The myth of a seamless transition

For those of you who disagree with my assessment that Georgia’s defense was likely to struggle early because of the scheme change and were profoundly disappointed in the way the defense performed in Columbia, some of Mark Richt’s comments from today’s presser might be enlightening.

… Nose tackle DeAngelo Tyson, who played every snap at South Carolina, did so even after getting treatment during the game for a knee sprain. He also admitted he got tired.

The reason Justin Anderson and Kwame Geathers, two bigger nose tackles, didn’t play was because South Carolina was in a three-receiver set almost the entire game, and in Georgia’s nickel package, Tyson is the nose.

But Richt said they were working on changing their personnel package, so the bigger nose tackles will be in there.

Richt also said the defensive line has to “drop anchor” a bit more. There were too big a seam for the linebackers to try and make plays…

This is a work in progress, folks.  Grantham is going to be feeling his way around personnel issues for at least the first third of the season.

One thing I like about what Richt has said after the loss is that there’s not just room for improvement, but that he and the staff expect it.  That’s a definite step up from the “in the arena” talk we got after last year’s Tennessee debacle.  This week, we’ll see where it leads.  As Richt says, Arkansas is a big game – not simply in terms of wins and losses, but also in demonstrating that attitudes and expectations are changing for the better.

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38 Comments

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38 responses to “The myth of a seamless transition

  1. Scorpio Jones, III

    My observation of what Petrino’s offense is like over the years is that it is what most folks seem to think Spurrier’s offense is like.

    And, in one sense is like ours in that he runs to throw.

    Mallet is a different situation for us, because he can and does throw the deep ball very, very well.

    Last week it was run stop.

    This week it is make Mallet move and disrupt his timing.

    A smaller than typical NT may have more luck with this than last week.

    Anyway, here’s hoping.

    • At Louisville, he liked to run big backs out of that one back set – a lot. He had some good ‘uns, too.

      I don’t know if it’s the talent or the level of competition (probably a little of both), but he hasn’t been nearly as successful with that at Arkansas. I think the Hogs were around 80th in rushing last year and they’re just slightly better this year against two cupcakes.

      That, plus Mallett’s relative immobility, ought to have Justin Houston licking his chops.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        I remember the big backs, too. But the essence of the offense was throwing the ball. In fact, if Petrino had had Mallett at Louisville he might have played for the big one….remember when they were in the top five….before it rained?
        Baker?

        Anyway, if Arkansas runs the ball the way Carolina did, we got real problems….but they don’t and they won’t.

  2. GreenDawg

    I’m glad our coaches and players are accepting that we need to improve, but subbing one guy into the game is not exactly an adjustment that needs much thought. I understand there are certain personnel packages, but when coaches can’t make one minor adjustment like that in game something is very wrong. I’m not one for criticizing coaches, but that just seems obvious. We have a coach whose job is to manage the D-line. I’m lookin’ at Garner on this one.

    • It’s not a minor adjustment if the two subs are having problems in pass defense.

      Grantham chose to play his safeties closer to the line in the second half. It worked until the kids wore out. That’s more on the offense than it is on Garner and Grantham, IMO.

      • GreenDawg

        No, but if 2 out of our 3 nose tackles are completely incompetent pass rushers then we are going to have huge problems going against pro-style offenses, because they are going to throw out of the I. And South Carolina generally ran when we were in our nickel package anyway.

        • Now I think you’re getting it. ;)

        • Normaltown Mike

          Have to disagree. What killed us w/ SC was the ability to run from the I, not throw from it.

          Recall last year we couldn’t keep Garcia off the field. When he wasn’t averting pressure, and (ugh) running the option with success he was rolling out and hitting people underneath and we were helpless and hapless.

          Grantham inherited personnel for a 4-3 and deployed it pretty well. DE’s harassed a very mobile QB all game and even forced a fumble. Except for Rennie, our safeties and LB’s have been trending down for several yrs. Now we don’t even have Rennie and yet we kept Garcia contained and made SC put the game in the hands of a freshmen. The kid stepped up.

          • They didn’t run from the I as much as you think. They ran the option read out of the shotgun and deployed the fullback on the line as an H-back type a good bit of the day.

          • hailtogeorgia

            But if you look, South Carolina didn’t run from the I. In fact, they barely did anything from the I, run or pass. The play they ran the most was a zone running play from the shotgun with a very similar setup to a read option. I remember commenting to someone on one of their first drives that every play was out of the gun. They simply weren’t under center.

            • It was a good strategy for two reasons. First, with a fullback on the line, it meant they had all the gaps on the d-line blocked. That worked because Georgia’s ILBs couldn’t stop their surge consistently. Second, that’s the offense that Lattimore’s high school team ran. He’s said that he’s more comfortable running out of that right now than the I-formation.

              • hailtogeorgia

                Not to mention it automatically put Garcia that much farther away from The Monster (Houston). Seriously, that guy might be the scariest looking person on the team.

                • GreenDawg

                  Yeah, riding the bus with him to class is terrifying. His biceps are as big as my head. I hope Ryan Mallet gets introduced to him over and over on Saturday.

  3. TennesseeDawg

    Tyson wanted to play for the Dawgs but maybe not quite this much.

  4. hailtogeorgia

    I think our outside backers are going to have a field day in this game. Mallett is less than mobile (to put it nicely) and Houston looked great coming off of the end last week. I have to think he’ll do the same this week, with better results. There were several plays last week (one in particular I’m thinking of) where we were THIS close to getting to Garcia, but he was able to squeeze out and get the ball to Jeffrey or DiMarco. Hopefully Mallett won’t be able to do that with his great receivers.

    • Will (the other one)

      This will also be the 1st truly big test of Lakatos’s secondary adjustments.
      Can we make some plays on those deep balls and pluck out at least one or two INTs?

  5. The Realist

    There is no doubt room for improvement. I’ve said all along that the SCe game did not make Georgia’s season. It was just a measuring stick. Well, Georgia came up short. That’s a reflection of where they are right now, not what the program as a whole has become or is on the path to becoming or anything else long term.

    This season is a long one, and it would be unwise to make long-range assumptions on the competency of Grantham after one legitimate game. What Georgia fans need to realize is that we’ve had our taste of blood with the firings of Willie, etc. Now, it’s time to sit back and give the new guys the opportunity to change 1) the schemes and plays, and (perhaps more importantly) 2) the attitudes and culture of the defense.

    From a macro perspective, I saw good things from the defense last Saturday. Georgia was not out-coached in that game. They were out-executed & out-fundamentaled (?… eh, you know what I mean). Those are things that can be fixed on a micro level.

    Let’s keep this in perspective, and save our angst for when it is truly needed. A fan base that just bitches and whines all the time doesn’t deserve a winning team anyway.

  6. 69Dawg

    If SCU didn’t run out of the I how come one of the replays showed Demarco cold cocking our ILB and the kid going through the whole front 7 untouched. The SCU players said that their center owned our Nose all day long. I think we were so afraid of the play action pass that we just refused to play one of the big fellows at Nose. Our ILB’s were MIA in the first half really look like the biggest liability. It looked like they were just handled.

    Doesn’t Ark have a pretty experienced O Line? This could be another learning experience (loss) this week.

  7. Scorpio Jones, III

    Wish I could explain it more fully, but “had our taste of blood” makes me itch.

    Does this mean some folks believe the ranting caused Richt to fire Willie?

  8. shane#1

    I think the dreaded spread helped USCe too. Lattimore said that UGA’s DEs were split out pretty wide which helped open lanes. Which, I suppose, is the purpose of the spread.

  9. Mike

    As important as it is to stop Mallet, the bigger deal might be how well Ark stops the UGA run.

    Stop the run, like USCe did, and then Murray has to win the game. That did not work last week.

    If UGA can run the ball, Mallet is not on the field. Murray does not have to play catch-up.

    • Murray can win the game for us if the coaches will let him.

      Stop crying about him running the ball. Let him use his talent. Watch the Michigan – Notre Dame game, coaches!

      • Mike

        I am not sure I am “crying” about Murray not running the ball. I was referring to the UGA running backs.

        The UGA running game was woeful last week. A repeat of that this week will probably mean another loss for UGA.

  10. S.E. Dawg

    While I respect CMR assessment of the defense, I would think the offense needs to get on track. If opening up the playbook is the answer then let’s do it. If that doesn’t work, we’ve got bigger problems than we thought.

  11. Will Trane

    Anticipation of the runningless offense and the offense in transition. Can’t wait to see the unwrapping of the offense this weekend now that the coaches think Murray is ready for it. The OC opens the play book for Murray. Is it going to be the same high power offense we saw the past two years with Stafford and Cox? Maybe we will see something new that most SEC DCs have not seen. Hopefully we see a move in the “w” column even against a West Division team. Maybe that will take away that constant losing feeling in the East.

    When was the last time the Dawgs were a top five or ten team in the nation in total offense or passing or rushing?

    We wanted more turnovers. We saw one Saturday that looked promising for a TD by the offense. But now we may have to wait for the defense to do the scoring. Sorry, but some of us put more faith in in the D to score.

    We need to celebrate if the OC can find the end zone a few times with the right sets and personnel. But be prepared to groan again until the OC can be shown the exit aisle.

  12. Ausdawg85

    Wait a minute…we have two…two!…backups to a beaten, broken and tired nose tackle in a big game, but because they are “run oriented” not “pass” oriented players, they don’t get any playing time…against an offense that was running the ball down our throats, but we were playing pass because of the formations…??? Am I following CMR’s (and CTG’s) logic correctly here?

    OBC whupped us if all he had to do was see that we would play pass if shown a passing formation and then run at us up a soft and open middle.

    I’ll go pick up my jaw off the ground now and rethink the whole “don’t worry, we’re adjusting” meme. I’m not in the arena, but that rational/reasoning is just plain stupid. Daring Garcia to throw more might have helped us if we committed more with the big tackles to stopping the run…but we’ll never know.

  13. W Cobb Dawg

    It’s bs to blame the loss on the D. At least they made adjustments and came back tough after the half – only gave up 17, not 30+. CMR’s offense never showed up at all.

  14. CDawg

    I think there is plenty of blame to go around for the loss, but here’s hoping the team has already moved past it and is getting ready for Arkansas.

    This week may change my mind, but I’m still a glass-half-full guy.

    IMO, the S.C. game came down to 3 things: (a) the defense couldn’t get SC’s offense off the field (aided by the fact that the defensive staff didn’t realize that by playing a 3 receiver set, Tyson would never come off the field in UGA’s substitution patterns), (b) this dramatically shortened the game and the number of possessions UGA had to score points (although the offensive staff made adjustments after half-time, and until the fumble, they looked like they were working), and (c) (actually a tie between) horribly predictable play-calling / poor offensive line performance.

    With respect to our offensive line and play-calling, the number of limited possessions and a conservative game plan going in really limited the margin for error there.

    However, I do believe our 0- line is talented (at least 3 of the starters and perhaps 4 will play on Sundays, not to mention a back-up or 2). I do believe this line is well coached (although I’m now beginning to remember my LSU friends’ complaints that CSS’ offensive lines always “start slow”). And I do believe S.C. has a very good defense.

    I think the game essentially came down to 2 series in the second half. After having run the ball successfully to the right a few times early in the game (and, to my recollection, never trying it again), Bobo called a Murray roll-out on 3rd and 2 (with Murray apparently having been instructed before the game to never run the ball). A bad call that resulted in a predictable punt.

    The defense held, and on the next drive, the offense lined up in the I and ran Ealey up the middle on another 3rd and 2. Everyone and their mother, not to mention God and Ellis Johnson, knew that play was coming. A failure of the offensive line or play-calling?

    After a few years working together now, CMR, Bobo and CSS need to get on the same page. Maybe one of the 3 “brain trusts” of the offense needs to go back to the booth to see what is so apparent to anyone not on the sidelines.

    In the end, we gave up 17 points to a S.C. team that Spurrier is still “crowing about” 2 games into a season.

    Put this game behind us and move on. But please, no more excuses.