Monthly Archives: October 2012

First thoughts on Ole Miss

It’s worth noting that the Rebel Black Bears aren’t dreadful, and I mean that as a sincere compliment.  Everybody – and I mean everybody – expected Mississippi to be the SEC’s worst team this season.  I think I posted something in the preseason about the RBBs needing to get a win or two in September because it was hard to see when they’d get one afterwards, and yet here they are with two conference wins under their belts and a legitimate shot at making a bowl game.  That ain’t bad.

However, a little perspective is in order here.  Ole Miss hasn’t beaten a team with a winning record, although it had a chance to do so with Texas A&M.  It’s been pesky more than threatening against better opponents (check out the defensive split stats against teams with winning and losing records).  Although you have to admire any approach that gets under Saban’s skin the way Freeze’s offense did.

If there’s a danger for Georgia this Saturday, I don’t think it’s so much about coming out flat – although Seth Emerson’s column about emotion is worth a read, I think the crowd and the national broadcast will help combat that – as it is about maintaining patience on both sides of the ball.  Ole Miss is going to get some yardage and some points, most likely, but it’s important for Georgia’s defenders to play good assignment football and to be as opportunistic as they were against Florida.  As David Ching notes about quarterback Bo Wallace,

Wallace is fifth in the SEC in total offense at 239 yards per game, but he has also made his share of mistakes in his first season as the Rebels’ starting quarterback — as evidenced by his 10-9 touchdown-interception ratio. The Bulldogs need to rein him in as a runner like they did against Florida’s Jeff Driskel and pressure him into errors that will make a victory easier to achieve.

Defensively, Ole Miss, which has some talent, but is both young and a little on the smallish side, seems tailor-made for what Mike Bobo likes to call:  pound ‘em hard with Gurley, Marshall and the running game and use that to set up play action.  The good thing here is that Bobo showed in the Florida game that he knows he’s got a good enough horse to ride with his freshmen running backs to stay with them.

If you want to talk about the psychology of the game, I think Ching gets this right:

Ole Miss is a program that is only learning how to win under a new coaching staff. The Bulldogs need to break their will early in this game. Alabama jumped out to a 27-6 halftime lead and was able to cruise to a win, but Texas A&M fell behind in Oxford and had to battle back in the fourth quarter to win. The Rebels are capable of winning this game if Georgia doesn’t come to play.

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73 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Upon further review, or reluctantly putting the WLOCP in the rear-view mirror

I finally sat down last night and cranked up the DVR to watch the Georgia-Florida game.  I can’t say I came across any shocking revelations that changed my mind about what I saw live, but there were a few items of note:

  • Jeez, they really were jawing from start to finish… or at least until the Dawgs went into victory formation.  I still think Gurley’s behavior that drew the flag was fairly trivial, but given the context, I can see why the refs threw it.
  • Loved the shot of the assistant coaches celebrating in the booth once the win was secured.
  • I didn’t realize how generous a spot the refs gave Florida on that fourth-down play until I watched the broadcast.  Boom should be embarrassed for arguing about that.
  • Speaking of whom, it’s not a good thing when they’re making fun of you for chewing out a player.  And it made for an interesting contrast with how Richt dealt with Mitchell after his stupid penalty late in the game.
  • Rambo has clearly shaken the rust off from the suspension.
  • Just as clearly, Ogletree has not.  He had his moments, but Florida targeted him in the passing game with some decent success, including the Jordan Reed catch on Florida’s last drive that led to Jarvis Jones’ play of the game.
  • Gary Danielson’s two best moments:  catching Cornelius Washington’s inability to keep contain on the read option and correctly predicting that the Gators would exploit that later with success and his faith that Georgia would have to turn to Aaron Murray to win the game late, despite Murray’s struggles.
  • And turning to Murray, that was as strange a game as I’ve seen from him.  He started well, wasn’t amped up, wasn’t pressured once the Gators had to back off defensively to respect the running game… and went into a funk that lasted into the fourth quarter.  Then, once Florida ratched up the pressure with constant blitzes, he goes on a final drive that’s 6-1 pass/run for the big score.  His last two throws to Mitchell were as clutch as they come, both thrown perfectly at the very last second before the defenders could get to him.
  • Mark Richt sure likes hugging players after a big win.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
  • Very quietly, Garrison Smith had a good game stepping in for Abry Jones.
  • Georgia’s offensive line played well, but showed there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
  • I keep saying it, but I really like Jordan Jenkins’ game.  I know Grantham said he started Jenkins so he could do more with Jarvis, but I don’t see how Jenkins doesn’t move into the starting eleven for good soon.

I was sorry to cut the TV off after watching – the game may have been sloppy, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t compelling.

31 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Perspective

In light of my observations in yesterday’s post about how Georgia celebrated its latest Cocktail Party win, I found this Artie Lynch comment timely:

“It was definitely a big moment for us and Coach Richt,” said junior tight end Arthur Lynch, who signed with Georgia out of Dartmouth, Mass. “We all see Coach Richt as a father figure. College football is a monopoly that we live in. It is driven by money – you can spin it how you want; NCAA this, NCAA that, TV deals, power conferences – that’s that’s the world we live in. That being said, I don’t know many other coaches in college football who are as kind and loyal to their morals like he is. His base foundation, whether it’s his faith, his honesty or just basic human qualities, you can’t find anybody better than Coach Richt.”

That’s the sound of somebody who’s wise beyond his years.  Maybe he should start blogging.

17 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

Wednesday morning buffet

Let’s clear the decks with some tasty hump day nourishment:

  • Ole Miss hasn’t beaten a team with a winning record this season, but CFN says that’s about to change this Saturday in Athens… because the Dawgs didn’t lose to Kentucky.
  • Mark Shurtleff surrenders; Bill Hancock yawns.
  • Florida feels good about its defensive showing against Georgia.  It should.
  • You want Georgia to be more like Alabama?  Here’s one way that’s happening.
  • Coaches Hot Seat Blog does a best of Erk post.
  • Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze on Richt: “You kind of find yourself pulling for him when you’re not playing him.”
  • The Rebel Black Bears play fast on offense, and some Dawg defenders see Nick Saban’s point about that.  But not Christian Robinson“If they’re beating us, then we need to figure out a way to stop it,” Robinson said. “That’s not a safety issue. That’s a defensive issue.”
  • The NCAA announces its new enforcement structure, with an emphasis on “conduct breaches that seriously undermine or threaten the integrity of the NCAA Constitution”.  The most interesting development is that head coaches will be presumed guilty – “if a violation occurs, the head coach is presumed responsible, and if he or she can’t overcome that presumption, charges will be forthcoming.”  No doubt JoePa is turning over in his grave.

8 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Nick Saban Rules, Political Wankery, The NCAA

Dabo, does this comment make my head look fat?

Honestly, I don’t get why the likes of Dan Wetzel are so worked up over Steve Spurrier’s backhanded compliment to Dabo Swinney for the latter’s kind remarks about Marcus Lattimore.  That’s how Spurrier’s been wired his whole life.

Besides, for once it gave Swinney the opportunity to have the last word, and he took it with a flourish.

“People just need to kind of back of the ledge,” Swinney said. “Personally, I really think he was trying to pay me a compliment. I think…I think. I know it was kind of a roundabout way of getting there, it would be kind of like me telling me wife that I think you should wear this dress, this dress looks great on you, you don’t look nearly as fat in that dress. So it was kind of a roundabout way, but I take it as a compliment.”

He’s right.  If it’s not in the context of a loss after a game, the OBC doesn’t do gracious well.  Chalk it up to being lost in translation and move on, folks.

37 Comments

Filed under The Evil Genius

At least he didn’t bring up the weather.

During the most recent Bulldog Hotline, a Georgia fan cites the most offbeat reason I’ve yet heard about why Jacksonville isn’t a neutral site game:  “Lance in Uvalda asks if Richt really thinks it is a neutral field, especially with all of the financial impact that the state of Florida gets from it…”

Maybe Lance needs to be reminded how much the city pays Georgia to play there – a lot of Florida dollars flowing back to a Georgia institution.

Mark Richt, bless his heart, goes from diplomatic to honest in his response.

Richt reminds that he doesn’t make comments on that anymore. Says it is like an away game for both teams, with travel and the 70 man roster. Feels like an away game until you get in the stadium with the 50-50 split. Definitely neutral in the that regard.  [Emphasis added.]

I’ll be curious to see if the Jax grumbling dies down in the near term as a result of the winning streak.

53 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

The (post-game) celebration

I’ve got one last observation about what I watched from my seat Saturday to share with you.  It’s very easy to wax cynical about the business side of college football – often, for good reasons – and so it’s also easy to overlook what makes these kids play with the passion they do.

I got a reminder of that after the win.

Those kids have been jumped on by plenty of folks for shortcomings, both real and imagined, and had to be emotionally drained after as intense a game as Georgia has played in a long time.  But you never would have known that from the sheer joy on display as virtually the entire team came over to celebrate with the fans.

Two or three things stuck with me as I watched them.  One was Cornelius Washington, who, you may remember, had a blow up after Crowell’s dismissal that didn’t sit so well with the fan base, sporting a smile you could see a mile away and getting plenty of love back.  Then there was John Theus, sporting the obligatory offensive-lineman-with-a-cut-over-his-nose look and a big ol’ grin.  But the best of all was Aaron Murray and Jarvis Jones talking by themselves on the ten-yard line.  You didn’t need to read lips to know what that conversation was about.

And then there’s the head coach.  Richt’s taken plenty of heat of late.  There were lots of doubters going into the Cocktail Party.  It would have been easy to walk off the field straight into the locker room and celebrate in private.  There are some coaches I can think of who would have been happy gloating.  But say what you will about Mark Richt, that’s not one of his shortcomings.  Instead, he worked his way down to our end of the field before the players did and celebrated – not for himself, but with us.

And then he thanked us.

53 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football