My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fleeting thoughts: After Colorado

BOULDER, Colo. - Two weeks ago, the Georgia Bulldogs were 1-2, and the sky was falling.

Doesn’t 1-2 seem such a quaint, innocent time now?

The season has officially gone off the rails, with Saturday’s loss here in the Rockies. Here are some mind-boggling stats and facts:

- Georgia and Tennessee will both having losing records when they meet each other for the first time since 1906. They played to a 0-0 tie that year, and the way things are going neither team may deserve to win on Saturday either.

- By my count, Georgia is seeking to avoid its first five-game losing streak since 1953. One of those losses was to Mississippi Southern, which later changed its name to Southern Miss. Vince Dooley was a senior at Auburn in ’53. Mark Richt was seven years away from being born.

- In order to finish bowl-eligible (6-6), Georgia will have to finish 5-2. That means beating at least two of the following teams: Auburn (5-0), Florida (4-1), Kentucky (3-2) and Georgia Tech (3-2). And that number increases if the Bulldogs somehow can’t win home games against Tennessee (2-3), Vanderbilt (1-3) and Idaho State (1-4).

- On the season, Georgia is still out-scoring its opponents, and by more than two touchdowns. No, seriously. That season-opening 48-point win over Louisiana-Lafayette still overtakes the combined 32 points by which the past four opponents have defeated the Bulldogs.

- The importance of A.J. Green: The star receiver did not touch the ball on Georgia’s first two possessions. He missed two more full series in the third quarter, dealing with cramps. On those four possessions, Georgia combined to lose five yards, and had one first down. The rest of the game, comprising seven possessions, the Bulldogs had 414 yards and 19 first downs.

Now the grades:

QUARTERBACKS: Aaron Murray had one interception, just his third in five games. Otherwise he made full use of Green, and got the tight ends involved. Murray also rushed well, though there were a few times he should have scrambled through an open middle. … B+.

RUNNING BACKS: Up until the end, Caleb King’s game was fantastic. You can’t forget his 100 yards, but you also can’t overlook the fumble. Meanwhile Carlton Thomas looked like someone who didn’t belong in Division I-A, even though he’s had his moments before Saturday. Washaun Ealey had just one carry, though it went for 15 yards. This unit continues to be a sore point for the offense, not only with its lack of production, but now three critical fumbles in four losses. … D+.

RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS: Green did everything he could. Kris Durham missed the game with his neck injury, and you have to wonder if that made a difference when Green was out in the third quarter. Marlon Brown had a touchdown catch (two if you count the one called back). Orson Charles and Aron White each had two catches, as it looked like the middle of the field was a bit more open with Green lined up outside. … B.

OFFENSIVE LINE: The holes were there for the tailbacks, as the Bulldogs averaged 5.9 yards per carry, more than two yards over their season average. Murray was sacked twice, and was pressured when he threw his one interception. And both those sacks were on third down, on the drives in the third quarter when Green was out. It was an improved performance, but that’s not saying too much. … C.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Colorado averaged five yards per carry, but much of its yardage came on Rodney Stewart’s 65-yard run, which came on a pitch-out. The issue with the line was two-fold: Not making key stops on third and fourth down – Colorado just ran it up the middle and made it several times – and not enough pressure on the quarterback. On the plus side, Kwame Geathers seemed to play well when he was in there, getting a couple tackles. We may yet see Geathers at nose and DeAngelo Tyson at end. … C.

LINEBACKERS: Marcus Dowtin expressed frustration with his playing time last week, then did the smart thing and backed it up on the field, picking off a pass and recording one of the team’s two sacks. (Fellow linebacker Justin Houston had the other one.) Akeem Dent once again led the team with 12 tackles, eight of them solo, and the linebacking unit managed to make a few big tackles behind the line. Still, in a 3-4 scheme a lot of the third-down issues (Colorado was 7-for-15) fall on the linebackers not making plays when they’re needed most. … B-.

SECONDARY: It’s time to accept that this unit just isn’t very good. At this point it’s not even average. Getting sliced by Ryan Mallett was one thing, but Chris Relf and Tyler Hansen? The third downs and big plays keep killing the Georgia defensive backs, as they continues to allow receivers to get wide, wide open. It didn’t help in the second half that Branden Smith was out with a re-occurrence of his concussion. And what about Vance Cuff: He made some big plays, but kept committing penalties, including on special teams. … F.

SPECIAL TEAMS: The return units finally provided a spark, beginning with Brandon Boykin’s first kick return. (The offense didn’t capitalize.) Punter Drew Butler was solid (46.3 average, and only one was returned). The kick and punt coverage was also very good, especially kickoffs. But Blair Walsh’s miss from 41 yards, his first failure of the season, was the difference. You can’t kill him for it, given what he’s done so far, and because he didn’t get a chance at the end to win it. But a miss is a miss. … B.

COACHING: Mike Bobo’s play-calling seemed a lot smarter with Green in there. It might have been useful to see a bit more trickery, but Smith’s absence prevented that. I know a lot of people want to berate Bobo for the final play call, but no one speaking to the media after the game said it was intended to be a flea-flicker. Richt was pretty specific that it was the team’s “No. 1 running play.”

As for the defense, well the glow officially seems off Todd Grantham and the 3-4. It may just be a case of needing the right players to fit the system – after all, they are using the smallish Tyson and the youthful Geathers at nose tackle. But once again, the Bulldogs weren’t ready to stop the opening drive (four games, four touchdowns) and had trouble making stops at the end of the game. … C.


Anonymous said...

A "C"for coaching?

Doesn't "C" mean "Average"?

Is that grade based on a Ray Goff/Brad Scott/Ron Zook curve?

Anonymous said...

Carlton Thomas: 7 carries for 11 yards, or 1.6 yards per carry.

Caleb King: 12 carries for 100 yards, or 8.3 yards per carry -- and of course one huge fumble.

Can someone tell me why Carlton Thomas ever gets on the field? I hate to be mean, but he's done nothing all year and keeps getting carries.

Anonymous said...

For the 3-4 to work you need the right personnel. Well we aren't going to have it this year obviously. You're not going to play 11 freshman next year. And if the defense plays like this next year then CTG won't be here in '12 to use the supposed personnel that fits the system.

How bout trying some guys like Owens and Tree in the secondary? I don't care if they don't know all the packages or some excuse like that. And maybe giving Nick Williams an actual chance at significant snaps. Its not like they can do any worse than what we have been getting.

Anonymous said...

Overall Grade = A BIG Fat "F". This was the most pathetic performance of the season. You homers just dont realize that this was freakin Colorado.

Anonymous said...

After reading Richt's quote about the fanbase, I'm 100% convinced he doesn't get it. This crap about "true fans" makes me want to punk. If anyone that claims to be a fan isn't upset about how this team is performing and thinking serious changes are needed going forward you are drinking the Kool Aid.

Anonymous said...

1 minute left in the game, CU is running out the clock and Marcus Dowtin makes a tackle over near the CU sideline and gives a big fist pump.

That is our season in a nutshell...