View from the 35, G-Day 2012 edition

Perfect weather, 63 points and nobody got hurt… that’s a successful G-Day game in my book.

It would be easy to overanalyze a game which the coaches didn’t take too seriously – the Black team scored on a two-point conversion when the Red team didn’t bother to send anyone out to defend a point-after kick – so I think I’ll abide by the sage advice of Nick Saban (“One thing that never happens in college football is no one ever has a bad spring and no one ever has a bad spring game.”) and skip getting too far in the weeds here.  In fact, you have my permission to snicker at anyone who suggests that the stats from yesterday’s game prove much of anything.

That being said, there were a few things I saw yesterday worth sharing with you.

  • Isaiah Crowell.  In my humble opinion, he was the big story.  It’s easy to forget what he looked like earlier in the season last year when he was healthy, but it was obvious from the first handoff that he’s recovered fully from his ankle injury.  He can get to the corner in a hurry; if Georgia has a tackle who can seal off the end defender, Crowell is going to see his share of big runs this season.  Two bonuses:  he looks much more comfortable about where he’s supposed to go and his pass protection effort has improved noticeably.  Overall, me very happy with what I saw.
  • The rest of the running backs.  Richt’s right about how Ken Malcome is coming on.  It’s not just happy talk.  He’s running with more confidence and authority.  And, yes, we saw Richard Samuel’s début at fullback.  He was okay, but it still strikes me as a waste of what Samuel does best, which is to take off and blast in one direction.  When he hits the hole hard and doesn’t screw around with making any east-west moves, he can be a formidable runner.  He looked good when he stuck to that script yesterday.
  • The offensive line.  Honestly, the most pleasant surprise of G-Day was how well the first string line held up on the Red team’s first touchdown drive of the day.  Unfortunately, the biggest mismatch yesterday was the second team offensive line against the second team defensive line.  And line play wore down as the game went on because kids like Andrews and Burnette had to play for both squads.  Bottom line:  if John Theus is anywhere close to the hype, there’s a starting spot for him this fall.
  • The wide receivers.  No doubt the absence of Mitchell and Conley made a difference.  Overall, this group was okay, but nothing particularly special.  Scott-Wesley made a couple of nice catches and showed potential towards becoming a contributor in the fall.  Tavarres King turned on the jets from about 30 yards out and scored on a nice pass in the flats.  Marlon Brown didn’t do much catching the ball, but was responsible for springing King on the aforementioned TD with a terrific block.  I can see why Bobo is lobbying to get Mitchell back as soon as possible.
  • Tight ends.  Neither Arthur Lynch or Jay Rome looked as fluid in the open field as Orson Charles did, but they’re both bigger, look like they’ll be better blockers and did okay when the ball came their way.  Rome’s 60-plus-yard TD catch with a minute to go was the best play of the day, in fact.
  • Quarterbacks.  I know this will come as a disappointment to some, but there’s no doubt that Aaron Murray is the best quarterback on Georgia’s roster.  It’s not a close call.  He possesses the best skill set and is the most comfortable of the bunch running the offense.  (Grantham had to start running some stunts and blitzes after that first TD drive to slow Murray down.)  Mason’s release is as quick as Murray’s, but he lacks Aaron’s arm strength.  As a runner, he’s noticeably less quick.  The good news is that LeMay is progressing (more proof Bobo knows how to coach up quarterbacks, in case you needed that).  His arm strength lies somewhere between that of Murray’s and Mason’s.  He looked more comfortable out there than the year before running the offense, but still has a way to go – he was guilty of holding the ball too long on more than one occasion.  His play-action fake may even be better than Aaron’s is.  And LeMay is as quick as Murray, too.  I expect an interesting battle at the position when Murray leaves.
  • Defensive line.  If the key to a defense is the play of its line, then rest easy, Dawgnation.  Georgia’s is big, nasty and deep.  As I already mentioned, it was almost unfair seeing what the Red team trotted out to start the game yesterday.  One play worth particular note belonged to Cornelius Washington, who one-handed Kolton Houston out of the way and dropped Ken Malcome for a two-yard loss on a run (attempted run would be more accurate, I suppose).  The whole thing was so easy it almost looked like Washington was bored.
  • Linebackers.  Ditto what I said about the defensive line.  Overall, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a Georgia team with more ability to make plays in the front seven than this team has.  Which is good, considering that Ogletree, who is freakishly talented (in returning an interception, he put a couple of moves on Tavarres King that were just sick) and key members of the secondary will be missing in action for various parts of the season’s start.
  • Defensive backs.  If you’re worried about that season’s start, it’s hard to get a good read based on what they showed yesterday.  Mitchell and Williams didn’t play; Rambo, Sanders and Smith did.  One encouraging thing to note is that Swann looked good in coverage.  Bowman had his moments, too.

That’s all I’ve got to give.  If any of you were there yesterday, feel free to chip in with your thoughts.

(G-Day game highlights can be found here.)

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34 Comments

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34 responses to “View from the 35, G-Day 2012 edition

  1. Turd Ferguson

    Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised with both Crowell and Malcome. I went into the G-Day game bummed that I wouldn’t be able to see Keith Marshall, and soon found that I didn’t really care. Even without Marshall, I really like our RB situation right now. Here’s hoping we can get a season’s worth of decent run-blocking out of that O-line …

    • NRBQ

      I was pleased to see a lot of the old power-I formation running. They still ran some from the shotgun, but not like last year’s typical game.

      To your point about turning east or west, Senator, every run by Samuel came from the deep set yesterday, with a fullback either deployed in front of him or brought in motion (reminiscent of his excellent Florida game in ’11.
      It seemed the other backs benefited from this strategy, as well.

  2. charlottedawg

    At the expense of ignoring rule 1 I was pretty impressed yesterday. Starting oline looked ok even if not spectacular against a good D. Also if yesterday was an indication of how well Murray and the rbs will look against a good defense we’ll be in good shape. (no turnovers from Murray from what I recall).

  3. Hogbody Spradlin

    “One thing that never happens in college football is no one ever has a bad spring and no one ever has a bad spring game.”

    I think I know what he means, but that sentence should be hanged by the neck until dead! A triple negative! Oy gevalt!

  4. OldDawg55

    Across the board I was very pleased with the overall play. I think the Oline will come on and show us how good they can be after another summer of work. I was happy with the subs…Erdman, Lowe, Harton, KK, and even some of the lesser known walkons. It was indicative of team spirit. Can’t wait for the fall…I’m looking for big things! GSTS, Dawgs!!

  5. shane#1

    Thanks Senator, we don’t get CSS down here in the swamps so I did not get to watch the game. I have read several reports but yours is the best so far. Hog, Saban don’t have time for that shit!

  6. WF dawg

    That hit by Herrara on Samuel was monstrous.

  7. Skeeter

    Thanks Sen. Good report and accurately represents what I saw and thought but much more eloquently.

  8. Will (the other one)

    I also want to point out a great little play from Big John Jenkins, where he blew up the center and batted the ball down. Any team we face dumb enough to not double team him will get lit up this season.

    • CLT Dawg

      Pretty sure after watching CW yesterday, as the good Senator mentioned, that even teams doubling Jones &/or Jenkins will get abused by #83.

      He looks ready to dominate. Agree w the Senator that I don’t think I have seen this much front 7 talent in my 38 or so years of watching watching them play.

  9. OKDawg

    How much has Crowell bulked up? He struck me as noticeably bigger, but still just as fast.

  10. The only real big problem of UGA football has been injuries essentially every year. If they can stay free of these, they will be THE TEAM in 2012.

  11. Irishdawg

    I don’t disagree with anything here; I was really impressed with Crowell’s running (giving truth to the talk he’s was putting in work during the winter) and LeMay’s ball handling skills (his fakes were Greenesque).

  12. Dawgwood

    Out of the walk ons, #6 impressed me. Can’t remember his name, but he had a few good plays out there.

  13. RP

    I noticed even last year that Crowell’s ability to start it up the middle, plant, and go straight down the line to the outside is outstanding. He really showed it again yesterday.

  14. AthensHomerDawg

    “Bottom line: if John Theus is anywhere close to the hype, there’s a starting spot for him this fall.”
    Will he come in and gain the strength quick enough to play tackle or will they put him at guard and let him grow into the tackle position?

    • Governor Milledge

      I was thinking the same thing; odds are they keep Gates at LT and let Theus get adjusted to the speed/strength of the SEC w/o exposing AM’s blindside. That would be a quick path to pulling Mason’s RS

  15. Rebar

    Didn’t know what to make of the drive by Murray at the end of the 1st quarter and beginning of the 2nd quarter; was our offensive line that good? I mean, they move the ball 75 yards without to much stress; I also saw Murray making better use of the windows provided by the line. I’m pretty happy with everything I saw yesterday!

  16. I wonder If the Mason for #1 fans agree with the Senator about Murray. I do.

    I still believe that the OL will do just fine next year.
    It Is still the Special Teams that concern me the most. New kickers, new kickoff return rules, having to play walk ons due to depth concerns, ETC…

  17. Cojones

    As unused as I am to praising this team and their fans, have to admit it’s been a fun coupla days, viewing the team and reading the comments.

    Grantham influenced the see-saw battle like a maestro. He threw in extra spunk when needed; eased up on the accelerator if no one was embarrassing themselves.

    Wanna “Me too!” Skeeter (3:15) and Will (too) (3:25). Besides the stars we already have coming back, several more, including Drew, Cornelius plus others on O like Rome and Justin S-W are capable of reaching star status soon. What struck me most was the speed to burn on both sides, tough running by RBs, new and good WRs and the soon-not-to-be “Strangers”, who showed up and demonstrated their athletic prowess. Quintavious and Harlow are back! Both Mason and, especially,LeMay are worthy of our confidence and admiration. Two of LeMay’s passes were like feathers drifting into the receiver’s arms just ahead of the pursuer. Great touch!

    Waiting until Fall will be an endurance test.

  18. Cojones

    To the administration: No more body fluid testing for at least two weeks. Thanks.

    The Management

  19. Hogbody Spradlin

    Ok. That’s that. How many days until practice starts?

  20. Bubs

    Considering special teams I really hope the punter coming in (Barber?) can kick the ball better than any of the guys we trotted out there yesterday. I’m pretty sure the guy doing the punt-pass-and-kick competition during halftime punted the ball further than most of them did during the game.

    Other than that, the only thing that concerned me was the O-line. Not that that’s anything new considering they’re still very much a work in progress. I know they looked solid at times, but there were some definite breakdowns too. I know we have a good D and that “we won’t see a better D during the regular season” excuse sounds fine now, but it won’t once the season starts. Bottom line: those boys need to get after it this summer both in the weight and film rooms. We need some serious improvement and CONSISTENCY from everyone.

    One last thing, and I think someone above remarked about it, but I just hope these kids keep their heads out of the clouds. There is a lot of time to get into a lot of trouble the rest of the spring and summer. That’s nothing new for college kids and I hope the earlier screwups help them learn and not make those mistakes.

  21. Alphadawg

    Did they use the Hurry-up No huddle the entire game?

  22. stoopnagle

    All I learned is that my 3 year old has a long way to go before he’s ready to go to a real game.