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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fleeting Thoughts: Tennessee Tech Edition

You know the old joke with fortune cookies where you add "in bed" to the end of every fortune? Well, go ahead and use the same philosophy reading these, except rather than ending with "in bed," begin with, "it was just Tennessee Tech, but…".

-- The running game was excellent throughout, totaling 304 yards on the ground. The way I look at it is this: They struggled early against Vanderbilt but had a big second half. They looked good but not great against Florida. They dominated a team they should have dominated this week. So that's three straight games in which the running game has improved over the week before. I doubt they add a third, but I do think things are headed in the right direction, and the Caleb King-Washaun Ealey combo, with a dash of Branden Smith, seems like a nice mix.

-- I don't think it's completely fair to give up on Logan Gray at this point, and he may yet turn out to be a decent QB. But I think it's pretty clear that Mark Richt wasn't lying when he said Joe Cox gives the team its best chance to win.

-- Credit Cox for this, he managed to poke some fun at himself after the game. He gave himself a nice derisive cheer and joked about how long it had been since he'd gone a game without an interception. Since he's been in the arena, self-deprecation is allowed.

-- People will talk about the penalties after this game, and rightfully so, but here's the really troubling stat: Georgia got six sacks and dominated at the line of scrimmage. Tennessee Tech was clueless on offense, down big early and made a quarterback change. And Georgia's defense still didn't create a turnover.

-- Georgia, on the other hand, did have a turnover. The Dawgs fumbled three times, too, but managed to recover all of them. Guess the ball bounced their way.

-- Speaking of those penalties, credit Mark Richt for getting about as tough as he can possibly get, yanking a player after each flag. But the bottom line is, that didn't work either. Here's the thing: Maybe punishment doesn't work as a teaching tool on penalties because the teaching that goes into doing things the right way isn't working either. Just a thought.

-- Fifteen tackles for a loss in a game without Justin Houston. I don't care if it was Tennessee Tech. That's pretty good.

-- And on the topic of "I don't care if it was Tennessee Tech…" I'll add that -13 total yards on the ground and 55 yards of total offense is downright dominant. Yes, Georgia was supposed to be dominant, but "supposed to" so rarely actually happens.

-- I mentioned this stat in my post-game notes but it's probably worth mentioning again: It has been just one week shy of four years since Georgia's tight ends had as many catches as they had Saturday.

-- In the department of easy wins, just remember: Against Georgia Southern last season, the Dawgs allowed 21 points. Against Central Michigan, they punted three of their first six possessions. Against Western Carolina, Georgia didn't reach the end zone until its third possession and allowed points on three of WCU's first five possessions. Troy posted 34 points on Georgia in 2007, too.

-- In fact, the last time Georgia scored points on each of its first five drives of a game was against Vanderbilt, way back in 2002.

-- Mark Richt discussed how bad Tennessee Tech's kickoff team this week, and I thought, hey, maybe a big day for Brandon Boykin. As it turned out I was way off. Tennessee Tech only kicked off once in the game and it was fielded by Shaun Chapas.

-- Cox didn't throw an incomplete pass until there was just 5:40 left in the third quarter.

-- The Branden Smith Wild Cat package worked again, but I'd really like to see it work against an SEC opponent.

-- Without A.J. Green you would have liked to have seen another wide receiver make some noise, even if Georgia did throw just 18 passes in the game. As is it turned out, the receivers combined for just five receptions for 43 yards and one touchdown.

-- Where does the decision not to redshirt Marlon Brown rank on the list of coaching screw-ups this season? Gotta be top five, right? He didn't see any action until late in the second half Saturday and has basically been relegated to the sideline for all but about 10 snaps this season outside of garbage time.

-- Here are some points worth noting: Montez Robinson had two sacks and was very good on defense. Cornelius Washington had a nice day, too, recording one sack and two tackles. Marcus Dowtin led the team with seven tackles and had a sack. Christian Robinson had another solid game adding five tackles. Washaun Ealey came just shy of 100 yards and scored twice. Orson Charles got his second touchdown of the season and Arthur Lynch had the first two catches of his career. Rantavious Wooten got his first start at wide receiver. Caleb King got his first start at tailback and tallied more than 70 yards. Branden Smith had a touchdown, too, and was a weapon on offense and defense. Blair Walsh booted yet another field goal and has missed just one all season. Drew Butler punted just twice but still leads the nation in punting average. Brandon Boykin didn't let a receiver get by him all day. Aron White had two catches and led the team with 53 yards receiving.

-- Every single player I just mentioned is either a freshman or a sophomore. Yup, it was just Tennessee Tech, but it was nice to see the future on display and see it look pretty darned good.


rbubp said...

After watching the fumble by TTU's RB that seemed to lay on the ground forever before their QB, I think, got on it, it occurred to me that the problem with not recovering fumbles might be poor pursuit to the ball. There's no doubt that a lot of fumbles are caused by multiple players hitting the carrier at once, so if we're not getting continuous gang tackling there are fewer fumbles caused AND fewer recovered.

Combine that with a lack of pass rush most of the time, and you have no turnovers unless the offense just hands them to you--and if your pursuit isn't good you won't get those either.

Otherwise...Anyone notice that the first line in the AP's story about the Florida game? "Everything top-ranked Florida seemingly fixed on offense last week looked out of whack again against Vanderbilt."

rbubp said...

..and I will follow my negative and skeptical comment by adding that the team did play very hard and look very good, especially the defense. I hope it translates into a tighter performance against Auburn.

PatinDC said...

Great points.

After toughing out this year, it looks like maybe next year we will need to break in a young QB, but he will have a strong, talented team around him to help.

Carter said...


Do you know if there is anything to the talk of Montez Robinson transferring?

Thanks and go Eagles!

David Hale said...

I don't know how serious the talk is, but there is something to Montez being a little homesick and not entirely comfortable in Athens. But it's something the coaches are addressing.

Ally said...

"Maybe punishment doesn't work as a teaching tool on penalties because the teaching that goes into doing things the right way isn't working either."

Nail meet head. Best comment of the season. Reeeeaaaaally hope CMR wraps his head around that.

Anonymous said...

thought you would have mentioned more about the curious use of the no huddle was nice to see us use the no huddle and I was hoping to see it used earlier this year when I felt the offense needed a change of pace to get the defense on their heels. I mean why not make the defense work harder and think more causing confusion? Was this a case of using the no huddle to roll to a quick lead so as to get more 2nd string players playing time? Is this the first time the coaches have thought of using it? I mean along with the B Smith plays it felt like we had brought a gun to a knife fight was nice but would like to see this stuff work against an SEC opponent. Also did you notice on that 1 play drive for TD on that B Smith run - the offense was set with the B Smith at QB and JC split out wide for what seemed like an eternity (it was the first play of the drive and TT hadnt even put all its men on the field). It was so obvious that BS would be running right to go behind the TE and FB. I turned to my wife and said "watch BS go around right end" and sure enough about 30 sec later he did....every person in the stadium knew what was coming. It just seemed like something we could get away with against lesser talent but would have been stuffed against SEC talent. It just comes back to coaching....why show your hand sooo early.

Sports Dawg said...

Great point David regarding the non-redshirt of Marlon Brown. Your comment about penalties/punishment/teaching was right on target as well.

rbubp said...

Regarding punishment, penalties, and teaching tools, there are some things you shouldn't "teach" just because they are expected. You don't "teach" attendance in class, for example, but there is a punishment for not doing it.

Most penalties are so ridiculously simple that negative repercussions are really all that is warranted. keep chopping wood on that one...running, losing playing time, etc. will eventually work.