The passing game: Aaron Murray’s performance keeps getting better, A.J. Green is showing no rust, and the other receivers and tight ends are gradually getting more involved.
Justin Houston: The SEC’s new sack leader. Perhaps his run defense has some room for improvement, but he’s been the defense’s best playmaker.
Trinton Sturdivant: He’s back starting, and protecting Murray’s blind side. A great story, and one I’d love to write if Sturdivant becomes available to the media at some point. (I should point out that player availability is generally pretty good at Georgia. Offensive linemen tend to be an exception, however.)
Special teams: The kickoff coverage has been great. Amid all the struggles, the fact that opponents weren’t getting anywhere on kick returns was lost in the shuffle. The Bulldogs are ranked first in the SEC and 15th in the nation, holding opponents to 18.25 per return. Blair Walsh is 11-for-12 on field goals, and punter Drew Butler is back to his booming normal self.
Candy corn: Sorry, this is a personal note. The stuff is addictive, and I always get sick when I eat too much. Now that it’s October it’s all over every grocery store shelf, and I can’t resist. Ugh.
Brandon Wood: The defensive end had a sack against Tennessee, the first by a Georgia defensive linemen. He also has a valid driver’s license, as we found out a few days later.
Getting physical: Beating Tennessee like a drum may have had a lot to do with Tennessee not being very good. But it also happened after the Bulldogs showed a lot of spunk: A week of physical practices, and as Orson Charles said, being “pissed off.” Besides, even if the Vols stink, you know what you do against a team like that? You rout them, which the Bulldogs did.
Tailback depth : When you’re moving Fred Munzenmaier over from fullback, you know it’s getting dicey. I thought on Monday that Ken Malcome had a good chance of playing, but now I’m not so sure. It appears the staff wants to avoid burning that redshirt. (Which is admirable on some level, considering the coaches don’t exactly have any assurances of their long-term job security at Georgia.)
Third-down defense: Georgia ranks last in the SEC and 89th in the country. The opponents conversion percentage of 43 percent actually seems lower, mainly because there have been so many third-and-long conversions.
Offensive linemen named Davis: Chris Davis lost his job a few weeks ago, and now Josh Davis is on the back-burner too. They could always come back, but Kenarious Gates is getting at least one more game at right guard, and Sturdivant is making it hard to bench him.
Candy corn: Since typing the previous item, I had more and have gotten more sick. Time to seek help.
Redshirts: Garrison Smith had his pulled at Colorado, Gates had his last week, and Malcome may be next. When the season started, it looked like the Bulldogs would be able to work a lot of first-year guys in slowly, but now the number of true freshmen who have played outnumbers those who haven’t.
The linebackers: Akeem Dent remains a tackling machine, and despite some injury troubles, the latest to Cornelius Washington, the group is still producing.
Fan support: Given the struggles, a lot of people were curious to see whether fans would start to stay home. While there weren’t many people in the stadium at kickoff, Sanford did nearly fill up eventually, and a lot of the empty seats were due to Tennessee not traveling as well this year, thanks to its own struggles. The noon starts don’t help either. The win over the Volunteers also didn’t seem to change much of the fan angst, it just calmed the waters for a little bit. At least that’s my read.
The Bulldogs’ postseason chances: I’ll have more on this later in the week, but if Georgia’s new goal is simply to make a bowl, it still has a decent chance. If it beats Vanderbilt, then the following week’s trip to Kentucky becomes the swing game to the season.
The weather: I hope I’m not jinxing it, but even as we move into mid-October it still feels rather comfortable around Athens. Is there any way we can keep this going through, like, forever?
Wednesday, October 13, 2010