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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...

Correction Denver won on that crazy play

Anonymous said...

I just want to say something about the DT. They did an awesome job putting pressure on Garcia. The problem has not been their tenacity or skill but the fact that the DT's were being choked by SC guards and centers all night.

I just went back and watched the game again and clearly there was a constant grabbing of any of the DT's necks, arms, shoulders and the like to prevent their getting to Garcia. I also noticed that there was only one holding call, or maybe it was no holding calls, against SC all night.

If you get a chance to watch the game again please do and consider the no-calls by the refs for holding.

I understand that there is holding on every play and that all offensive linemen do it, even UGA. However, my beef with holding has always been the impact it has on the play.

If a player holds and the running back springs for 50 yards downfield as a direct result of that hold then it should be called. If a quarterback can stand in the pocket and pass the ball because of a hold then it should be called.

There were several times in the SC when Geno Atkins blows past the offensive line only to find himself with his back turned to the quarterback because he was being held. This example is what irks me about holding. If it the hold impacts the play in favor of the offense then please call it.


Steve said...

I have to agree with the poster above. I think our DTs are doing a great job. Against a good USC offensive line, they collapsed the pocket all night. Their job, especially against a mobile QB like Garcia, is to wreak havoc and force him out of his comfort zone - the pocket. They did that, but no one was able to clean up the garbage.

They were also very stout against the run. Neither OSU nor USC has found many running lanes against our defensive line, and that's something to be encouraged about.