that, Jason--the one where they stuffed Munzenmaier after the ref push. The end lined up clearly in the neutral zone.

jferg said...

3-1 sounds nice...LSU game should be a doozie (sp?). Was it just me or did the secondary look better?

jm from louisville said...

pretty sure the refs were pac-10 refs. not SEC.

KingDawg said...


Game this weekend means something. UF game means a little something unless we lose two of the next three.

Anonymous said...

Confirmed - the refs were definitely not sec refs but rather pac-10.