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Monday, November 1, 2010

Fleeting thoughts: After Florida

First off a quick apology: Normally the postgame grades would’ve arrived the day after a game, but I spent my Sunday driving back from Jacksonville.

And along the way, as I wrote in today’s paper, I saw a sign posted on a barn that read: “RICHT, 53K PER WEEK FOR THIS? BETTER FIGURE IT OUT.”

Yikes. I guess a loss to Florida – even one in overtime – will rile up a fan base.

But I’m sure a win over Idaho State will make up for it.

QUARTERBACK: I had a sneaking suspicion about Aaron Murray all week – and Dean Legge and Fletcher Page can vouch for this, because I said so at dinner on Friday night. The freshman had been so smooth and mistake-free all season, he was due for a clunker. And wouldn’t it just be like Georgia’s luck that it would happen in Jacksonville.

Well, guess what: Three interceptions, tying his season total entering the game, and his first lost fumble of the season. To be fair, one of the picks wasn’t his fault, going off Aron White’s hands. And Mark Richt blamed the overtime pick on blocking.

Murray did throw for 313 yards and three touchdowns, so the Bulldogs probably wouldn’t have been close without him. But one or two less mistakes, and they win.

Grade: C.

RUNNING BACKS: There’s a scene in a Simpsons episode (Season 7, “Radioactive Man,”) where an Arnold-like movie star character utters the line: “Ze goggles, they do nothing!” Well, that’s how I feel when I see Georgia’s running game. Every week it’s another thing, and this week Caleb King was the goggles, and while he had a good game off suspension (64 yards on 12 carries), the run game still wasn’t there.

Washaun Ealey’s knee apparently still bothered him, which is why he was limited to 37 yards (and four less touchdowns than last week). Plus, Georgia did spend a lot of the game playing from behind. Still, the run game for Georgia remains a disappointment for most of its nine games.

Grade: C.

RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS: I’d like to introduce you to Orson Charles, who if he’s used like he was on Saturday, can be a star in the SEC. One of his six catches came on a tight end screen – and there aren’t many teams that can call a tight end screen. On the flip side the other tight end, White, only had one catch and had that interception go off his hands.

The receivers were a mixed bag: Tavarres King (three catches for 104 yards and a touchdown) was good, and A.J. Green (four catches for 42 yards) emerged later in the game. But there appeared to be a lot of mis-run routes in the game, even on the fateful interception in overtime. Was that why Green didn’t get the ball as much as designed?

Grade: B-.

The Bulldogs started a different line yet again. This time Kenarious Gates came off the bench, with Trinton Sturdivant going back to the first unit, and Clint Boling shifting to right guard.

Whatever the combination out there, it was inconsistent. Murray was sacked twice, most critically on the fumble. Richt also mentioned the pressure, which may be why Murray for the first time this year completed less than half his attempts. As for the run-blocking, take away a 14-yard scramble by Murray, and the Bulldogs averaged just 3.3 yards per attempt.

Grade: D+.

DEFENSIVE LINE: There’s not really too much to say for this unit. After all, Georgia opened with only two of them (Demarcus Dobbs and DeAngelo Tyson) on the field, and played with a four-linebacker, five-DB unit for much of the game. Dobbs had a sack and Tyson split another one. But the Gators had too much success running past the line of scrimmage – there were only a couple lost-yardage runs.

Grade: C.

This unit shares the blame for the run defense, especially when it came to Chris Rainey, Trey Burton and Jeff Demps going to the outside. The inside guys (Akeem Dent with 13 tackles, 10 solo, and Marcus Dowtin with 10 tackles) had better games. Justin Houston split a sack with Tyson and had another tackle behind the line. But he only totaled three tackles, as the Gators successfully ran away from him. On the other side, Darryl Gamble and Cornelius Washington were pretty quiet.

Grade: C.

SECONDARY: It wasn’t all bad. Brandon Boykin had a key sack on a cornerback blitz. Branden Smith had an interception. Bacarri Rambo had a team-leading 14 tackles, then strangely chose to do a bit of trash-talking after making a tackle on a long pass play. But Florida also discovered its passing game, after a lot of struggles. John Brantley was able to move the ball downfield too much in the second and fourth quarters.

Ze goggles, they do nothing.

Grade: C.

COACHING: The overtime loss to Florida was eerily similar to two other losses: Arkansas and Colorado. In each game, the Bulldogs rallied to either take the lead (at Colorado) or tie it. But it could never close the deal.

In each of its five losses, Georgia did not score first. In each of its four wins, it did. And apparently the Bulldogs not only need to score first, but score a lot, in order to win. Their wins have come by a combined 32.75 points, while the losses have been by 35.

Is that just freaky? Or does it indicate a lack of proper preparation in those five losses, and again at Florida?

Grade: C.


Anonymous said...

I watched the game twice yesterday and Murray was still very good and absolutely great in the 2nd half. The fumble was inexcusable but that was the only major blunder. If AJ runs his route properly, like Richt and Gary Danielson have stated, there wouldn't have been that first pick. The 2nd one was on White, and the 3rd was a bad decision but no one for Georgia executed on that play. Murray's a stud and if he had Demps and Rainey in his backfield he wouldn't have to do everything. Grade: B+

Anonymous said...

Safety play continues to be very, very poor. Rambo is not as good as everyone had hoped. Tree is one safety next year, the other spot might be vacated.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Murray have 4 picks?

1)The first play of the game
2) The 2nd quarter pick off of White's hands
3) The pick in the endzone on the 1st two point attempt, and
4) The OT pick almost for 6.

Or, does the 2 point play not count as an interception?

BenG said...

They said during the broadcast that the pick on the 2-point try counts not as an interception but as a "missed try."

Anonymous said...

I'm finally on the band wagon. Richt has got to go.

Castleberry said...

Not sure I understand your stat about the combined points in wins. Is that a combined margin of victory in the four wins? It would seem to be much larger. Maybe it's the average?

Anonymous said...

Win over Idaho State will make up for it? Wow ... this program really has stooped to a new low. Mark Richt should be toast !

Anonymous said...

Grade F- for the whole bleeding lot.

Anonymous said...

We will have a new receivers coach and Ball will be coaching RB's again. Folks that's all I see changing at the end of the year. The 3 play calls in overtime ring a bell to the last 3 calls against Arkansas. Bobo just doesn't get it. Once again in a key moment we run on 2nd and 10 instead of being aggressive or even creative for that matter. Best play call of the game was the check down to a QB draw for the 2 point conversion. Looked like Murray called that one. 3 million a year should get us better results. Nuff said?