Daily Archives: November 9, 2008

Short attention span theater

A few random things bouncing around my brain that aren’t worth the effort of a full post:

  • I think the matchup I’d be most likely to spend my money on today would be Texas Tech’s offense against Southern Cal’s defense.  I honestly have no idea who’d win that battle, but it sure would be fun to watch.
  • You want to see an example of why the ACC defines mediocrity this year?  OK, here’s one.  In its titanic 28-17 win over Virginia, Wake Forest punted on every one of its second half possessions. (h/t Dr. Saturday)
  • It’s not great what it says about either team, but a look at Vandy’s remaining schedule reveals that the closest thing to a lock for the Commodores to obtain bowl eligibility this season is their home game with Tennessee.
  • You know who else is quietly sucking this year?  5-5 Illinois, that’s who, after an ugly loss to Western Michigan.  And with remaining games with Ohio State and at Northwestern, there’s a distinct possibility that the Zooker’s crew could be looking at a losing campaign.
  • Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati, for all the marbles in the Big East?  The BCS has to be thrilled.  The Mountain West has to be puzzled.
  • Jarrett Lee.  My God, a freshman.  My God, four interceptions.  Did Les forsee this when he showed Perrilloux the door?
  • Speaking of that game, the GPOOE™ ain’t gonna throw four picks in the SECCG.  I’ll predict right now if Florida can make John Parker Wilson look ordinary, the Gators win going away.
  • With Penn State’s loss, most of the pundits are confidently predicting a Big XII-SEC matchup in the BCS title game.  What happens if Missouri pulls off the upset in the Big XII championship game?
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A movie, a metaphor, a football game

There’s plenty of post-game analysis around and about the Georgia territory of the blogosphere:  Kyle’s, Groo’s and Quinton’s, for starters.  It’s time for me to add my two cents, using everyone’s favorite format.

The good

That would be the offense, of course.  520 yards gained on only 57 touches – and Georgia needed every inch of them.  You have to praise the play calling, red zone execution, the receivers – but most of all, Stafford and Moreno.  Given the brickbats thrown their way after the Florida game about not caring/lack of effort, it wouldn’t have been a surprise to see them mail it in yesterday.  Instead, they essentially carried the team to the win yesterday.  Moreno’s job was especially tough, given the spotty support he received from an increasingly crippled (hard to believe it could get worse, but it did) o-line’s run blocking.  But Matt deserves a lot of credit, first of all for his judgment (no interceptions!) and second for his execution.  You just have to hope there’s more where that came from for the upcoming weeks.

The bad

The bad

The Raycom broadcast team was baaaad.  Dave Neal is an idiot – maybe you can confuse A. J. Green and A. J. Bryant once, but the number of times Neal did that is an indication of a less than first class mind.  Dave Archer is the most bland, least insightful color (there’s a joke of a term) guy out there.  It would have been OK to have flat out acknowledged that Georgia’s defense was playing terribly for much of the game.  Camera work was fairly shoddy at times, to boot.  I’m not sure why people are going to miss these guys after this season.  As long as ESPN doesn’t move Pam Ward to SEC broadcasts, it’ll be an improvement.

The ugly

The ugly

It’s stunning to see how much Georgia’s defense has regressed in the past three games.  That was the 99th ranked team in total offense in the nation the Dawgs faced yesterday.  That was a freshman quarterback making his second career start the Dawgs faced yesterday.  And Georgia managed to make them look dominant for almost the entire game.  The defensive line was manhandled in the running game; that’s the most I’ve ever seen Rennie Curran have to take on offensive linemen in a game (not a battle he’s going to win consistently, either).  UK ran 76 plays and controlled the clock for almost 10 minutes more than Georgia.  Generally you can’t do that unless you’re doing a good job on third downs.  Guess what?  Kentucky, which entered the game dead last in the SEC in third down conversions, converting less than 30%, managed to convert half of its third and fourth down conversions yesterday.  Kudos should also go to Willie Martinez, who mixed in a significant amount of soft zone coverage against a quarterback who averaged a mere 5.3 yards per passing attempt, for reasons that I’m unable to fathom.  The topper to the day, though, had to be the inevitable hands to the face penalty that kept UK’s final drive alive – on a fourth down play, no less.  The defense does deserve a little credit for managing stops on Kentucky’s last three series.  And Dobbs’ interception was terrific.  Still, these guys are in a deep, dark hole.  They also face running quarterbacks in the next two weeks.

The calling this train wreck ugly would be an insult to ugliness

The "calling this train wreck ugly would be an insult to ugliness"

Late in the fourth quarter, a very disturbing thought crept into my mind:  what if Blair Walsh would have been called on to kick a field goal to send the game into overtime?  I wasn’t thinking so much of Walsh’s play in the Florida game (although that didn’t help, admittedly) as I was the overall special teams play earlier in the game.  There wasn’t a single redeeming moment from the special teams yesterday.  Shockingly bad play from every component directly led to three UK touchdowns as a result of short fields.  These guys ought to be buying the dinners for Stafford, Moreno and the receivers for a week.  At least.

Obviously, much of the team was still engulfed in a miasma of funk from the Florida blow out.  But that’s just an explanation for the bad play, not an excuse.  This team still hasn’t played a complete game this year and time is starting to run out.  They ran on an exceeding thin margin yesterday and barely escaped.  You hope they learn and get back to playing the kind of football they’re more than capable of, but after you read some of the quotes that have become fairly typical from the coaches and the players after a game like this, you have to wonder if they will.

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Da play, da play…

Almost lost yesterday amidst the putrifaction of the special teams play and the continued slide of what was once a very good rushing defense was this gem:

Georgia at 3:55 GA UK
1st and 10 at GA 15 Matthew Stafford pass complete to Mohamed Massaquoi for 78 yards to the Kent 7 for a 1ST down. 35 38

When I do my post season list of best plays of the year, rest assured this one will be at the top, barring even more drama in the remaining three games.  (Rest assured that Green’s catch will be right up there, too.)

Everything about that play was wonderful.  The call, the decision to go back to the guy who’s been the rock on offense all year, but who had shockingly fumbled the ball to Kentucky the last two times he’d touched it.  The throw from Stafford, who put the ball where it needed to be.  The downfield blocking from Durham.  And, of course, the timing and the drama of the play – Georgia down by three on its own 15 yard line with under four minutes to go in the game.

But most of all, the grit and determination of Massaquoi, whose solid year has been somewhat overshadowed by Green’s emergence, along with the expected attention paid to Stafford and Moreno.  You know what had to be going through his mind as he caught the ball, broke a tackle and took off.  Green’s catch on the winning score was jaw dropping, but who knows if he gets the chance without MoMass’ heroics?

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