Upon further review, Buffalo-Georgia edition

I’ve gone back and watched the broadcast and read the post-game comments, so consider my Observations post amended for the record as follows:

  • Very quietly, Shawn Williams played a helluva game.  In fact, outside of Jarvis, I didn’t see anyone on the defense play more consistently.  He is rarely out of position, and when he tackles a man, the man stays tackled.
  • Connor Norman may know the defense well, but he lacks the physicality to be an everyday SEC safety.
  • Even by their usual standards, the amount of offensive holding Penn Wagers’ crew missed/ignored/tolerated was astounding.
  • One bit of preseason happy talk did hold up.  Aaron Murray’s fundamentals are improved.  Not just his footwork, but also his effort to make sure his upper body is lined up correctly.  His spiral is noticeably tighter, and better yet, it’s more consistent than last year.  If he can just slow his game down a bit in the early goings and get better support in the pass protection department, he could be on his way to bigger things this year.
  • The freakish thing about Gurley’s two long TD runs was that extra gear he slipped into when he separated himself from the pack each time.
  • Two people pissed about the lack of effort at the end of the first half were Richt, who sounded like he was having trouble containing himself in the interview on the way to the locker room, and Artie Lynch, whose near decapitation of the Buffalo punt returner was the essence of fury.

In the aftermath, I’m encouraged by a couple of developments.  One, four true freshmen who had to step up – Gurley, Marshall, Morgan and Barber – did.  Running back and special teams were something we all identified as structural areas of concern before the season started.  I’m not going to declare mission accomplished after one game against a MAC foe, but I’m no longer feeling Munson-esque about either.  (The new kickoff rules help.)  Two, as crappy as the defense looked at times, it came out in the second half and helped put the game away over the next quarter or so.  The talent is there.

All is not sweetness and light, however.  A third area of concern, the offensive line, came out of the Buffalo game a little shaky.  That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement, but they’re still coming together and figuring their way along.  (Although I’m really getting tired of the “the defense threw a few fronts at us we hadn’t seen before” excuse-making, fellas.)  The good news is that Bobo is trying to bring them along slowly.  The worrisome part of that is how much he has to compromise the playbook to do so.

But that’s not my biggest worry.  Depth is.  Mark Richt has made his bed there and we’re going to have to live with it.  I expect everyone to be back against Missouri except Commings, Vasser and Rambo.  That’s unnerving enough, but if Ogletree gets added to that list, it’ll be downright discouraging.  Buffalo exploited their absences with a lot of underneath stuff.  Missouri, which has vastly more talented skill position players, is hardly likely to ignore the Bulls’ success.  It’ll be a relief when all hands are at last on deck, but we will be on eggshells all season worrying about injuries in key areas.  Richt had better be hoping for a little luck in that department.

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80 Comments

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80 responses to “Upon further review, Buffalo-Georgia edition

  1. dawgfan17

    I think (hope?) your point about the holding played a big part in how effective there qb was in escaping the pressure. There were several times where a hold prevented clean shots on him that gave him the extra time to throw or run for 5-10 yards and keep them out of being behind the down and distance. Their first TD pass was going to be a sack if not for the most obvious hold of the game. Make that call and they backed up ten yards and see what happens. The D has to play way better overall but the holding took away a lot of our pressure.

    Second if we get Ogletree back that means Robinson won’t be playing as much and I thought he was the weakest link on the defense most of the day.

    • Rebar

      I’m really disappointed with the refs; S. Carolina/Vandy, missed pass interference call at the end of the game, and our game with ALL the missed holding calls; they don’t do this shit to Alabama.

      • dawgfan17

        No in Alabama game they called the hold on Michigan on the same play they missed an obvious face mask call on AL. Add to that on the interception by Milliner where while the ball is in the air he shoves the Michigan player to the ground.

      • Exactly. It’s time to do something about it. The conference ADs or Presidents should meet and do something. I say abolish the SEC officiating club and outsource the games to an independent org. or maybe another conference. Some of these clowns are inept, and some are dishonest. They need to do something before it costs someone the SEC championship game….oh, wait a minute…that’s already happened!..and the shot at the MNC that follows!

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Ug, the SEC brass is behind the poor officiating. They use it to fix games. If there never were any other bad calls except the game-changer at the end it would be so obvious to everybody that they couldn’t get away with the fix.

  2. Beattech

    Has anyone else noticed, when watching the replay, that Gurley came REAL close to letting the ball loose a bit early on that 3rd TD run? I’d sure hate to see him do that at a critical time and some picky coach (someone as picky as I apparently am) ask for the officials to review.

  3. AusDawg85

    This O-line thing…it’s bad man. Bad. Young, inexperienced, thin, etc. What a shame if this is what holds us back this year.

    And I may be way wrong, but doesn’t Tree call the D signals on the field? If true, that was probably a lot of the problem in poor positioning on certain plays.

    • Cojones

      It’s worse considering that Norman is the best that Grantham can play in the game.

      It sure is silly watching a few still try to indict Richt w/o mentioning the guy who was given a raise. Grantham is a good guy who takes responsibility just as Richt does. Placating Regents and negative fans concerning Richt was stupid and will come back to haunt us.

      Treating Richt the way we have will hurt in recruiting and other areas.

    • Jarvis was calling the formations Saturday, from what I saw.

  4. Keese

    The missed throws downfield by Murray were forced technique throws. Murray just needs to get out there and ball. He’s analysis paralysis of a QB I’ve ever seen. The times he’s turned over the ball or making stupid decisions or off his mark…are when he’s out there “trying”. At this point I think the coaches should just let him do his thing without micro-correcting everything.

    • If you think back to the first half of the 2010 season, Murray was quick to tuck the ball and run when the situation dictated. And he had some great runs.

      Bobo and Richt both made noise publicly about reigning in his runs. IMO, he’s been a less effective QB since then.

      • W Cobb Dawg

        AM’s greatest asset is his mobility and play making ability. Making him into a statuesque drop back passer works against his natural instincts.

      • Keese

        Sounds stupid to say…but I think there’s a point that being too coachable can work against a player. I’m not saying Bobo or Richt cannot groom a QB…but knowing how Murray can be…maybe they should let the kid do his thing and play how he feels most comfortable

  5. We did get help from the new kick-off rules, but the NCAA needs to make an adjustment to the rule in the off-season. The ball should only come out to the 25 if the returner catches the ball cleanly and immediately goes down to one knee. If the ball isn’t fielded cleanly and/or the returner takes a step toward the goal line or the ball crosses the end line in the air, I think the ball should come out to the 20 to reward the kicking team. What do you guys think?

    • JasonC

      Interesting idea. One thing I did note, which is probably the impetus of this post, is that the Buffalo KRs sucked at fielding the ball. They might have had 3 of 7 fielded cleanly.

      • You are correct, sir. Also, one time the returner took a couple of steps toward the goal line, determined he was going to get trapped inside the 20 and took a knee. I think Morgan also kicked one over the end line in the air.

  6. What fresh hell is this?

    ” I expect everyone to be back against Missouri except Commings, Vasser and Rambo. That’s unnerving enough, but if Ogletree gets added to that list, it’ll be downright discouraging.”

    Are Theus and Mitchell included in that “everyone” ? Seeing Mitchell on crutches was disturbing. And Tree may be more important than anyone on D. It seems like we’re built to defend the power running game and also the vertical passing game, but we need Tree to help shadow mobile QB’s and underneath routes, spread etc.

    • Call me a pop-eyed optimist, but I expect to see Theus and Marshall suit up for Missouri.

      • What fresh hell is this?

        I’m going to be pop-eyed with you, Senator

        It really would be cruelly ironic to not have Mitchell available for this game. I believe the MO game was the number one reason for his position flip to DB and to lose him for that game on a Thursday walkthrough would be an absolute gut punch.

      • Cojones

        Hadn’t heard that Marshall had a problem. Did you mean Malcome, Senator?

      • UGA70

        I’ve read elsewhere that like you, some are predicting Tree to return on Sat. and some think possibly even Rambo. Also someone commented earlier that MM was seen walking around on Sun. without crutches or the boot. CMR also said in one interview that he thought Theus’ sprain was a low grade sprain that would be fine just being wrapped for Sat’s game. Maybe there is a little evil Richt being channeled for Missouri.

        • adam

          Where did you see someone say that MM was off crutches and out of the boot yesterday? That would be awesome news. Theus sounds like he’ll be good to go. Malcolme said on twitter that he’s cleared to play already.

          Really, really hope we get Rambo and Ogletree back this week. If we show up at nearly full strength, I’m going to be really excited.

    • scrambledawg

      Sheldon Dawson better get coached up this week along with Corey Moore. UGA can’t contain Mizzou with the secondary we trotted out there Saturday, even if Tree returns.

      All of this assumes Malcome Mitchell is, at best, hobbled a bit out there. If he’s 90-100%, I feel MUCH better about our chances.

      Also, one thing we didn’t see at all were a lot of inside pressures from the ILBs and S. I think James Franklin will get a steady does of A gap blitzes, especially with the wide splits their OL takes. Pressure in his face all day will lead to mistakes, IMO.

    • Jeff Dantzler said on the post-game call-in show that he spoke with Theus’ father in the Classic Center and he said the x-rays were negative and grade 1 sprain. Therefore, he should be available (whether he’s 100% or not is a different question). I think Mitchell was held out as a preventive measure and the boot & crutches were to keep weight off it. We need him for Mizzou, and the training staff was taking every precaution with him.

  7. JasonC

    I just watched the game today. I was a little less impressed with S. Williams, I saw him around the ball a lot, but at times he was getting pushed around it seemed.

    The only times I saw Connor Norman was at the end of a few long running plays when their QB was pretty much tackled anyway.

    So true about Gurley’s extra gear.

    I am really sorry that in rewatching the game you might have had to sit through Andre Ware horrible call of the game. That guy sucks! I wouldn’t mind if he never called a game again. And of course, in rewatching the game, you had to see Penn & Co.’s miss the obvious hold that led to Buffalo’s first TD (as noted above).

    • ESPN apparently markets their game calling toward 14 year old girls who have never watched Georgia play and are still getting up to speed with the rules of college football. Details like holding and other elements of the game that actually require watching the live game and closely scrutinizing replays are going to be passed aside in the interest of pre canned narratives, flashy graphics and mind numbing personal stories no one cares about.

      • What fresh hell is this?

        Exactly, but that may be an insult to 14 yr old girls. I think my nieces could have called a better game. Apparently we have DC named “Todd Graham.” I must learn more about this Graham character.
        I believe Ware and his counterpart are SEC Network employees, not that I expect anything better from the WWL.

    • Cojones

      Jason, I agree on S.Williams.

      Further, Gurley’s hand motion slap and stiff-arm delighted me on his long run for TD. He has all the quals for emulating Herc”s running style thus far.

  8. lrgk9

    Neither Calloway nor Searles could recruit worth a darn.
    And the ones they could get were often the ones with pre-existing injuries or medical conditions. Ben Jones was a bluebird with a legacy.

    Classic case of ‘it is what it is’. Have to give kudos to Will Friend – we definitely made a good choice there and thank heaven Texas came a knockin’ on Searles door.

  9. fetch

    Has anyone seen a link to Artie’s tackle on that KR?

  10. So…no one is really that concerned about an ankle injury on a true freshman that plays a position that requires foot quickness to keep up with outside speed rushers?

  11. Turd Ferguson

    Admittedly, I’m not much of an X’s and O’s guy (having never been in the arena …), so my “game film review” may not be worth a thing. But … Dallas Lee looked god awful against Buffalo. When he wasn’t being absolutely blown up by an apparently MUCH stronger D-lineman, he was whiffing, and standing around like he was lost. I might expect something like that from a back-up, or even from a Freshman stud like Theus, but from a Junior starting guard? Yikes.

    After Saturday, I’m much LESS worried about RBs and special teams than I was, and much MORE worried about OL. Mizzou may not have a front 7 like ours, but surely they’re better than Buffalo.

    • Cojones

      As much as I dislike shots taken at players and coaches who don’t deserve it, I cannot fault any observation that you made about Lee and the OL. It is spot on.

  12. RocketDawg

    My biggest concern was the fact that the D line seemed to get no push or penetration. It seemed from where I sat that the Buffalo O line was having their way with the D line and the LB’s weren’t fitting into the gaps properly. Getting Tree back this week will help alot as will the addition of Mitchell to the secondary. Connor Norman at S against Missouri scares the hell out of me. If they go 5 wide the thought of him in man coverage against on of their burner DB’s is just a bad bad matchup on our end.

    • Cojones

      Most plays had Jarvis double teamed after initial contact and the Bull’s backfield players stepped up to get in the way of others. I certainly expected more from Washington, but understand better why he may be shifted from one position to another (i.e.: the coaches knew about him also). Grantham had talked him up last week, so let’s just say he had opening game jitters like Murray and expect him back like gangbusters this weekend.

      Anyone faulting Bobo and not even comparing with Grantham’s letdown has their head up their ass.

  13. WF dawg

    So, is this about where we stand on personnel availability for this week?

    Brown: will play
    Ogletree: probable
    Theus: probable
    Mitchell: questionable
    Rambo: doubtful
    Malcome: ?

    • RocketDawg

      From what i have read on other sites everyone but Rambo, Commings, and Vasser will play on Saturday.

      • WF dawg

        I never heard a diagnosis on Malcome’s hand. What’s the story there?

      • Cojones

        Out of players listed as injured/suspended, Mitchell, Brown, Malcome and Long are listed as “questionable” and the rest ain’t gonna play. Houston, ‘Tree and Rambo are “out indef” while Vasser and Commings will be available on the 15th. No “possible”s among’em. That was in USAToday.

        Hope you guys are correct and more will get back into the game.

      • adam

        We need Rambo back pretty badly.

  14. Scott

    MISSOURI THINKS WE PLAY LIKE OLD MEN

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/blog/eye-on-college-football/20035815/mizzou-dt-richardson-calls-georgia-offense-old-man-football

    You might think that as the new kids on the SEC’s block, Missouri’s players would be a bit cautious about handing their opponents some bulletin-board material. Tiger defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, however, wants to let you know you’d think wrong.

    With his team’s hotly anticipated SEC debut against Georgia on deck for this Saturday, Richardson was asked by the Columbia Daily Tribune if he’d watched the Bulldogs’ ho-hum 45-23 win over Buffalo.

    “I watched that game. I turned it off, too,” Richardson said. “It’s* like watching Big Ten football. It’s old-man football.”

  15. rugbydawg79

    Glad to see my brother COJONES sticking up for Bobo-I stated in an earlier post-I think this Buffalo team is way better than we thought-In the long run,this will be a blessing–Anyone who boos the Dawgs in Sanford stadium is a piece of trash-Once again I call on all true Dawgs to put a stop to this–you know what to do–never again!!

    • Macallanlover

      Not excusing the OL and LB play, I agree that Buffalo deserves some credit. While not Top 60, they did surprise to the upside and I don’t think they are in the bottom 20 any longer. The Buffalo players came into a hot, humid, semi-hostile environment and gave their all. They were never a real threat but some of the Bull players didn’t accept their role as tackling dummies and you have to respect them for that.

      And you are right, booing your college team is bush league and low class. We have that element among us now, and it reflects poorly on the program regardless of how they try to justify it. Our true fans need to call them out on it just like we do the drunks that harrass visiting fans. That type of fan will sink as low as they are allowed to, they are bottom dwellers at the core.

      • Debby Balcer

        Amen!! You know it has gotten bad when they make video and include fans in committing to the G win or lose. It is poor sportsmanship to boo your team.

      • Cojones

        Never try to reason with a drunk at a football game. Never. Coldcock him and call the ushers.

  16. mg4life0331

    I picked a few plays to rewatch on the replay on ESPN, its sad how that left tackle for Buffalo was allowed to hold. Anyways, onward to Mizzou.

  17. I hope you’re right about our kicking issues being fixed. I didn’t get the warm and fuzzies from watching our kicker, especially on that 45-yarder that he tried to get cute with. Don’t know if we can rely on him next week. Hope I’m wrong.

    • MinnesotaDawg

      I’m with you. Not only the FG miss, which wasn’t even close, but a couple of made extra points (including a clank off the upright) appeared to be shanked. I know it’s just one game, but I’ve got a feeling that no FG this year is going to be automatic.

      BUT…if Richt appreciates this, it might actually be a good thing for our offense. I’ve often felt that Richt and Co. have relied on solid place kickers and FGs too much over his tenure, such that it effects play-calling once we get inside the 30 (the thinking being overly concerned about a mistake or turnover which makes us overly conservative in those situations). Some of our best play-calling in this scoring zone occurred late last year–starting in Jacksonville when it finally dawned on Richt that Walsh was no longer a lock for the easy three. Unfortunately, Richt reverted to old habits in the bowl game.

    • Debby Balcer

      Kevin Butler said his first kick at UGA he missed on DAWG TALK after the game. He thought our kicked and lingers did well. I am not worried about the kicking game.

  18. The Connor Norman observation is spot on. The kid would have been fine in the day of Will Muschamp or Kirby Smart but the SEC has moved on since than. and he just doesn’t lay the wood to receivers or RB’s. This leads to the obvious question, why is he in the starting line-up? (yes ,I know Rambo has culinary issues) I can only guess that the coaches would rather have a kid who is has difficulty making a play even if he is in the right place as opposed to a player who can make the big play but doesn’t know who is suppose to cover and where he is suppose to be,Personally, I’ve got to go with the coach’s decision.

  19. Mcdawg10

    Theus has a grade 1 sprain so he should be ok to play Saturday. Hurts not having vasser and commings. Tree back in should help fill the up the middle gap.

  20. Go back and look at the way the D line, playing it straight up, shut down the run in the second half. MO’s O line will have trouble with these Dawgs, especially when they start stunting a little more.

  21. Mcdawg10

    Boo Malcolm’s tweeting he’ll be ready to go this Saturday. Would be huge to have in pass blocking for this game

  22. Macallanlover

    I went back and watched the game again stopping the tape to see where players were positioned, and who was getting manhandled. I saw that my feelings about the defense was a little on the harsh side. Yes our ILB play was awful, but except for not staying in our lanes and allowing cheap yargage on the QB scrambles, and allowing too much cushion on underneath throws, we shut them down on all but three drives (where the mistakes above contributed to the Buffalo success.) I don’t minimize that because it is exactly what I fear most about Mizzou’s offense and if we don’t change the scheme we could lose this week’s game.

    I also realize we were getting held on several key plays that changed the offense’s success. It is was glaring and I hope Shaw reviews the tape because that level of officiating isn’t acceptable, even in HS football.

    While I still have defensive concerns for this Saturday, the biggest concern is the missing/injured personnel. We are definitely the better football team, but we are going to get their best shot. I hope our guys go to Columbia realizing what this week’s game means to the success of the 2012 season. Get by this one, get everyone back, and we will be in Atlanta. SC and UF were worse than our performance against Buffalo, and we will not give Bray all day to set his feet.

    • mg4life0331

      I think it was mostly because of the 2 deep man defense we seemed to play most of the day. The D-line hardly contained and everyone left hauled ass down the field to cover. Conversely leaving the middle of the field open. This plain Jane vanilla play calling could have been why. I’m no expert by any means, and I hope I’m right and you are not.

      I agree with your biggest concern though, Ogletree can cover and haul ass back to the QB on scrambles. Hes some kind of mean fast.

      • Macallanlover

        I think your analysis is probably the right one. For the most part our middle was busy covering receivers and left no one to step up when the QB was flushed from the pocket. The concern would be if we don’t have a different scheme for Mizzou, we almost need a spy for Franklin, and I think we have prepared for that in August. Having Tree available would make me sleep much better.

  23. wnc dawg

    What was the deal with the TV game coverage reporting Ogletree was suspended 2-4 games and Rambo 4 (with on screen graphics and everything). They did not report this as speculation, but like it had been announced. It wasn’t until later Saturday night I realized nothing was official. Great standards there, SEC Network.

  24. W Cobb Dawg

    Considering the long passes we attempted I wonder if our offensive approach has undertaken a significant change. Seems to me we may have dumped some of our conservatism in lieu of the quick strike big play. We don’t make any attempt to control the clock. Ahhh, then again maybe CMB just called plays at random.

    • RocketDawg

      I feel like a lot of our play calling (especially the bubble screens) were set up plays for next week. Get their CB’s up near the line expecting that bubble screen and TK will zip right past them for the long completion. Play off and we bubble screen them to death all the way down the field.

      Due to the inexperience of our OL I think we have gone to a quicker passing attack so they don’t have to hold their blocks as long.