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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fleeting Thoughts: Tennessee Edition

Part of me thought that the best way to post a "Fleeting Thoughts" for this week would be simply to write:

-- Georgia isn't very good.

And leave it at that. What more is there to say after a game like that?

Well, in truth, probably a lot. It's just a matter of how much you really still feel like hearing it. But let's give it a whirl, and if Georgia loses to Vandy next week, we'll go with the one-line synopsis.

-- No one 'fussed up to it, but it's hard not to wonder if there was a lingering hangover effect from last week's LSU loss. It's obviously no excuse, but despite all the other problems, Georgia has played with a ton of heart this season through five games. Saturday, I just didn't see a lot of fight.

-- I've covered Mark Richt for five years now, and I think today was the angriest I've seen him following a game. The problem, I think, is that he was preemptively angry at the media, not the folks who are actually responsible for that debacle. I get he doesn't want to air his laundry in public, but he has to understand that there is going to be legitimate criticism following a game like that.

-- Three turnovers or more in five of six games. No touchdowns in 10 of past 11 quarters of football.

-- Georgia picked up a few garbage yards on the ground in the fourth quarter, but through three quarters, they were averaging 2.9 yards per carry and had a whopping 41 yards on the ground.

-- Joe Cox played awful, no doubt. But there just wasn't much there for him either. He hit his first six throws -- all dinks and dunks -- but that's all he had. His receivers did him few favors either. Tons of drops on very catchable passes. Still, none of that excuses some absolutely awful decisions. You have to know how much time is on the clock at the end of the half. You have to be able to get a ball into the third row if you're gonna toss it up for grabs to avoid a sack. You've got to stop staring down receivers. These are the things Cox was supposed to be good at.

-- Another note on the drops, courtesy of Jim F.: Before the drop by A.J. in the second quarter, Cox was 11-of-13 passing. After, he was 9-of-22 the rest of the way. Take away the 4-of-5 throwing during garbage time, and Cox went 4-of-17 (29%) following A.J.'s drop.

-- OK, I owe jferg an apology. Why did I think Zach Renner had graduated? I'm dumb.

-- Of course, as dumb as I am, I've been saying for the past month that Georgia is overplaying the run and can't handle play-action. Tennessee dominated using play-action and bootlegs. Here's what Willie had to say: "We’ve got to look at the tape and obviously when you’re running a lot of play-action pass or you’re defending the run and you’ve got to convert that to pass, we’ve got to do a better job with that.”

-- I know we all were aware that Johnathan Crompton was awful, but here were his career numbers in his previous starts against BCS-conference teams: 116-of-238 (48.7%) for 1,220 yards (152 per game avg.) with six TDs and 11 INTs. His numbers vs. Georgia? 20-of-27 (74%) for 310 yards with 4 TDs and 1 INT.

-- Mike Gundy, Les Miles and Lane Kiffin have severely out-coached Mark Richt's staff this year. That's not exactly a MENSA crowd.

-- Prince Miller played one of the worst games I've seen from a corner in a long, long time.

-- I'm not going to tell Richt what decisions he needs to make, but clearly some tough decisions need to be made. It's what head coaches do. In the Colorado-Texas game Saturday night, Dan Hawkins pulled his own son from the game to insert a true freshman quarterback. On the field, it needs to be all business.

-- Georgia had 18 tackles for a loss in its previous two games. I didn't say anything at the time because I didn't want to seem like I was trying to find negatives, but I had a feeling that sudden success of the D line had more to do with the lackluster play by the opposing O lines. A no-sack, three-TFL performance against the patchwork Tennessee line Saturday seems to provide some evidence that all is not well for the pass rush after all.

-- Walsh seems to be able to kick deep pretty well. Kicking directionally didn't seem to work out very well. I feel like I've typed these words before.

-- I watched all of the LSU-Florida game. I think the announcers made fun of Georgia about 9,463 times.

-- Tennessee was only 5-of-11 converting third downs, but it sure felt like more. Georgia was 3-of-13 and it felt like less.

-- You can argue the chicken or the egg here, but here are some numbers for Cox that should give you an understanding of how hard it is to succeed without a running game: In the two games when Georgia rushed for more than 100 yards as a team, Cox is completing 70 percent of his passes, averaging 288 yards passing and has seven TDs to go with two INTs. In the four games when Georgia has not rushed for 100 yards as a team, Cox's numbers drop to 53 percent completions, 195 yards per game passing with four TDs and six INTs.

-- As for that chicken-or-egg argument, Tennessee didn't give Georgia anything deep. They didn't stack the box and beg Cox to throw long. It was the opposite. The underneath passes were open. There was nothing downfield.

-- I know you guys were angry and frustrated, but I give you all a tip o' the cap on some excellent comments. Lotta humor, which is probably the best way to handle a situation like this.

-- And along those lines, I now know what FML means.

-- I know it was a small sample size, but Logan Gray and Marlon Brown didn't do anything to make me think Mike Bobo was wrong in not giving them a ton of playing time.

-- If Gray isn't the answer next year, Georgia really needs to think about getting Aaron Murray some snaps. And from the sounds of it, Mike Bobo hasn't ruled it out. "With Aaron missing three weeks, it's a little difficult to factor him in right now," Bobo said, according to the Athens Banner-Herald. "I wouldn't rule out anything right now with where we are as a football team offensively, trying to find something to give us a spark."

-- Georgia had 12 drives. Six ended with three-and-outs. So far this season, Georgia has 20 three-and-outs and 16 turnovers. That's 47 percent of the Bulldogs' offensive drives this season that have ended with either a turnover or three plays and a punt. Sixty-eight percent of all of Georgia's drives have been for five plays or fewer.

-- Those numbers lead to these numbers: Time of possession for the season -- Georgia 166:30, Opponents 193:30. Georgia has won the ToP battle just once this season.

-- I've heard the name Ray Goff way too many times today. That can't be good for Mark Richt.

-- Here's a good quote from Rennie: “We can’t keep on with the same mistakes and the same mentality the way things are going. We’re working hard, but we’ve got to work smart, too. We’ve got to play hard and smart with our hearts and our mind.”

Think he might be getting a bit frustrated?

-- Ohio scored one more offensive touchdown against Tennessee than Georgia did. Congrats to Frank Solich.

-- Georgia has allowed 37 points or more in seven of its past 12 games. Since the start of the 2007 season, the Bulldogs are allowing an average of 24.5 points per game. Against teams that ranked in the top 80 in scoring offense in FBS, that number shoots up to 33.5 points per game. And to be honest, Michigan State (13 points) and Arizona State (17 points) probably don't belong, but they make the cut statistically.

(*note, winning record following its game vs. Georgia)

-- It's not just that Georgia's passing D is allowing big plays this year. The vast majority of Crompton's completions Saturday -- and this is hardly a new trend -- were to WIDE OPEN receivers. There isn't coverage within 10 yards. The worst example, of course, was on the touchdown throw to Marsalis Teague in the end zone. When there are only 15 yards worth of field to work with, and no one is within 7 yards of Teague… I mean, how do you explain that?

-- It's one thing to have a team that's rebuilding, but there's just something so un-Georgia about a team that can't run and can't play D.

-- Georgia has been outscored this season 184-155. They've been out-gained 2,263 (377 per game) to 1,994 (334 per game).

-- In the "just saying" category, this comment was left on the blog Saturday: Donnan (97-00) 35-13. Richt (06-09) 33-12.

-- The pass blocking was brutal Saturday. Cox wasn't sacked, but he was constantly under pressure. Carlton Thomas did an OK job pass blocking, but it seemed like Georgia missed Caleb King a good bit.

-- Quote from Lane Kiffin after the game: "I told the guys last night that I don’t know all the Tennessee history and tradition, nor do I intend to. I know there are a lot of great teams in this conference. But I told them, to me, this is the biggest matchup, Georgia. Because of what we do recruiting, for this staff, this is the biggest matchup."

-- As bad as this was for Georgia, things are worse at Vandy, where the Commies lost to Army. So next week SHOULD be a win for Georgia. Assume the Dawgs can get by Tennessee Tech, too, and you're at five wins. But look at the rest of the schedule: vs. Florida, vs. Kentucky, vs. Auburn and at Georgia Tech. It wouldn't be surprising to see the Dawgs go 3-1, but after watching that game Saturday, would it shock you if they went 0-4? And 0-4 means a 5-7 record and no bowl game. I can't fathom the reaction if that happened.

-- Next week in Nashville should be nice. I'm looking forward to the trip.


Anonymous said...

I am not convinced we beat Vandy. I unfortunatly predicted the letdoan. Classic Willie.
Are our DB taght to let the reciever make the catch and then tackle? Is that why there is always so much room to catch?

Castleberry said...

It was a sad sad week. Hit the Pancake Pantry next week and get some sweet potato pancakes. You'll feel better.

I had surgery Friday so this is the first Nashville trip I'll miss in many years.

Anonymous said...

Man you nailed it with "something so un-Georgia" about this team. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has said the same thing with different words. Georgia has always been known for its running game. It's been our bread and butter since the Dooley days. Our defense is usually tight too. I'm not ready to put Mark Richt out yet, but if he was as mad, prematurely so it sounds like, as you say he was, that, to me, is a major accountability problem

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

Well, this has been an interesting season. First I would like to point out the fact that Georgia could easily be 0-6 right now, but our players have had such heart and determination that they pulled out 3 wins for us. I am not putting blame on the players for any of the three losses. They have been playing their hearts out. As far as our coaches are concerned, I am holding them totally responsible for every one of our losses.

Coach Martinez again and again has proven that he does not know how to prep our team for games. We made Crompton look like an all-SEC QB this week with him having a career day against our defense. Pretty much every team, except LSU, has put up outstanding numbers against our pass defense. Today was the third time this year that our defense has given up over 37 points in a game. Martinez has always stated that he plays a "bend don't break defense". Well, Willie guess what, our defense has been broken and humiliated three times this year. Martinez must go, no questions asked. If Richt will not do this then AD Evans needs to step in and take control of the situation.

Coach Bobo needs to do something about the offense, it has been completely stagnant the past two weeks. Joe Cox is not the answer, yes he did look very good against Arkansas but everyone can have a good game, also Arkansas's defense is worse than ours. Cox stares down his receivers every play. He is gone after this season, so why not give some PT to the others QBS? Supposedly the word in Athens is that our two freshman QBs are not ready to play. Since Bobo is the QB coach I hold him totally responsible for them not being ready to play. He needs to also change up the play calling, I can usually guess what play we are going to run before it is run. If I can do this so can every other DC in the SEC.

I am starting to get concerned with Coach Richt, he has no fire right now and looks almost like he does not care on the sideline. If Rich does not fire Martinez after this season there is a big problem. He has not changed the coaching staff since he took over. Changes need to happen and this is the responsibility of the Head Coach.

Carter said...

Could somebody describe how Gray looked? I would really appreciate any insight, and I would rather gouge out my eyes than watch a replay.

By the time he took over I was no longer watching because I had become physically sick. Literally, I'm not even joking here. The last time that happened to me was the '96 World Series.

Chodawg said...

I've tried to remain as objective as possible this season, but I just can't be an apologist anymore. This loss, in this way, to a bad Tennessee team, is indefensible.

After each of the past five games, we've made excuses and attempted to take solace in the bright spots. I was guilty of thinking that we have everything we need to be competitive and it was just a matter of us putting it all together. I was holding out hope that this would be the game that it finally "clicked" for us, but what finally "clicked" was just how flawed of a team this is, in every phase of the game.

Instead of finally putting together a "complete" game and getting a decisive victory, we got manhandled by one of our fiercest rivals and completely exposed. I just can't belive we gave Kiffin and Tennessee's program such a momentum boost. Tennessee is a team we should be demoralizing and kicking while they are down.

And what's scary is that we're no longer talking about a Willie Martinez's defensive scheme problem, or a Bobo playcalling issue, or a questionable Fabris special teams decision...but an unprecedented (at least in the Rhict era) level of underacheiving that has permeated our entire team.

So yes, in sum, I want some changes after this loss. It doesn't have to be Richt, yet, but it should at least be our coordinators. We need to start over, and now with all the young talent we have, there won't be a better time than now. Let's please not waste AJ's last year (next year) with the rebuilding that should be occurring now.

Anonymous said...

The two seasons that have been horrible were the two we had no quarterback prepared to step in with game experience (see Joe T. and Joe C.) If Aaron Murray is going to be the QB next year he has to start getting experience NOW! And after all, it certainly couldn't be any worse.

Jonathan said...

FML usually means F*** My Life