Daily Archives: September 23, 2012

Stonin’ the (red) zone

One reason the defense has been in more control of things than perhaps the yardage stats show is because of a pronounced improvement in the red zone.  In 2011, Georgia’s defense was last in the SEC in opponent red zone conversion percentage.  The defense allowed scores over 90% of the time it had to defend inside the 20.  Georgia was also last in TD percentage.  This year?  Seventh in score percentage and second in TD percentage.

There’s good news on offense, too.  Georgia leads the conference in TD percentage this year.  The Dawgs have scored a conference tops 15 touchdowns in the red zone, out of 16 scores.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Observations from the 45: fergit, hayll.

Georgia football, you magnificent bastard.

If the evening started with some question in the minds of the Bulldog faithful about how South Carolina’s strong showing against Missouri might affect the pecking order in the SEC East, the Dawgs saw that bet and raised it decisively with their most dominating win since last year’s blowout against Auburn.  If anything, last night was even more lopsided.  Auburn at least showed a pulse until the Michael Dyer fumble turned that game for good, while Vandy never demonstrated that it stood a chance.

The much ballyhooed Franklin-Grantham rematch was reduced to a stubborn, bizarre battle of wills on the field, as Franklin elected to keep his starting offense on the field long after good sense dictated he should and Grantham matched that by leaving his starters in.  The result was over three hundred yards of the most meaningless offense you’ll ever see, as Georgia kept Vanderbilt out of the end zone, aided by the most enjoyable reversal of a ruling on the field I’m likely to experience this year.

It was just an average day for the offense.  Of course, when you’re ninth in the country in scoring offense and thirteenth in total offense, your average turns out to be pretty damned good.  Good enough, in fact, to knock the Commodores down from eleventh to thirty-second in total defense.  Bobo detractors, your man with the crayon is directing the SEC’s best offense.

Details?  You want details?  Okay, here are a few things I saw last night:

  • I don’t know how astounding Marshall’s touchdown looked on the broadcast, but believe me, live and in person, it was incredible.  Good balance, great burst to get past the line and then another gear to get through the secondary.  Just jaw-dropping.
  • Of course, if I was wondering if I’d see a more amazing run… well, I don’t know if Gurley’s TD that wrapped up the night’s scoring was more amazing, but, damn, it was something else, capped by a beast of a stiff arm on the safety.
  • One reason the running game was so effective was that Bob Shoop picked the poison of keeping Georgia’s offense from beating Vandy deep by keeping both safeties back.  As the game developed, that strategy had to be abandoned.  Not that it helped much.
  • Aaron Murray:  twelve pass attempts out of the gate, twelve completions.  So much for those early game jitters.  By the way, anybody out there still want to swap him for Mettenberger?
  • Marlon Brown, you’re making me love you more every week.  Aside from the smoothness and speed in the receiving game, Brown did a tremendous job blocking on the Mitchell reverse.
  • Speaking of blocking, it’s almost scary to see how much Gurley has improved in pass protection in a few short weeks.
  • One trouble spot on defense is that Branden Smith struggles with big, physical receivers.  Jordan Matthews had a good game and much of that was at Smith’s expense.  One benefit of getting Rambo back next week against Tennessee is that will allow Commings to move back to corner to deal with those kinds of wideouts.
  • Artie Lynch, you get that nice a play run for you, you gotta catch the ball.
  • Jordan Rodgers looks like a much more polished thrower than he did last year.  Why exactly is there a quarterback controversy at Vanderbilt?
  • I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but every time Vanderbilt ran the option, it was to the side opposite where Jarvis Jones lined up.
  • Great crowd last night, and it had an impact early on, as the Commodores were penalized twice on their first possession for false starts.
  • That being said, to the people within earshot who actually complained about the playcalling when Georgia was backed up after Mitchell’s questionable decision to field the punt at the two-yard line, you folks need an anal-cranial extraction, stat.  By the way, that series resulted in a 96-yard touchdown drive.
  • I guess with all the new attention on targeting, SEC refs don’t have the time to bother with holding.  It’s worse this year than ever.  Maybe they should outfit Jarvis with a tearaway jersey.
  • One thing Grantham made certain wasn’t going to repeat was Georgia getting gashed by a running quarterback.
  • Kickoff coverage for most of the game was superb.  One other reason Vandy’s yardage was so meaningless was that it struggled with field position through the entire first half.
  • I hope that’s the last time Marshall Morgan handles a muffed snap like that.
  • Jordan Jenkins is going to be the next defensive star.  Bank on it.
  • Another solid game from Amarlo Herrera.
  • There were a couple of darts thrown to Gurley and Marshall to get them out in space that turned into nice gainers.
  • I love it when Jenkins or Geathers suddenly bursts through the offensive line and goes after the man with the ball.
  • The offensive line continues to grow.  Yes, the backs can make the line look better than it is sometimes, but 300 rushing yards still speaks well of the line’s effort.  There’s still work to be done handling the blitz, though.

Bottom line:  we got that complete game we’ve craved.  And as we hoped, this is a formidable team when it’s clicking on all cylinders.  Even better, the defense gets Ogletree and Rambo back this week.  The next step is maintaining focus.  We’ve seen before what we thought was an unstoppable Georgia squad slip on the banana peel against UT.  The Dawgs need to stay on top of their emotions, prepare well and take it to SOD’s bunch.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a replay to watch.

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“That run… that was, like a sign of greatness. Really to my eyes I felt like that was kind of Herschel Walker-ish.”

Before you tell Tavarres King to shut up with that kind of talk, take a look at this morning’s SEC individual rushing stats.

RUSHING

Year: 2012 Thru: 09/22/12 Minimum: Pct. of games played 75
Rank Player Pos Cl Gm Carries Yds Tds Avg YdsGm Natl
Rank
1 Todd Gurley, Georgia RB FR 4 44 406 6 9.23 101.50 27
2 Mike Gillislee, Florida RB SR 4 69 402 5 5.83 100.50 29
3 Ladarius Perkins, Mississippi St. RB JR 4 57 389 5 6.82 97.25 33
4 Alfred Blue, LSU RB JR 3 40 270 2 6.75 90.00 40
5 Jeff Scott, Ole Miss RB JR 3 31 268 3 8.65 89.33 43
6 Rajion Neal, Tennessee RB JR 4 80 356 3 4.45 89.00 45
7 Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M QB FR 3 38 262 5 6.89 87.33 48
8 Kenny Hilliard, LSU RB SO 4 47 343 6 7.30 85.75 51
9 Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt RB SR 4 46 341 1 7.41 85.25 52
10 Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina RB JR 4 69 320 6 4.64 80.00 61
11 Kendial Lawrence, Missouri RB SR 4 45 291 4 6.47 72.75 77
12 Tre Mason, Auburn RB SO 4 53 275 1 5.19 68.75 84
13 Raymond Sanders, Kentucky RB JR 3 26 201 1 7.73 67.00 92
14 Keith Marshall, Georgia RB FR 4 42 264 3 6.29 66.00 97

Sorry if that’s a little hard to read, but Gurley has rushed for more yards than Florida’s Gillislee, despite carrying the ball 25 less times.

Those numbers are a little crazy.  In a good way, of course.

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Smart football

Sure, Al Groh deserves a lot of the blame for the Miami loss.  And the genius didn’t help himself with that YOLO fourth-and-one call in overtime.  But none of that would have mattered but for this:

That’s the football equivalent of an own goal in soccer.

I’m savoring my walk through of StingTalk later, that’s for sure.

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