Observations from the 35, Clemson-Georgia edition

Like Gaul, last night’s opener was divided into three parts:  a first half that was marked by huge momentum swings, a third quarter of trench warfare and a fourth quarter that may very well have been the most dominant one of Mark Richt’s head coaching career.  In the end, it added up to a decisive 24-point win that leaves the team and the fan base in the same emotional place it was in after last September’s win over LSU.  We’ll have to wait and see if the rest of the story turns out happier than last year’s, but in the meantime, there is plenty to savor from what I saw last night.

Cue the bullet points.

  • The crowd came ready to play from the get-go.  Maybe it was the improved wi-fi access.  But in any event, Clemson had to use two timeouts because of crowd noise.
  • Admittedly, Todd Gurley makes it easy to keep the energy level up.  The place went simply out of its collective mind after his touchdown return.  It’s incredible to realize that he rushed for almost 200 yards with the Clemson defense keying on him.  All I can say is that I’ve lost control over Todd Gurley superlatives.
  • My two biggest plays of the game are probably different from most.  Collin Barber’s first punt of sixty yards, combined with a very poor decision to attempt a return, flipped the field to the Clemson nine and started a run that lasted throughout most of the game of the Tigers losing the field position battle.  And while Gurley’s touchdown runs were all spectacular, it was his 38-yarder that preceded his third touchdown of the day that showed the offensive line was finally stepping up to control Clemson’s front seven.  That’s when the physical dominance kicked in.
  • Do not underestimate how big a deal the field position battle was last night.
  • Much will be made of Pruitt’s halftime adjustments, and deservedly so.  Two in particular had the biggest impact:  a decision to play less man coverage in the secondary, which seemed to allow better safety support to slow down those quick passes to the sideline that gave the defense fits in the first half; and a steady dose of Ray Drew on first and second downs, which made the Clemson running game up the middle noticeably less effective.
  • Leonard Floyd is a bad mother.
  • I thought the replay official blew the call on the Bennett fumble, which fortunately didn’t cost Georgia.  But I thought he got the call reversing the fumble on the Clemson kickoff return correct.
  • In so many ways, you never would have seen that Aaron Davis interception last season.  And I honestly can’t remember the last time I witnessed a Georgia secondary that was so successful at knocking balls out of receivers’ hands.
  • While I thought I detected a panicky hand wave early on (and that may have been force of habit on my part), I couldn’t help but be impressed at how under control the defensive signalling was in the second half.  Truly a joy to behold.
  • I guess there was something to the happy talk about conditioning this time.
  • While there was plenty of impressive defensive performances last night – Herrera may have turned in the best game of his career – there are three I really want to acknowledge.  Pruitt’s best coaching job may have been to turn Mauger and Moore into functional safeties.  I can’t remember an embarrassing moment from either player and both turned in several solid plays on the night.  And Bowman, buried by the last staff, played well at one of the corner spots.
  • Deshaun Watson is going to be one helluva quarterback soon.
  • Offensive line play was spotty in the first half.  Theus played gamely against Beasley, but had some trouble with the speed rush.  There was little push from the line in the power run game.  But when they got going in the second half, boy, was it something to see.  My favorite moment was Andrews being there at the end of Chubb’s big TD run.
  • Bobo was patient and flexible.  The first series yielded nothing, so he got creative with Michel and McKenzie and that got the offense moving.  He was obviously confident that the running game was going to pay dividends eventually, so he stuck with it until it did.  My only carping, and it’s minor, was that he abandoned challenging Clemson’s secondary with any medium range passing.  That led to Venables cheating the safeties up for run support, which worked for a while… at least until Georgia’s backs blew past the safeties in the second half.
  • Mason isn’t Aaron Murray.  He doesn’t have Murray’s arm, something that may have factored into Bobo’s abandonment of the deep pass.  But I thought he displayed better field awareness than Murray and was much less of a risk taker.  With what looks like a dominant run game, that’s exactly what the offense needs.  There were some pesky communication issues with the receivers at times, but that’s to be expected in an opener and there’s time to work that out.  He delivers the ball quickly, which is something some of his receivers are still getting used to.  All in all, he’s certainly good enough for the task at hand.
  • Damn, does Georgia have a stable of running backs.
  • Hearing all the talk about McKenzie’s quickness in preseason camp did not prepare me for how exciting he really is.  He is going to break something big this season.
  • They may not have listed a fullback on the final preseason roster, but they got plenty of good work out of Maxey and Hicks from that spot.
  • Last, but certainly not least, improvement on the special teams.  I had hoped for some slight positive developments.  What I got was something much bigger than that.  It’s clear that there’s been a massive upgrade in personnel, as the coverage teams were noticeably faster.  Michel, in particular, is a demon from the outside.  But the return teams were also vastly improved.  Some of that was Gurley, of course.  But Davis’ technique was clearly better.  And the blocking on Gurley’s TD return was picture perfect.

So how much should we take away from last night?  Well, start with players buying into what the coaches are selling.  I’ve got to think every player on Georgia’s defense now believes Jeremy Pruitt walks on water. Ditto on the special teams front.  Second, conditioning.  For once, it wasn’t Georgia’s players wilting on a hot, humid night against an opponent whose offensive coordinator believes in running defenses into the ground with as many plays as possible.  And third, this group of running backs has the potential to rival the deep groups that Georgia turned out in the mid- to late-80s.

As small sample sizes go, that’s as good a beginning as I could hope for.

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86 Comments

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86 responses to “Observations from the 35, Clemson-Georgia edition

  1. Brandon

    I am far more optimistic than I was after last year’s LSU game. As great as our offense was before everybody got injured last year I knew our defense was garbage and I had an ill foreboding that it was going to catch up with us, and in a big way. This year, I think our defense is only going to get better. Mason is no Murray, but he knows the playbook and made good decisions last night. If we can get the deep threats back in the passing game that might be enough IF we can otherwise stay healthy.

    • gastr1

      David Greene surely didn’t have a rocket arm, and his delivery was, well, deliberate. A lot can be said for knowing where to go with the ball and being careful not to overplay the hand.

      • Brandon

        Not knocking Mason, he gave a solid performance last night, but I’m not prepared to give him the David Greene mantel yet either, though your point is well taken that Greene didn’t have the arm of a Stafford or a Murray either.

        • Dawgfan Will

          This, but I’ll take last night’s game by Mason over a Coxian “I saw him there, but I threw it anyway” shoulder shrug. I think Cox was a DGD by the way, but he was a pick-six machine.

          • .Dash

            Mason has thrown a few back picks himself (though not last night). Ultimately, I wasn’t really impressed with the passing game. Several poor throws by Mason and a complete lack of deep threat will do that. Here’s to hoping the RBs can get us through the year.

          • Brandon

            I agree Mason seems to be a much better decision maker than someone like Cox thankfully. In all fairness to Cox though I think he was made much worse by the fact that he was saddled with one of the worst defenses in Georgia history and was under constant pressure to score. Cox threw a great deep ball though. Go back and watch the South Carolina game that year, and there were a couple of others, I think the Arkansas game, where Cox made some great throws to go along with those bad decisions and won some shootouts we otherwise would have lost. I think Hutson is inherently a better decision maker than Cox was and hopefully won’t be under the same kind of duress and constant need to press and take chances to score.

  2. Secondary needs to continue to develop. Curious to see how Bobo’s gameplan changes with JSW and MM’s return. Maxey is a great fullback. Hicks is also a good….whatever he is.

    We are focused. We are fast. We are deep. Exciting times for Georgia football, Senator.

  3. Yes Sir. Great day to be a Dawg! I’m gonna savor this one all the way through the off week. Great Observations Senator. Like Brandon stated above, Defense last year kept me from really feeling my oats, but if we win against the Chickens I believe its possible that the stars align to make this a special year.

  4. Boro Dawg

    Now the coaching staffs next trick will be to make sure the team stays focused and does not listen to the media about how they will run the table.

    • Brandon

      Yeah, the last time we looked this good in an opener (Oklahoma St., 2007) we promptly lost to South Carolina in the next week or two, though we did also beat Florida, win the Sugar Bowl, and end up ranked No. 2.

      • Dawgfan Will

        Now let’s see what such a season looks like when we don’t gak it up against the Gamecocks. :-)

        • 81Dog

          that’s going to be the first real test for this team: Let’s see how it handles prosperity. Can we take an impressive win and build on it, or are we going to spend the next 2 weeks reading our own press clippings? Given the nonchalant way the coaches and staff seemed to handle yesterday’s decisive win, and Pruitt’s apparent influence on everything so far, there is good reason to hope nobody’s losing focus after one admittedly impressive win.

  5. raven

    I am sorry I couldn’t find your tent yesterday because I wanted to say thank you for a fine blog in person.

  6. Ole Dawg

    I don’t want Hutson Mason to be Aaron Murray. I want him to be Buck Belue.

  7. sectionzalum

    By my count we played 8 true freshmen. Papers missed Isaiah Wynn.

    Punt direction and coverage warmed my heart.

    Our DBs waived their arms…TO CALL THE PLAY. I damn near cried.

    That game made me very happy.

    And I think Gurley distanced himself from all our former greats save for Herschel. Poetic that he was there to see it in person.

  8. sectionzalum

    And,by the way, Chubb averaged more per carry than Gurley.

  9. Scorpio Jones, III

    Pretty good watching, Bluto. I wonder if the deep ball stuff was lack of the two fast guys, or just not needed, or did not have time to get it off, or all three…guess we will see. I hope to hell I am wrong, but I am just not counting on Malcolm making it back for quite a while.

    Obviously, Will Friend made some adjustments during the break, too.

    In the end, Clemson’s lack of defensive depth doomed them. (If they had depth on defense they made a corporate decision not to use it…we certainly understand that shit.)

    I want somea whatever Herbie is smoking.

    It is interesting, but predictable, I guess, we are delirious over beating a team most of us thought we were going to beat.

    It is a long, long way to Jerusalem, folks.

    • Cojones

      Herbie got my cookie in the mail. Thought it would be better than the fresh dog turd in a ziplock that’s still waiting to go.

    • heyberto

      My excitement has little to with trying to read tea leaves to think we can do something extraordinary this season, but just that we’ve clearly have a defense that looks like a Georgia D should, and special teams the likes of which we haven’t seen in years. In my view, they’re ahead of schedule on all fronts. Everything else is white noise as far as I’m concerned. It won’t surprise me to see our offense wet the bed in a road game this year. … Just because it seems to happen. I’m not convinced yet that the D and special teams can bail us out… But again, I’m thrilled with what I see so far.

      • Olddawg 55

        I believe the most significant thing we saw happen in the game..mentioned by the Senator…was that the defense bought into what Pruitt and company are selling. It appeared to this old linebacker that a light came on and the defense said,”oh, so that’s what he’s been saying.”…They seemed to have come together and that should pay tons of dividends in the future. Bobo’s offense seems on track with sweeps coming back into fashion. Kudos to Friend’s group that looked good and with depth. Go Dawgs, GATA!!!

        • 81Dog

          Even on the plays where our D gave up yardage in the first half, we always had a defender in pretty good position to make a play. A couple of times, the Clemson QB delivered a pass to the perfect spot, or the defender didn’t see the ball coming, but nobody was running wide open enough for Uncle Rico to lob up a grenade for 6. It makes me a little giddy to imagine what could happen as the season progresses and our guys get more and more polished in Pruitt’s system.

    • Debby Balcer

      It wasn’t that we beat them it was how we beat them. Our OL, D and ST looked solid.

  10. H. Boots

    Herbie also qualified that he was ranking the teams based on this week’s performance, and that he would do the same thing every week and it would be very fluid. I think it’s fair to say we were the most impressive team in week one. Most of the top ten looked less than impressive, and they were playing unranked teams.

    • Russ

      We were very impressive, and I don’t like the Aggies, but they were way more impressive against Sackerlina on the road. Sackerlina isn’t nearly as bad as they made them look.

      • H. Boots

        I disagree. That wasn’t a fluke. Carolina hasn’t recruited any big talent guys in the last three years, and their stars are all gone now and it showed. They can get better but it’s gonna take some time. Down year for them ahead.

        • Mayor

          I agree with you, H. Q: How many times has the University of South Carolina won 11 games in a season with Connor Shaw at QB? A: Three. Q; How many times has the University of South Carolina won 11 games in a season WITHOUT Connor Shaw at QB? A: Zero.

          • Also what are the chances that two of the most transcendent prospects of the last 10 years in Lattimore and Clowney happening to come from a talent poor state like South Carolina and USuC getting both of them?

  11. Goat Balls

    I noticed Andrews at the end of that run too. That was impressive.

    And We played for field position. Coach Dooley must’ve gotten in Richts ear.

    It was all magnificent.

  12. timphd

    I don’t know what the players think but I damn sure think Pruitt walks on water. What a difference to not see guys baffled and lost. Even when Clempson had completions it wasn’t because of blown coverage or confusion. And that second half show! Damn!

    • Goat Balls

      You’re right. At least our Db’s were in position and were making tackles. I saw Swann get beat only once, but it was on a perfectly executed play by Clempson and extremely difficult to defend.

    • 69Dawg

      Hell I was just glad our DB’s were finally in the same zip code as the WR’s. You got to give Clemson’s WR’s credit for some great catches.

  13. JRod1229

    Nothing about the music? Gurley certainly got the crowd pumped up but that music helped.. And nothing quite like hearing 90k sing I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love Tonight.

    • My favorite musical moment was when they forgot to cut it off when the ref was calling a penalty.

      I wasn’t offended by the piped in music, but really, the place would have been electric even without it.

    • No One Knows You're a Dawg

      I have to go the other way on this one. Karaoke Cam was the one thing I didn’t like about last night’s game. It didn’t fit the moment (a sentimental-sounding song just before an important 3rd down play for the defense) and sort of changed the vibe in the stadium I’m-gonna-get-you to I-wanna-hug-you. Save it for games like Charleston Southern.

      Also, the lyrics of Your Love are kind of creepy. An older dude trying to talk a young girl into a one night stand while his significant other isn’t around? No doubt it reflects the gameday dreams of many a male Dawg fan, but some things are better left unsaid (or unsung).

      “Turn Down For What” by Georgia’s own Lil Jon, OTOH, was great and played at the perfect moment. A Soulja Boy for our times.

      • Couldn’t agree more – we were lucky “Karaoke Cam” didn’t kill the energy. It was really stupid – the crowd was going nuts, before a big third down, could have kept it going with something from the Redcoats, but 80s pop sing along was lame…
        Overall though , the piped in music bothered me much less than expected, except it was REALLY loud pregame.

      • Was about to post about this. What a buzzkill! Crowd was amped and place was rocking…then karoke cam took some of the air out and seemed hokey

  14. ToddGrantham

    Senator you made some good points. I just would be remiss if I didnt mention it appeared the Dawgz had only 10 men on defense during the final few plays of Clemsons first drive.

  15. SpaceStation

    Along with the smooth UGA performance, you to Senator are hitting your stride with this post. I thought our team looked poised and well prepared, which hasn’t been the case in many big openers in the Richt era. t have many comments but I will limit them to conditioning.

    “conditioning. For once, it wasn’t Georgia’s players wilting on a hot, humid night against an opponent whose offensive coordinator believes in running defenses into the ground with as many plays as possible.”

    I noted that UGA made a concerted effort to use / develop depth at nearly all positions where it matters. This strategy (if successful), will make your conditioning look very good! From RB, to both lines and even linebackers where Carter did some notable work (last year Herrera / Wilson seemed to play every down). This strategy clearly paid off as the 4th quarter developed. Great halftime adjustments by both our coordinators but Gurley had 4 carries from the line of scrimmage in the 1st half. By the 4th quarter, Clemson had no chance to catch a fresh Gurley. I am used to UGA being the tired team in the 4th quarter. I hope this trend continues. I am cautiously optimistic about our Defense, but if we have 4 premiere SEC backs and depth in the trenches, I think the 4th quarter onslaught could be a trend. Great 4th Quarter. Hope we build on it going forward. It is a long season. Let keep building and grinding.

    • Macallanlover

      And the exposure and playing time for so many players as we move through the season means we will always have guys who have game experience whether that need be for replacing an injured player, or going into next year. You have to think the recruits who were on hand noticed the number of people getting significant game minutes, including 6 true freshmen. If you come to Georgia, and deserve to be on the field, you will get your shot regardless of your class status. The enthusiasm of the crowd and bench had to be a fun atmosphere for them and give us a better chance of landing some of them.

      • Dawgfan Will

        And REAL game experience, not just in garbage time. It’s a very exciting development. Richt seems even more excited about it than I am.

  16. Cojones

    Think Hutson is worthy of more than mediocre comments. His long receivers were not in the game last night, thus he didn’t have long targets and his yardage is not a yardstick of his performance. He was cool, threw it away several necessary times and threw behind several receivers, I think, in hopes they would turn around because they were double covered and looking to intercept. I believe much of his play escaped close scrutiny and, when that happens along with his words of what was happening, he will receive a grade up in most minds.

    Hutson was excellent – running, throwing, wise use of the ball including taking care of it in close situations. 69.2% passing in his first game of the new season. There is much more than meets the eye here with this man and I’m going to enjoy his every play. From this start, I don’t expect up and down play this year at QB. With this team and players, that is gold.

    • Russ

      +2. I agree with whoever said he completed all the important handoffs to Gurley.

      And I also agree that I want Mason to be Buck Belue.

    • BrightOwl

      Watching the game in person I wasn’t particularly impressed, but I turned on the DVR this afternoon and I agree with you.

      He made some great throws and even his bad throws were for good reasons. He wasn’t afraid to throw the ball away when he had to. And most importantly, he protected the ball.

      The only real complaint I have is that he sometimes stared down his receiver. He needs to learn to look safeties off or a good one will make him pay.

  17. heyberto

    I’m just so pleasantly surprised with our answers to the questions we had going into last night. Lot of potential for this team, and I can’t remember the last time I had this feeling after a season opener. Exciting

  18. CannonDawg

    The Aaron Davis interception was a welcomed sight–a defender reading the play, breaking on the ball, and making the catch. I’m sensing there will be more of those coming. Our tackling was far improved, and our team speed on defense is impressive. It’s obvious that our players are being coached up. Nice change, huh?

    Mason was effective, but I can’t help but believe he is not at full speed physically. His arm is not as strong as Murray’s, granted, but it’s stronger than he showed last night. He’s still not right. Hopefully an open date will help.

    All in all, as good a start as we could have hoped for.

  19. Cojones

    Bobo showed us some shiny new gears in our revved O machine. He took two fragile gears that had a couple of cogs missing and substituted thick gears with tire grips that smoked in their wake. Like an Italian dinner, the O machine servings are varied and best with the taste of red wine. Bobo IS the veal.

    If we win big this year, we know that Pruitt deserves a HC gig, but care must be taken to preserve what we now have carved into the ediface of our football history – O Bobo.

    Above the fray and the shining coordinators stands Mark Richt, the best.

  20. Macallanlover

    I also felt we would look back on that punt as a key turning point if we won the game. STs were a UGA strength last night and I don’t think we will fall short in that area in many games this year. Check that one off your list of concerns.

    It is way too early to make conclusive, positive statements in all areas but last night showed that we do, indeed, have a high ceiling for potential across the board with this 2014 squad. I wouldn’t say yet that all the ingredients for a championship team are here but if we get past the early stretch of the season, we could be damned good by December and have a chance to win a championship. What a great feeling that is, and it is made even better knowing we have a wealth of talented young players will be here to make it even better in coming years. What a time to be a Dawg, we just have to stay with them when they stumble while getting their sea legs.

    My biggest concern after watching that game was the QB/WRs connection issues and ability to stretch the field even when we get the speedsters back. But it is hard to judge Mason yet as we against an excellent defensive front and I don’t think the plan ever called for many plays that didn’t have to get off quickly.

    My greatest area of confidence growth was watching the positioning of our young defensive players, they didn’t make every tackle, or breakup every pass but they were where they needed to be, just being in the same picture frame when the ball arrived was a plus. Now if we can get them to occasionally look back for a pass, or not lose contain on runs, this will be a stout defense before late season. The enthusiasm and unbridled energy was a joy to watch, especially when they pinned their ears back in the 4th Qtr. The other question that I had going in, and feel better about now is the OL capability. We aren’t going to be A&M 2013, or Bama 2012 but they opened some holes, kept a stout DL off our QB and RBs, and got down field to seal off defenders. Solid performance from that group, and few penalties.

    • Russ

      That punt was huge, and great to see. Very key play at that point in the game.

      Later punts by both guys kept them bottled up in the second half. Also great to see a defense that didn’t give up the 3rd and 23 first down like we did so many times last year.

      • Macallanlover

        Should mention that while it was Barber who got off the 60 yarder, we had guys down there when it reached the returner. So often a long punt like that leads to just an “average net” because the punter has outkicked the coverage. Not that one, we made a 60 yard punt net 72 yards, impressive. Kudos to the speedsters who humped it down field and made the tackle.

  21. 69Dawg

    The Oline took time to get the game speed going. In the first half the only WTF moment to me was the fact that Sony Michel was the back on 3rd and 1 and we ran him in the middle. Who picks the backs to be in there???

    It been a long time since I have been this pleased with a Georgia Defense. The second half was a wonder to behold. I screamed to my wife “Damn we finally have a defense.” The amazing thing was when the young guys learn to look back the interceptions will be there. Some of Clemson’s completions were just well placed and had the DB turned it would have been a pick.

    Clemson might turn out to be the Mouse That Roared but any time you wear a team out like the boys did last night IT”S GREAT TO BE A GEORGIA BULLDAWG. Somewhere in heaven ERK and Larry were holding a cigar smokeout.

  22. Irwin R Fletcher

    I think prior to the game I said Gurley couldn’t win this one by himself…I might have been dead wrong! :)

    Honestly, Clemson probably should have had 24 going into halftime…while our offense had only put up 14….but then you have great special teams play (coverage and return) and great conditioning that set them up. I don’t think that’s a sentence I could have typed since 2005?

    I was really worried (and maybe that’s from a few years of conditioning) in the 3rd quarter…one TD from Clemson that puts UGA playing from behind and I assume it at least puts pressure on Bobo to go away from the run…but man that defense.

    A few thoughts…
    1) I thought Dabo was really conservative anytime we had them pinned deep. Don’t know if that was trust in his QB or respect for our rush…but run D came up huge methinks due to conditioning and rotating.
    2) Watson will be starting by the end of the season…kid’s the real deal.
    3) McKenzie’s first burst is electrifying. That hand-off/play-action out of the slot could be a staple for him and Michel.
    4) Great crowd.
    5) No passes thrown in the 4th quarter. Wow.
    6) What gives with Chubb trying to score 50 instead of taking a knee? That was really uncharacteristic…maybe a recruiting battle score to settle?

    • HVL Dawg

      What’s wrong with giving your 4th string tailback (Chubb) some work at the end of the game?

      • 81Dog

        What were we supposed to do, start taking a knee at midfield? If Dabo wanted us to quit playing, he should have taken out all HIS starters on D and started waving a white towel.

        Maybe we should have just offered to let him play with a running clock. :-)

    • Dawgfan Will

      Re: #5

      I hope it was Richt realizing that style points and margin of victory against common opponents will be an issue with picking the playoffs. FSU will play Clemson as well; hopefully our victory was as impressive as (presumably) theirs will be.

  23. Rusty

    Good summary. One thing for sure. There is overall improvement . At best it’s dramatic. At worst, well, it’s good. I do not believe it is superficial. We got us a real team.

  24. rampdawg

    One day to celebrate, then back to work. Stay on their asses coaches.

  25. IAmAGurleyMan

    “But I thought he displayed better field awareness than Murray and was much less of a risk taker.”

    Senator – this, to me, is the biggest factor this season. Murray was phenomenal, but his penchant for forcing things undeniably cost us quite frequently. As long as Mason manages the game well and makes a few key plays whwm the defense is on its heels, he will be wildly successful.

  26. Only one game but I did go home and pour a beer before getting in the shower. Happy to see the improvement in the defensive backfield, could have had a little better pass rush at times. Liked the halftime adjustments. Real happy to see the improvement in special teams. Someone on the coaching staff must be reading this blog.

  27. El Dawgo in Evans

    Special Teams. To me, no other part of the game determined the outcome as much as this factor. Punt team and coverage kept Clem’s son pinned deep throughout most of the game. I think their average starting position was on their own 19. There is a big difference in calling plays in the shadow of your own goal line versus further downfield (especially on the road). This allowed our defense to play much more aggressively, and more so as we built a lead and they had to pass.

    I am excited to see the rest of this season as it progresses and our inexperienced players, including Mason, get more game time under their belts. Its a great Sunday to be a Dawg.

  28. WTF?! Where’s the photos, stories, revelations from Parking Lot 29?! C’mon guys…fess up! Not even a stinking tweet pre-game…Thomas Brown would have done better.

  29. Andy Bradbury

    Senator

    Elly and I enjoyed meeting you at the tailgate on Saturday. My introduction to you was very dubious (Doug Bennett) so I appreciated your hospitality. Looking back now, your calm demeanor was I think motivated by your confidence in the team, which obviously born out in the terrible tiger trounce.

    Andy

    • 81Dog

      Doug is widely known as the Danny Ocean of the Senator’s crew, Andy. I’ll leave it to the Senator to identify which one of his boys belongs in the Brad Pitt slot, but I’m voting for The Bag Man. ;-)

      • 81Dog

        Which, now that I think about it, makes The Bag Man’s wife the Julia Roberts of the crew. I hope this whole metaphor doesn’t result in me being investigated. :-)

  30. Herrera is the heart and soul of the D. Probably has been for a couple seasons now. Maybe not the most “talented” LB but he plays the position the way it’s meant to be played. Love watching him play!

    • Cojones

      That comment is waaay overdue. Absolutely, he’s the best on that D. His injury bothered me until he got back in. Thought at first it was a concussion, but Courson wouldn’t let him play if it was more than getting his bell rung. He and Ramik are the heart we need on the D. They have gone after it hard for 4 yrs and deserve our praise.

  31. -Carter and Wilson in pass coverage?

  32. Barber’s first punt of sixty yards, combined with a very poor decision to attempt a return, flipped the field to the Clemson nine and started a run that lasted throughout most of the game of the Tigers losing the field position battle.

    Glad you mentioned that, because it was a huge play. I thought so when it happened. It changed the game, and gave us some momentum, which we needed badly after they drove the opening kickoff for a TD and then we went 3-and-out. If they have good field position there, with momentum ……

    So Barber kicks the ball 70 yards in the air with a 4.2 hang time (on the low side), and still our gunners – Swann, R.Davis, & Michel – were all over the play, with Michel making the tackle (BTW, Michel also made a great open-field tackle on the next punt). Not only were they in great position, they forced a 10-yard loss on the return.

    So then our defense gets a huge 3-and-out stop. Maybe we would have gotten the stop anyway, if they had gotten the ball around midfield, instead of the 10-yard line, but I thought the momentum of that great ST play gave the defense a little spark.

    Certainly gave me one.

    <br /><br />
  33. kckd

    LOL, David Andrews played a great game, but the funny thing to me is that the play everyone remembers him on, he whiffed. He didn’t block a soul and that’s why he was in the EZ with Chubb. Go back and look for yourself.

    1. I loved the pursuit on defense even when Clemson got to the edge, they really didn’t get much.
    2. I’ll echo everyone’s comments about how beautiful the running game looked especially in the 2nd half. Similar to the SC & UF games last year, we robbed Clemson’s manhood in the 4th quarter.
    3. If the special teams play like they did on Saturday, they will be a field position weapon throughout the year.
    4. Even out of conference, SEC officiating sucks. Playing while Georgia was out in full force Saturday night.
    5. It’s now time to focus on the Palmetto State championship. GATA, Dawgs!

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