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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45 Comments

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45 responses to “Observations from the 35, Tennessee edition

  1. The Original Cynical in Athens

    We saw a lot more bootleg action from the offense today than we have all season. Seems like we took a page out of what Crompton did to us last year.

    This is Murray’s team now, and the running threat he presents puts a lot of pressure on the defense. Play-action into a 5 or 7 step drop does not make any sense, when you can play-action into a bootleg. Yes, it cuts the field in half, but it also gives the TE’s and FB’s an opportunity to go into patterns because they don’t need to be max protecting.

    I don’t understand why Bacarri Rambo has regressed so much this season. Perhaps Bryan Evans really was the best option last year? Rambo’s coverage skills make Greg Blue look like Deion Sanders.

    Glad to finally see the guys play loose. It has been a mystery to me why they have been so tight and nervous for games that really did not mean anything. Just play loose, have fun, if you make a mistake on one play, don’t let that defeat you the next play.

    I read that Coach Richt is not going contact on Monday. That’s fine, don’t want to get too many injuries. However, I hope that he realizes the value of going #1’s VS. #1’s during the week. That really, really ramps up the competition and gives the guys a chance to replicate the speed and size that they will see on Saturdays. Our recruiting has really not been up to snuff recently, and the depth of players on the #2’s and scout teams is just not SEC caliber.

    How about Kiante Tripp? Could end up being a terrible story of coaching ineptitude turned into a happy story of a guy not playing until his senior year and winding up getting a shot in the NFL.

  2. Alec Ogletree’s block on the defensive end was nothing short of pure unadulterated viciousness. It sounded like a rifle shot….

    I have nothing else to add to your awesome analysis.

    • What fresh hell is this?

      It was a thing of beauty indeed.
      Unfortunately it was followed by two pulling blockers who were not only moving like molasses in January but who failed to block anyone. As a general rule of thumb the blockers should get there before the RB. Not sure who they were, I didn’t record it.
      A well designed play that should have gone for much more.

      • What fresh hell is this?

        And by the way, would someone please discuss angle of pursuit with our secondary, especially the safeties.

  3. Irishdawg

    One thing I noticed was Murray’s adept ball handling. His fakes were as good as David Greene.

  4. chris

    The timeout with 22 seconds left in the first half was good coaching. It kept Tennesee from being able to run the clock down and throw the hail mary as time expired. The timeout forced them to punt instead.

    Good game for the Dawgs but lots of work still to do.

  5. Will Trane

    Dawgs have no players in the secondary…not one.

    Finally, as I suggested a few times in leave a reply, let Murray run [but take that little play call aid off his forearm]. He did. He scored. All good offensive’s have a running QB. LSU, Auburn, & MSU. If you have a 6’4″ QB with speed, strength, and a decent arm, you can give opposing Ds in the SEC a lot of trouble if you run the spread.

    Murray’s progressing, but let’s not get overjoyed with a win and give Bobo the credit. But Murray has a way to go, and D will adapt to him

    Can CMR get rid of John Lilly and McClendon. TEs are not in the play book since Lilly came on board [your typical losing offensive transplanted from FSU...ask Bowden] and not one developed RB since McClendon has been on board.

    Tennessee is not even close to their teams of the past. Just because they came close to LSU does not mean anything. LSU was looking forward to UF.

    After this weekend you have to say that Spurrier and Miles can coach. Both took Saban and Myers to the woodshed. Miles is not lucky, he can flat prepare and coach a team. Without a doubt if you had to select a coach for you in a game, Miles would be my choice hands down. Miles can make the calls and the play sets.

    Now why can we not have a coach like that?

    • Dawgwalker07

      You lost me at “All good offensive’s have a running QB. LSU”. LSU is not seriously your example of a good offense, right?

      This post is sarcastic right? I just cannot believe you would say something like “Without a doubt if you had to select a coach for you in a game, Miles would be my choice hands down” after you just said “Tennessee is not even close to their teams of the past. Just because they came close to LSU does not mean anything. LSU was looking forward to UF.” You can’t have it both ways. Plus, Les is horrid at game-clock management, and even though he pulled it out against Florida there have been numerous other times where LSU has self-destructed over stuff like that.

      And as far as “not one developed RB since McClendon has been on board.” You do realize this is his second year being a coach right? Not to mention he’s dealing with a RB (C King) who has been injured off and on throughout his career and Ealey who is a true sophomore. Yeah the results aren’t always shining and there are other reasons why McClendon may not have been the best choice for RB coach, but calling him a bust on a season and and half’s work is a bit extreme.

      • BCDawg97

        Senator, what’s your take on why an exRB coaches WR and an exWR coaches running backs. Originally Ball was the RBs. At the time I thought perhaps it was that he was too tough on Caleb? (pure speculation on my part)

        • BC, this isn’t directed at you but I have seen these comments about UGA’s RB/WR coaches. I really don’t understand the fuss about the RB coach and the WR coach. What did Grantham play in college, what did he coach at Dallas yet he now coaches the LBs. How many pitching coaches were catchers in baseball, several. Maybe coaching a position you didn’t play gives you a fresh look at things. Maybe the coaches they had when they played their positions weren’t really good so their take on their natural position is not good.
          Coaches study their ppositions that they currently coach so I really don’t see an issue with it, now if they aren’t getting the job done I think it may be that they aren’t really good at coaching then.

    • Russ The Temporary Mascot

      Will,

      Just got back from Athens this afternoon.

      I know my seats are not the best in the house, and yes I can get distracted sometimes by the legs of our flat-chested cheerleaders.

      (I’m talkin’ about the girls, here.)

      But I can see the video board pretty good from my dog house.

      I don’t know if you just can’t see Brandon Boykin or you just don’t wanna see him, or you just enjoy bein’ a hater.

      Brandon gives away up to six inches in height to Tennessee’s receivers, but he made great plays all day due to his leaping ability and timing.

      Sure, our safeties are pups and are still learning to communicate on coverages, but when you say “we have no players in the secondary…not one”, you only show your lack of knowledge for the game.

      I hike my leg in your direction.

      Russ.

      • Thanks Russ

        Your responses are always great to read. I’ll shed a tear for you when you lose your job next week…

    • dudetheplayer

      “Dawgs have no players in the secondary…not one.”

      Brandon Boykin begs to differ.

    • AmpedDawg

      “All good [offenses] have running QB…If you have a 6’4″ QB with speed, strength, and a decent arm, you can give opposing Ds in the SEC a lot of trouble if you run the spread.”

      Southern Cal under Pete Carroll never had a running QB and their offenses were nothing to scoff at. Florida’s offenses under Spurrier never had a running QB and they seemed to do pretty well. Sam Bradford wasn’t a running QB and Oklahoma was pretty prolific while he was there. When Mike Leach was at Texas Tech his quarterbacks not only weren’t runners but they weren’t even what we’d consider athletes in the SEC…but his offenses put up points and racked up yards in big ways.

      I’ll grant you that in the college game, as opposed to the NFL, a QB that has the ability to run really puts pressure on defenses and can make the offense really click. But to say that all good offenses have a running QB is taking it a little too far.

      And of course since you described, basically, Cam Newton that statement looks pretty good on its face. But how many other QBs in the SEC fit the bill of being 6’4″, can throw with some degree of proficiency, are strong, and can run like a deer? Zero. And please don’t use Jordan Jefferson. Next week against McNeese State he’s just as likely to throw three picks and cough it up twice as he is to look like a world beater.

  6. baltimore dawg

    murray is doing great. his upside is huge. great intangibles: that pass to wooten being a prime example–eluding the rush, right-handed qb moving to his left, and throwing a perfectly lofted pass to the back-left corner of the end zone to a guy who was not the first receiver on the play.

    he’s going to be very, very good if we can keep him healthy (although he’s shown that he’s actually tough as nails).

  7. thewhiteshark

    UT”s a young team and not very good — but we did what you are supposed to do to teams that are not very good. Bobo (while still in love with the weirdly timed play action) did call a better game. He was more aggressive and went away from pounding the ball into the teeth of the 8 and 9 man blitzing fronts.

    The safeties are killing us. Rambo not hitting can be attributed to his concussion, but he is out of position or late so much of the time. I thought the safeties would be a strength. Wish they hadn’t kept moving Nick Williams between LB and safety. He will hit somebody. The corners made some plays. The tackling was better.

    Aaron Murray may be the second best quarterback in the SEC right now. The throw he made on the run to Wooten in the corner was a thing of beauty. The more he learns and the more the coaches trust him to audible away from what the defense is doing, the better he will be. That’s almost a scary thought.

  8. Wolfman

    At one point, I texted my brother and asked, “What’s that play call out of the shotgun where we hand the ball off and the back shuffles his feet for a few seconds before allowing himself to be tackled?” He replied, “That’s called first down.”

    Great analysis as always, Senator, and if I allow myself to see what Tennessee did against that team last week, I become thrilled about our prospects this year. But then again, if I look at how Colorado did yesterday…

  9. Scorpio Jones, III

    Pretty much spot on, Senator.

    As Murray continues to develop, Mike Bobo will become a better play caller (tongue firmly in cheek).

    One thing I saw Murray do that stuck in my tailback-oriented mind.

    He ran down to a lineman (Boling???) who was about to draw a personal foul and pulled him off the UT player.

    This kid is, as Original Cynical noted, in charge.

    A little luck and a little leadership. Sounds like a plan.

  10. Scorpio Jones, III

    I hope we all do realize Vandy is probably better than UT.

  11. Just a guy that reads a blog

    Richt’s timeout at the end of the half, I assume, was so that they couldn’t just run down the clock and throw it into the endzone on the last play of the half, i.e., Tech last year. Those plays are scary. With the timeout, UT couldn’t do that because if it didn’t work, then we would get the ball right there with our chance. So, I think, Richt’s timeout wasn’t a waste of your life. It was the right move, even if he had no desire to run a play afterwards. I was a little confused at first too.
    Like your blog.

  12. Derek

    I saw cmr and ctg in a discussion after it’s punt and the end of the half. I think that cmr wanted to try and block the punt. It was a good spot to send 11. Don’t know why it didn’t happen.

    • gastr1

      I don’t know why that never happens at all ever. I have always thought it one of the great mysteries of football…I cannot remember the last time I saw a team with 15 seconds or less just totally sell out for the block. What have you got to lose, really, if they are backed up in their own end?

      • AmpedDawg

        While when they are backed up near their own end zone it is less likely, the fear is that if you show an all-out block the up man audibles to a fake and burns your a** for a TD over the top.

  13. Kevin

    Seriously, how hard is it to cover a freakin’ wheel route?

    -it’s the bootleg of 2010

    • AmpedDawg

      UT has been burning us with the wheel route since the beginning of time seemingly. I think that this play somehow alters the time/space continuum with the odd mix of orange, white, red, and silver. Whoever has responsibility for the RB for UT somehow completely loses his mind. I think that Travis Stephens is still catching wheel routes for 30+ yards a pop. God knows he had plenty of them in 2001. In fact, the Lexicon should probably have a defined term for Georgia getting Wheel-Routed – meaning that whatever play a team runs with success year after year we can’t ever seem to catch on to. I watched Florida use the bubble screen left and then right and we never seemed to be able to stop it for less than 8+ yards. I watched Chris Doering in 1995 catch the same pass out of the slot for big yards over, and over, and over…

  14. Regular Guy

    I’m still not letting myself get excited. If you had to draw up a list of things to do that will guarantee that you get blown out, UT hit about every bullet point that you would have on that list. Yes, it was up to us to take advantage of their miscues, but they just kept giving us everything we wanted with turnovers, untimely penalties, field position, etc…..it would’ve been harder to NOT blow them out.

    But at the end of the day, Murray is still our best running threat (which is not a good thing – he’s a good athlete but he’s no D. Robinson), our defense is still giving up multiple huge plays, and the OL was still inconsistent in both run and pass blocking. Just looking ahead at our schedule, if we play exactly like we did today, we still won’t beat Auburn or Florida, and KY & Tech would be tossups. Hopefully this is a stepping stone game to bigger things though, and we’ll continue to improve from here so maybe we will be ready for the stronger teams left on our schedule.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Uh, you left out UK, which has beaten UGA 2 out of the last 4 times the teams have played. UK took undefeated Auburn (which is looking more and more like a potential SEC West winner) all the way to the end of the game losing on a last second field goal.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Sorry for my bad phrasing–you did not leave out UK. I am just saying that I fear UK is going to be a more difficult game than your post implies. Tech–I think we will kick their weak ACC asses.

  15. 69Dawg

    They used to call it Manic Depression and then it became Bi-Polar but in the medical dictionary it says “See UGA fans”. We beat UT, they were a bad team that self destructed. They brought the rope and the chair, we just kicked the chair out from under them. 4-8 is staring us in the face. The OL and Db’s are still awful.

    • AmpedDawg

      Just as you’re not as great as you may think you are when things are going well, you’re likely not as bad as you think you are when things aren’t going your way. We probably won’t see another team totally implode with turnovers like UT did. On the other hand, it sure is nice that for once we didn’t have three fumbles lost on three chances and the other team cough it up three times and only lose one. I find it hard to believe that Georgia will win only one other game other than FCS Idaho State on the remaining schedule.

  16. Mr. Tu

    I wonder Why Richt was in such a hurry to kick the field goal on the Aaron Murray touchdown when he hit the pilon. The replay official bailed him out by calling down to the field just seconds before we kicked the field goal. . I would love to hear what he was thinking

  17. josh1472

    Richt called timeout with 22 seconds in the first half to ensure they would punt. He didn’t want them to be able to throw a hail mary with time running out and thus UT not having to worry about giving us the ball back. It was great strategy from him for once.

  18. Jim from Duluth

    IMO, the issue with defending the wheel route has to do with us still learning the 3-4 scheme. Starting with Ark., teams have learned our OLBs like to push upfield – especially J. Houston, our best pass rusher. So slip an RB out into the vacated area and see how (if) we rotate over or if the OLB turns around to chase. Either way, the offense has a big play waiting to happen.

    In the Ark. game, Houston turned around to chase the RB and was beaten by 10+ yards. That accomplished two things – it got our best pass rusher out of the pass rush and into a hopeless coverage situation. I’ll check the replay to see whose side Tenn. went after.

    The wheel route will have to be addressed by Grantham ASAP as we’ve been burned on it for four straight games.

    Jim

  19. Brandon

    Can everybody pretty much admit that South Carolina and Arkansas are pretty good teams now?

  20. Turd Ferguson

    Not sure if anyone’s noticed this yet, but ESPN has some bowl projections up, and Andrea Adelson has Georgia playing FSU in the Chick-fil-a Bowl. Go figure.

    http://espn.go.com/college-football/bowls/projections?season=2010&week=6

    • Anonymous ESPN Executive

      That does it. She’s making fools out of all of us. I don’t care about the “mouth like ten fingers and ten fingers like a mouth” thing anymore. For that to happen FSU has to lose about 3 more games and Georgia has to win out from this point…wait…maybe…hmmmm…………

  21. Spence

    Does anyone else find Daryl Gamble’s lack of tackles and general laziness concerning?

    I thought he was supposed to be a stud. All I see him do is slowly drift towards a blocker and play paddy-cake until a running back gets close, and then he tries to spring off the block, usually to no avail.

    That said, I think we played well and I liked what I saw out of the OL, especially the freshman kid.

  22. NWG Dawg

    Yes, the laziness is catchy after a big 2nd down stop seems like. Vance Cuff = miserable.

    Like how Durham, after injury, ran head on into two Vols to help block for a touchdown, not lazy there. Also Richt was classy in not running it up, I appreciated that.