Observations from the end zone, Cocktail Party edition

Seats weren’t bad for this one – two sections over from the band, next to the players’ families, about 25 rows up.  Which means I got to see the third quarter meltdown up close and personal.

This Georgia team simply can’t stand prosperity.  A shame, because that first half was the most balanced play we’ve seen from the team the entire season.  The third quarter was the mother of all dumpster fires.  The fourth quarter was just bizarre, as the Gators closed to within three, stopped a fourth-and-one conversion attempt, played themselves out of field goal range with a dumb personal foul, got a gift penalty – illegal substitution coming out of a time out! – to convert a fourth-and-two and then wound up losing even more yardage as a result of Corey Moore’s biggest play of the season… at which point, Florida punted and Georgia did what exactly nobody in the stadium expected, which was to run out the last eight or so minutes of the game, aided by a meaningless, but enjoyable, dumb personal foul.

I am, of course, exceedingly grateful for the win (did I mention it was the third in a row over Florida?), but for once I’d like to see the Dawgs grow up a little and roll with the punches.  Yes, the Lynch drop and what ensued were deflating, but at some point you’ve got to deal with crap that happens sometimes instead of falling apart.  This was a game that Georgia was this close to winning by three or four touchdowns that instead turned into a nail biter.

On to the bullet points.

  • Gurley, you magnificent bastard.  Honestly, words fail me at this point.  It’s obvious he wasn’t in anything close to optimal condition, yet still managed to dominate much of the game.  Watching a 232-pound man who hadn’t played in three weeks outrun the entire Gator defense was one of the most awe-inspiring things I’ve watched this season.  And as big as the early runs and catches were, it may have been even more impressive watching him gut it out on that last drive picking up two first downs when everybody in the stadium knew he was getting the ball.
  • Lost in all the Gurley greatness was the fine game that Aaron Murray turned in.  The throw to Gurley for the touchdown was perfect.  Best of all, Murray gave his teammates exactly what they needed from him, a game where he stayed under control and avoided mistakes.  He picked an excellent time for his first game against Florida without an interception.  And he leaves with the rarest of records, 3-1 against the Gators.  Well done, sir.
  • As disappointing as the Lynch drop was, and even more so his reaction after the drop, what really killed me was that it ruined a perfect call by Bobo and terrific execution by Murray, who held onto the ball until the last possible second.  Lynch had only one Florida defender on his side of the field and three linemen downfield to block for him.  At a minimum, that sucker should have gone for 20 yards.
  • I’m not sure why there’s so much criticism directed Bobo’s way.  He called an almost flawless first half, as Georgia scored on five of its six possessions.  The last series in particular was as good an effort in clock management as you’ll see from this staff and the points they got turned out to be the decisive ones.  I don’t think it’s fair to accuse Bobo of being overly conservative in the second half either, as the two calls that resulted in disaster were both aggressive.  Even with Gurley back, this offense is still missing one of its staples, a legitimate downfield threat – the back shoulder throw that Murray made to Reggie Davis that Davis couldn’t set up properly to catch was the most revealing play of the game – and Bobo did a pretty good job of scheming around that. (I loved those back-to-back throws to Lynch and Rome on the drive that finished out the first quarter.)  Georgia had more yardage yesterday than it had against any Florida defense under Muschamp despite still missing several weapons.
  • Quayvon Hicks threw some monster blocks in the first half.
  • When he doesn’t fumble, Brendan Douglas sure is fun to watch.
  • The offensive line played about as you’d expect, holding its own when facing off against the Gator defensive line, but struggling when there were more numbers to defend.  Florida run blitzed a lot more in the second half, with good success, and the corner blitz on the play that turned out to be the safety was as well-timed a call as you’ll see, aided by a complete failure on that side of the line to pick it up (Murray’s blind side on a play action… not good, fellas).
  • Welcome back, Michael Bennett.  You were missed.  Especially by Aaron Murray.
  • Two plays I want to review on the replay:  the lateral to Lynch and the bobbled Wooten catch.
  • Amazing to type this, but Marshall Morgan’s place kicking has become non-eventful.
  • I still don’t understand why he can’t kick off into the end zone, though.  Then again, I don’t understand why Florida didn’t come after Barber on his two punts.
  • Todd Grantham lives to fight another day.  I’ve got no problem with bend but not break tactics, but he should have been more aggressive with his blitzes when Florida’s offensive line started getting some traction in the second half.  It was disappointing to see the lack of resistance on Florida’s last scoring drive.  And there is simply no excuse for 12 men on the field after a time out (didn’t get why that was called, either).  On the other hand, Florida was held to 20 points, which is a lot less than the doubters expected.
  • Monster game from Garrison Smith.  Others who looked good:  Ramik Wilson, Ray Drew, who gets held more than anyone else on the defense, and Jordan Jenkins.  The Dawgs also got serviceable performances out of Mauger, Moore and Swann.  One of the sacks was the result of coverage.
  • I was a little surprised at how half-assed Florida looked on occasion.  It’s one thing to draw penalties as a result of aggressive play.  It’s another to draw several out of stupidity.  And speaking of stupid, I enjoyed the Gator defender who went down in the fourth quarter and then got up and left the field.  Sure, it stopped the clock, but Georgia got the benefit of having the 40-second clock reset, which allowed the offense to bleed off even more time.
  • That last drive was impressive.  That’s twice this season Georgia’s offense has run out the game with drives of over eight minutes.  Maybe Joe T and Company deserve a wee bit of credit for that, eh?

No, it wasn’t pretty.  But if you’d have asked me or any other Georgia fan five years ago if we could have foreseen a three game winning streak against Florida any time in the near future, we’d have laughed sadly at the suggestion.  That Richt has broken the psychology of the series after a 21-year drought is one of the biggest achievements of his career.  I tip my cap to him for that.  You should, too.

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88 Comments

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88 responses to “Observations from the end zone, Cocktail Party edition

  1. IAmAGurleyMan

    Proud to be a Gurley man!

    • Flukebucket

      Love Gurley to death but I was a little disappointed in his Crowell imitation. All of that jawing and head bobbing and shit does nothing for me. And I had never noticed it in him before. But I am an old man living in a young man’s world. I will get used to it one of these days.

      • 74 Dawg

        I’m with you, but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it. I thought Gurley was a class act. Hopefully, that was an aberation.

      • Dawgfan Will

        Rewatch some of those plays. He was provoked, and stood it as long as he could. There was a lot of extra-curricular activity in the pile directed at Gurley much of the game.

      • charlottedawg

        Gurley actually talks a lot more trash than Crowell ever did, mostly because he’s on the field a hell of a lot more. Oh that and because he’s a freakin’ beast and runs with the intention of hurting and humiliating defenders. No complaints from me.

  2. BWD

    Arguing with a Bobo critic is like playing chess with a pigeon. You could be the greatest player in the world, but the pigeon will still knock over all the pieces, shit on the board and strut around triumphantly.

  3. 69Dawg

    What leaves me confounded is the lack of any killer instinct in this team. CMR has not shown it but on rare occasions throughout his 13 years here. We just can’t put a stake through the opponent’s heart. Not only do we not kill them on offense we actually end up offering the opponent a helping hand by some of the most amazing screw ups. This was the Vandy game part two. Only the refs were too busy ref’ing the fights to directly screw us. As far as the D was concerned we almost let a one armed QB with no receivers win. I’m happy and thrilled we won since I live close to the lizard’s home but let’s not think that this team can’t still stink up the joint.

    We will know about this team in two weeks. Auburn has been able to turn around and become a very good team. Auburn. Kentucky and GT are all going to be a challenge for this team.

    • We beat Florida three years in a row. Can we just be happy for a few seconds?

    • sUGArdaddy

      Funny, I thought we found out a lot about them vs USCjr, lsu and fla.

      Enjoy the win.

    • Will (the other one)

      I think people are blinded by Auburn beating TAMU. They’re a lot better than last year, but they aren’t a BCS team. If our O with Gurley at 40% and Conley out could put up 400+ yards on the Gator D, we can top 500 yds against the Barn this year.

  4. Dawg with no fleas

    Senator,
    I agree with almost everything you said but I think some of the bobo hate came from the fact that the offense in the second half seemed to lose some of the aggression we had in the first half. Missing gurley for the large parts of the second and third quarter didn’t help, nor did the long drives from Florida. On the lynch lateral. In the post game interview on bulldogs illustrated,I believe bobo said that part of it was Murray’s fault and that the pass should have never been a lateral.

    • The pass wasn’t a lateral, but it was too close to overturn.

      • Debby Balcer

        It wasn’t a lateral that was a gift from the refs to FL.

      • 69Dawg

        If Aaron had thrown the pass to lead Lynch as he should have it would not have been close to a lateral but because Lynch had to stop and move back a little to try and catch the ball it caused the lateral call. I believe if Lynch had picked it up to run the refs would have called it incomplete. It was just one of those crazy things that seems to be happening to us this year.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Correct!

        • And how about that safety on AM? Is that a miscommunication, or is it Lynch missing the play and block. This is the second sack Lynch may have some contribution. Was it just a smart play by the Gators?

          • WVMtnDawg

            A better question: why call play action from your own end zone! Give it to Quayvon and get outta there!

            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              Murray threw a 98 yard TD pass earlier this season out of the endzone using play action. There is nothing wrong with the call. It was the blocking assignments that got fouled up allowing a sack that was the problem.

              • Will (the other one)

                Yep. Bobo was actually being aggressive there. It makes the Vandy game all the more maddening, but maybe we’re just stuck with one game per year where the O just has no clue (Sakerlina in 2012 was the same way.)

      • Dawgoned

        Agreed. On the tube in real time, it did not appear to be a later, but there was no conclusive replay showing that it wasn’t. Strange call from the officials across the way. But it still shouldn’t have caused a meltdown. The defense just seemed to wilt immediately after that. Line went back to the old habit of losing wide containment, and the D-Backs went back to their old habit of avoiding contact or tackling. Good ultimate comeback, though, thanks to Murray, the O-Line, Gurley, Douglass and McGowan. I know it was a Ga-Fla Game and emotions were running high, but I didn’t care for the Georgia players looking out of control in those after-play scuffles. I prefer to let the Gators look like the thugs. Gurley threw a punch that probably should have gotten him ejected, provoked or not. Don’t we have a coach, say like Erk, that the players respect AND fear?

    • Ptc dawg

      Catching the pass and hauling arse downfield would also have been an option….

  5. Chuck

    The Lynch play – and that is what I am calling it – had me thrilled and elated and then pissed and deflated so fast my neck still hurts. The one good thing about it is that it was almost Florida’s “run, Lindsay, run” moment. But it wasn’t. :)

  6. Dolly Llama

    Disagree with you on Grantham strongly. He needs to go. Otherwise, I really think Wooten’s catch was a catch. Your mileage may vary upon replay.

  7. AusDawg85

    I’ll always enjoy the memory of this game, but it may end up in our history books as “the one we sucked less”.

  8. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Senator: It was a lateral, and Wooten was bobbling the ball (the ball hit him in the facemask as he was trying to catch it).

  9. freakshow

    Well, my two cents are a combo of that above. I’m damn sure that it was indeed a lateral, but I think Woot had a TD. (But it was close, and alas, the call on the field was an INC and you really con’t overturn it.)

    Muschamp is a dope. His players reflect it. I hope Foley keeps him around forever.

    • Q

      Wooten had it in his left hand controlled with his foot down, but for just an instant. Like wrestling, all you have to do is pin the guy for a millisecond and you’ve got him. Same deal, and I think Woot was robbed.

      • jryuuu

        i think was the issue was that he didn’t “control it all the way through” and by the time he did, his other foot was already out of bounds..

  10. sUGAr

    We really had something special until they all went down. Would have killed Notre Dame last year. This offense surpassed Oregon’s until the devil went down to Knoxville. Richt sure has had his share of spiritual adversity. What is the Lord leading him to do?

  11. Q

    Danielson said that the safety was Murray’s fault – unless Lynch was supposed to block, and Richt said he wasn’t in the post game. AM didn’t account for Purifoy.

    • The other Doug

      Richt said something to Lynch after the play, and I think it was that he should have yelled that Purifoy was showing blitz.

  12. Chuck

    Wooten’s “mistake” was to try to tuck the football close to his body, which made it look like he didn’t have control. If he had just held it out with his hands he might have gotten the call.

    The best comment I’ve seen about the “lateral” is the refs would have called it INC if Artie had picked it up and tried to run with it — I absolutely think that is the case. ‘Fraid I’m on the no lateral side of this issue by the width of the hashmark — AM releases it on the backside, AL catches it on the frontside.

    But the highlight of this or many seasons has been the game-killing drives against SC and the Crips…uh, Gators. The fact that SOS and Boom were on the other sidelines is priceless.

    • The other Doug

      It’s a tough camera angle, but it looked to me like AM threw it side arm a bit so the release point was the difference.

      • Smitty

        In the FSU VS MIAMI game identical play happened and was called a TD. Even after the review it was still a TD. Got a little hosed on that one.

        • hinesword

          The Miami guy caught it clean, Wooten didn’t. He short armed it causing a bobble. He was out once he had control. At the very least it prevented the replay official from overturning it. Sucks, really could have put the game away.

  13. uglydawg

    69 Dawg wrote, “. I believe if Lynch had picked it up to run the refs would have called it incomplete. It was just one of those crazy things that seems to be happening to us this year.”
    This is so true. The continued screwing by the Refs has me weary. Did anyone else notice that there were at least two occasions (a bounced off the ground completion by UF and a very critical out of bounds spot late in the game) where the replay official was either asleep, or cheating…and the annoncers had to shame them into reviewing?
    Another thing…Did anyone else pick up on CMR’s comment that he’s beginning to wonder if this (being a college football coach) is a smart way to make a living? (I’ve paraphrased what he said)

    • The other Doug

      “Did anyone else pick up on CMR’s comment that he’s beginning to wonder if this (being a college football coach) is a smart way to make a living?”

      Yes, and I also noticed he was limping after the game.

      • VoxDawg

        It really seems like the lifestyle and the overall stress is wearing on CMR. Would not shock me in the least if he announced he was hanging it up after this season. His own physical woes, Kathryn’s cancer recovery, and everything else that contributes to the burden of the position…

  14. Scorpio Jones, III

    I have been accused, with some justification, of having Bama Envy.
    There is nothing wrong with admiring something well done.

    But if we were Bama, Rhett McGowan is playing field hockey and Brendan Douglas is probably playing at Tech.

    It is great to be a Georgia Bulldog.

    • Normaltown Mike

      Maybe so, but guys like Kevin Perez, Coleman Watson, etc. leave Georgia with 20 credit hours and no degree when they are cut from the team.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        I beg to differ NM. They transfer to Georgia Southern where they become stars of the team rather than ride the pine for their entire college careers and get more tail than can be counted with an abacus, plus get their college degrees.

  15. charlottedawg

    Random thoughts
    -you know the worm has officially turned when Georgia fans are bitching about the 3rd win in a row not being a blowout, and it really could’ve gotten ugly for the Gators.
    -video evidence would not have been enough to overrule a lateral OR a forward pass ruling, it was that close. what makes that play doubly hard to watch is that it was actually a pretty brilliant play call and Lynch had two blockers on one definer and plenty of green in front of him.
    -Gurley. Wow.
    -Murray- undefeated against Florida in regulation
    -Last, let me preface this by saying I very very rarely will praise or criticize Bobo on play calling for multiple reasons but mostly because I believe he’s done an excellent job overall the last few years coaching including but definitely not limited to play calling. That being said, I think the safety in the end zone was one of the worst play calls I’ve ever seen. Yeah either Lynch or gates missed a key block but why the hell are we calling a slow developing play action pass play in our end zone. Looking at the re-play I don’t see a check down option for Murrray, it looks like every receiver as well as Lynch are trying to go deep down field. It was a stupid gamble and it really blew up in our face.

    • Normaltown Mike

      A close game in Jax and some more W’s down the stretch probably gives Boom another season.

      A clusterfuck blowout in Jax and he might be dead man walking already.

    • I didn’t hate the playcall. I didn’t love it, but didn’t hate it. It’s one of those all or nothing plays…………if it works you’re a genius and caught the defense napping……….if it doesn’t, then we saw what happens. I’m just thankful Murray held onto the ball.

      I had similar feelings when we went for it on 4th down………I didn’t love the fact that we went for it, but if we were going to go for it, I actually really liked the playcall, The Gator D just played it really well. But I felt like that particular play would work way more often than not.

      Again, if those two plays work, Bobo and Richt look pretty genius in those scenarios. But I wouldn’t argue with someone who felt like those weren’t the best times to call those plays either. All I know is even in victory, this team is going to be the death of me. :)

      • Russ

        The 4th down play was pretty cool and should’ve worked but Florida just reacted well to it. I think a fresh back (or Gurley 100%) makes that first down. I liked the play. Would love to see us bust it out on the Maggots at the end of the season.

      • charlottedawg

        I actually thought the direct snap to gurley was a good call and was a little surprised it didn’t work.

        • eldawg

          The Senator points out correctly that #48 had some good blocks in 1H, so why wasn’t he out in front of #3 on that key play? Hall whiffed (or nearly whiffed) on his “block”.

        • uglydawg

          I liked going for it on fourth, but I did’nt like the play. Florida’s players were 80% sure Gurley would get the ball..so they were dogging him..when the snap went straight to him, it left no doubt and here they came. A fake to him with a bootleg by AM would have (maybe…but who really knows?) a better call. STill. I thought the play calling was excellent for almost the whole game. Execution was a little off and it gave an inferior UF team a break that kept them from getting routed. I’m happpy.

      • UbiquitousGaAlum

        Agree on the 4th down attempt … Liked that call

    • eldawg

      You run #3 right up the middle on that first down play backed up against your endzone, that is the highest probability for success & low risk call, then maybe try play action on second down and manageable. What the heck was bobo thinking? It’s a simple game people…

  16. BMan

    Yeah, I don’t know whose fault it was for the safety, but when you see a guy showing blitz there, someone has to scream an alert, and you check to a throw in the exact area that the blitzer is coming from. It did seem to be too slow-developing of a play for that position on the field against a good defense with momentum turning.

  17. Senator, I tip my hat to CMR. I would have never thought it possible to win three in a row in Jacksonville. This is truly an important accomplishment in his Career. Love what Honey Bobo did on Saturday. He is the man and hopefully the next HC at GEORGIA! Now about Grantham….get your sugar honey iced tea and hit the road man.

  18. Will Trane

    ESPN has good article on Todd Grantham and the defense. Perhaps some will get of Corey Moore for a game or two. Big play. Plus since TG has been DC his D has 8 turnovers, surrendered just 3 TDs, and has 3 wins. Says beating UF is important. True test will be Auburns offensive weapons at QB, W/O, and RB.