Focus: Georgia-Missouri

I’m not gonna lie to you:  I’m a little uneasy about tonight’s puppy.

Not because of the setting.  No offense, Missouri fans.  I’m sure the joint will be jumping.  I get the historical significance of the game, too.  But this isn’t Georgia’s first dance.  Richt’s done a better than decent job shepherding his team through hostile environments over the years.  I don’t expect the Dawgs to lose their composure.

Believe it or not, it’s not because of the suspensions.  (Although you wouldn’t have heard me complain if Ogletree had suited up tonight.)  Georgia has sufficient talent to win tonight, even with the missing.  If you doubt that, just look at this recruiting comparison between the two schools.  Sure, it’s closer than it should be, with four starters out, but the Dawgs are still more than functional on defense.

No, it’s about an old, familiar bugaboo.  Richt’s proven this week that he hasn’t lost control of the media and he hasn’t lost control of player discipline.

It remains to be seen if he’s regained control of the team’s focus.

Your guess on that is as good as mine.  All I know is that I’ve seen this team play with heart and direction against good teams for a half or three quarters, only to let things go late, more than enough to say it can’t happen tonight.  And I’ve also seen this team fart around with programs far worse than Missouri.  So while I can say if these Dawgs play as well as they should for an entire game, they’ll be hard to beat, I can’t say with absolute certainty that’s what we’ll get.

Okay, enough with the gloom and doom part of the post.  Here’s what I like going into the game:

  1. Grantham’s calm.  His guys didn’t always show their best against Buffalo, but far from being perturbed by that, Grantham came off as a man in control of things last week.  We may have been caught up in the swirl of uncertainty about which suspended players were due to show up tonight, but don’t forget that Grantham’s known all along about their status.  He’s formulated his game plan accordingly.  The weather looks to be much more cooperative than last week’s, which can only help.  Even Mitchell’s injury, which was the one blip unaccounted for earlier, is in the rear view mirror.  We’ll find out tonight how good a judge of talent Grantham’s been with these last two recruiting classes.
  2. Bobo’s gameplan.  I’ve watched the Buffalo game three times now.  I come away more impressed each time with what the offense did.  It’s not so much that Bobo didn’t show his cards; it’s that he showed the cards he wanted to.  Does Georgia have a running threat after Crowell’s departure?  Is the offensive line functional?  I’m not going to tell you either problem is solved.  But I’m not going to tell you that Missouri can take either issue for granted – and nobody knew for sure ten days ago whether that would be the case.  Add to that the number of shots taken deep, all of which serve to put Missouri’s safeties on notice that there will be a price to pay if they decide to crowd the box for run support, and you’ve got a coach who knows he needs to be able to run the ball and how he needs to run the ball to keep the defense honest.  As vanilla as he kept things, Bobo still gave Missouri plenty to think about this week.
  3. Missouri’s expectations.  They’re saying all the right things about Georgia’s defense, the Tigers are.  “Their defensive line is really tough,” Moe said. “They’ve got some good players on that defense.”  But as respectful as that sounds, it lacks a certain context.  Comparing Grantham’s scheme to Texas A&M’s, Jarvis Jones to Von Miller and John Jenkins to Baylor’s Phil Taylor is nice, but the Georgia defense, even with the suspensions, is no TAMU or Baylor.  That doesn’t mean Missouri can’t adjust, but I’m not buying that there won’t be a transition.  My hope is that it’s a long one, or at least a long enough one.

So what do I see coming?  Both teams want to be able to establish the run, but I suspect early on both are going to throw the ball more than we expect (damned suspensions).  Both offensive lines have question marks, so it’s going to be worth watching to see which defensive front is better able to control the line of scrimmage.  That’s one big key.

Another is – duh – quarterback play.  Murray lacked touch on the deep ball early against Buffalo, but gained his touch as the game went on.  The big thing was that he didn’t turn the ball over.  If he can do that tonight, that will be a big deal for Georgia.  It’s time for him to step it up and put the team on his shoulders in a big SEC game.  As for Franklin, he can be very, very good, but he also can slip into a funk.  In some ways, what Missouri wants to do on offense is much like what Georgia Tech tries to do with the triple option.  And while stopping the dive play is irrelevant against the Tigers’ spread, pounding the hell out of the quarterback when he has his hands on the ball is just as important.  The Georgia defense needs to make Franklin pay early and often.  If he gets into a groove, it’s going to be a tough, tough game to pull out.

Focus for Georgia will show up with competent special teams play, not losing the turnover margin battle and staying away from a lot of penalties.  The Dawgs succeeded mostly with all three against Buffalo (one long punt return came as a result of the coverage not staying in its lanes and losing contain).  If we see all that tonight, I like Georgia’s chances.  Barring a big turnover margin number, I think this will be a close game.  With the personnel issues, the game screams for Richt to control the pace on offense to keep his defense off the field as much as possible, while I expect Missouri to have some success in the passing game, as the receivers and Franklin are too good to expect otherwise.

So watch the line play and watch Georgia’s focus.

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120 Comments

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120 responses to “Focus: Georgia-Missouri

  1. ScoutDawg

    Short and to the point, excellent summation. Murray wins a big one today ans shuts all the critics up.

  2. Boss Dawg

    I really hope we show up because we better….the earlier the better. I have to say that Norman scares me to death and the fact he’s a “better” fit than Moore really scares me.

    • The Lone Stranger

      ….so he is better on the pass, I guess that means, though he was hardly tested last week. I’ll be holding my breath when that first long ball flies over a Cornerback.

  3. Russ

    Unfortunately, the defense worries me today. I think we can win but it might be a shootout.

  4. Scorpio Jones, III

    See, this, this is why night games should be illegal.
    All this time to worry.
    All this time to worry especially about things we can do nothing about.

    All you can do is make sure you got the right hat…….and worry.

    • What fresh hell is this?

      You need to get in line for Cojone’s Aztec enema.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Or a Phu Bai breakfast?

      • Cojones

        What are you doing up and around, fresh hell? You’re supposed to be in a great hallucination that gives us the game winner by game time. You tolerate this stuff well. Been vacationing with the Azes I see.

        • What fresh hell is this?

          No lines, no waiting ’til gametime. My hallucinogenic (and alcohol) fueled prognostication and explanation thereof can be found in the reply following your deft prescription for good mental health.

        • The Lone Stranger

          Cojo has been all around the World gathering proprietary trade secrets in personal well-being. Of course, you have to live through his application of said “treatment”.

    • Lrgk9

      Classic Scorpio !
      That’s how I was all day and well into the second half!

      (Even considered changing hats.)

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        I moved from the big tv and sounds system room to the basement with a little tv and plain old radio at the half….for those who think it does not matter. Gris Gris Rules!!!!!!

  5. Bevo

    I’d be interested in seeing the recruiting comparison adjusted for attrition. We’ve lost a ton of talent over the past few seasons. The suspension adjustment would be less significant but also interesting.

    With everything going on, I think our talent is still superior, but we’re going to need a solid coaching performance from the staff to pull this out.

  6. Derek

    If our o-line doesn’t get whipped on a consistent basis we’ll win, possibly comfortably.

    • This!!! Our O-line is the key to us winning the game. Even with the attrition, our defense will probably split the battles with ‘Zou but I am hoping the O-line grew up this week, cause that line I saw last week scares the heck out of me.

  7. Scorpio Jones, III

    Oh….glad to see I am not the only Kool Aid drinker who saw good things happening on offense.

    Worry, worry….commune with the spirit of Larry….worry, worry.

  8. What fresh hell is this?

    “Even Mitchell’s injury, which was the one blip unaccounted for earlier, is in the rear view mirror.”

    Is he supposed to be 100%? Has there been a comment from the staff about his ankle?

  9. Cojones

    Early play-by-play:

    “Franklin takes the snap and backs up looking downfield….Wait! #29 just made a swim move thru the two corner men!….He’s on a open bull rush as Franklin calmly turns his back…..and bends over to grab his ankles?!!”

  10. dawgfan17

    Defense struggles a couple drive a half but also is dominant on the other drives = Missouri 24 points. Murray gets 4 td passes and we tack on a running one (long run) final 38-24.

    The more bourbon that fills me up the greater the chance that score line goes down for Missouri and up for UGA.

    • baddawg

      The whiskey just doesn’t seem to be working today. 31-24 dawgs… my score keeps getting closer while watching fl vs a&m game. I want this win to shut the media up. More whiskey now

      • The Lone Stranger

        The human internal organs were designed for gross amounts of liquor — it’s why we have 2 kidneys & 2 lungs. Just go ahead and indulge.

  11. Macallanlover

    Solid analysis Senator. The observation about CTG was exactly my take as well, not being naive about the loss of talent on that side of the ball, but I don’t think defense will the cause of a loss. Not saying the Tigers will not enjoy some success with a mobile QB and a good, patient, short passing game but they will not control the game on offense, imo.

    I also feel our offense will be successful against the Mizzou defense, it seems to be against everyone we face (thanks Bobo). I like our three headed RB tandem, along with a very good passing threat. This may not be the game but I think as good as Gurley was last week, our fans are going to see that our other frosh back is dangerous as well. He is faster than Gurley and has some moves we haven’t seen in a RB in a long time. It might be breaking a short pass play wide open, or bouncing a run to the outside, but he is going to light it up soon. While those two are all the talk with the media, I am glad to have Boo back this week to hammer a small LB crew. And less we forget why we might be able to run even with our battered and inexperienced OL, Lynch and our two big FBs will open some lanes.

    Turnovers and STs are the wildcards that could make this very close, or result in a Mizzou win. I think our guys will be focused tonight and will feed off all the negativity from fans and media picking the Tigers all week.

  12. DB

    Murray is the key. I’m thinking Lynch and/or Bennett will be a factor. Bennett reminded me a little of Kris Durham last week.

  13. Turd Ferguson

    Started drinking early today. Not feeling good about this game.

  14. Scott W.

    Come on Dawgs, pull it together and Hunker Down! These cats from the Big12 have had success before, but it wasn’t last year. Finished barely above .500 in conference play and went to Shreveport to ice that cake. I understand being wary, especially after last week, but this gloom and doom isn’t doing anyone any good. May not be a walk in the park but this isn’t the buzzsaw in Stillwater. GATA!

  15. Dboy

    ” Richt’s done a better than decent job shepherding his team through hostile environments over the years. I don’t expect the Dawgs to lose their composure”

    True, but in recent years, we have not done well in early season hyped games…. or just hyped games in general. See alabama 2008, Ok St 2010, Boisie St / SCe 2011.

    Senator, your point about focus is a good one, but in recent years they have appeared a combination of underprepared, underfocused and at times out classed in early / hyped games against good opponenets.

    I want to drink this cool aid, but I will stick to crystal light until I see it on the field.

    • Merk

      That SC game was more about mistakes happening at the worst possible time in the worst possible way. *See Crowell fumbling a ball that bounces right in a to defenders stomach as he is jogging…

      Really, wasn’t the Bama game the same way?
      D holds up and causes a fumble, but a stupid hands to the face of the QB call negates it and Bama scores first. Then AJ fumbles a ball into a defenders hands (it never touches the ground) at our own 30.

      Do not forget though that in both games the Dawgs kept fighting.

      Hell even the Boise game had this. See Olgetree breaking his F’in foot in the 1st. Crowell tripping over Murrays foot on his first carry. Several receivers dropping first down catches that kept the offense off the field.

      These were not games where the other team came in and dominated us. These were games where what happened was a damn gift to the other teams.

      NOW IT’S TIME FOR OUR DAMN GIFT TO COME!!!!!

      • dboy

        “but in recent years they have appeared a combination of underprepared, underfocused and at times out classed in early / hyped games against good opponenets.”

        Merk, your description above of those games is exactly what I am talking about above. I think the only point you may be correct about is that we were not truly outclassed, just out schemed / underprepared / less focused than our opponent.

        But being down 30 points at halftime to Bama in 2008 when we were ranked #1 is embarrasing if not being outclassed.

        We have basically been the antithesis of Bama’s uniformly impressive opening performances in the Saban era in those early “Big games.”

        Here is to hoping that our improved, yet suspension riddled, Defense will reverse our fortunes!!!

  16. Starbreaker

    My biggest concern is conditioning and the fact that our D could be on the field a lot if our O-line can’t hold it’s own against a pretty decent D-line. Our D, even with the suspensions, is really good, but not if they are exhausted like the 2nd half vs. Boise or vs. LSU, and the no-huddle hurry up could overwhelm them if they are out there all day.

    • Merk

      They were on the field a lot versus Buffalo. Recall that scoring drives included plays of 38, 55, and 63 yards for TDs. Thus the O was either going 3 n out or busting big plays. This is a bad combo for the D as they never get a break.

      • dboy

        True, the tendency of our offense under Bobo to either score in under 2 minutes of possession time with big plays or going 3 and out trying is a defense killer in the long run. Just hard to me to argue with the point total we rack up at times.

  17. Rebar

    I’m not worried; all I’ve heard is that the Dawgs have been preparing for this game all summer. And I’m also assuming that Grantham knew about the suspensions and prepared for it. We better whup their ass!

  18. MinnesotaDawg

    Go Dawgs! Just want ‘em to play a solid game and not to beat themselves. The suspensions are already a self-inflicted handicap…hope that’s the biggest of our gifts. If we play a hard-fought, well-played game and come up on the short end–it’s tough, but not as frustrating as when games are simply tossed away with foolish mistakes and decisions. Have a feeling we’ll be alright tonight IF we don’t beat ourselves.

    Also, hate to say it, but hope it doesn’t come down to a kick.

  19. Debby Balcer

    My only worry is we don’t play as well on artificial turf. I sure wish the field was grass.

  20. 3 points difference & it could go either way.
    I hate to but I have to pick the Tigers to win.
    Not true If the Dawgs were at full strength.

  21. The Lone Stranger

    Looks like the DEFENSE will have to ride out the predictable bumbling of one Aaron Murray. Un-real. And, Good Gawd, that kicker is just a freshman!! He kicked the Dawg out of that ball.

  22. The Lone Stranger

    This OLine of Mizzourah is going to crumble — and Franklin can’t hit a wall with his downfield passing. Of course, AM must turn the ship around.

  23. Carolinadawg

    What is Murray’s problem? Damn, come on….

  24. Turd Ferguson

    Jarvis Jones is an animal. Aaron Murray looks like a freshman. And Keith Marshall’s looking a little like Richard Samuel used to look … falling down at the first sign of contact.

    The difference in quality between our offense and defense is disturbing. And this is with 4 defensive starters watching from Athens.

    • The Lone Stranger

      Meanwhile in some other slice of reality, Mettenberger just slung a 33-yd. TD and is 11-17 with five verifiable drops. Tigers are up, 34-3. Is that Dawg karma?

      Oh, and UL-Monroe is within 21-28 on the Hogs — antics are a certainty from JL Smith if this thing gets weirder!

    • Scott

      ditto on Keith Marshall. I want Gurley to get the majority of the carries.

    • diving duck

      The difference is Samuel was a power back. If Marshall can get one crease he’s gone. I just don’t understand all the runs out of the shotgun. The back has no momentum and the line out of two point stances. Against an aggressive defense most of them went for losses.

  25. Cosmic Dawg

    Murray’s receivers are not helping him. Don’t know what we did to Mett that has earned us “bad karma”. GA’s O is beating itself. Not sure why Gurley got so few carries in 1st half.

  26. Scott

    THEUS is playing terrible. Giving up sacks, giving up tackles for loss. and penalties to boot. Painful to watch.

    • WF dawg

      Not sure how much ankle factored into all that. Could have even affected the mental aspect that caused the false starts. I’ll reserve judgment. For now.

  27. Carolinadawg

    Is it possible for a Mark Richt team to be prepared for a big game.

  28. Scott

    ARKANSAS currently in overtime with Louisiana-Monroe.

  29. Scott

    Louisiana Monroe has just beaten Arkansas in overtime. 34-31

  30. Russ

    Connor Norman, bless his heart, is the second coming of Miles (Away) Smith.

  31. Debby Balcer

    GO JARVIS JONES ABD GURLEY!!

  32. SCDawg

    Jarvis jones!!!!!!!!!!

  33. Scott

    Missouri got tired.

  34. SCDawg

    Old man football looks ok

  35. Turd Ferguson

    Thank you, football gods, for Jarvis Jones.

  36. SCDawg

    Anybody else just happy as hell right now? The 2nd half went really well, didn’t it?

  37. WF dawg

    Lot of similarities to last year’s UF game, IYAM. Come from behind win. Richard Samuel comes up big in the clutch. And Jarvis Jones disrupts a team’s entire offense. Good stuff.

  38. Russ

    Is Jarvis Jones 40? Because he’s a man!

  39. Comin' Down The Track

    Power I for the last TD? Dick move by Evil Richt? Or hilarious dick move by Evil Richt?

  40. Cosmic Dawg

    A lot of what I considered weird calls on offense (Mizzou D with 11 guys bunched on one side of the field and we decide to run our tailback into that pile just to see what would happen) would have felt less weird if our receivers did more receiving in the first half. We should start screening those guys to see if they’re catchers. Hey coach, recruit us some more catchers to rotate in with some of those other guys!

    One of my favorite plays of the game was seeing Gurley in pass protection totally put a Mizzou player on the ground. I also like seeing CMR hugging on these kids, and I’m glad he’s got a team to be proud of this year after all the knucklehead juvies he’s had to deal with the last few years.

    Two of my least favorite plays – MM fumbling that punt return and MM talking trash after a Mizzou receiver gets a first down in front of him and MM pushes him out of bounds. Uh, you got to stop that from happening, and THEN you talk trash. But I don’t think he got beat a lot tonight, which was a good sign.

    I also wish Mizzou’s first SEC game would have been a win against Florida or Auburn followed by a loss to Georgia. They seem like awfully nice people…and the tedious arrogance of the snarky “Welcome To The SEC” meme is getting old…we’re a great football conference, it’s not like we’ve devoted our lives to curing cancer.

    And Red Bull commercials make no sense and they’re a buncha pinko commies.

  41. Evidently Normaltown

    Can I just say “Wooooooooooooooooo!”

  42. The Lone Stranger

    Ohh, and whatever bad I stated about AM upstream here I suppose I gotta take it back. Because, Good Gawd did he ever pull it all together when his production was needed. His is an infuriating game!

  43. I was SO wrong. Great coaching, great play calling, & a D that dominated the 4th quarter made my prediction to be stupid.
    Without changing a thing but getting the suspended players back & helping out # 71, & the Dawgs are on their way to an ultra successful season,
    They certainly surprised & impressed me, particularly putting up 41 points. I thought that in the twenties would be a very good game,

    • The Lone Stranger

      I wouldn’t say nearly that you were wrong, dawg39 — the game was a schizophrenic display of adjustments from quarter to quarter. Thankfully, our guy, CMR, outfoxed Pinkel from MU. I also was shocked to see all those points up on the board at the end. Thank some opportunistic D and intriguing O adjustments in the 2nd half.

  44. Macallanlover

    Great job team, and staff. I am sorry we have fans who are never satisfied because they expect e v e r y s i n g l e t h i n g t o b e p e r f e c t.

    Got past a dangerous game tonight because of your dedication, most of us are truly thankful for the effort and think you deserve better fans.

    • The Lone Stranger

      Hang in, man. This was a truly unprecedented game though. When is the last time you witnessed the Dawgs bumble around for a full half of football only to gather themselves and deliver down the stretch? I mean last season’s UF game was similar but this game seemed a bit more “remote” to me. And tonight the Dawgs sealed the deal … with style.

      I believe this strange display of football uniquely sets UGa up for the rigors to come in the SEC.

      Sic ‘Em.

      • Cojones

        I blame Bobo and so does the team. He didn’t call signals until 2nd half. Murray and others said that’s what turned them around. and they raved about the quality of the playcalling for this particular situation.

        Sic’em, Bobo!!

  45. Mayor of Dawgtown

    I predicted a win by the Dawgs by more than 17 points. This Dawgs team can even make a dumbass like me look good.

    • The Lone Stranger

      Guts!!…. I’d have not expected a 21-point win, but then too what happened to MU in the 4th quarter? Old Man Football, perhaps? Didi you see Richardson over on the sideline on a knee in the final quarter? That was beautiful.

  46. Noonan

    I’ll take it. Drunk and proud of the Dawgs.

  47. UGAly win. SEC. sUGAr. Not since Greg Belue, is he still playing, talked pretwitter trash to wv in the 05 sugar bowl, has this team looked like it has a coach with some kind of supernatural spiritual winning power. Gosh darn. Thank you Jesus. My granddaddy is happy. Zeb’s bbq.

  48. heyberto

    The one aspect I’m most pleased about (well, besides our one man Defense, Jarvis Jones) is how Strength and Conditioning kept us going for 4 full Quarters, in a very physical, hard fought game. That’s not something we’ve seen in quite awhile. Hope that’s not some mirage.

  49. Richard Samuel, UNSUNG HERO, fighting off two blockers to stuff that fake punt….huge, huge!…Richard is a D,D,D,D,D,D,D G D!!!!!!!

  50. NC Dawg

    God bless Richard Samuel. And Jarvis White for president.

  51. gastr1

    I think we got the best of all possible outcomes Saturday, and I’m excited about it:
    –Missouri played well enough that it would be hard to say they’re not any good at all.
    –We pushed the final score to a convincing margin.
    –We had to come up big in the 3rd and 4th against a decent opponent on the road, in a challenging environment, while lacking four very important starters on defense.
    –And said opponent was really jacked up to win. Lots against us in this game.
    –It would appear there were no major injuries. The two DTs are reportedly fine, from what I’ve read. Obviously Theus was ok from last week.
    –The best players on the team came through with huge plays, showing they can pull it off in crunch time at the end of games.
    –The special teams were more good than bad on balance for the second game in a row.

    Happy and ready for the next challenge.

  52. Scorpio Jones, III

    Ok….

    Thank you Dawgs…my hair is fuller, my spine is straighter, my equipment is larger and more effective.

    I have now seen a great defense, Todd. I have now seen a great defense bow up and win the game. You may know what you are doing.

    Moo U is better than I thought they were, and I thought they were pretty good.

    And Georgia, by God, is better than I thought we could be, and I thought we could be pretty good.

    In the back of my fevered brain, I could hear Larry, you could hear Larry….ticking off the minutes. Scrapping, clawing, fighting.

    Old Dawgs, Old men everywhere, I hope you realize what you may have seen in the Zoo last night. Time will tell.

    I am an Old Man, and damn proud of it.

    Long live Russ!!!!

  53. charlottedawg

    Game ball goes to Jarvis for obvious reasons, but Richard Samuel’s play may have been the biggest play of the game.

    • The Lone Stranger

      It was huge. It seemed Pinkel could feel his guys running low on gas and had to make a bold stroke just then. Dawgs were prepared this time! Yes.

  54. Scorpio Jones, III

    Get yer ass in gear Senator, there are a lot of old men waiting to pontificate.

    How Bout Them Fucking Dawgs!!!!!!!!!!!!

  55. Scorpio Jones, III

    In case anybody is unaware of the spectacular irony at work here….Russ, his masters said, could not be UGA…..he was too fucking old.