A few observations from the Gators’ home field

Anybody notice that we saw a helluva game yesterday?  The crowd at the game sure figured it out in the fourth quarter – that place was energized.  Considering the tomb-like conditions we saw the previous two seasons, it was great.

Small consolation, I know.

Anyway, back from the game, here are a few things I saw from my vantage point in the end zone.

  • After the game, Aaron Murray described himself as “a little amped up”.  He was being modest.  He played early like he’d shotgunned a couple of Red Bulls a few minutes before kickoff.
  • A.J. and Aron White didn’t give Murray any help on the first two interceptions, that’s for sure.
  • For all the talk about Florida’s stellar recruiting classes, I was surprised at how even the overall talent levels of both teams were.
  • Florida’s defensive strategy was aggressive to the extreme.  As far as I could tell, the Gators blitzed every time Georgia lined up in something other than the I-formation and shoved at least one safety up when Georgia ran out of the I.
  • Also, once the Gators got the lead, A.J. was facing a corner-safety bracket at a minimum when the Dawgs played out of a three-wide set.  That left other receivers open all over the field.
  • King and Ealey are good running backs, but they lack a certain explosiveness that you see in great backs.
  • Demps, however, is the definition of explosive.  It’s breathtaking to watch him in the open field.  Too bad he goes down with a good push.
  • Yeah, Rainey’s return definitely made a difference.  Just ask Trey Burton.
  • Grantham did a great job with adjustments coming out in the second half.
  • One thing Murray is going to see when he reviews the game film is how many open receivers he missed.
  • On the other hand, that TD throw to A.J. simply couldn’t have been any more perfectly placed.
  • I’m sure I’ll get some vehement disagreement on this, but Bobo called a pretty good game.  He dealt with a passing game that was in the ditch early on because his QB was wired and his receivers weren’t giving much support as best he could.  He used Florida’s focus on A.J. to open up the rest of the passing attack.  He did a masterful job with his screen calls and he got Orson Charles’ best game of the season.  That was a great call on the successful two-point conversion.
  • As for Georgia’s series in overtime, I can’t put much of that on Bobo.  On the first play, they got the matchup they wanted, a safety in single coverage on Durham, and tried to take advantage of it.  Murray’s throw wasn’t good enough.  The pick was on Murray – that’s a play he’s got to recognize when it’s not going to work and throw the ball away.
  • I still hate the )@#*^% wheel route.
  • That leaping catch A.J. made in front of Jenkins may have been even better than the Colorado TD catch.
  • I don’t know what Branden Smith was thinking when he fielded that punt late in the fourth quarter, but I had momentary visions of the game ending on the stupidest safety in the history of college football.
  • Brantley didn’t overly impress me, but that throw and catch to convert the third-and-nineteen at the goal line was clutch.
  • The defense badly needs a presence in the middle of the line that can either consistently penetrate the opponent’s line of scrimmage or tie up offensive linemen.
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58 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football

58 responses to “A few observations from the Gators’ home field

  1. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Good synopsis Senator, as usual. However, please explain to me why the “even” talent for both teams at the WLOCP always ends up with FLA winning the game? Going back 45 years or so, it was UGA winning those games when VD was the HC. He was a great game day coach who also had teams that played smart, hung around until the end and then made a play to win the close game. It was a different player each week, too. The current crop does exactly the opposite and not just in the WLOCP. They are in a tight ballgame against a team of comparable skill (or sometimes less skill) and they find a way to kick away the game at the end. If it happens once or twice that can be attributed to bad luck. When it happens repeatedly there must be another explanation. Please enlighten us with your explanation.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      I note that you have given no response, Senator.

      • Mayor, I wrote a post entitled “Still in their heads” before you asked the question. I assume from that that nothing I could say will cause you to rethink your position.

        Probably just best that we agree to disagree…

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Do you mean that one-liner about living and dying with a freshman QB? That is the totality of your insight? Somehow I expected more from someone who does this all day every day. It’s an honest question (actually 2 questions). To what do you attribute: (1) the repetitive losses by the Dawgs to equal/inferior opponents this season and (2) to FLA seemingly every year even when the Dawgs have a better team?

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Still waiting on an answer.

          • (1) “Still in their heads” = this team faces a psychological barrier playing Florida that Richt hasn’t been able to break down.

            (2) The losses are the result of a combination of things: Green’s suspension, Bobo’s hesitancy to trust Murray’s playmaking ability early in the season and learning curve/personnel issues on a defense that’s breaking in a new scheme.

            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              Thanks for your response. Here’s mine to yours: (1) The 3-18 record by UGA spans 21 years and multiple coaches on both sides. Must be something other than just a psychological barrier. Like constant homefield advantage for the team that is doing the winning. And if it really is psychological, shouldn’t we change something to try to overcome that like, say, the venue of the game? Just sayin’. (2) I think your description about the reasons for the close losses this season is about as good as any. I would add that the team has lost confidence and plays like it is waiting for the other shoe to drop.

              • Mayor, with regard to (1), as I said before, this is where we should agree to disagree. Two of the biggest beat downs in the series occurred when the series went home and home in the mid-’90s. If the teams played on the moon, there would still be a problem with getting the Dawgs’ collective heads into the game for a full 60 minutes.

  2. Big Dawg Fan

    First of all, I agree that Bobo did a nice job. He kept Murray positive despite his early struggles. The screen pass call was great, as was the quarterback draw.

    This game came down to three “unmade” plays. The defense falls on the Florida fumble, UGA is in the red zone with a first down and Florida doesn’t drive the field for their first TD. Commings turns his head around a millisecond earlier on “third and forever” and intercepts the pass rather than having Florida make a catch for first and goal on the one. Finally, Aron White catches the ball instead of letting it go through his hands (yes it wasn’t a perfectly thrown ball) and there is no interception. Any one of those plays gets made and GA wins in regulation. This was not on the coaching. Bobo called a good game. Grantham made great adjustments. Richt kept his teams head in it when in the past they have folded.

    Call me crazy, but at 4 and 5, and headed for 6 and 6, I feel better about this team than I did last years that ended 8-5.

    • Ben

      I think I agree with your last statement. This team has shown so much fight and heart than the last two years. When the Dawgs were down 21-7 in the 2nd quarter, I (momentarily) packed it in and went outside to play with our kids because I knew how that movie was going to end.

      Against my better judgment I watched the second, and I was blown away by the way the team fought and clawed their way back into a game that the 08 and 09 teams would have quit on.

      It was a great game with an awful outcome, but I remain optimistic about the future of this team with Aaron Murray’s leadership under center and a defense that seems to be only improving.

      • Joe

        Auburn this year shows again how quickly things change back and forth. I’m old enough to remember when Clemson seemed to out recruit us and how are we ever going o beat those guys? Then it was Auburn in the mid 80’s to UF in the 90’s etc. It was a good game and we came up short. Next year we may not. Remember ALA lost to UL Monroe 2 games before going undefeated the next year.

    • MT

      I agree, Bobo did a good job in spite of Aaron.

      I still want to see Bobo do something with unusual alignments/playcalls to throw an air of unpredictability into the otherwise staid I-form (Logan and Aaron backfield out of the shotgun?)

      There were way too many open WRs as pointed out that were missed, but for a RS Freshman QB, the future looks pretty bright.

      And for all those ‘win at no cost’ people out there ready to ship off Richt, take a look out to USC on bowl probation/scholarship reduction and get an idea of what kind of institutional precedents get set when we recruit the wrong types of people and turn a blind eye… the program gets torpedoed for the next 10 years.

    • devildawg

      I thought Sanders did get his head around. It looked to me like he was going for the interception, and the receiver pushed past him for the ball. If it had been switched and Sanders were the one on the outside and things had developed the same way, I find it hard to believe Commings wouldn’t have been called for interference.

      As for your last statement, I feel better about the team this year, despite the sub-.500 record, than last year’s, too.

    • Brandon

      Bobo has probably done a little better job handling Murray this year than some have given him credit for as well. I think this game (like last year’s spring game) shows that he has a tendency to get a little too wound up (most freshman do). That is why he didn’t enter the kid’s first road start at USCe putting the whole game on the kid’s shoulders expecting him to carry the team. I still love the kid and think he’s going to be great but he wasn’t ready for that. Anybody else also notice he’s played much better in Sanford than elsewhere? Again not surprising from a freshman.

  3. Charles

    Am I the only one that noticed the empty seats in the Florida section? Did they strike anyone else as kind of “meh” through most of the game (up until the fourth quarter… ‘electric’ is dead-on). As far as the “12th Dawg” goes, it seems to me that our fans were far more enthused than the Florida side. Even when we were down by two touchdowns.

    • Joe

      I truly believe we are die hard fans, and UF are fair weather fans of the worst kind. They are contemptible frankly.

  4. CrawforDawg

    My observations from the game:

    You’re right on as usual with your commentary…

    Mark Bradley is paid to “stir the pot”…

    Do any football defenders-high school, college or pro-fall on and cover up fumbles anymore? Why oh why do they try to pick it up and run?

  5. Never a doubt

    I agree about Bobo generally but not in OT. I could give or take the first play, but running on 2nd and 10 there was both predictable and suicidal. It created the down/distance they needed to make a play and prevented us from having other options (like AM scrambling) to keep the drive alive. Yeah, it was just one play. But it was a huge one. I can deal with a bad call in the 2nd quarter, but at a critical moment in the game, we needed to a have a higher percentage play that could get us more than a couple of yards.

  6. S.E. Dawg

    Senator, sorry for this being off topic but it would be great if you would do an article such as: Dear Mr. Mcgarity, as AD of UGA you are now 0-1 against the Gators. Now you know what we Georgia fans have been going through. And not as a spin for CMR’s job.

  7. keith

    The 3rd and 19 throw and catch happened because their WR came back to make a play and Commings just waited on the ball to get to him. That ball should have been picked. No doubt about it.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      +1. The difference is coaching. The UGA p[layer waits. The FLA player makes a play on the ball and comes away with it. Very first play of the game the same thing happened. Jenkins broke on the ball while Green stood and waited–FLA interception. Anyone who thinks these things are accidental doesn’t know anything about football. This is the difference coaching makes in players.

      • Lawdawg567

        I thought that play was offensive pass interference, not good coaching.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Gee, I guess I was wrong. Wait, what’s that? The FLA team has the ball. Where’s the flag? No flag. Must be an interception then, not pass interference. FLA’s bad coaching seems to have paid off. Again.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Sure looked like AJ was waiting to me…he is usually aggressive about getting to the ball, but this time he was flat-footed.

    • MinnesotaDawg

      Similarly, Shawn Williams failed to make a play on the ball on Florida’s overtime throw into the endzone. It looked like it could have been easily picked off, but Williams played it very conservatively and batted it down instead. This tactic would be tolerable in a normal situation, but in this particular OT situation (knowing that without a turnover the game is likely over), Georgia players should have been doing everything to try to get the turnover. From the expression on his face, I think Brantley knew he got away with a huge mistake there.

      It’s just another example of Georgia players not being “football smart” with respect to the particular game situation. Hard to believe that this is consistent with our aggressive, it’s-our-ball-too strategy that is supposedly being emphasized with our DBs.

  8. Jack Wagon

    I was very disappointed in the game Shaun Chapas had.

    The fullback is crucial running out of the I formation and we were unable to take out their linebackers or seal off the corner, and too often “blocking air”.

    Our longest run was 19 yards. Even with the three sacks, we were outgained 231-126 on the ground.

    Also, there is a large gap in our defensive backs’ ball awareness vs. theirs.

    We should know the coverages and the scheme by now. It is time for Coach Lakatos to teach aggressiveness in fighting for the football.

    • scdawg

      One reason he is blocking air on run plays is because Georgia’s backs are so far behind him coming through the hole. Elite backs are on his heels making the proper cuts. A slow reacting lb can meet the back in the hole.

  9. Jack Shit

    Haven’t gotten the “Willie”out of them yet.

  10. Lee

    I thought the offensive play calling was pretty good as well. Especially in those 4 second half drives. I haven’t seen Georgia do that to anybody (other than this year) in a really long time.

    As for the screen plays, does anyone else cringe when they see UGA’s screen play developing? Maybe it’s just me, but even the successful screens look like train wrecks. The back always seems in some awkward contorted position to receive the ball…

    The most frustrating thing is there were a ton of minor things that could have won the game. Falling on either of those two fumbles, Rambo missing that sure pick on UF’s last series of regulation, or Commings making the pick or even breaking up that pass. Drives me nuts.

    In Sander’s defense though, he was in excellent position and was looking for the ball. You could tell in the replay, he’s eyes were lighting up and he was ready to catch it. The receiver came over his back. It was a good play by the receiver, and I don’t know if I’d even call it interference, but had the roles been reversed, Commings probably gets called. Last year, he’d been looking at the receiver and probably ran through him.

  11. MauiDawg

    Senator, you are 100% dead on with your analysis. Of course I hate losing to Fla but I never had high expectations the last two years with this team. Call it crazy but I’m actually getting more excited about the future with this team….and not all of it is just bc of Murray. I think this team is learning more and more how to play and execute with confidence. Not perfect right now… but these players are getting better and playing higher and higher every week imo

  12. Hobnail_Boot

    My observations:

    -It was in Jacksonville.
    -We lost.
    -There are still people willing to say that those 2 are in no way related.
    -They are morons.

  13. UGADawgGuy

    This game’s outcome can be attributed directly to Aaron Murray’s severe jitters, presumably due to his playing in his home state, in front of probably a hundred hometown friends and family members.

    I also think that’s a big part of the reason Orson Charles had his best game. Murray made a particular point of throwing to him as often as possible, even at times when it was ill-advised (i.e., times when A.J. actually WAS open).

    It’s always something, when it comes to Georgia-Florida. This time, it’s our freshman QB starting in front of a home crowd against a team most of his friends grew up loving.

    Hopefully he’ll outgrow that eventually. Frankly, though, I expect he’ll have a hard time forgetting about that abysmal performance when we head back to Florida next year.

  14. scdawg

    I think what helped Murray was running him. Sounds crazy, but letting him get a couple times.

    Things I noticed. The talent is NOT the same when comparing secondarys. Will Hill or Rambo? Hill bruises lungs and makes picks in OT, while rambo can’t wrap up talks crap when the Fla wr gets the first down. How nice would it be to have Greg Reid playing for the dawgs. Sorry guys, Commings is not top flight cover corner. Did anybody else Branden Smith get blocked 20 yards down the field? My God! that was pitiful. And he is the next top flight corner at Georgia??? R. Jones and Smith were 5 star players that will never amount to shit. Williams should have made the pick in OT. The talent in Georgia’s secondary is not even on campus. Ogletree was lucky to not get a couple special teams penalties.

    Durham and Green are gone, where is the playmakers on offense? Who will be the great Georgia dbs next year?? So what if you get Crowell, the better O-lineman are gone to be gone. This team will be no better next year. Don’t agree? Tell me who is going to step and why you believe they will.

    • You honestly were impressed with the Gator secondary? I saw Georgia receivers running open all game long. Despite the picks, Murray set a career mark for yardage.

      The Gator safeties got sucked up by play action most of the day. That’s how Orson got so open on his TD catch.

      Jenkins is great – the rest I thought were okay, but not dominant. (And didn’t the other starting CB get benched in the second half?)

      • Mike

        Will Hill, the Florida free safety, is a master of falling for the play action pass. He needs a lot of work. However, the Florida strong safety is pretty good. Now, one of Florida’s corners is NFL quality. That was the guy on AJ for most of the game. The other is very green, but improving.

        Florida dared Georgia to beat them with passes to someone not named AJ Green. Georgia was almost able to do just that. Credit Bobo, Murray and the other Georgia WR for executing.

        The reason Florida always seems to get those picks over the middle is not an accident. Under Richt, everyone knows that Georgia likes the pass over the middle. Florida will typically play a LB in deep zone coverage to force high throws. High throws over the middle are picks waiting to happen.

      • Bags O' (no) Money

        Geez guys, you sure are picky. I was proud of the way they played. They didn’t give up which is a testament of learning to be a good team. CTG doesn’t have the players yet but he made great adjustments.Why all the negatives on Murray? Without him we would be toast. I’m still muttering to myself on that pass to A.J. in the endzone. Talk about threading the needle. I thought it was Staffordesqe(?)

      • Todd

        Blue and Davis were not that great in coverage either. They would absolutely light a punk up. I didn’t say Florida was great, but they were better than Georgia’s. Please tell me who is going to step up on defense next year? Please tell me you see #1 blocked past a couple state troopers. Florida made the plays when they had too.

        • They would absolutely light a punk up.

          If that’s your standard, then I don’t know why you’re criticizing Rambo’s play on Saturday.

          • William

            my only critique would be that our players (not all, but some) seem to think they didn’t have to aggressively go after the ball while it was in the air (WR or DBs). Do you get flagged for going after the ball? I don’t seem to recall that happening (outside of BS calls). Grren, who is usually good at this, didn’t on the very first play. Cummings, who has shown this ability, didn’t do it on the Rainey reception over his back. White I’m looking at you too. Not all receptions are gifts. Some you have to aggressively work for.

          • Todd

            What? Durham coughs blood, Florida wr gets up and pretty much laughs at Rambo. Mental…..just like Spikes holding down Moreno on the first play. Or Major Wright putting his helmet into the Oklahoma’s wr chin on the opening play for the MNC a few years back. It makes statements.

            I mean cut the bullshit, do you really think there is playmakers on Georgia’s defense?

            • Durham coughs blood, Florida wr gets up and pretty much laughs at Rambo.

              Both receivers caught the ball, so WTF does that matter?

            • William

              Your comment seems to have more beef with our WR conditioning than our D. Both safeties laid into the recievers and one got hurt while the other appeared not to. How could Rambo have handled the hit differently? I suppose he could have gone for the ball, but that requires he recognize the play and close in instead of getting caught looking in. I admitt Rambo frustrates me alot, but this is his first year under Lakatos. Give him time to break the old habbits. I think any of these guys could be play makers, they just lack the proper coaching. They admitted they were taught to play the reciever not the ball. That’s reactionary and not pro-active. Now they are being shown how to play 180 degrees different. I think Cummings will be a playmaker as will the Williams boys. Dent already is, and Houston is a grown man playing with boys.

  15. Mike

    UGA fans are legitimately worried about Cam Newton. As well they should be. Trey Burton getting over 100 yards rushing is a harbinger to what Cam is capable of doing.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      Not to answer for all of us, but I am concerned about Idaho State.

      There is no point in worrying about Cam Newton.

    • DWH

      Is it just me or has Trey Burton got freakishly short legs for a guy that size? The dude looks goofy as hell when he runs. Guy looks like a straight midget, eh little person, out there on the field.

  16. Scorpio Jones, III

    Just to toss this out there, if Mark Richt was Urban Meyer, he would have had Mettenberger to insert into the game while Murray got his nerves under him.

    Mark Richt is the Anti-Weasel and since the moral high ground is about all I can cling to this morning, I will take it.

    • Mike

      Remember this?
      **************************************
      Football player jailed and released from team: Montez Robinson repeat offender

      April 4, 2010 by CAREY ONEIL
      Filed under Crime & Courts, Football, News, Sports

      Following his third arrest, Georgia defensive end Montez Robinson has been dismissed from the football team, head coach Mark Richt said in a press release Sunday.

      “Montez has not been able to conform to some conditions and stipulations that were placed on him as a result of previous off-field issues,” Richt said in the release. “I think this decision is in the best interest of everyone.”

      The Clarke County Magistrate Court issued an arrest warrant for Robinson Saturday morning on a misdemeanor charge of battery/family violence. Robinson then turned himself in to the Athens-Clarke County jail Sunday afternoon.

      He will remain in jail until a bond hearing, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The hearing will likely take place Monday.

      Robinson had already been suspended for the two opening games of the 2010 season. The suspension came after Robinson was arrested by Athens-Clarke County Police and charged with simple battery, criminal damage and underage possession of alcohol last December.

      The December arrests followed two incidents earlier in 2009 — ONE INVOLVING A FIGHT BETWEEN ROBINSON AND A FEMALE University student in which witnesses told The Red & Black that Robinson threw the FEMALE against a trash can. In the other incident, Robinson broke the tail lights of the same student’s car.
      ************************
      Richt did not kick Robinson off the team when this happened. Robinson had to get arrested AGAIN before he was thrown off the team

      • William

        Point of contention. The lady involved in Robinson’s case was a party to the incident and was equally taking part in the fight. Robinson shoved her back off of him into a trash can. Not acceptable either, but also not a death threat sent while he stalked outside her place. It was booked as a misdemeanor, not a felony charge. Just saying. Neither is acceptable.

        • Mike

          And Rainey’s charge was reduced to a misdemeanor too, after all the facts were gathered.

          Not saying either acts are acceptable, but there does appear to be a bit of seletive sanctimoney about the matter.