Daily Archives: November 28, 2010

Observations from the 35, Tech edition

Okay, so it wasn’t the prettiest of games – after the third fumble in the space of two-and-a-half minutes, you’d be excused if you wondered if either wanted to win the sucker – but let’s not lose sight of the fact that Georgia has now won nine of the last ten games in the series, which is as dominant a stretch as a Georgia fan will likely ever see.

Even better, those last two wins were delivered by the two worst teams of the Richt era.  So, good times, people.

Speaking of which, how badass was it seeing Samuel L. Jackson decked out in red before the game on the big screen?  The only thing better would have been him delivering a little righteous Ezekiel 25:17 on Tech’s butt.

Anyway, on to the game:

  • At the start, the joint was rocking as Tech kicked off.  Unfortunately, Chapas’ mishandling of the kick sucked all the oxygen out of the place.
  • The defensive line simply got destroyed for most of the night.  It’s commonly thought that the first thing a defense has to do to stop the triple option is to shut down the dive play and that didn’t happen.  The greatest recruiting priority Georgia has in this offseason is to find some viable options for the defensive line.
  • The other member of the defense who got blown up most of the evening was Branden Smith, who was taken out of every outside play run to his side (and Tech went out of its way to find him) with ease.  The option is hard enough to defend playing eleven on eleven.  How bad was it?  Grantham had no choice but to pull Smith and replace him with Jakar Hamilton – and the outside coverage improved.
  • Needless to say, Justin Houston had a tremendous game, not just with the turnovers, but also in playing the quarterback on the option.  Too bad his support on the pitch man was spotty.
  • I thought Brandon Boykin had a good game on defense, with one spectacular play when he tossed off the blocker and blew up an outside pitch for a loss.
  • Yeah, in hindsight, it would have been nice if Washaun had taken a knee at the one after Tech’s defense let him run through untouched for the last score.  But why wasn’t Georgia in victory formation there in the first place?  There was only about 1:30 left in the game at that point and Tech had no timeouts left.  Three running plays (if Richt didn’t want to risk a field goal) would have delivered the ball back to Tech deep in their territory with only a few seconds remaining.
  • I’m not going to link to today’s Mark Bradley fellatio-fest extolling Paul Johnson’s coaching genius, but you wanna bet that Johnson would have liked a mulligan on his fourth down decision to go for it on Tech’s first drive after Chapas screwed up the opening kickoff?  Those three points he passed up sure would have come in handy at the end of the game.
  • As big as the Houston fumble recovery for a touchdown was, don’t forget that it was set up by a tremendous effort from Alec Ogletree on the first down pass attempt to Stephen Hill.  That may have been the best play I’ve seen from a Georgia safety in pass coverage all season.
  • I really, truly hope that Isaiah Crowell enjoyed himself last night.  Georgia’s second biggest personnel need is a game-breaking tailback to complement Aaron Murray.
  • Nice save, Marlon Brown.
  • Caleb King, you’re supposed to follow Chapas when he’s your lead blocker clearing traffic, not turn into the line where all the, you know, tacklers are.
  • Man, that touchdown pass to Orson Charles was a thing of beauty.
  • Georgia did an excellent job bottling up Tech’s kickoff return team.  Other than that, special teams play was hardly that.  Although at least Blair Walsh didn’t, um, you know what.
  • And the defense wasn’t burned on the wheel route.
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Mike Bobo, international man of mystery

Last night I saw everything about Mike Bobo that’s driven me crazy all season.

Let’s start with the easiest part.  Bobo and Belin are the two best position coaches on the staff.  The job Bobo has done with Aaron Murray this season is nothing less than phenomenal.  Murray finished last night with an otherworldly passer rating of 250.86.  He didn’t throw an interception in his last three regular season games.  Barring injury, when all is said and done in 2010, he’s likely to surpass 3,000 passing yards and has a legitimate shot at setting a new season passing TD record at Georgia.

Nationally, his accomplishments are dazzling for a redshirt freshman:  ninth in passer rating, top thirty in passing yards per game, top thirty-five in total offense per game and top thirty in points per game.  He accomplished all that despite ranking only sixty-seventh in the country in passing completions per game.

It’s not just the cold, hard numbers, either.  The two touchdown passes Murray threw to the tight ends last night showed him to be one cool customer, buying time in the pocket waiting for a receiver to come open and putting throws right on the money for the score.  The toss to Figgins was particularly impressive.

What was he, the fourth option on that play?  It’s play like that which makes me slightly less concerned about next year’s offense post-A.J.

Anyway, all this praise has a point.  Mike Bobo has done a whale of a job with a kid whom a decent chunk of the fan base was ready to demote after the G-Day game.  That’s nothing to be sneered at.

Which makes Mike Bobo the playcaller all the more frustrating to watch.  When I checked the game stats in the parking lot after the game, the number that jumped out was 14.3 – the average yards per passing attempt.  (Not per completion, per attempt.)  In other words, every time Murray looked downfield, the odds were good his team was going to get a first down.  As was the case with Auburn two weeks ago, the Tech secondary simply wasn’t capable of handling Georgia’s passing game.  Bobo deserves credit for taking advantage of that.  Georgia’s longest scoring drive of the night took all of 4:26 to run; it was the only score that took more than three minutes to carry out.

And yet… and yet, as we’ve seen so many times this season, Bobo hits these inexplicable stretches where he can’t stand success.  The first half would-be scoring drive that stalled when Georgia couldn’t convert the fourth-and-short, the drive which took four running plays and two time outs to pick up a measly six yards to put Georgia up 28-21 (all that after Tech proved it simply couldn’t cover A.J. on three straight completions to open the drive) and, most inexcusable of all, the patented three-and-out series in the fourth quarter – all of that was both utterly predictable and maddening to watch at the same time.

Am I nitpicking here?  Maybe I would be, except that in a game in which Georgia Tech ran a whopping 92 offensive plays to Georgia’s 48, every call was precious.  Once it was clear that Georgia’s defensive line couldn’t stop the dive play, Paul Johnson’s offense was going to get its yards.  It was also clear that Georgia’s defense was gassed in the fourth quarter (how could in not be?).  Georgia averaged a better than decent 5.3 yards per rush, but so what?  When the downfield passing game was getting as little resistance as it was and when the quarterback whom you’ve done a first-rate job of developing is having his game of the season, only throwing the ball 19 times, compared to 29 rushing calls, is doing a poor job of utilizing your resources.

I believe Bobo has it in him to be an excellent offensive coordinator, I really do.  But he’s not going to get there unless he comes to realize that balance in and of itself doesn’t win football games.  Balance is nothing but a means to an end.  Last night, just like two weeks ago, Georgia’s defense desperately needed the offense to keep its foot on the gas.  There’s no reason that couldn’t have happened except for the caution of the driver.

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