Thoughts from the 35: Georgia-Auburn

Sorry this is a little later than usual, but my ass is dragging a bit this morning.  7:00 PM starts, ESPN commercials and Athens post-game traffic make for a bad combination.  And, yeah, that means next week will be more of the same.  There’s something to be said for the simple pleasures of the Tennessee Tech-1:00 PM start-little commercial interruption games.

Anyway, here goes:

  • My family tells me I’m oblivious to things like this, but suddenly I noticed a radical shift in coed footwear yesterday.  The college female population seems to have ditched their flip-flops as one and put on cowboy boots to wear with their short dresses.  I don’t get the look, but my youngest (who donned the outfit herself) assures me that it’s a Taylor Swift-inspired thing.  Whatever – it was everywhere you turned.  In its honor, I dub last night the “Short Dress Boot” game.
  • The crowd showed up last night ready to play its part.  Maybe it was the opponent.  Maybe it was having enough alcohol.  Maybe it was the boots.  In any event, it was a gift that looked like it was going to be spurned for a while.  Bobo drew the boos for the night with some awful playcalling early on, but after the TD pass to Troupe, the energy returned.  The place rocked in the second half and went off the meter for the last two defensive plays of the game (we deserve the credit for the false start penalty).  If you were a recruit in attendance, I don’t see how you couldn’t have been impressed.
  • If one of the most important components of in-game coaching is taking what the other guy gives you, then Willie Martinez outcoached Gus Malzahn last night.  And, yes, my hands trembled a little typing that.
  • There was a lot of post-game chatter about Martinez making adjustments during the game.  I think that’s a euphemism for “leaving Bryan Evans on the sidelines”.
  • Speaking of which, even before he delivered the (possibly) game saving hit, Bacarri Rambo was having a monster game.  My friend described him as a faster Rennie Curran and there was much truth to that last night.
  • 118th, bitches.
  • Returning to an earlier observation, Auburn only threw one pass to the tight end.  It went, of course, for the longest gain from scrimmage for the night.  What Malzahn was thinking should make for some interesting commentary, I think.
  • Did the NCAA change the holding rules this week and not tell us?  I can’t believe some of the stuff the refs ignored last night.  From both teams, before you ask.
  • Joe Cox has a stronger arm than Chris Todd.  That doesn’t make him the better quarterback necessarily, but he does have the stronger arm.
  • And at least our quarterback doesn’t throw the ball to his offensive tackle.  Nyah, nyah, nyah.  (And what was Ziemba thinking catching the ball, anyway?)
  • Ladies and gentlemen, Israel Troupe.  Seriously, where did that come from?
  • I’m sorry that Richard Samuel has become the incredible shrinking man, but there’s no denying that the running game has gotten better with the two-man rotation.  Ealey’s improvement in five games is scary.  And King busted a couple of downfield moves on the Tigers’ safeties that were almost Moreno-like.
  • Yardage doesn’t always tell the story for the game, but it did last night.  Yardage totals after the first two series:  Auburn, 156; Georgia, minus-2.  Yardage totals for the rest of the game:  Auburn, 197; Georgia 344.  I guarantee you that midway through the first quarter much of the crowd didn’t think it would be there to start the fourth.
  • How ’bout that directional kicking?  Note to Jon Fabris:  that crap only works when the coverage team actually shows up to tackle the return man.  No touchbacks last night = 222 return yards and a touchdown.
  • And while we’re on the subject of coverage, punt coverage also sucked.  Auburn’s had a terrible time with punt returns this season, but last night averaged 13.5 yards per return.  And if Richt wants to know why his team doesn’t recover fumbles, he might want to watch the tape on the fumbled punt.  Georgia didn’t have a player within six yards of the return man when the muff occurred.  You can’t recover what you never get close to.
  • Richt was right about one thing, though, when he noted that the deflected pass Orson Charles caught was the play of the game.  Terrible throw by Cox, but if a team deserved a lucky break this season, it was this one.  You could feel the confidence surge afterwards.
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18 Comments

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18 responses to “Thoughts from the 35: Georgia-Auburn

  1. When we were watching Rambo being carted off the field, my friends and I shared a hope that Evans would come in and not be the reason we got beat. He is from the Tre Battle school of defensive back coverage, as you know.

    Thankfully, Rambo’s hit didn’t happen for naught.

  2. Turd Ferguson

    For the record, since you brought up the issues of (a) holding, (b) Richard Samuel, and (c) kickoff coverage, … I seriously doubt they get that 4th quarter kickoff return for a TD if Samuel hadn’t been being held.

  3. Ben

    I watched the game with some Auburn fans, and they asked, “Why run a draw on 3rd and long?” I said Bobo had been calling that all season, and then later in the game (fourth quarter maybe?), the Dawgs are in a third and long and Cox hits a guy running down the sideline.

    It made me think that the draw play on third and long all year has been a decoy for that one particular play call just like a pitcher will throw certain pitches early to set up a pitch count late. Also, the folks I watched it with lamented #15 for Auburn much the way the Dawgs lament #3 for us.

    Finally, I still couldn’t believe how many defenders were around Auburn receivers for much of the games yet still unable to make a play AND the two dropped INTs the Dawgs had.

    It wasn’t a perfect night, but it ended with a W for the good guys, and I guess that’s what matters. The team and the coaches and the fans ALL needed that one.

  4. Irishdawg

    Despite an inspired performance by the D, I still maintain Willie M needs to go. I also still feel bad about it; Martinez seems like a good guy, and I think he really loves the Georgia program. So I hope he goes, but still lands on his feet somewhere.

    Thank God Rambo is going to be OK. He’s a good kid and is going to be a beast in the secondary. If they get put in the proper scheme, he, Smith, and Boykin are going to do some damage.

  5. brad

    RE: the running backs…the two man rotation is looking strong. Caleb really impressed me last night. He put a freaking LB (Eltoro Freeman) out of the game when he ran over him. When is the last time a UGA RB did that? Put someone out of the game?

    There is no reason not to give Richard Samuel a chance at LB. We are set at RB now and you can even redshirt the kid and give him a real chance at making something out of his time in Athens. I really regret the way we have mismanaged players in this regard. Kiante Tripp comes to mind as well.

  6. Normaltown Mike

    (1) I don’t know if they did it all game, but for a fact AU had 2 DT’s on the field for their last 2 kick returns. They were lined up in front of the upbacks. The upbacks on the side of the kick created a “wedge” around the substantial back side of one of these guys. Clever. Picture Logan squaring up w/ 1 of those guys.
    (2) The draw play on the 3 and long after the INT was the result of Bobo’s refusal to run the damn ball on 1st and 2nd down (I recall a bad sack on 1st and a pass to White on 2nd). Our running b/w the tackles was effective almost all night (exception was opening drive of 3rd QRT w/ King in). Yet Bobo (just as CMR used to) gets away from the run too quickly. Play action is great. But Cox has a (very) limited range of throws he can make so they need to be choosier with throwin it.
    (3) War Willie was (again) exposed for not responding to getting the ball to the perimeter. Just as Lame and CUM did, AU could get the ball to a receiver at the line of scrimmage and immediately get 5-8 yards. WTF? No more “soft zone”.
    (4) Blair didn’t put the ball in the air long enough for our slow walk-ons to get down field and cover the kick. Perhaps low barometric pressure effects this? That and slow walk-ons.
    (5) I had 2006 Stafford vs. Auburn flashback when Cox ran that zone read for 19 yards.

  7. mykiesee

    As for the fashion issue you brought up, I was working on St. Simons during the Georgia-Florida weekend and almost every co-ed walking the streets had on the short skirts and cowboy boots. I went home and told the wife that the trends are changing and that she should start wearing the short skirts and cowboy boots too. All I got was an eye-roll. Gotta try though, right?

    • Normaltown Mike

      Anyone who attended Lassiter in the early 90’s has a great visual of a girl in cowboy boots.

    • Macallanlover

      “Street walking coeds” is a winning concept, the short skirts with boots is just icing. St. Simons would be a boom town if that were promoted!

  8. Kicked to the goalline, middle of the field… Returned 99 yards. That wasn’t a directional kick. Just as against UK last year, it was the deep attempt that everyone wants, not fully struck and thus returnable.

  9. Chuck

    Better question about Ziemba is: What was he doing out in space in the first place? No wonder we were getting to the QB with a four man rush. Truth is, he may as well catch it and hope the refs don’t notice; if he knocks it down (it had to hit him) the flag is going to be thrown anyway.

    • Ben Rockwell

      I actually thought that was a designed play that was poorly executed. All the recievers were bunched up on that side (if memory serves), and I thought the design was a tackle eligible. However, I don’t know if that play is even legal any more.

  10. JasonC

    Good list, Senator.
    I would add.

    Mark Jones (ESPN play-by-play) is painful to hear and actually makes Bob Davies sound good. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. They wasted 10 minutes talking about coaches’ salaries and neglected the game.

    Willie Martinez is a great secondary coach and great DC… because Bob Davies says so.

    As bad as Evans usually is, I did see one really nice open field tackle on Tate when Evans flew to the ball and wrapped him up. I thought it was Rambo because he had already made 2-3 like that, but it was Evans.

    I think C. King is coming into his own. He is running pretty well, blocks well and I think he is a decent receiver.

    I really think the bigger problems with KOs is not the direction, but as mentioned above, the coverage. It was horrible last night. Also, I have watched a few other SEC games and many other teams are using directional KOs also. Some just cover better than we do.

    You can see the potential on this team is really high, it’s just a matter of syncing and playing up to it.

    Finally, boots and short skirts or short shorts were the fad last year in Hong Kong. They weren’t necessarily cowboy boots, but I did see some of them also. One of the crazy things about the fad last season was putting brown boots with black skirts & outfits and vice versa. Look for crazy gladiator sandals on the girls there next spring .

    Oh, and this does probably help Martinez’ chances of staying.

    • JasonC

      One more…
      I can’t believe Todd started 9-9 against us. He looked horrible after their first two drives, especially on long passes. I haven’t seen moonbeams like that since playing against Steve Grogan in Super TechmoBowl. Worst deep floaters. Ever.

  11. Macallanlover

    We are definitely unlucky when it comes to fumbles recovered, there have been some weird bounces, and players from other teams in fortunate palces, but the point remains that we have only recovered one all year. Just as amazing to me is that Florida is second lowest in the country with only three recovered fumbles thei year.

  12. SIC’EM loves him some short skirts and cowgirl boots……big props to the students and the Bulldog Nation. Great game, great atmosphere.

    The quality of Georgia’s young players is absolutely mind boggling. I don’t think we have a recruiting problem as some have suggested. I still maintain we have a discipline and accountability problem….which goes back to coaching. Sorry.