Watching the effectives

It’s fitting that Mark Richt’s 100th win as Georgia’s head coach was, in the end, a tribute to coaching.  It was his staff that made the halftime adjustments that led to a dominant third quarter which for all intent and purpose decided the game.

And it was Richt himself who set the tone for his team on the very first drive with the repeated calls to go for it on fourth down.  It was clear he was determined not to see a replay of the uninvolved play that marked Georgia’s last two trips to Knoxville and the strategy worked.

This team played hard all night, something that’s getting to be a refreshing habit this season.  The defense didn’t allow a third down conversion in the second half to a team that came into the game leading the conference in that category.  The offense, led by a Greene-esque performance by Aaron Murray (h/t Barrett Sallee) and a banged up but tough Isaiah Crowell, didn’t turn the ball over and got the job done when it needed to.

In short, this team continues to morph steadily into the Richt squads of his early tenure.  Take a look at where Georgia ranks nationally in certain key categories:  47th in scoring offense; 57th in total offense; 20th in scoring defense; 6th in total defense.  It’s déjà vu all over again.

It’s especially remarkable considering where this team had to come from.

“After that South Carolina loss, people were throwing us out with the trash,” Georgia senior cornerback Brandon Boykin said.

I’m still not predicting greatness – after watching the ritual disembowelments Florida has suffered through the last two weeks, who could? – but I feel better about this team than I have in a while.  And for that, all I can say is thanks, Coach.  And congratulations.

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48 Comments

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48 responses to “Watching the effectives

  1. H-Town Dawg

    All I can say is… What the Senator said! Great win for CMR and the Dawgs and especially great to see them getting it done old school, Junkyard style.

    GO DAWGS!

  2. Red Blackman

    Well said, Senator.

    I have nothing to add.

  3. Stoopnagle

    That was a fairly nerve-wracking first half, but one has to like the aggressive approach on the road. It was refreshing to see Georgia let Murray use his legs (on purpose). There hasn’t been a lot (any?) of that this year.

    Every game the Dawgs play gives another reason to like Crowell. Bangs up his wrist, but goes back into the fight and makes plays. That a huge change in attitude from last year.

    The defensive progression is well noted. I have to say that I was impressed with Bray (outside of his character). He’s a player and one we’ll not relish seeing again the next couple of years.

    Looking forward to watching MNF tomorrow night. It’s great to see Stafford leading the charge to break the curse of Bobby Lane.

    • gastr1

      I think they left the QB draw out of the playbook until now. I think that was good coaching…they thought they might need it to settle down the OL line and make a play in a very loud environment. We also saw B. Smith on offense, so clearly, the whole number 1 thing is, if not by design, not without some intent…and increasingly I think we will see more and more surprises from the offense from tough opponent to tough opponent.

      Watch us go uber-conservative next week and beat Vandy 17-0. As long as we still have Murray, Crowell, Charles, Thomas, our OL, and get Mitchell back I am happy with that strategy. There are other things up their sleeves.

  4. AusDawg85

    “Just Win, Baby”

  5. TennesseeDawg

    After last night’s minus-20 yards, Tennessee’s rushing offense ranks last in SEC and 114th out of 120 in the nation. Yikes. Can’t win big boy SEC with those kinds of rushing stats. D was fantastic with the biggest thing I see is them playing with confidence, knowing their assignments and being aggressive.

  6. James Stephenson

    Also, I want to point out the hurry to the line and actual quick snap for the first down that was called early. Hey I think I called something like that last week. Of course, UT called a TO right before the snap though.

  7. baltimore dawg

    i take the most encouragement from uga’s success in all its short yardage situations in the game, not so much for richt’s willingness to go for it but the the team’s will to convert at those times. even though ut’s d-line sucks, i’ve had no faith in uga’s short yardage capabilities since knowshon. and last night was the first time i can remember since then that we mostly controlled the short yardage line of scrimmage.

    i disagree, though, that the team played hard all night. the d did. i still see an offense that loses focus the instant it gets some separation. and i’m not blaming bobo–going to four corners is a fine plan if you have a stout d. but i do worry that it’s a strategy that might promote some sloppy habits in our offensive players, several of whom are prone to sloppy play; they should be learning domination before relaxation.

    but i probably worry too much. i’m just grateful to win a game in k’ville again.

    • Biggus Rickus

      The bullshit series of holding calls kept them from putting their collective foot on Tennessee’s neck. By the time they got the ball back still up 14 they were willing to just run clock, avoid mistakes and play defense.

  8. JG Shellnutt

    Like I said last night, it feels like 2001 – 2005 again.

  9. The Original Cynical in Athens

    Great win. Besides the obvious meltdown that led to the 3rd and 56, this was a vintage win, marked by excellent coaching and preparation.

    It was funny to me that the announcers kept harping on how young Utk was, but many of UGA’s plays were being made by a freshman rb, freshman wr and soph qb. Also, Amarlo Herrera is a DGD. Another true freshman who looks like he has a huge future.

    I bet Da’rick is sore today. He got lit up multiple times. Credit to him for hanging on to the ball, but he is now 0-2 vs. the Dawgs.

    Aaron Murray was obviously sat down by Coach Richt this week and told that a sack, a throwaway or a run out of bounds is ALWAYS better than an INT. As you pointed out above, that was very Greene-esque last night. There were several opportunities for Murray to force throws, but he never did it.

    I have seen a lot of Ufk fans whining about the officiating, but I would simply point out the play where Herrera stripped the ball and recovered the fumble in the 1st half, yet the ball was still given to Ufk. I have not seen a more egregious officiating error, ever. It literally could not have been more clear.

    • JBJ

      He did force one throw I can recall. It was Brown covered by a corner and safety. Brown luckily knocked the interception away as they all fell to the ground. However, I was happy with Murray for the most part. They did a lot of timing throws for 8-12 yard stop routes that he nailed.

      It was also good to see King make some good grabs in critical situations. Mitchell is a beast. If he hadn’t pulled his hammy on that bomb, he was gone.

      Agreed. Herrera looked awesome. So many freshman making plays for us. The dream team lives up to the hype.

    • WF Dawg

      No doubt Herrera is pushing for some PT, even once Tree gets healthy. Great performance so far from him, and a good job by Grantham to coach him up.

      • Olivadotti is Herrera’s position coach and I’m beginning to believe he’s an upgrade over Belin. That’s high praise, as I thought Belin was the best position coach on the staff last year.

        • Biggus Rickus

          The entire defense looks well-coached. I’m amazed at how seamlessly the backups have come in and replaced the injured players in the linebacking corps though.

        • WF Dawg

          High praise indeed. Not to mention his contribution in “un-Fabris-ing” our special teams.

      • W Cobb Dawg

        Won’t surprise me if Tree and Herrera end the season as the starters. Early in the game the just-returned Robinson was missing his assignment covering the TE, although he recovered as the game went on. Herrera has been getting very tough inside. Up the middle, the D is light years ahead of last year.

  10. JBJ

    You know in the first half it just didn’t “feel” like the defense could stop UT, but they sure did. It seemed that towards the end of the game our D line was worn out. On the 4th down play that took UT to the 1 yard line, our guys were just standing there waiting for Sims to throw the ball. That was disheartening. I know it had been a long drive, but you have to dig deep.

    I have to keep reminding myself we don’t have our best guys out there. We are still missing Tree and Corn Wash. Jarvis Jones is a beast. Vasser tries hard, but I cringe whenever he is out there and the ball comes his way. I was glad to see Drew out there going after it.

    3rd and 56. Those penalties were nuts. The one that I could not endure was Lynch hitting the UT punt returner late after we kicked it away. That was just stupid.

    It’s like our team teeters on the brink of greatness or failure each week. I keep telling my buddies, one week at a time. One win at a time. Let’s go smash Vandy this week. That is all that matters.

    • Keese

      Vasser had a great game playing assignment football. Not much of a pass rush but did an excellent job filling in. He kept containment and stayed home on one trickery play that would’ve been big yardage if he bit but turned it into a tackle for loss

    • Gary

      Give Sims and his TE credit on that play. They made a play with 2 DBs covering. Also, the D was not as tired as you make it seem. They forced Bray into a situation that ended up causing him to force a throw and hurt himself. They also forced Sims into bad situations like the 4th down play that setup the 1st and goal. The defense stayed with it and are getting better and better.

  11. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Great win for CMR and the program. Not wanting to hijack the thread but did anyone else think the officiating was awful? UGA had recovered a UT fumble early in the game, the refs on the field missed it and the TV ref “confirmed” the bad call. How can you “confirm” a call (meaning that video evidence clearly shows the call was right) when the video evidence showed the ball was out and a UGA defender recovered the fumble? The TV commentators were talking about how the call had to be reversed etc. and were shocked when that didn’t happen. Who was the TV ref in that game? Where does the SEC come up with these bozos? Why aren’t they ever held accountable for screwing up (or worse, intentionally calling things the wrong way because of bias or another reason–like being bribed)? (See Wagers, Penn and Curles, Mark).

    • Keese

      How bout the screen pass on 3rd and long that the ESPN guy called that wound up being converted by UT

    • Mayor, it makes me want to scream…wait a minute, I DID scream. UGA’s AD should be in somebody’s face bigtime on Monday morning. I also thought there was a good bit of creative ball spotting on close plays. As the game wore on, I realized they were also making bad calls that hurt TN, so who knows? On the fourth and long that went to the on yard line for TN, the holding on the OL was obvious. Sometimes it seems that late in a game, the refs hate to make a critical call.

    • Gary

      That crew has to be one of the most inept. I think Curles and Wagers are biased and it shows. They can be good officials in a game that they do not have a bias in. However, that group last night has been ungodly terrible for a long time. I cringe everytime I see them officiating a big UGA game and last night was no different. I just knew they would uphold the call on the fumble in the 1st and of course they missed some big holding calls and PI calls for both sides. And just before UT made that great punt return and of course the extra 15 yards on the late hit, those morons missed an obvious block in the back just as the returner caught the ball. And I will give them maybe one or two of the calls made on that ridiculous 2 and 57, but I think eventually they just started to toy and see if the Dawgs would make a mistake.

  12. Bob

    Senator,

    I agree, as usual, with all your comments and especially about IC. It’s been great to see Carlton come in and spot IC when needed but just think if we had a clone of IC to rotate in and out of the backfield in the form of Keith Marshall in 2012.

    The D continues to improve each week and I thought the OL was much better, giving Aaron the time to show his Greene-esqueness. That first fake to IC was like DG was in the backfield again. Hopefully, Aaron will get his consistency corrected in the deep post routes before the WLOCP.

  13. Irishdawg

    The officiating was atrocious, Mayor. That poor call on the fumble was horrible, and I’m still amazed our guys can get called for holding 4 plays in a row, but I saw UT grab our boys all night, as well as some fairly obvious face mask grabs.

    JBJ, before you write off Vassar, he made a great play by staying at home on a reverse and eating the guy alive. I’ve seen that type of play burn us plenty in the past.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Right about the missed facemasks ID. The play in the first quarter when Crowell got thrown out of bounds and initially hurt his wrist the UT defender grabbed Crowlell’s facemask–no call! This was a terrible crew but the guy who really bums me out is the TV ref. What was he doing, watching another game?

  14. Hogbody Spradlin

    I have occasionally heard, from friends who played a good bit of football, that a zebra could call a penalty on nearly every play if so inclined. I wonder if some of the 4 penalties in a row were collective brain farts by the officiating crew, or holding too much in plain view to ignore, or a little of both. They didn’t seem too bad the rest of the night. We came out ahead on the pass interference tally.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      I thought the officiating was just shitty, not one-sided as has all too often been the case the last few years. (I am looking at you Penn Wagers and you Mark Curles when I say that.)

  15. Chadwick

    Per the late, and sometimes great Al Davis, “Just win, baby.” After watching the defense control the game in the second half and the offense not giving it to the Vols to cash in I’ve come around to “just win, baby”. Everything else will take care of itself. Win ugly, win big, win with d or win with o, just win.

  16. Well said Senator.

    I’m getting overly anxious for the Cocktail Party. Yes, I’m overlooking Vandy. But if we can get through it, and get healthy over the following two weeks, the Cocktail Party lines up for a big showdown. Florida has a tough game against Auburn, but it’s hard to judge them on the games the last two weeks, against those beastly Ds with their QB injuries. I think that should be a very good thermometer game, letting us now just how hot or cold we are. Are the last 4 games just weaker teams, or are we really making the strides of effort, smart O, and strong D that as you say, were the signatures of Richt’s teams for most of 01 through 07.

    • What struck me the most about the gators was their sorry tackling. It looked like they just hated to make hard contact against LSU’s backs.
      I’m sure they’ll work on that, but it’s a propensity that can be hard to correct. UGA suffered thru this but seems to have gotten better. Let’s hope the gators continue to tackle like girls.
      I think things are going south in gatorland. A program used to winning big and attracting players who are drawn to the sort of swagger that comes with it are going to start devouring each other in the face of failure. Muschamp probably is the mold for this psyche..

      • Spence

        Will Muschamp is the most amazing defensive coach of all time. His defenses beat us every time when he was at Auburn. Look it up. Everyone is doomed; bow down to our new Florida overlords.

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  18. I really hope that Murray is just not a 2 quarter QB just from his recent games. However this game seem to reinforce that idea comparing it with the MSU game. I am just glad his two better quarters came in the second half of the UT game, and the opposing coaches where not able to readjust their defense in time.

  19. Congratulations to Coach Richt for his milestone win especially in those 4th Downs. Those successful 4th downs and even not, just gives the UGA players some self confidence that they are trusted. He just have to let BOBO still take a hike and he will likely be here for his 300th WIN.

  20. Cojones

    Gilliard and Thomas were two of the “hidden heros” last night. Herrera stands in well, but will now be hard to unroot when ‘Tree returns. Now hope we don’t see Tree until FU game. We shouldn’t take Vandy for granted next week, but hope we don’t show much that has been stored up for FU.

    Did anyone note the new QB coming in at halftime for MSU and throwing 2 tds? Just in time for their game with SC! We may not have to wait for Bama or anyone else to curtail their season although they have added confidence after the Kentucky game.

    Do Murray’s high throws in the first halves warrant a longer warmup for him to get “into rhythm” (to use an euphemism)? Sorta scary the number of tds missed to open players. Can’t blame Tavares King when he worked hard to beat his man and get missed by 5-10 ft by the throw.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Last year he was under throwing and the receivers were slowing their routes and waiting on the ball…..sooner or later he is gonna get it worked out and we will get a lot of completions.

      • BMan

        Murray doesn’t appear to be a fantastic deep ball passer, which is nothing to be ashamed of as a redshirt sophomore. But Malcolm Mitchell sure makes his look better.

        Those balls that are overthrown by 5-10 yards to Tavares King are in stride for Mitchell or he has to slow down to wait for it. He looks damn near impossible to overthrow. Tennessee had no answer for his speed, and few teams will. 1st and Bobo is starting to look a lot better.

        • Dawgfan Will

          I rewatched the game on ESPN3 last night. Mitchell’s burst to separate from the defender on that first long completion to him was insane. Murray should just throw it to the endzone; Mitchell’s got the speed to catch up to it.

    • Sanford222View

      South Carolina doesn’t play Bama. They do play Arkansas though in addition to having Miss St., UT, and UF left to play.