The things I do for love.

Last night, I did something that I know I would never have done but for this blog.  I made myself sit down and watch a replay of the first half of the ‘Bama game.  I’m not going to bore anyone with a detailed breakdown of what went wrong (besides, I promised I wouldn’t do that), but I did find that most of my general impressions of what happened along the way to that 31-0 debacle sitting in the stands were confirmed on the tube, so I thought I’d share some.

First of all, Saban and his staff did a superlative job of scouting Georgia and drawing up a game plan that took advantage of certain tendencies they anticipated they would see in the game.  On offense, that meant throwing on early downs expecting that Georgia would be defending the run and playing a lot of soft zone in the secondary.  On defense, Alabama’s priorities were to clog the line to stuff the run and deny Stafford the deep ball.  All of those bets paid off handsomely.

To make matters worse, Georgia’s defense lost Ellerbe early and seemed to have some problems at key times with communication and getting situated properly.  A couple of times Wilson completed passes to teammates who were not being covered.  Add in the lopsided time of possession and the stupid penalties and it’s fairly easy to see why ‘Bama was able to dominate the scoreboard and the stats like this:

Halftime tale of the tape

Halftime tale of the tape

Ugh.

The story on offense that made matters worse was that it was clear from the get go that, just like in last year’s South Carolina game, neither Bobo nor Stafford trusted the offensive line, which in turn affected their decision making.  Bobo wouldn’t commit to running the football and Matt looked skittish throwing the ball, even though his o-line gave him decent pass protection in the first half.  Neither was patient about taking what ‘Bama was giving on defense – and there were things, like the slant pass, that were there in the first half.  Giving Moreno so few chances to run the ball played into Saban’s hands, as well.

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20 Comments

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20 responses to “The things I do for love.

  1. peacedog

    Bama also made excellent use of play-action rollouts. We tended to get burnt by that badly.

  2. kckd

    We’ll adjust if we are lucky enough to play them again, which I pray for. The truth is, Stafford has got to learn to do what David Greene did and trust them even when they ain’t worth a crap. And Stafford has a much, much better line than Greene did in 2003.

    Senator, I felt that they couldn’t cover our receivers and that we should’ve taken more shots down field all night. In the second half they were playing safe and we still threw downfield quite a bit.

    We’ve got things to work on, but the Dawgies who think we’re back at square one are allowing one game to do them in. This may have been the best thing to happen to us. Of all our SEC games it was the best one to lose. The earliest big time game which should help with a drop and provide more recovery time in the polls, it takes the bullseye off of our backs, and the coaches and players are not likely to make the same mistake again.

    I still feel we would’ve made a game out of it had we not turned the ball over when AJ fumbled. 24-7 vs. 31-0 was huge. We’ll be ready if we get the opportunity again and we control that, well at least getting to that place, I guess we don’t have control of what Bama does. But right now, Bama has no bigger cheerleader than me. I hope they win out and we do too.

  3. NebraskaDawg

    I agree about Stafford. As soon as he got the snap he was running around panicked even when there was no pressure. For the life of me, I can’t understand the soft zone when Bama’s receivers overall are not that dangerous. Outside of Asher, our corners suck. Evans and Miller look like deer in the headlights true freshman sometimes (holding, grabbing, confused). Our O-line will eventually come together (Kudos to Ben Jones last week) but our DE and CB don’t seem to get any better. I think most of us have watched enough games over the years that we could put together a scouting report on the Dawgs, especially on our defense. All right, I’m done ranting.

  4. pd – I agree with you, but I think the reason for the success of that play call was that it took advantage of Martinez’ commitment to stopping the run over anything else.

    kckd, your point about Stafford is spot on and I think you make a decent one about the Green fumble, too. But I’m not as sanguine about making adjustments in a rematch as you are. A lot of us made the same point in ’03 and Saban made us look foolish for doing so.

    The good news is that I only see one team left on the regular season schedule that has similar talent to ‘Bama along with a similar commitment to a power running game – LSU. The bad news is that, even if Georgia winds up winning the East, the opponent is likely to be either Alabama or LSU in a rematch.

  5. Joe

    Our biggest problem was Bama’s friggin Tight End whipping Jarius Wynn’s ass up and down the field.

    It’s one thing for the all-world Andre Smith to be leading the way, but Bama’s TE absolutely owned our DE’s. Unacceptable.

  6. baltimore dawg

    i agree with kckd that if you could pick a loss that preserves the best chance for you to go on and meet your goals, this would be it.

    but the margin of difference between bama and us in this game completely diminishes that silver lining (at least for me–and it’s foolish to take any comfort from the second half). bama in a rematch? (said with jim mora-eque inflection, as in “playoffs?”) hell, i’m worried about the sec teams that are on the remaining part of the schedule.

  7. peacedog

    Sen, I agree but I’d also note that it was designed to take advtange of an emotionally charged atmosphere where our DEs have been hearing for a few weeks they needed to step up. Really, it was a pretty brilliant gameplan.

  8. dean

    I have to agree with bd on this one. All this rematch talk is useless. That’s out of our hands. Whether we won’t to admit it or not we’re going to have our hands full with UT. Their offensive line will dominate our defensive line, again. Sure UT has looked bad thus far and are having some issue at QB but they looked bad up ’till our game last year. Nothing would sooth the soul of UT (fans and players) more so than a win in Athens.

    Anyway enough about this game its time to move on and put this loss behind us. Let’s get ready for UT because they’ve embarrassed us two years running.

  9. UgaMatt

    How to beat a Willie Martinez defense in 3 simply steps.
    1. Run straight ahead, preferably between the guard and tackle. (See Auburn 05, WVU 05, Ole Miss 07, UT 06, UT 07, Bama 08)
    2. Play action roll out, don’t worry about the backside defensive end–he won’t be there. Drag the TE or a slot receiver across the field and throw to the GAPING hole in the zone 10-15 yards behind the backside tackle. (Auburn 05, Colorado 06, Bama 08)
    3. Once the play action is established, pour on the draws and delayed handoffs.
    Wash, rinse, repeat as necessary. Guaranteed for 30-50 points.

  10. montgomeryaldawg

    Yes Stafford was skiddish, but I also think what he heard all week, even from our coaches was our ‘vulnerability at line to thier rush’. Bogus. We blocked adequate, but the damage was already done in Stafford’s head. Also, we evidently gameplanned more naked roll outs (often where we hit the TE in the flat) to get outside the pocket and away from the rush. However, we blocked decently for the pocket and not once were we remotely successful fooling their outside rush toward the roll out. I have not seen a replay, but I don’t remember a completed pass when Staff was sprinting to his right, instead he was always in trouble.
    Last year our line matured after we committed to the run. The play action benefitted. Moreno getting 5 or 6 carries the first half is atrocious.

  11. Christian

    “Neither was patient about taking what ‘Bama was giving on defense – and there were things, like the slant pass, that were there in the first half.”

    There it is. One team was playing with patience and precision and the other was reacting to their circumstances. We can all analyze to death the circumstances, but the truth is that Alabama came out and executed their plan to the nth degree and we got “a little crazy” and didn’t.

    As much as I’d like to play them again – I’m more concerned about Tennessee…and then Vandy….and then LSU….and so on.

    Always and forever – Go Dawgs!!

  12. Ben

    I don’t know how many folks here were at the game, but on the ESPN footage of the Dawg Walk, Stafford did not look confident at all. He had a hazy look in his eyes that didn’t make me feel good. Maybe that’s his pregame look, but it sure didn’t exude confidence.

  13. mdr

    You are a better and more dedicated blogger than I, good sir. I can not bring myself to watch the tape under any circumstances. My impressions from the stands will have to suffice.
    :)

  14. Robert

    Same here mdr.

    I DVR’d the game and both CGD and CGD Final, but I might just delete them and move on to the UT game.

    That was just too hard to stomach twice.

    Hats off to Bama. They played perfectly in the first half.

    JPW, I didn’t think you had it in you. Congrats.

  15. PUP

    Uga Matt is correct on game plan. Was their noseguard from JC? If we would use a couple of JC recuits on each side of the ball more often maybe would not have some of the problems we seem to have every few years. We do use quite a few freshman and they seem to adjust fairly well. I am saying go after the best in JC they will be 2 years older and more developed. I have no complaint about our recuiting except we need more linemen on both sides of ball. Everybody knows the games are won in trenches.Just look at the last game and most any game. PLEASE JUST TAKE ONE GAME AT A TIME!!!!! TAKE CARE OF THE PRESENT MOMENT!!! GO DAWGS

  16. Farsider

    Great points all. I think the offense and defense will be fine. The thing that stuck out to me was the lack of discipline and sound fundamental football. A key part that turned the first half into a debacle was poor punting and penalties. Every time you looked up in that half, Alabama was inside the Dawg 30 yard line.

  17. Hobnail_Boot

    It was one of those games where nothing, and I mean nothing, went right.

    The pre-game video didn’t include anything from this season, or even last year’s OT catch by Henderson. Epic fail.

    The AJC score updates? They were from 2 weeks ago.

    The towels Chik-Fil-A gave away to Georgia fans? White.

    Nothing went right.

  18. Bryan Carver Dawg97

    I don’t want to be mad, because right now, Bama is just a better team. If you told me that the score would be 41-30 Bama, I would’ve said that I could see that happening. But to say 31-0 at half? No way.

    And I’m not really mad, because there is still more season and the team can still gel and come together. There is equal blame to go around. Players must execute the schemes they are given. But this game in particular just seems to have exposed WM’s scheme. It is a bend but don’t break and as noted, good teams are able to consistently exploit it. My issue is the insistence on the “pressure with 4″. That’s a fine “theory” but if you aren’t getting the pressure, THEN CHANGE THE SCHEME. We are ranked in the defensive top 20 because we have enough athletes that can shut down enough mediocre teams and pad the stats.

    Offense? The SC game 2 years in a row and now this game. Bobo just seems to have a deer in the headlights feel to the calls once the game starts to slip away or is just a serious dogfight. I’m glad Richt gave up full time duty, but is he not giving advice along the way? I don’t know, this “no confidence to execute what is in the game plan” thing kind of erks me. The coaches watch film and breakdown the best ways to attack. If the plan was to toss sweep, roll out and avoid the middle with Cody, etc., of course the plays are not going to work every down, but is that a reason to absolutely abandon the game plan? It’s one thing if we don’t have athletes, but to not trust them to execute is different (seems to me).

    Go Dawgs!

  19. Jim

    What he said. Everyone here wants us to win and succeed. I hope WM and Bobo get it and we do much better. It is better to be aggressive and lose than lay back and get run over. Erk made mistakes but he tried to not repeat them.

  20. Kudos to you. I DVR’d the game and actually sat down to watch it, with the game paused right before kick off. I just couldn’t do it.

    You are the best of all of us.