Monthly Archives: August 2013

Thoughts about Clemson-Georgia

So, how much weight should we put on Clemson’s showing in the Chick-fil-A Bowl?  I’m skeptical of assigning too much to a good bowl showing – Louisville, I’m looking at you – but there’s no denying that the Tigers have taken a great deal of momentum from their win over LSU into tomorrow’s game.

I watched the game and I took two substantive things from it.  First, Chad Morris knows what he’s doing.  Clemson only averaged 4.45 yards per play against LSU, its worst mark of the season, but Morris called 100 plays and that paid off, both in accumulating total yardage and, perhaps more importantly, in wearing down the LSU defense.  You’d have to think that fatigue played a part in Clemson’s epic fourth quarter comeback.  It’s something Grantham has to stay aware of, no doubt.  (Although Georgia’s defense held up much better against the other team I saw wear down LSU’s defense last season, Florida.)

Second, I don’t know how you come away from that game without being impressed with Tajh Boyd’s toughness.  Sacked five times and running the ball another 24 (Clemson had a total of 50 runs), he got pounded all night by a ferocious LSU defense and lived to tell the tale.  He’s not going to wither against the Georgia D, no matter how well that front six or seven play.

That’s on one side.  For Georgia, the biggest thing I keep coming back to is the huge advantage the Dawgs enjoy in the running game.  The question is how Bobo deploys it.  I’ve seen a lot of JUST RUN THE DAMNED BALL talk this week and understand where that’s coming from, but I don’t think it’s wise to ignore where Clemson’s defense is most weak.  And that’s the secondary.  This is a game made for Bobo’s favorite thing in the universe, balance.  Use the running game to keep the defensive backs and linebackers honest so that Murray can pick them apart with ease.  Georgia’s offensive balance and efficiency should be Clemson’s biggest nightmare.

I like the way Seth Emerson put it earlier this week.  Georgia looks to convert 75% of its drives into scores; for Clemson, it’s more like 60%.  The Tigers will look to make up the shortfall by running more plays.  It’ll be up to Grantham to spoil their math, likely with the turnover game.

Clemson reminds me of a more talented Ole Miss team.  If you remember last year’s meeting, the Rebel Black Bears made a game of it in the first half by being very aggressive with their defensive line play and linebackers.  I expect to see a similar effort in the Clemson defensive game plan, hoping to plug the run game and disrupt Murray’s timing with frequent blitzing.  How well that works is hard to say.  I expect Georgia’s offensive line play has improved from the Ole Miss game.  But Clemson has a lot more firepower on offense, more overall depth and more experience in the secondary than Mississippi did.

And don’t get me started on how nervous I am about special teams play.

Bottom line, I expect what most do, a relatively high scoring affair that should be pretty close.  I’ll save my game prediction for tomorrow, but in the meantime, let me know what you think.

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Filed under Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, Georgia Football

If you can’t complain about your quarterback, find somebody else.

And so, the mind games begin.

At least ESPN will have something besides Johnny Football’s half of football against Rice to bloviate about next week.

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UPDATE:  And here’s who will talk about it.

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Filed under The Evil Genius

A brief rebuttal to Andrea Adelson

I know she likely wasn’t being serious with her Boyd-Murray comparison yesterday, so I don’t want to get too deep into the weeds here, but it’s worth noting that Clemson and Georgia faced three common opponents last year – Auburn, Georgia Tech and South Carolina.  Both quarterbacks finished 2-1 and both had their worst games of the year against the Gamecocks, although Boyd didn’t implode nearly as spectacularly as Murray did.

But if you look at their passing stats against the other two teams, there’s no comparison.  Murray’s passer rating against Auburn was more than sixty points higher than Boyd’s; his passer rating against Tech was more than seventy points higher.  (I’m happy to stipulate that Boyd’s a bigger threat with his feet than Murray is, because Boyd doesn’t have the luxury of contracting that part of the offense out to Gurley and Marshall.)

What am I getting at here?  Neither defense we’ll see Saturday night is likely to be confused with last year’s South Carolina pass defense.  For that matter, Clemson finished lower in pass defense in 2012 than Auburn and Georgia Tech did.  (Tech and Clemson were pretty similar defensively in F+, by the way.  Auburn’s another story.)  So if we’re going to compare two stellar quarterbacks going up against pass defenses that aren’t so stellar, what do you think may be a better indication of how they do tomorrow night, last year’s work under similar circumstances, or Boyd’s ACC preseason player of the year award?

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Filed under Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, Georgia Football

Friday morning buffet

Take what you like.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, College Football, Georgia Football, Recruiting, The NCAA

About last night…

It sure felt good to get back in the saddle, didn’t it?  And if you stuck it out until the end, you saw a very entertaining game in Nashville.  Here’s what I took away from the night:

  • North Carolina vs. South Carolina.  It didn’t take long at all to figure out what a physical mismatch this was.  The Tar Heels looked like a good Conference USA team – small, quick with a few good pieces here and there but little depth.  And their defensive fundamentals were terrible.  South Carolina, however, looks big and nasty, especially on defense.  I didn’t see anything that surprised me, though.  Connor Shaw is what he is, a quarterback who can hurt you if you let him set up in the pocket and if you aren’t able to contain his running, but who looks extremely ordinary if you can force him to pass on the move.  The ‘Cocks receiving corps is certainly competent (if there’s one thing you can count on in a Spurrier-coached offense, it’s that the receivers know how to run routes), but lacks that scary big man who has to be accounted for on every play.  The defense looked winded at times, but was never seriously challenged, although it’s not like North Carolina has the kind of running game that had to be taken seriously.  In the end, it was a typical South Carolina opener under Spurrier, not the prettiest game, perhaps, but they got the job done.  They’ll be a handful when they come to Athens.
  • Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt.  It took a while to get there, but in the end, all this game told us is that these two teams are what they are:  middle-of-the-pack by SEC standards and fun.  Which is a big step up from where they were just a few seasons ago, admittedly.  There were huge momentum swings throughout, which made for some highly entertaining observations in the Twitterverse, but I doubt the top-tier programs are losing any sleep over a new sheriff arriving in town.  Neither team is deep enough to pose a consistent, season-long threat.  That being said, the Vanderbilt squad I watched in the second quarter could upset anyone on a given day if it could play that way for an entire game.

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Filed under SEC Football

Andrea Adelson is at the top of her game.

Seriously, this is some of the greatest Dawg trolling I’ve ever read.

With all due respect, Edward, I am trying to figure out what there is to debate here. Murray has not exactly done well in the big games he has played in throughout his career. Georgia coach Mark Richt was asked as much after the SEC championship game loss to Alabama a year ago, growing angry and defensive at the mere implication that Murray comes up small on the big stage. Well, there’s a reason Richt was asked. Murray is 3-11 against teams that ended the season ranked in the Top 25; his best win would be against No. 2 Florida last year. But he did nothing to win that game. Murray threw for 150 yards and had three passes intercepted; the Gators gave that one away with six turnovers. Boyd, on the other hand, has won a conference championship, was an AFCA first-team All-American last year and has been selected as the 2013 preseason player of the year in his league. That’s a trifecta Murray can’t match.

That is one paragraph of unadulterated awesome.  If that doesn’t get people reaching for their keyboards in response, I don’t know what would.  Almost every button you could hit, she hits.  All that’s missing is a Hutson Mason reference.

Sometimes you’ve just gotta acknowledge you’re in the presence of a master.

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football

Tonight’s SEC games

Is it six o’clock yet?

  • North Carolina at South Carolina.  I’m not sure why, but this game has given me the most trouble in this week’s Fabris Pool.  The line is home team -11.5 and I continue to waffle between the ‘Cocks winning by somewhere in the range of ten to fourteen points.  (Ask me now, and I’ll say ten.)  I’ll watch Clowney, of course, but what I’ll be more interested in keeping track of is how SC’s back seven performs against what should be a pretty decent passing attack.  Fedora’s got a sharp offensive mind and a few weapons to deploy.  I don’t think it’ll be enough, but maybe the Heels will expose a weakness that Bobo can exploit next weekend.  Oh, and did I mention Jadeveon Clowney?
  • Mississippi at Vanderbilt.  Just a couple of years ago, I might have referred to this meeting as the battle for the right to be named King of the Dipshits, but that’s hardly fair to either team now.  Both have stepped up their games, recruitingwise, but still lack the depth to be included in a discussion of the conference elite.  Still, it’s a big game for both, because when you count wins towards bowl eligibility and maybe more, this is the kind of game you have to win to establish yourself in the upper half of the SEC.  Both teams have excellent staffs and I’m looking forward to seeing how Freeze vs. Shoop plays out.  The Chris Boyd suspension hurts Vandy, of course, but I think the bigger question is how well the Commodores can replace the loss of last year’s starting quarterback and running back.  I think the Rebel Black Bears pull out the win in the end, but Vanderbilt covers the +3.5 points.

Thoughts?

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Filed under SEC Football