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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fleeting thoughts: After Tennessee

One win has a way of ramping up expectations – or making fans wistful for what could have been. I suspect it’s the latter for Georgia fans as they wake up Sunday morning and examine the new SEC East standings.

It’s a two-horse race between South Carolina (which is, well, South Carolina) and a very flawed Florida team. And if the Gamecocks hadn’t pulled off the Bama upset, Bulldog fans could look at the standings and say, ‘You know …’

Still, the important thing for Georgia is it got off the snide against Tennessee. Yeah, the Volunteers aren’t a very good team, but the Bulldogs did what they needed to do by routing them, and doing so wire-to-wire.

So coming off the win, here are –

(Non-Bulldog note No. 1: You think Alabama and other SEC fans were on the anti-Boise State bandwagon before? Now it’s going to be crazy. Notice that Oregon State – which Boise State defeated – got a big win at No. 9 Arizona, so the Broncos are sitting prettier than they were 24 hours ago.

If a one-loss team from the SEC or any BCS conference makes the national championship game, and an undefeated Boise State does not, there’s gonna be hell to pay nationally. And that ultimately could give us a plus-one system.)

In any event, as I was saying, it’s time now -

(Non-Bulldog note No. 2: Watching “Saturday Night Live” on DVR. This show has become hit or miss, and as far as I can tell through three episodes this season, every one has been a miss so far. And I like Jane Lynch a lot. … Give me Jon Hamm every week if possible.)

Sorry, now let’s get to -

(Non-Bulldog note No. 3: Les Miles … You have the clock management skills of MacGruber, and I’m pretty sure you handed in all your college term papers two weeks late, but you sure do make SEC football fun.)

Yeah OK, the post-Tennessee grades:

QUARTERBACK: What can you say about the kid? Precocious Aaron Murray has really become comfortable in the offense, and if it weren’t for Marcus Lattimore he’d be getting mention for SEC freshman of the year.… A.

RUNNING BACKS: Caleb King is the starter, there should be no question about that. He still doesn’t have much spurt past the secondary, but he’s hitting the holes (when they’re there) and is holding onto the ball. The same can’t be said for Washaun Ealey, but it said something that the coaches kept feeding him late in the game. Ealey remains in the plans, especially with Carlton Thomas hurt and the team reluctant to use Ken Malcome. … B-.

RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS: A.J. Green formed a rapport with Green pretty quickly, huh? Well, Green is so good you get the feeling he’d make plays if Anne Murray were playing quarterback. The most positive thing for this unit out is that others are getting involved too: Tavarres King (three catches for 38 yards) is starting to fill the No. 2 role like he was expected to; and for the second straight game Aron White and Orson Charles each had two catches. Kris Durham came off the injured list to make a 17-yard catch, and even Rantavious Wooten caught a touchdown pass. … A-.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Did the shake-up work? Hard to tell. Murray was only sacked once, and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said it was the quarterback’s fault for holding onto the ball too long. But the Bulldogs only rushed for 86 yards through three quarters, with most of that coming from Murray on scrambles. When you have a quarterback who can escape the pocket, it would seem that the best strategy for the line is to find the best run-blocking unit. They haven’t yet. … C+.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Tauren Poole is no Lattimore, or at least the Georgia line didn’t allow him to be. Poole was held to 51 yards, and the Volunteers averaged an abysmal 0.3 yards per carry. Even accounting for 23-yard botched snap and the sack yardage, the average only increases to 2.95. Plus, Brandon Wood recorded a sack, the first for a member of the front three this season. Best game of the year for the Georgia line. … B+.

LINEBACKERS: If you’re in a college football fantasy league that counts defensive stat – and if you are, that’s sad – you want Akeem Dent, who’s a tackling machine. You also want Justin Houston, who had two more sacks. Overall, this unit did very well considering it was without two outside linebackers (Cornelius Washington and T.J. Stripling) … B.

SECONDARY: Only two glaring coverage breakdowns. I guess that’s progress. The defensive backs also had a few good individual plays – Brandon Boykin’s pass break-up to prevent a third Tennessee touchdown, the tip drill that led to an interception. The Volunteers came in averaging 196 passing yards, and had 260 on Saturday, although 81 of that came from backup Tyler Bray in garbage time. Given the struggles this season, chalk this up as something to build on, but by no means a great performance. … C.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Logan Gray had a long punt return called back because of an illegal block call against walk-on Blake Sailors – who a short time later recovered a muffed punt, setting up a touchdown. Blair Walsh hit both his field goal attempts. Drew Butler boomed his punts, and should have had a second ball downed inside the 20. Nothing to criticize here. … A.

COACHING: Whether or not it should’ve happened earlier, the decision to go more physical in practice seemed to pay off. If I wanted to risk the wrath of fans and say Bobo’s playcalling has seemed a lot smarter the last two games with Green in there, I’d say that. Whatever the case, Georgia pummeled an SEC opponent, and it could’ve been worse if it hadn’t called the dogs off. The coaches put the players in position to make plays, and with few exceptions they did.… B+.


sUGArdaddy said...

Set, you miss the point, brother. It's not Boise out of the BCS game that will make a difference, it's Boise in. Boise has no power nor do the people behind them (even politically). The AQ conferences have power, and if one of their big boys gets left out...they'll wield that power.

Anonymous said...

the snide?