Observations from the 35, Georgia-Kentucky

Well, other than one teeny, tiny, little thing, the night went about as well as I could have hoped.

Kentucky was sorely overmatched.  The consensus around me was that North Texas would have handled the Wildcats and Appy State would have given them a game.  I can’t speak to that with certainty, but there’s no doubt that I saw Georgia’s most dominant performance of the season.

Another home season goes in the books, which is always bittersweet, even in a season of disappointments.  Here’s what I saw:

  • I always enjoy paying tribute to all the seniors.  I can’t remember if they did this before under Richt, but I thought it was a nice touch pulling Aaron Murray out of the alphabetic rotation and letting him appear at the end.  He’s the face of this team and he’s earned it.  The crowd loved it, too.  There’s some irony in the missteps of this season making the fan base more aware and appreciative of the career Murray’s had in red and black.
  • So much for my worries about a post-Auburn hangover.  The players looked loose and energized in pre-game warm ups and came out playing hard.  Considering how they’ve gone into an emotional shell in the face of adversity many times this year, it was a welcome change.  Maybe they’re starting to learn how to roll with the punches.
  • Same thing with the coordinators.  Bobo came out, saw the safeties playing run support, and threw, threw, threw.  That first series was over almost before it started.  And Grantham followed suit by dialing up an all-out blitz on third-and-eight that was successful.
  • You saw it emerging in the second half against Auburn, but I think Bobo’s successfully transitioned into calling a game where he doesn’t have a truly consistent deep threat in the passing game.  There were tons of screens – Gurley is amazingly successful at selling those – good use of play action to clear space in the secondary for guys like Lynch and Bennett to get open and lots of quick hitting running plays when the safeties back up.  I’ll take 600 yards of offense against any team anyway he can get it.
  • When’s the last time a Georgia defensive player had so many quietly great games in a year as Garrison Smith has had?  We’re always drawn to the Jarvis Joneses (with good reason), but Smith has had the kind of year that deserves more attention.
  • Nice bounce back, Josh Harvey-Clemons.
  • I still don’t get all the short kickoffs.
  • Maybe Reggie Davis fumbled that punt so that Damian Swann wouldn’t feel so bad anymore.
  • Safety play was decent all night, except for the long run where it looked like everybody in the secondary wound up out of position.
  • Cornerback play wasn’t so strong, as was demonstrated on Kentucky’s first play from scrimmage.  Georgia was bailed out by the UK quarterbacks.  Let’s hope Vad Lee is as considerate.
  • I wasn’t amazed to see Kentucky successfully work a crossing route play against Georgia’s ILBs.  I was amazed the ‘Cats didn’t try that more often.
  • Better hope nothing happens to David Andrews, because Dallas Lee’s shotgun snapping leaves something to be desired.
  • There are times when I have a hard time believing that Todd Gurley is still improving as a player, but he is.  Something I expect Mason is going to have a great deal of appreciation for this week…
  • Speaking of Mason, he continues to show me that he can handle the offense, at least when he has time.  He’s good with his reads, his release, as I’ve mentioned before, has become more compact and quicker and he throws a catchable ball.  He doesn’t have Murray’s arm – his long passes look like they hang a little – but with the adjustments Bobo’s made in the playcalling, I think Mason will be okay.
  • Speaking of the playcalling, Bobo showed something straight out of the Jim Donnan playbook, with Murray flanked by twin tailbacks in Douglas and Gurley.  The play worked, too.

All in all, a very good night.  Except for that one, teeny, tiny, little thing, that is.

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38 Comments

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38 responses to “Observations from the 35, Georgia-Kentucky

  1. fetch

    Please, don’t think less of me as a man, but I just re-watched the game. I backed it up and watched them carrying Murray from the field. The second or third time I saw the shot of his worried family and the female fan, aghast with her hand over her mouth, I shed a tear. DGD, deserved so much more than he got.

  2. W Cobb Dawg

    Every time one of WRs catches a ball I find myself yelling: “Get out of bounds and stop the clock!” Its an ingrained reaction from this season – which fortunately wasn’t necessary last night.

  3. Senator, your recaps are always the best. You make me feel like I was there. Thanks….and remember everyone H O P E springs eternal for the DAWGS…always… On with HATE week. Do wish we could come up with a better name though.

    • Dolly Llama

      You said yesterday that you were going to the game. In black with just a touch of red, as I recall. So, lying, didn’t go, went and don’t remember … ?

      • I never said I was going to the game, I was at a private party in the GEORGIA MOUNTAINS. So, who’s feeding you info about me? There’s only two people here who know me personally here.

  4. gastr1

    GARRISON SMITH. History major. Made academic honor rolls several times. Team captain. Inducted to the UGA Student-Athlete Leadership Academy. Kickass DT. Does anyone play harder?

    A real DGD. Thanks for what you do, Garrison!

    • gastr1

      Sorry to distract from the *real* issue…don’t want to sound calloused, though–I can’t even think of what to say regarding Murray’s injury, it’s so pathetic. What a season.

      • Olddawg 55

        Occupational hazard…look how many SECEast QBs bit the dust at various times this season. Even little brother GaSouthern lost 19 players from a 65 scholly roster. Don’t know if all the “durability” articles on Aaron jinked him but they got a lot of play lately. Has anyone looked past Mason in case he should go down, God forbid! Bauta and Welch looked well prepared last night. Glad we’ll have a half dozen TBs next year..may need’em. Get well soon, Murray…combines approaching! You’re going to make someone’s surprise draft, hopefully! Well done, AM, for five years!

  5. adam

    Kentucky’s defense is truly awful, but I think it was arguably Bobo’s best game calling plays. Lots of variety, lots of great calls against what the defense was doing. Up there with South Carolina this year. And it’s such a shame Murray got hurt. I was honestly expecting him to give the single game passing yards and passing TD records a run with how he started out. Definitely wasn’t ready for the Mason era to start already.

    Defense played really well except for the safeties blowing that run so badly. I wasn’t surprised that the run happened while Tray Matthews was out hurt again. We desperately need another good safety if we’re going to leave JHC at the NB/star position. There’s Tray and a bunch of guys who constantly mess up. And I think Murray got hurt on a play where the RT got beat again. Will Friend has the only unit on the whole team who hasn’t had to deal with any injuries and they still make huge mistakes from time to time.

    • The Lone Stranger

      Murray was off and running almost from the snap as I saw it. He called his own number once too often for ’13 and, as the CrunkKarma of this season would have it, suffered the hex.

    • sniffer

      …you forgot to mention, again, how much you want Robinson to come coach defensive backs..

      • adam

        Hey, and recruit them haha.

        Yeah. Sorry, I didn’t mean to turn into a broken record there.

        The team was really dominant yesterday in (almost) every way. If Murray hadn’t gotten hurt, it would have been a truly great game to watch. Instead I was just worried about 11 for most of the game.

    • Olddawg 55

      Hit your DVRs and watch the tackle on Murray…arguably late but very blatantly overaggressive. And the ref eyeballed it and could have easily said “unnecessary” roughness. None of which would have belatedly helped Aaron. Wouldn’t blame it on the Oline that particular time.

      • adam

        Watched it again.

        Yeah, the hit sucked and was kinda late. Gates and Lee did both get beat thought. It was the left side not the right. That’s the issue with seeing stuff live just once.

  6. He will heal and be fine. How many times does this happen to players. I know a guy who had three knee surgeries before he graduated from HS and he still went on to play in college. And that was with 20th Century orthopedics.

    • All knee surgeries are different. All athletes respond to surgery differently. I’ve had two. First one major. Both my sons had knee injuries . From wrestling/football. Youngest had a subluxation of the patella. Before state wrestling tourney . I pulled him. I wasn’t popular at home or at his school for a while.Turns out his patella was smaller on one side and prone to such an injury. He’s in college now and stills enjoys sports … no surgery. But yeah he’s still annoyed about me pulling him. I can live with it.

  7. uglydawg

    A couple of thoughts.
    First…Aaron Murray is one of the top Dawgs of all time. It’s unfortunate that it ended this way, but the lessons he has taught his team mates will carry on for years.
    Second…(And I think AM would agree)…although we wanted to give AM the great cheer as he left the field in “proper order”, we cheer him all the more. And his injury has opened the door for HM to get two starts and the experience needed to lead this team….this VERY talented team…next year. I guess that’s the “silver lining” or the “bright side of the coin”.
    I sad a while back that Georgia should be a top three team next year. I still think they will be.
    Now…please, UGA Bulldogs, PLEASE hang at least 50 on the nerds!

  8. Debby Balcer

    I was heartwarming to watch the season end like that for Aaron. I hope that the team wears his number and whips Tech for him. Mason showed poise last night.

  9. Timphd

    Hope the best for Murray’s future. Not sure how he will translate to the NFL but who knows. Do know he is one of my favorite Dawgs of all time. Just wish he could have left the field on his teammates shoulders.

  10. uglydawg

    Let HM and Co. hang 50 on GT and walk AM off (I’m guessing he’ll be there on the sideline)…cast and all…on his teammates shoulders. Boy…would that piss off the gnats! AM could make the statement…”I feel at home here at Bobby Dodd field where I never lost and dominated every team we’ve faced here!”.

    • Dolly Llama

      Y’all keep talking about hanging 50 on them. What’s magical about the number 50? Hell, the Tarheels hung 80 on Old Dominion yesterday. The Tarheels! A basketball school.

      This “50 for Aaron” business is the soft bigotry of low expectations. After all, we’re talking about Tech here. As I said above, hang 50 on them for Aaron. Anything else, the boys can keep for themselves.

  11. ugafidelis

    That “one teeny, tiny, little thing…” Heartbreaking. Just dang heartbreaking.

  12. Raven

    What was with all the high snaps to Mason?

    • adam

      It was after we rotated in some backup linemen. Dantzler, Ward, and Houston were in and Dallas Lee moved over to center. Luckily Andrews will be back at center against Tech.

    • Macallanlover

      Just hadn’t adjusted to the shorter Mason, AM is a tall lad, didn’t you know?

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        6-10 in the heart, Mac. +1

        • Macallanlover

          True dat, he is a bigger man than can be measured with a tape. Wish him all the best in his recovery, he deserves a shot at living his dream. One thing about it, regardless of how well his knee heals and how the NFL guys evaluate him, he has a great future as a coach if he chooses that route.

    • ugafidelis

      I made a comment about that too. About three snaps before the one that sailed.

  13. Scorpio Jones, III

    What happened to Rumph? Kept looking for Mason to throw to him?

    What did I miss?

  14. IWanaBDaveGrohl

    To your last two points, Senator:

    - I still have to re-watch some of the game, because there’s parts I don’t remember, but Mason made a laser throw to McGowan along the sidelines that surprised me. He did the same thing to Rumph (I think) against App State

    - Bobo has broken out that twin shotgun RB formations, and that particular play, before on occasion. I remember him running it in the Sugar Bowl with Brown and Moreno.