View from the 35: ULL edition

After watching yesterday’s game, I confess that my mancrush on Todd Grantham is in full flower.  Georgia’s defense played well enough that I got over my pre-game anger at the NCAA by the middle of the second quarter.

Here are a few things that caught my unprofessional eye on a day when the game was as sunny and pleasant as the weather:

  • I understand why the coaches are so high on Christian Robinson.  He rarely makes a mistake at anything.  All I saw from him all game long was a player who lined up right, stepped up at the right time to make a play and made picture-perfect tackles.  Just a solid, solid game.
  • Justin Houston is a beast.  By the third quarter, he was the focus of ULL’s offense – either getting double-teamed, or having the quarterback roll away from him on every play.
  • The jailbreak blitz that led to the Dent sack was an absolute thing of beauty:  two delayed blitzers, perfectly timed.
  • How could you not love that Mason to Gray touchdown pass?  (By the way, Mason’s release is quick.)
  • I saw it at G-Day, but again, it’s striking how well coached the secondary is in terms of spacing.
  • Linebackers that cover backs and tight ends in the flats – what a novel concept.
  • Carlton Thomas looks quicker.  He’s also taken a step up in pass protection.  He may be carving himself a valuable role as a third-down back.
  • It’s almost getting boring watching Blair Walsh kick 50+ yard field goals.  Almost.
  • If anything, Drew Butler’s gotten better.  His punts are gorgeous to watch; there’s almost no wobble when his kicks are in flight.
  • Cordy Glenn seemed like he was still recovering from the effects of having mono.  Early on, he got blown up on a couple of running plays.
  • The offensive line didn’t consistently dominate on the ground, but some of that was due to ULL running eight and nine guys in the box on almost every play.  On the other hand, there was a pass play in the first half when I looked up and noticed that every Louisiana lineman was on the ground, so those guys had their moments.
  • +2 in turnover margin.  Regression to the mean, baby!
  • Derek Owens threw the block of the day on one of Branden Smith’s good punt returns and was rewarded with a stadium-wide “Ooh” for his effort.
  • Grantham’s reaction after Boykin’s interception was priceless – yanked off the headphones, rumbled down the sideline and gave the first down gesture in dramatic fashion.
  • Even in recovery mode, Akeem Dent still had a fine day.

Overall, you could sense that something was back for the players – not so much a swagger as a pleasure in getting out there and seeing what they were capable of doing and a rise in confidence as they saw success.  Yes, it’s early, and yes, it was against a Sun Belt Conference school… but put it this way:  if you went into the game worried about the quarterback situation and how the defense would play, nothing happened yesterday that made you pessimistic, did it?

For the first time in a while, I’m really looking forward to seeing what this team can do.  I’ll probably have some more thoughts on that after I watch the replay.

About these ads

22 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

22 responses to “View from the 35: ULL edition

  1. baltimore dawg

    i almost broke down in tears of joy when tg blew up rambo for giving up the td.

    i saw everything i hoped to see against inferior competition: attention to details and fundamentals on defense and a qb who passed the eye test for what a sec qb looks like.

  2. DWH

    I completely agree about the Dent sack. I must have watched and re-watched that play about 7 or 8 times last night on the DVR. That was nasty.

  3. JasonC

    Sure it was ULL, but if the defense does half as good next week, that would mean less than 260 yards surrendered (statistically speaking). And while that is a flaw statement, when was the last time UGA held a decent opponent to 260 yards?

  4. Irishdawg

    I really like what I saw from the upper level yesterday. The D was more aggressive, more sound fundamentally, and they hit harder than I’ve seen since the Sugar Bowl. 3 INTs (should have been 4); that’s what happens when you pressure the QB.

    The only disappointment was we didn’t grind them to pieces for 300+ rushing yards, but that’s a minor quibble.

  5. Ben

    Agreed. I had to tired babies for most of the first half, so I couldn’t pay too close attention to the whole thing, but one thought I had at some point in the game was, “They look stronger.”

    I don’t know when the last time was that I saw a UGA team just go out and curb stomp an opponent they were supposed to beat. That game yesterday, though, was a complete and thorough beating.

    Murray had one or two freshman moments (who of us wouldn’t?), but he was really impressive. The broadcasters spoke at one point on one of Charles’s catches that OC showed “a knowledge of his quarterback and what he would do”, and that’s something that’ll help out a lot in the heat of a game later on, I think.

    As far as the D, goes, what an effort.

    I can’t wait until Carolina!

  6. BMan

    Ditto on the LBs in pass coverage Senator. It seemed that as soon as the ball touched a receiver’s fingertips, the LB would be there swatting at the ball, delivering a hit, or both. In previous years, the LB would react to the catch and close in from 3-4 yards away.

    I know the quality of opponent, but in the last few years that’s a game the Dogs win 38-14 or 41-20 (they never covered the Vegas spread). I was always left wondering, “Why can’t my team completely obliterate these cupcakes?” Finally, they stepped on the gas and never let up. Just because they were up by 30-plus points, they refused to get sloppy.

    Compare to Willie’s debut at Oklahoma. Good luck Sooners.

  7. JohnW

    I thought Carlton Thomas was running hot and cold in pass defense to be honest. He seemed unable to keep from be pushed back into the pocket by a few ULL defenders. More size and speed from SC defense might be more of an issue.

    I thought the OLine played well. Murry felt pressure when they brought the jailbreak blitz but not really other than that. We were lining up in a 3 WR set and running the ball up the gut against a 8+ man front and getting what you would expect when outnumbered 8 to 6 in the box 3-5 yard gains and a few broken for a big one.

    Love the defense.

  8. DawgSmith

    Going into the game I was looking for a nasty defensive attitude and team chemistry. The defense certainly played faster and with focus, but the nasty attitude was missing. We have a ways to go but things are promising.

    As far as team chemistry, everyone seemed focused on assignment.

    Murray was decisive and confident, stepping into almost every throw. A lot of presnap reads that don’t allow for down the field route development.

    O line play (run blocking) was questionable. If ULL indeed “stacked the box”, why didn’t our play calling expose the middle of the field. Our talented TE’s should have had a career day. 1 completion to TE all day. Offensive play calling continues to show a finesse brand of football, that most Dooley Dawg Disciples cannot stomach.

    Yesterday was something to build on. Bringing that focus game in and game out will be key to winning the games we should win, and challenging the others.

    • 69Dawg

      If by Nasty Defensive attitude you mean senseless personal fouls then yes that was missing. I think they were in the words of Erk Russell GATA. Notice if you will the O got most of the penalties, the D just knocked the living snot out of La-La.

      • W Cobb Dawg

        Yea, I thought the D was focused, fundamentally sound, and really got after it. A shutout would have been nice, but I couldn’t be much happier about the D’s perfomance.

  9. kckd

    Just wanting to see what the defense was gonna do next was nice again.

    Not just wanting but expecting the opposing offense to go three and out was nice again.

    Feeling that when the QB went back to pass was a good thing for the UGA defense was nice again.

    Very few negatives but it has to do with Murray and not the defense. He made some mistakes he’s not gonna get away with next week. Mistakes that could cost us the game at SCU. It’s understandable. He’s a RS freshman and maybe he doesn’t make them next week. Overall, pleased with Murray, but I don’t think he’s quite where Greene was his freshman year. I hope he gets there and quick. If so, we’re gonna be hell.

  10. 69Dawg

    You don’t have to look any further than La-La’s Mackie watch list TE to see the radical change in our D. Sure he burned us deep one time but with Willie’s D the guy would have torched us all day long.

    I am trying not get too high on the D. CTG has not faced some of the more exotic O’s that he is not used to yet, but with Coach B and Coach L’s input I’m sure we can put together a game plan that will stop most of them. Heck just having GATA back is great with me.

  11. H-Town Dawg

    After having to watch a great game like that from the sideline, how fired up to get into the action are A.J. and Washaun now? Can’t wait to see them do their thing. On top of everything already mentioned, don’t forget about the fullbacks. They had a great day. I think Chapas and Munz are going to come up big all season long.

  12. W Cobb Dawg

    Butler looks like he can boot it 50+ yards effortlessly. He’ll be a huge asset for field position all year long. I thought Bogotay had a stronger leg than Walsh on ko’s, though Walsh seemed to hit it higher – Nice problem to have I guess. Only 5 penalties! – terrific!

    Dawgs didn’t lower themselves to the level of competition, and didn’t make too many dumb mistakes (that beat themselves). That’s good fundamental FB! It was a good warm-up game for the sec.

    corch had plenty of troubles against a team that won once last year. I’m hoping S.FL gives them a tough game next week.

    • rbubp

      Butler, Walsh, Boykin, and Smith are so good at their respective special teams roles that, if our defense is remotely competent, really
      all the offense needs to do is not turn the ball over. Field position advantage will be our in every game and will result in points.

      I am so, so looking forward to not having to outscore teams to win.

  13. thewhiteshark

    I was pleased with the defense too. I know it was a Sunbelt team, but it was nice to see the Dawgs take care of business. Besides all the things mentioned here I was pleased that we allowed UL-L no space. Except for the breakdown on the TD you didn’t have receivers and backs running free. We closed on the ball much better and the tackling was fundamentally sound.

    On the offensive side of the ball I though Murray and Mason played well. I would have liked to see us bust one for a big gain, but they were loading up and we were running a pretty vanilla offense too. Can’t wait to see Ealey back against Carolina.

    I was really impressed with Branden Smith. Last year he could fly but was also easy to knock down, and he was a little scary holding on to the ball. He looked like a man yesterday. Fast, strong and tough. With Smith and Boykin we may have the most dangerous return game in the country. I think we will see a significant number of big plays out of those two. They are game changers.

  14. HVL Dawg

    The thing that struck me about the defense was how much violence they brought to each tackle, particularly in the first quarter. There were several plays where I thought our players were not just trying to make a tackle but also trying to rip the dude in half.

  15. Will Trane

    Good game. Now we will see where we are at in the next three game. Carolina, Arkansas, and Mississippi State are solid teams. All three can compete for their respective division title.

    My concern from the game…thought we gave up too much penetration on the”O”Line on certain plays. Seemed there were several plays where the running back was stopped in the backfield. Perhaps when CK and EW are the tandem it will not happen as much. But “O” coaches kept it straight up most the time.

    Need deeper balls on kick off and faster coverage.

    We have had some great punters, but Butler may be the best.

    We think Smith can have at least 1 or 2 TD returns before the halfway mark.

  16. Turd Ferguson

    As excited as I am about Murray and the offense, for the first time in a long time, it pales in comparison to my excitement about our defense. (Did I just say that?)

    Grantham’s energy is awesome. Every play, it seemed like we had 20 guys out there, all swarming to the ball. You could really tell how much fun they were all having (except, of course, when Grantham was lightin’ ‘em up after a bad play). I was pleasantly surprised by a few guys: Vance Cuff and Christian Robinson, especially. Sanders Commings’ interception was one of the prettiest I’ve seen in a while. And just watching Jakar Hamilton play makes me want to lay someone out.

    I’m anxious to see how they play next week — a stronger opponent in a hostile environment. If they look anything like they did yesterday, it’ll be hard not to think that the East is ours to lose. (Especially if Florida still hasn’t figured out how to hike a football …)