Upon further review, Georgia-Vanderbilt

Watched the replay yesterday, and three things got my attention.

  • Offensive line.  Easily the biggest surprise was how good the guard play was.  Burnette, Lee and Gates were physical, mobile and, best of all, consistent.  They opened holes that even Carlton Thomas could have exploited.  Especially Burnette, who had a fabulous game.  I understand why the coaches want to stick with Andrews at center; it just makes the line better overall to keep Burnette at guard.  Theus, though, remains a work in progress.
  • Jarvis Jones.  Maybe I’m just getting jaded.  But the broadcast clip showing how he set the table by clogging the middle so that Vasser could run down the play from the back side was an excellent reminder that there’s so much more to his game than the spectacular stuff he pulls off with regularity.  Speaking of Vasser, compare how he defended the option against Vandy with how Jarvis performed against Missouri.  Vasser is well coached and knows how to defend the play, but he lacks Jones’ instincts to occupy the precise spot to limit the quarterback’s time to commit and to break correctly in that instant when the quarterback decides.  It’s uncanny.  He’s just playing on a different level from any other defensive player I’ve seen this year.
  • Aaron Murray.  I’ve mentioned the improvement in his mechanics.  That’s reflected in the ease in which the ball comes out when he throws.  But the other thing I noticed on the replay is that he’s gotten better at not holding on to the ball too long.  Georgia is fourth in the conference in sacks allowed; that’s one big reason why.
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62 Comments

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62 responses to “Upon further review, Georgia-Vanderbilt

  1. gastr1

    It’s funny…I do still feel like every time Aaron pulls the ball down a sack is coming. There was at least one play on Saturday where he did pass the ball after pulling it down rather than getting caught from behind or running for a yard and not sliding. For a guy who has mobility his creativity is on the low side.

    Either his instincts in moving in the pocket are still developing or perhaps our receivers are not helping as much as they need to when the initial play is covered.

    Compare that to Stafford, who took three full years to understand to step into the rush in the pocket rather than backing away from it–Murray never throws off his back foot like Matt used to all the time. But Stafford also seemed a little better at moving side to side away from the rush and either getting a few yards, throwing it away, or making a play out of nothing.

    • Hobnail_Boot

      Stafford has ridiculous arm strength, and until he got to Athens, it was enough to overcome shoddy footwork.

      To his credit, he worked on it and is still getting better in the NFL.

      • AusDawg85

        ^This. And though the line play was much better, just about any “mistake” you want to attribute to AM this year thus far (including some, but not all, of the early game overthrows) were due to some pretty poor pass protection. Glad to see a lot of 2nd string OL guys get some playing time to work on our depth.

        And I’ve got to praise (gulp!) Bobo. If I’m a DC, I’m just gonna blitz and stunt on Theus all night long to force UGA to adjust formations to provide support. But with Murray finding so many different targets in so many areas of the field, you really could not afford that strategy without getting burned…badly. Doesn’t hurt to have such a tremendous up the middle rushing threat either.

        • Cojones

          Still, gastri has hit a remaining key fault with Murray and everyone knows that I have defended Aaron from a lot of what I saw as troll attacks on here in the past. Stepping into the pocket and then delivering is faint in his repertoire. His tendency is to lower his arms, protect the football and see if there is an opening to get a few yards through. That seems to overcome a continual look for the open player. It doesn’t happen often enough to make a game diff, but I hope in his workaholic desire to be great that that becomes something he overcomes.

          Notice that we don’t lose the ball as much as we used to? I think that factor is tied into his training by Bobo such that ball protection takes precedence over running. This action by Murray will continue since the name of the game is to protect him through the season.

          I was surprised by Richt’s info that Murray is calling nearly all the shots on the field. I knew he was changing the signal whenever needed (and doing a great job I might add), but didn’t know that he is essentially in charge of the signal calling for the entire game. That is the biggest load that I’ve ever seen on one of our QBs except Greene. That speaks highly of Murray’s athletic engenuity and sets him up as more appealing to the Pros. Ironically, it takes away the “I Blame Bobo” meme, but I don’t think the blame game will shift to Murray. He is too well-rounded to find faults of any consistency. I like the way he is a big part of individual player viewing during the game.

          • Macallanlover

            Pretty sure you can add Stafford to that list, don’t think Shock got that license in the 1 year he had at the controls. Murray is no surprise, felt he might have had some flexibility last year. Reportedly he spends a lot of time in the film room, maybe more than any QB we have had. You have to give Richt and Bobo A+ remarks when it comes to developing QBs; 2006 was the only time I felt we went into games with a disadvantage at the #1 position on the team (except for Jax in 2005.) I know Tebow was a better college Qb than some but it wasn’t due to coaching him up, he was a freak that could have excelled anywhere that allowed him to utilize his strengths.

          • AusDawg85

            I think the perception that Murray doesn’t step up in the pocket is partly due to his height….if he’s 6’4″ it would be a lot easier to see directly over the top, but he has to look for gaps to complete his passes. He does what he has to do to see the field. The two INT’s thus far were shots over the middle where I’ll bet he just didn’t have a clear view. Those quick-slant throws vs. Vandy were just beautiful and you could see them developing immediately since the line had not pushed back into Murray yet. I believe there was one time early in the game when he got sacked because he was looking for Bennett over the middle, and between good coverage and the D line push, I just looked like AM couldn’t make the throw and wisely just pulled it in.

            Taking the sack and living to fight another day is far better than chucking it blindly. I blame Bobo and Richt for probably getting this point across.

            I grouch at Grantham!

            OUTA!

            • gastr1

              I think I misspoke a bit in my original post. I do think Murray steps up in the pocket when he is throwing or sees a receive to throw to. He is much better at this than bad-feet/rocket-arm Stafford was.

              What I don’t see him do as well is move side to side in or out of the pocket and find a place to set and throw downfield or make a decent run. It seems that once his arms come down, as Cojones has noted, it’s all over. When he keeps his head up and steps into the pocket then throws right away, he’s fine.

              • gastr1

                Another thing Murray does better than Stafford did is not let himself get baited into interceptions by crafty DBs. Stafford seemed to think those situations were almost a personal challenge to his arm strength.

              • Go back and look at his mechanics on the two-point conversion play against Missouri. He’s gotten better on roll outs this year, too.

  2. hunkerdowndawg

    The thing that astounds me about Jarvis’s play is when the ball is run to the side opposite him and how often he ends up in the pile. Often, I watch him off the LOS penetrating a few yards deep but then I see the ball going the other way so I take my eyes off Jarvis to watch the ball then a few seconds later after a gang tackle, I see Jarvis getting up from the bottom and I think, “How the hell did he get there?” It’s like he is one of those vampires in the stupid True Blood series that run so fast they are nearly invisible. But then, if you see the replay or a highlight reel with Jarvis circled, you see him recognize the play and just haul ass like his hair is on fire and take the perfect angle to get there. His motor makes the great David Pollack look like a slacker. Every HS and middle school football player could learn reams of football knowledge just by watching Jarvis GATA and never quit on a play.

  3. BeardDawg

    Among all of the things I enjoyed watching the game, Micheal Bennett refusing to give into the trash talking was great. On 2 occasions, the DB was jawing after Bennett’s catch, and what does he do both times? Point to the scoreboard! Classic.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      Yep, I like that, too.

    • D.N. Nation

      No team encompasses the idea of “fake juice” better than Vanderbilt right now.

      If Franklin was a better coach, he’d get his players to stop taking the ball out of the endzone on kickoffs. Rather than encouraging them to jaw like idiots after plays are over.

      • Russ

        The announcers mentioned that Franklin gave them orders that there would be no downed kick offs and no fair catches.

        • D.N. Nation

          Congrats! You get to start drives at the 15 instead of the 25!

        • Biggus Rickus

          Which is among the dumber things I’ve ever heard a coach do. It’s begging for bad field position and turnovers.

        • AusDawg85

          These orders came, of course, after several Mai Tai’s with Grantham.

          Franklin after 1/2 a drink: “We’re nuuttt gonna shtop fer nuthin! Run the dang ball ever time we gets its. Right…urp..attem..zzzzzzzz

          Grantham after 10 drinks: Alright you maggots! Anchor UP their Ass!!! (spits drinks out, drops and does 50, then runs through a wall screaming GATA!!!!)

    • Russ

      Contrast that with Sanders Commings trash talking the Vandy RB and baiting him into getting a 15 yd PF when the RB shoved him in front of the refs. I don’t like trash talking on either side, but at least we kept our cool this time. Plus, I’m sure Commings was hearing it all game long given last year’s brouhaha.

    • Silver Creek Dawg

      I clearly recall this after a short TD run (maybe AM’s). The DB was talking junk and MB is clearly pointing at the scoreboard above their heads. I was laughing my ass off thinking that’s EXACTLY how you respond.

  4. RocketDawg

    The BEST thing about the Oline is that they continue to get better. Mark Beard did a great job on Saturday night as well and I could see him getting some more PT at LT and moving Gates to RT if Theus continues to struggle. The great thing is that we have more than 5 guys that are ready to play (8 if you count Houston…FREE KOLTON!) and NONE of them are Seniors!!

    The defense was great on Saturday, I think that the total yardage is a little misleading. Before the half when they drove the field for a FG we were in prevent the entire time until they got to the red zone. I think Rodgers had 64 yds passing on that drive alone. The majority of the yardage in the second half was in garbage time.

    On another note, how big of a douche is Franklin for leaving his 1st string in at the beginning of the 4th quarter down 48-3? It was poetic justice when that TD run was overruled and we ended up with the ball. I thought his little bald ass head was going to explode after that one.

  5. Normaltown Mike

    I hope adding Tree improves the middle of our D. There were times Vandy got chunks of yards without laboring especially hard. Robinson was absent or a non-factor again (except for calling the timeout because he was lined up wide like a DB on one play).

    • Joe Schmoe

      Tree is an All-American type player. So, yes he will improve the middle our D.

    • Macallanlover

      That is my primary concern as well NT Mike, and if Tree doesn’t make a big difference in pass coverage and filling rushing lanes we will struggle in the big 3 games this month. I appreciate that Rambo will add his own talent and help us in the secondary but the middle is our Achilles Heel at this point and you can bet the Viles and Cocks will try to exploit that. Especially true with UT and FU who lack an effective running game.

      • RocketDawg

        I disagree with the middle being a weakness. Go back and watch the tape, the only time Vandy moved the ball is when we backed off and started playing a soft zone and dropping 7-8 into coverage. The drive that ended in the FG was exclusively passes in the middle between the LB’s and Safeties deep. Tree will help with filling the run gaps in the middle and forcing things outside.

        • Cojones

          Plus Herrera and Gilliard both had good games. Just not worried when those guys substitute. They already had earned their spurs last year during the 10-game win streak. They have only gotten better.

        • Macallanlover

          Just a difference of opinions, or context; my feeling is based on the entire season where we have been beaten on pass plays over the middle, not just Vandy. I think our ILBS have played better after the Buffalo game in stopping the run but every team we have played has enjoyed success on the short, over the middle throws when they needed 5-10 yards. The time Jarvis dropped back and picked the pass late in the Mizzou game was our best effort, besides that I can remember few breakups….dropped passes have saved us a few times.

          It isn’t just this year, we had throttled Boise last year until Tree went out with an injury. I may be over playing this, but it is my biggest concern for a memorable season in 2012 (right next to PATs.)

  6. BMan

    The other thing about Jarvis Jones (aka the Predator) is how he’s good for inducing a couple of false starts per game. Call it crowd noise if you like, but I believe that the OL that has responsibility for him gets a case of the jimmy-legs, as Kramer used to say.

    • Dboy

      I agree. JJ is simply a dominant player. I haven’t seen anything like it at UGA since Pollock. He also induced penalties. I remember a number of critical passed called back because the OL held Pollock on 3rd and long.

      • DawgGoneIt

        What is this holding of which you speak?

        • AusDawg85

          Don’t know, but it’s funny to watch all those opposing OL empty gloves having to be picked off of JJ’s jersey when he comes to the sidelines.

          • Cojones

            And he runs so fast that his jersey stretches out 3ft behind him.

            • Scorpio Jones, III

              Ok boys….Of course the offensive line looked good…it was still freaking Vandy’s undersized defensive line, culturally changed or not, which leads to Aaron Murray….great night but see above. If nobody bothers him Cojones could have a pretty good night.

              Tennessee’s defensive front is NOT Vandy. When our O line knocks them into the second level I will feel much better.

              • Tennessee’s defensive front is NOT Vandy.

                Vanderbilt’s defense is 76th in rushing yards per attempt. UT is 92nd. What’s your point here?

                • Scorpio Jones, III

                  Of course having played Florida would not have anything to do with that, would it.?

                  Please tell me Vandy’s defensive front is better than UT’s….I can take the week off.

                  • Scorpio Jones, III

                    Oh, and is Vandy’s defense still 76th?

                  • I’m not telling you anything. I just want to know what evidence you have of UT’s defensive superiority.

                    • Scorpio Jones, III

                      I did not say their defense was superior to Vandy’s. I said their defensive front was bigger, stronger and faster than Vandy’s, and will, therefore be a better test of our offensive line, particularly the tackles. However, since UT is scrambling to install a similar defense, at least we should know what to expect.

                  • Macallanlover

                    I think SC’s rushing offense is better than FU’s so Vandy has faced a better running game tham TN’s has. Our OL will get tested the next month for sure, and we aren’t where we want to be (especially at tackle), but they are adequate and our offense will stand the test on everyone we play in the regular season. SC is the stiffest defensive test we will have until, and if, we get to Atlanta. Control the offensive and ST mistakes, tighten up the passing defense, and we have a chance against anyone we face. Never would predict an unbeaten season but, with what we have seen at this point, you would have to now favor us against everyone we face.

                    • shane#1

                      I like the way the freshmen backs are learning to be football players. We saw pulling guards Saturday. I don’t remember pulling guards mentioned since Knowshawn was running. How much is improvement in the line and how much is a RB waiting for that 320 pound guard to get on a LB instead of blasting off and ramming into the pile? I think Marshal and Gurley understand the play book and blocking schemes better now than Ealey did in his second year This ain’t high school.

                    • AusDawg85

                      Florida’s D = USCe I’d say. Both will be big challenges. And remember the adage (I think Vince Dooley lived by this) that starting a freshman will cost you a game….?

                    • Macallanlover

                      You may be right Aus, SCs defense looks better to me but FU was rated higher coming in. SC really hasn’t faced a good offense so I will have to see in our game. They look stronger than FU up front and the Gaytors have had some pass defense issues, either way we will find out a lot over the next four weeks because we all have multiple challenges, including each other. What an October this should be.

                • Orl Dawg

                  UT’s defensive numbers would look better if they played Presbyterian. I know they’ve played a cupcake or two; but Vandy’s numbers are inflated due to the 58-0 game. UT’s defense is better than Vandy’s.

  7. HVL Dawg

    According to CMR, Aaron Murray is making great pre snap reads at the line of scrimmage and checking into a new play. Coach really has talked a lot about that lately. I sure would like to know how much of that is going on and the result.

  8. RUMORS ABOUND what Grantham said to Franklin in the “handshake” after the game. My take: ” Thank you for the great scrimmage and bringing in your practice squad”.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      Ok folks, this is fun and all, but have a lot of work to do, none of which involves Vandy except an ankle or two.

      Remember, the Vols have a fat guy on the sidelines again.

      • AthensHomerDawg

        Big Sal is making a run at the Pumpkin Kings title is he? Hmmmm. If that football jersey he sports on game day gets any longer someone is gonna accuse him of dressing in drag. He looks silly. Add some high top sneakers with the laces untied, rotate that ball 90 degrees and his journey would be complete.

      • joyridingdog

        Hurry back…I live for your comments!

  9. Cojones

    By the way, Senator, I like the reappraisal to finer content that you give to games on Mondays. Sometimes the pickings are so good that you can’t get it all in one article. Kudos on the game retread. It’s a lot of fun, sorta like double your pleasure.

  10. Bobby

    Everything on offense (minus the placekicking) looks great. We have an amazing stable of runningbacks. They all bring different strengths to the game that compliment each other, but they all are good enough to be a featured back. I credit our running game the most. I never would have dreamed that the post-Crowell running game would be so effective. At his best (and freshest), Crowell wasn’t as good as Gurley is.

    As for Murray, he has really elevated his play. He is much better on 3rd and long. For me, though, the jury is still out. My biggest issue w/ Murray has never been his abilities in games he should win. He has always been a concern when playing in a big game. Last season, I thought his best game was the UF game. It certainly wasn’t his most glamorous performance, and he didn’t put up great numbers. But he marched us down the field when we needed to win that damn ball game.

    If Murray wins against So. Car., I think we can mark it in stone: Murray will have become an elite quarterback and a true winner. Even in a bad season, he has shown that he is capable of putting up crazy numbers, but I will take a winning QB w/ mediocre passing stats (David Greene) any day.

    Question for a more attuned eye: is our o-line play actually better this season? Not a smartass question. Does it appear better b/c of the running game or b/c of Murray’s improved play? In 2007, we may have had solid o-line play, but we also had to dumb down the playbook to compensate. That doesn’t appear to be the case this year. For example, I don’t know if Sturdivant actually played better than Theus; perhaps our play-calling is simply demanding more of Theus. Just a thought. I’d love to hear other’s thoughts. Senator, if possible, I’d love to read an article comparing the complexity of this season’s play-calling compared to 2007. It certainly seems to be more aggressive as others have suggested above.