Monthly Archives: September 2007

Even when you think you know, you never really know.

First, it was “the spread offense will never work in the SEC”.

Next, it was “the spread offense looks unstoppable – Tebow for Heisman”.

Last night it was 312 yards of offense and 17 points.

Ole Miss provided the template to defending Meyer’s offense.  Last night we saw what happens when a team has the players on defense to implement the game plan successfully.  That being said, we should be careful to read too much into the results from last night.  How many SEC defenses combine great team speed with big tackles that can stand their ground and stop the run up the middle that’s the Tebow trademark?

Well, there is the one that the Gators will face this week in Baton Rouge.   A second loss for the Gators would certainly make the SEC East race interesting.  The key after that will be if there’s any other team in the conference that can pin that third loss on Florida.

One thing I’m curious about this morning – do you think the fans in Gainesville or Tuscaloosa are more bummed out from yesterday’s results?  I’m guessing the latter.

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Filed under SEC Football

There are worse things than being outplayed for a couple of quarters.

Just ask Florida, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Texas, etc.

Some observations from a sunburnt Saturday:

  • If anything, the team came out flatter against Ole Miss than it did against South Carolina. I don’t know what the issue is, but all this talk about competition isn’t having the desired effect when they step on the field, at least at Sanford against SEC competition. The flip side of the coin is knowing that Georgia was still able to put away an opponent like that without bringing its “A” game.
  • There is no excuse for a Georgia defense giving up 175 yards of offense in the first quarter to a team than runs an offense that’s even more vanilla than Georgia’s. Had Adams not fumbled the snap on the Georgia one, there’s no telling where the game goes from there.
  • I was a little surprised at how poorly the Dawg offensive line played out of the gate, considering that Mississippi’s defensive line had shown very little on the season. I was much more surprised at how ineffective Georgia’s defensive line was for much of the game, especially on UM’s long drive to open the third quarter that tied the game at 17.
  • While the offensive line had its share of blocking woes, the wide receivers as a group continue to impress with their downfield blocking. I saw guys like Moore, Wilson, Bailey and, of course, Massaquoi throw key blocks on plays throughout the game.
  • Maybe it’s impatience on my part, but it looks like Stafford is just treading water right now in developing his game. Yesterday, he locked onto receivers a couple of times that I noticed and forced throws instead of finding the open man and getting the ball there. Then again, on plays like the TD to Massaquoi, he’s got that amazing ability to improvise and make a big play happen. I just want to see more consistency.
  • I keep saying it, but you can’t help but be impressed with Massaquoi’s play this season. He’s not the deep threat that Bailey is, but in terms of the total package of route running, consistency catching the ball and blocking, he’s Georgia’s most complete receiver.
  • There’s something really annoying about wasting a perfectly executed onside kick.
  • To say that Thomas Brown is a remarkable player may not be doing him justice. If anything, he’s a better runner than he was before the injury. To date, he and Moreno are the team MVPs.
  • All grumbling aside, this is the classic game where a month later nobody is going to remember much about it, other than the margin of victory (hey, Florida only beat Mississippi by six!). Sometimes it’s not so bad not to have a game televised.

I would be remiss if I didn’t throw in the pop culture reference story of the day. I walked to the game with my eighteen year old freshman daughter who explained to me how she had just learned a popular dance called “Superman” from a YouTube instructional video. During the second half the strains of a rap song began playing over the Sanford PA system and my daughter excitedly announced that was the song that she learned the dance to. I then notice that Dannell Ellerbe is (on the field!) subtly busting a couple of steps to the music. Next, the topper: up on the big screen, we’re treated to Brown and Moreno (and it looked like Lumpkin jumped in late) showing their moves. All in all, pretty funny stuff – although it’s a good thing they were winning at the time.

For your further entertainment, here’s how to “Crank That”:

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Filed under Georgia Football

Random thought on a Saturday morning

That West Virginia-Louisville matchup has sure lost some of its preseason allure, hasn’t it?

Last night provided another excellent reason why college polls shouldn’t get underway until the season has a few weeks under its belt.  Schools like WVU and Louisville achieve lofty ratings, primarily because they play in conferences that lack depth, and routinely get exposed.  That was not a #5 team we saw play last night.

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Filed under College Football

Dude, do you know where those hands have been?

As you watch this clip

keep in mind:

  • this is going on during the game
  • the player’s been an active participant in the game, with four catches for Boise State
  • Porta-Potties don’t have sinks

I’m not sure what amazes me the most about it all – that this guy is trying to get an autograph from someone who’s making a beeline from the bathroom back to the game he’s playing in, that it’s so easy for the players and fans to have access to the facilities during the game or that someone actually decided to film people going to the bathroom.

(h/t The Wizard of Odds)

****************************************************************************

UPDATE:  I guess Jim Harbaugh would have something to say about it.

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Filed under College Football

Michael Adams channels Miss Manners.

Let’s see – Michael Adams gets doused with beer in Tuscaloosa by ‘Bama fans… and, as a result, is “increasingly ready to go” to a policy of revoking the ticket privileges of misbehaving fans. In Athens.

And, Dawg fans, you’d better be on your best behavior this Saturday. Or else.

… UGA’s president further used Wednesday’s media session to issue something of an ultimatum to fans heading to Athens for Saturday afternoon’s home football game with the University of Mississippi.

“I want Ole Miss to be treated this weekend better than we were treated at Alabama. … Ole Miss should be treated as guests,” Adams said.

Of course, if that’s the imperial “we” he’s using, that may not be a very high bar he’s setting for Georgia folks.

It’s probably for the best that Adams watches the games from a box in Sanford. There’s no telling what kind of proclamation he’d issue if he sat in the stands behind some fans that wanted to cheer on their feet most of the time.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football, Michael Adams Wants To Rule The World

Jeff Owens – he’s real and he’s…

My favorite Dawg last year was Ray Gant. One reason for that was because he was always good for a quote.

It looks like Jeff Owens is bucking to step into Gant’s shoes. Maybe it’s becoming a defensive tackle tradition at UGA. Anyway, I got a kick out of this excerpt from an interview he did that was published in this week’s Bulldawg Illustrated:

Give me one word or phrase to describe yourself on the field.

I do not want to sound conceited.

Please do.

Spectacular.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Mission creep, 1-AA style

A couple of days ago, I linked to a story in USA Today about how the NCAA was looking to expand the playoffs for 1-AA football to 18 games.

Well, according to the same paper, it looks like the NCAA is just getting started.

The championship and competition cabinet last week forwarded a proposal to the NCAA’s board of directors to enlarge the current 16-team field to 18 beginning in 2008. Cabinet chair Carolyn Femovich says that is the first step toward a field of 24 in the near future.

“I think that’s the ideal number we’re shooting for,” says Femovich, executive director of the I-AA Patriot League. “The cabinet heard loud and clear that future expansion could be both warranted and necessary to provide access to all of our qualified conferences and members.”

In case you’re wondering, that’s 24 schools out of 120 total in Division 1-AA.  For now, of course…

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, The NCAA

Trap game!

One endearing thing about Vince Dooley, head coach, was the way he’d find something to blow up about an opponent, no matter how hapless. Even in the Herschel Era, Georgia could roll over a school on Saturday, have Vanderbilt coming in for Homecoming, and you would still expect him to say something during the week like: “the Comma-doahs have the faahnest long snappa in the country… I’m concerned about they-ah puntin’ game…” Never mind the fact that the reason the kid was so good was because he was getting so much in-game experience, Dooley was going to find an edge for the other team somewhere.

So you can imagine that he wouldn’t have much trouble poor mouthing Georgia’s chances on Saturday. The truth is that I’m a little nervous myself. Georgia is a fifteen point favorite at home against Ole Miss, but this is the kind of game that scares you if you’re a Dawg fan.

It’s not quite as much a certainty as Georgia’s ability to play well and win in an opponent’s stadium, but, under Richt, this team has had an uncomfortable tendency now and then to relax after a big win and let a lesser opponent sneak up on it. You worry especially about a young team’s ability to regroup and refocus after a game that it sounds like it’s still reminiscing about a couple of days later.

Five minutes after the game, fine… five days later, not so fine.

(photo courtesy TideSports)

For starters, here’s a quick statistical look at Mississippi:

  • After four weeks, the Rebs have the worst record of any school in the SEC, at 1-3. However, the records of the teams they’ve played are a combined 11-3. Their only win comes against the only school they’ve faced with a current losing record, Memphis, and they needed a blocked punt for a TD and a 99 yard interception return for a TD to pull out a 2 point victory in that one.
  • Mississippi is 11th in the SEC in scoring offense, at 22.2 points per game. That’s about a TD less per game than Georgia.
  • UM is almost as bad in scoring defense – 10th in the conference, giving up 30 points per game. That’s almost two touchdowns worse than Georgia.
  • Ole Miss is last in the conference in pass defense, rushing offense, total defense, pass defense efficiency, opponents’ first downs, opponents’ fourth down conversions, red zone offense, opponents’ third down conversions, sacks against and time of possession.
  • An Orgeron-coached Mississippi has yet to win a conference road game in nine tries.

On paper, this is a team tailor-made for how Georgia likes to approach a game. Mississippi can’t stop the pass and it can’t force third and outs – incredibly, the Rebels have only returned one punt so far this year (no other team in the conference has returned less than five). The offensive line can’t pass block and even though BenJarvus Green-Ellis, the man of many names, is fifth in the SEC in rushing, the Rebs are only averaging 3.6 yards per carry.

Sounds like easy pickings, right? Well, there’s that darn Florida game the Rebs played last weekend, the one that left Richt with a queasy feeling in his stomach. A twenty eight point underdog, Ole Miss played the Gators tough and only lost 30-24. As I blogged previously, their staff did an excellent job identifying the weaknesses in Florida’s offense and defense and schemed accordingly. That’s the good news. The bad news was that the talent gap was too much to overcome and Florida, behind Tebow’s running, nevertheless managed to gain over 500 yards of offense in the game.

I expect Ole Miss to come out with a different and more aggressive defensive game plan against Georgia than the one John Thompson employed against Florida. Sitting back in a soft zone isn’t the best strategy to employ against Stafford and Georgia’s offensive line. Look for more blitzing and attempts to put pressure on the Georgia offense. Georgia should be able to punch back all day long against UM’s weak linebacking corps (these guys miss Patrick Willis badly) with lots of short passing plays.

On defense, Georgia has to put the brakes on Green-Ellis and generate a consistent pass rush (the latter was something that Florida couldn’t do last Saturday). Against Florida’s less than stellar cornerbacks, speedy WR Mike Wallace had an excellent day. He looks like he’s breaking out and becoming a go to guy. Rod Battle’s reward for being leaned on by Andre Smith in Tuscaloosa is to handle man-mountain (6-5, 325) Michael Oher this week. Life just ain’t fair sometimes. In short, Georgia’s defense faces a bigger challenge on Saturday than does its offense.

Given this disturbing trend, it would be best for everyone’s stomachs if Georgia could put Mississippi away early. (See Groo’s point about that here.) That’s why the key to this game is very simple – Georgia needs to come in focused and stay focused the entire 60 minutes of the game. If the Dawgs do that, they’ll cover easily. Ole Miss has too many flaws that a good team can exploit.

Unfortunately, I don’t think this young Georgia team, as much as it’s going to be warned about what happened in the UM-UF game, can stand prosperity. They’ll win, but it won’t be as a result of a consistent, dominating performance. Look for a final score on the order of something like 24-10, 27-14.

And I’ll bet that Ole Miss’ long snapper is just deadly.

Say hello to the only guy in Sanford Stadium who wouldn’t mind if Saturday came down to a game winning field goal for Georgia. (photo courtesy Kelly Lambert/Athens Banner-Herald staff)

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Filed under Georgia Football

I stopped caring about Bobby Reid after September 1st.

I haven’t weighed in on the Gundy Affair/Rant, mainly because it seems that everyone in the Western Hemisphere already has.

But, since Stuart Mandel’s poorly reasoned take (now there’s a real surprise) on the matter almost elicited a response from the Pavlov’s dog in me (fortunately Michael Elkon saved the day), I thought I’d at least mention that the post I agree with the most on the subject is Groo’s.

Final word on the matter can be found here.

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Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles

Sometimes when we touch, the honesty’s too much.

Usually, when we look at big picture decisions – playoffs being an obvious one -  affecting college football, the folks calling the shots like to couch their decisions in soothing terms, like “it’s what the fans want”.

Every once in a while, though, for some reason, a little honesty pops through the cracks.

Take as an example this blurb from Ivan Maisel’s I-Formation today about the effect the clock rule change has had on the game this season:

“We’re really where we were two years ago,” NCAA Football Rules Committee secretary-editor John Adams said. “Games are going three hours and five [minutes], 3:10.”

The rules adopted this year to shave time off games — moving the kickoff back five yards to the 30, making one timeout last no more than 30 seconds and reducing the length of the play clock coming out of a TV commercial from 25 seconds to 15 seconds — haven’t done the job.

OK, fine, no real surprise there.  But Adams says something’s gotta be done about it.

Adams wants officials to get the ball into play and get teams quickly on and off sidelines. He doesn’t know yet whether the Rules Committee will try again next winter to curtail the length of games.

Why?  Are fans complaining about getting their paltry 10 or 15 minutes of action back?  Of course not.

“The spectators never complained,” Adams said. “The TV people were complaining and a lot of the [conference] commissioners were complaining.”

And so it goes.

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, The NCAA