Daily Archives: October 10, 2010

Watch for the fake.

After a while, it really does reach the point where it’s beyond trying to understand what goes through the mind of Les Miles.

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Observations from the 35, Tennessee edition

It was a crushing, solid, enjoyable win that was sweet revenge against a team that humiliated the Dawgs in Knoxville last year, but I’m not getting too far ahead of myself with it.  It was a win against a team that I’ve said all along was little better than an upper-tier Conference USA squad.  That makes it a good start and nothing more.  That being said, you’ve got to start somewhere.  Seeing as we’ve been waiting four weeks for this bunch to get its bearings for a full game, that’s nothing to sneer at.

  • As much grief as we’ve given Mike Bobo for his erratic playcalling, we probably haven’t given him enough credit as a quarterbacks coach.  Murray is a gifted play maker, but what really got me excited was how quickly he’s shown that he’s grasping the offense and what he has to do to keep the offense moving.  Several times yesterday, he checked off and found his second and third options for completions.  That as much as Green’s return has made the offensive flow much, much smoother.  He’s also cutting down on mistakes – he’s not staring down his receivers as much and he forced noticeably fewer throws.
  • Somewhere in the middle of the first quarter, Mike Bobo realized what we all knew in the middle of the South Carolina game – that the offense has to run through its best play maker, Aaron Murray.  Tennessee wasn’t doing anything fancy, just doubling A.J. and blitzing the linebackers on almost every play.  The middle of the field was wide open for the taking.  Instead of forcing everything with I-formation runs and calls to Green just because that’s what his gameplan called for, Bobo spread the field with three-wide sets and spread the ball around.  He also made sure that Murray had plenty of check off options.  No, he didn’t have a perfect day, but it was by far his best showing of the season.
  • One call that really stood out came at around the 6:00 mark in the third quarter.  Georgia was in a three-wide, one-back set and Bobo brought Durham inside to take up an interior blocking role in a play call that’s been completely worthless every time we’ve seen it this season… except this time Murray play faked and threw it to a wide open Durham in the flat for a nice 17-yard game.
  • I loved seeing A.J. out there fielding the first punt.
  • The two weirdest coaching decisions of the day were Dooley’s time out on UT’s last series in the first half, which he used to run a draw play on third-and-19 and Richt’s subsequent time out with 22 seconds, which he used to leave his base defense in so that everyone in the stadium could watch a meaningless punt and take-a-knee play to run out the half.  There went about three minutes of my life that I’ll never get back.
  • Justin Hunter is a keeper.  He absolutely abused the Georgia secondary with that sideline pattern.
  • Seriously, how hard is it to cover a freakin’ wheel route?
  • Chapas is slowly rounding back into form from the ankle injury.
  • The linebacking corps continues to be the strength of the defense.  Pass coverage from the safeties continues to be an open, gaping sore.  The line is beginning to show signs that it can contribute on run defense (although UT’s offensive linemen aren’t exactly world beaters).
  • Georgia recovered as many fumbles yesterday as it did in all of the 2009 season.
  • Murray made some beautiful throws – the completions to A.J. had to be, because he drew a double from the safeties all day – but the one I liked the best was the TD pass to Wooten.
  • Other than early problems picking up some of the delayed blitzers the Vols were sending, the reshuffled offensive line had a decent day.  Run blocking wasn’t incredible, but a lot of that was due to Tennessee overloading with blitzes.
  • You can officially call Washaun Ealey a head case.  After his fumble, his running became noticeably more tentative.  On the other hand, he did a good job catching two passes out of the backfield.
  • The secondary is, to put it charitably, still a work in progress, but there were signs that they’re gaining some traction.  Boykin, in particular, is playing with more confidence every week and had a couple of great plays.  Cuff’s tip that resulted in Rambo’s acrobatic interception was a heady, aware play.
  • After all the years we complained about dropped passes, it seems like this year’s group does a better job hanging on to the ball.  Give Coach Ball some credit there.

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