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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fleeting thoughts: After Kentucky

So it’s Florida week. Not sure if any of y’all were aware of that. File that away if you need something to do next Saturday afternoon.

I'm thinking of going, as long as that riveting Giants-Rangers matchup in the World Series doesn't suck the wind out of me.

Georgia enters the cocktail party on a three-game win streak, and having outscored its opponents 128-45 in those games. The Bulldogs are finally looking like the team they were expected to be.

But have they convinced everybody that they’re truly back? Not quite yet, I suspect. Winning at Kentucky is more impressive than the home routs of Tennessee and Vanderbilt, but Saturday’s win came in a sloppy fashion.

That said, turnovers count. (And because of that, a bunch of Bulldogs don’t have to shave again this week. Tune into the World Series this week, and you might see Fred Munzenmaier out there in the Giants bullpen.) The Bulldogs may have been out-gained by Kentucky, but they also had a ton of short fields. The Wildcats may have rallied, but it was never a one-possession game after the first quarter.

So, as we prepare for the onslaught of Florida week hype and analysis, a quick look back at how Georgia got back to .500:

QUARTERBACKS: Is it weird to say someone quietly had a quiet game? Well yeah, it probably is, but that’s how I’d sum up Aaron Murray’s performance. It was his worst passing yardage game of the season, and he didn’t have much substantial run yardage. But with his team jumping out to a 28-3 lead via short fields, Murray’s only job was to not screw up. Mission accomplished. … B.

RUNNING BACKS: Washaun Ealey’s record-setting performance looks a lot flashier on paper (five touchdowns, 157 rushing yards). In reality, Ealey was a workhorse, carrying the ball 28 times, hitting the line hard and getting a push on his runs. He also didn’t fumble. Carlton Thomas (13 yards on six carries) filled his change-of-pace role very well. Now with Caleb King back from his suspension, the Bulldogs have some interesting decisions to make on who carries the ball in Jacksonville. … A.

RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS: Someone asked Murray after the game why there weren’t many downfield throws. Murray smiled and pointed out in so many words, Hey, why would we have bothered? A.J. Green (six catches for 86 yards) still put up his usual numbers, but with the exception of a 34-yarder in the second half, he got his yards on receiver screens. Rantavious Wooten (2 catches for 15 yards) and Tavarres King (1 catch for 12 yards) were the only others who caught passes. … B.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Murray was never sacked, and Ealey had enough holes. Josh Davis earned back his starting spot, at least for this game, while Trinton Sturdivant came off the bench, but he did play. Kenarious Gates got to play at Kentucky, the team he was committed to until two days before signing day. The results for everyone seemed positive. … B+.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Kentucky shouldn’t have been able to run well without Derrick Locke, and it didn’t. Never mind backup Raymond Sanders’ stats (79 yards on 16 carries). He got 21 of those on one carry, and most of his positive yardage came late. DeAngelo Tyson, the starting nose tackle, got to Mike Hartline on the game’s first drive, helping to force the first fumble. Hartline was sacked three times, half as many times as he had been sacked before Saturday. Most of Georgia's pressure was the edge rushing, but the front three appeared to get a lot of push too. … B+.

LINEBACKERS: Justin Houston was credited with 2.5 sacks to expand his SEC lead. He now has nine on the season. Akeem Dent had 15 tackles, 12 of them solo. Even Marcus Dowtin, starting for the first time this season, came through with six tackles, four of them solo. More importantly, Kentucky star Randall Cobb wasn’t much of a factor, which is due in large part to the linebackers staying on key and keeping the outside bottled up. … A-.

SECONDARY: This has become quite the hit-or-miss unit. They either make big plays or give them up, and there isn’t much in-between. Sanders Commings had a pick and a fumble recovery and Bacarri Rambo forced a fumble. But in the second half there were a lot of misses, allowing Kentucky to stay alive for longer than it should have. Even in the first half – on the first drive – Kentucky converted on four straight third-and-longs. … C-.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Brandon Boykin finally broke one, as he had seemed on the verge of doing for a few games now. Punter Drew Butler (50.7 yards on three punts, two inside the 20) was fantastic. The kick coverage kept Cobb from breaking anything. The only blemish was Blair Walsh, who missed an extra point for the first time in his college career, and also missed a 47-yarder. I understand from Walsh’s Twitter feed that his NFL fantasy football team is struggling this year. Maybe it’s affecting his own play. I’ll have to ask. … B+.

COACHING: The Bulldogs got their first road win of the year, against a team that had just won at home against a top 10 team, and nearly knocked off another. That says something. The season’s ultimate swing game now awaits in Jacksonville. … B+.


Marcus said...
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Anonymous said...

Coaching should be a B - because of Todd Grantham's inability to adjust for the many conversions of 3rd and long. Todd Grantham seemed clueless at times. Maybe one of Buck Belue's insider is correct about Todd Grantham being clueless.

Anonymous said...

The 3rd and long problem, especially on the 2nd drive, was embarrassing. On a better note, Justin Houston is a special player who is having a special season. Congrats to 42.

Some people might not look too much into the Walsh misses but I think theres something to it. He missed a chip shot against Vandy, barely made one earlier in the Vandy game, and then last night happened. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't want another kicker in the country, but this little slump makes me nervous going to Jacksonville.

Anonymous said...

LOL @ people blaming coach Grantham. There's only so much that a coach can do about DB's not being able to cover people. I'm sure it's not rocket science to see something going on and make an adjustment. Grantham has been coaching football since the early 1990's, the idea that he's "clueless" and doesn't know how to adjust is stupid. Players have to cover people and make tackles. Vance Cuff probably single-handedly gave up 100 yards by himself. Based on the logic of some of you KNOW IT ALL's: if the teams fails to do anything well, it's all the coaches fault and they're "clueless". Coaching, at the end of the day, isn't really rocket science if you have players making plays on the field. By the way, Kentucky has a pretty good passing game.