Indy Bowl thoughts

Hey, somebody mentioned there’s a game today!  Seriously, the last game of the season is always a bittersweet affair and that this one comes a little earlier than we’re used to of late accentuates that.  At least we get the mellow sounds of Ron Franklin to comfort us a bit.

Of course the interesting part will be to see how the team dynamics play out with the departure of the three defensive coaches, but I don’t expect much in the way of surprises in how Georgia schemes defensively.  In fact, there probably won’t be much of a variation in the overall gameplan from what we saw against Georgia Tech – and A.J. Green’s return should make the running game even more successful, as it will give TAMU’s safeties less of an incentive to help support the run defense.

Turnover margin has been the key factor for Georgia all season, and it’s hard to see how that will change for today’s game.   A&M is going to try to Malzahn Georgia by running a lot more plays on offense (the Aggies average eight more offensive plays per game than their opponents); going minus-2 or worse in turnover margin just plays into that.

If turnovers aren’t a factor today, the key on defense for Georgia looks pretty simple.  Per cfn.com,

A&M needs its running game to work. The Aggies are 0-6 when running for 190 yards or fewer, and 6-0 when running for more. Part of that is Johnson scrambling, part of that is the balance the offense needs to give the passing game a break, and part of that is the offense working.

And on the other side, it’s hard to see how Joe Kines’ defense’s track record is going to stop Georgia from doing what worked so well against Georgia Tech.

… A&M has struggled against the run; nine opponents rushed for at least 160 yards and four rushed for at least 200 against the Aggies.

That’s music to Mark Richt’s ears.

Mike Hugenin adds this observation about the special teams matchup:

Georgia special teams vs. Texas A&M special teams: The Bulldogs’ kicker/punter duo of Blair Walsh and Drew Butler is the nation’s best. Walsh is 19-of-21 this season, including 10-of-11 from 40 yards and beyond; his streak of 11 consecutive makes ended with a missed 55-yarder against Georgia Tech in the regular-season finale. Butler, the son of former Georgia and NFL kicker Kevin Butler, leads the nation with a 48.8-yard average. The return units are good, but the coverage units are shaky; Georgia is egregiously bad on kickoff coverage, allowing 26.7 yards per return, with a touchdown. Outside of Gray’s abilities as a kick returner and the punt-coverage team, A&M’s special teams are pedestrian. K Randy Bullock is 12-of-18, including 4-for-7 from beyond 40. Freshman P Ryan Epperson took over in the second half of the season and averaged just 34.8 yards per kick. A&M allowed two kickoffs to be returned for touchdowns.

Other than potentially freaking out over Cyrus Gray, who returned a kick for a touchdown against Oklahoma, Georgia looks to have a decided advantage there.  (And you have to hope that Fabris’ departure cuts down on the freaking out in the kickoff coverage department.)

Bottom line:  most pundits are predicting a shoot-out, but I’m expecting more of a repeat of Georgia’s final regular season game.  Mark Richt loves controlling the tempo and pace of a game.  He’d be thrilled to see Ealey and King replay their roles against the Jackets this afternoon.  TAMU isn’t any better on offense than Georgia Tech and the Aggies are worse on defense.  Georgia gets both Green and Rambo back, to boot.  If the Dawgs keep the turnovers under control, look for something like a 30-21 outcome.

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22 Comments

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22 responses to “Indy Bowl thoughts

  1. Pingback: Monday 28Dec Links « Leather Helmet Blog

  2. The Realist

    Yeah, Richt wants to run the ball, control the clock, and keep the aTm offense on the sideline. Run, run, run, play action to AJ… then run some more.

    As long as Georgia doesn’t get fumbly, they should win.

  3. Dog in Fla

    Things To Do When You Are Not Dead or Alive in Shreveport:

    a. Put small yellow stickie tab in middle of monitor to remind self to leave work early to watch game on TV today, and

    b. Will Ron, the Cunningham guy and the girl who is not Holly Rowe because she had the awful announcing duty in last night’s KY v. Clemson game:

    1. mention any combination or permutation of Tim Tebow, Urban Meyer, Bud Foster and/or Willie Martinez being maybe the defensive backs coach for Florida more than they talk about the game or the two teams playing in the game and if so why?

    2. what is the over/under on how many times we are told that Mike Sherman used to be somebody for that one year when he coached the Packers?

    3. will they say once that T. Boone Pickens in his role as a robber baron does not give money to A&M but to Oklahoma State which lucked out and beat Georgia inaugurating T. Boone Pickens Coliseum but that A&M has not one but rather a cadre of big oil money backers almost as organized as the A&M ROTC when it comes to infusing money into the program so that it may fire and hire big name people like Franchione and Sherman?

    4. why keeping recruiting classes intact always trumps any health concerns, real or imagined, that a head coach may have?

    5. describe what is Advocare and why it comes nowhere close to the cachet the Bowl had when it was sponsored by the Poulan Weed Eater conglomerate.

    6. describe what Lou Holtz is and why he still has a job at ESPN because while no one can complain about him driving Mark May crazy, Lou drives everyone else except himself crazy too and maybe when Urban says ‘No can do, doctor’s orders…” the day after National Signing Day, Jeremy and the Gator can hire Lou and Spurrier as co-head coaches to reprise their roles from ‘Grumpy Old Men’ while they scour the hills of Florida in the never-ending quest of trying to find the next Tebow…

  4. NRBQ

    As great as it would be watching A.J. set some sort of bowl record in his return, I’m with you, Senator.

    Please run the friggin’ ball. No tricky stuff on the first few possessions. Keep Logan Gray out of the offense. Hold the sprint-draws, for god’s sake. And forget about “balance.”

    Just let Ealey/King keep TAMU’s offense off the field, and we may have a stress-free evening for a change.

  5. Chuck

    UGA by 20+. As they say in the chat rooms: “Book it”. :)

  6. Live blog and discussion thread here if you’re interested, Senator.

  7. Scooter

    Good luck Georgia fans. I think you guys win this in a blow out if, and that’s a big if, you guys don’t turn the ball over more than twice. Georgia just has superior talent.

  8. Turd Ferguson

    Wow. Vince Vance. Not good.

  9. rbubp

    Great win for us.

    Saying here…no one will be surprised by this thought, but I live out in Big 12 country and have seen these teams play. They aren’t any good–part of the reason I thought TCU and Cincy got screwed despite whatever their schedules were. Texas had name brand, but they aren’t very good either. I’ll be very surprised if Texas can stay within three TDs of Alabama.

    The Pac-10 is much closer competition, IMO.

  10. Special teams and defense won this game for us. The two units with fired coaches. That says a LOT about how bad they were, that we are better off with grad assistants in their place.

    Our offense was terribad – mostly because of Joe Cox. All game long I watched him stare down every receiver and not once did I see him look to a second option. He repeatedly made bad throws that put his receivers in dangerous positions to get drilled. I am very, very glad the Joe Cox era is over.

    Go Dawgs!

    • Jim from Duluth

      Whichever grad assistant ran the special teams tonite needs to be hired as special teams coord. CMR can shuffle other positions as needed to make room. Tonite was the best special teams game we’ve had across the board in several years.

      Jim

    • rbubp

      I wouldn’t be so quick to lay 100% of it at Cox’s feet. They blitzed every play and the OL did not have a particularly good game, so Cox wasn’t great, but he didn’t have much time, either; their blitzing took away longer routes most of the night. On top of that Vince Vance was awful; that and the run blitzes bottled up the running game until they gave up in the 4th quarter. (Not the first time they’ve packed it in early.)

      Wasn’t Bobo’s best night, either.

  11. Mayor of Dawgtown

    What does it say about the 3 missing coaches that their defensive unit played BETTER with them gone and 1 coach and 2 grad assistants taking their places? And the kick coverage/special teams play was the best it has been all season. Don’t want to be uncharitable but those guys had to have been mailing it in. Good riddance.

  12. NRBQ

    Yeah, Muck.

    Why did he insist on throwing shoulder-height line drives to the wide-outs all night?

    Cause that’s the limit of his talents.

    A.J.’s frustration was evident the whole game.

    Weird was the word tonight. Underwhelming offense all night, but up by thirty with a minute left. And at least four picks were left on the field.

    Best news is the Dawgs have some seriously dangerous sophomores and freshmen.

    • rbubp

      AJ’s frustration was over his own not feeling well and being held by the TAMU cbs, methinks. Not at Cox.

      • NRBQ

        Yeah, I heard the announcer say the same thing, but we’ll disagree on that. Put some arc on the ball, I say.

        As to your earlier point, Cox was never sacked.

        I bought into the whole off-season business about J.C. being more accurate and more selective than our last QB. It just didn’t happen.

  13. D.N. Nation

    Fine enough ass-kicking of a lesser opponent. Didn’t embarrass the conference. Time for 2010.

    Also. aTm hung 39 points on one of your national championship participants. But not Georgia’s GAs. Have fun, Bama.