Basically, a metaphor for Louisville’s season so far. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving head coach.
I have to say I’m a little taken aback by the vehemence of some of the existential angst I’ve seen on display in certain quarters of Dawgnation after Georgia’s **checks his notes** fourteen-point road win yesterday. I mean, I thought existential angst was my specialty, and while I clearly see room for improvement after the performance, I don’t find myself making any dramatically negative proclamations over the state of the program.
I don’t know about sunshine, but there are numbers.
All of that contributed to Drew Lock’s worst performance in a year. He finished a game that was touted as his chance to wow NFL scouts with a completion percentage under 50%, zero touchdowns, an interception and a 4.6 yards per attempt average. It all translated into a passer rating of 82.42. I don’t have to check to know that’s pretty bad.
In other words, if Smart and Tucker went into yesterday’s game thinking that Lock was the biggest concern for Georgia’s defense, I’d say they passed that test with flying colors. That’s one reason I’m having a hard time reaching for the razor blade with which to slit my wrists.
Now, again, that’s not to say there weren’t some flaws on display yesterday. It’s fair to be concerned with the run defense up the middle, although some, but certainly not all, of what we saw Mizzou do on the ground came from a greater focus by the Dawgs on shutting down Lock and the passing game.
My concern to this point is what’s going on between the players’ ears. Four games in, it’s pretty clear to me that this team enters every game knowing it’s more talented than its opponent. The problem is that they haven’t learned how to internalize that in such a way that they don’t take the team they’re playing… well, for granted, at least to some extent.
I know that sounds a little harsh, but look at how the Missouri game played out. Georgia never trailed, led most of the game by at least a two-score margin, and yet never quite could put the dagger in when it had the chance to put the Tigers down for good. On the other hand, the Dawgs had an answer every time Mizzou tried to make the game closer. Georgia’s offense struggled in the first half, but the defense and special teams still managed to build a good lead. In the second half, the offense kicked in, but other areas appeared to slip almost as if they played like the offense would always be there to pull things out.
If you want another example of this, check out Jake Fromm’s passer rating by quarter.
- 1st — 145.40
- 2nd — 171.71
- 3rd — 333.77
It doesn’t take a genius to sense a trend there and it’s also something that’s readily apparent watching him play. Why it takes him time to get in sync with his receivers is something I can’t answer definitively, except to say it’s obviously not a matter of ability, since they’re making the plays once they’re past the first quarter. Call it a missing sense of urgency, if you’d like.
Could it cost ’em a regular season game or two? Eh, sure, anything can happen. But I would suggest you explore how Georgia’s upcoming opponents have played so far, too. You may be surprised to learn there isn’t a team left on the schedule that hasn’t had its share of ups and downs.
I don’t see a team left for Georgia to play in the next eight games with equal or more talent. Nor do I see a coaching staff that schemes better than Smart and his assistants. That leaves mental preparation, something that Georgia managed well last year. It’s a new year and they’re having their bumps along the way in that regard, but I’m willing to give Smart the benefit of the doubt. Call me a Kirbyphile if it makes you feel better, but I haven’t seen anything to make me think this bunch won’t be back in the SECCG.
UPDATE: Another take on the day…
But here is the big picture, which demanding coaches often don’t see — or want to see — when drilling down on the details of a game: Georgia has won its first two road games by two touchdowns or more. Last time the Bulldogs did that: 1992.
They went into the most hyped atmosphere at South Carolina in years and walloped the Gamecocks, 41-17. Then they came into the most hyped atmosphere at Missouri since 2014 and handled that, too. Now the ‘Dogs go back between the hedges for what should be relatively low-stress games against Tennessee and Vanderbilt before hitting a four-week gauntlet that will define the season: at LSU, Florida in Jacksonville, at Kentucky and home against Auburn.
Expect a sharper Bulldogs team for that run of opponents. Part of Smart’s ongoing Sabanation of the Georgia program is being demanding and critical after victories, warding off complacency and self-satisfaction like they are addictive drugs. Not even the program’s best two-game road start in 26 years will change that approach.
I know there was a lot of crazy shit that went down in college football yesterday, but I hope you didn’t deprive yourselves of the pleasure of watching the Florida-Tennessee game.
It wasn’t a classic nail-biter. It wasn’t an epically bad game, like the 3-2 Auburn-Mississippi State game from a decade or so game. It was simply a matchup of a mediocre team and a bad team that made things worse by self-destructing on a repeated basis.
Glorious, in other words.
Tennessee managed to turn the ball over six times and commit a safety because the running back chose not to follow his lead blocker. Florida was no great shakes, but at least the Gators had enough sense not to piss on the fire that consumed the Vols.
Speaking of the Gators, a hat tip is due Dan Mullen for clearly not giving two shits about perception with this move.
Um, might want to rethink that take, SEC Mike.
On a night UT chose to honor its 1998 national championship team, complete with Fulmer lifting the trophy in triumph again, Jeremy Pruitt had to be wondering what he’d gotten himself into. Here, he shows the kind of self control that would make Boom proud:
Gotta admire the professionalism of that assistant who kept grinding away on the white board, though.
The topper on the evening had to be the redshirt junior linebacker’s decision not to go back in the game when he was told to. That ended well.
There’s a dumpster fire in Knoxville raging so hard right now I don’t think even Booch could come up with a catchy expression to salvage it. In the meantime, this is what passes for an optimistic observation about the state of Tennessee football.
UPDATE: Well, now.
That seems kind of hard to square with the head dude’s account. So, who blinks here?
Nick Saban’s got a problem, y’all. His team’s too good. And he knows it.
Saban continued Saturday noting this is a good Alabama team, but nowhere near a finished product. And the last thing he wants is his locker room feeling comfort by eating the poison of positivity.
He was concerned about the possibility of overlooking future opponents.
“Don’t take things for granted,” he said. “That we’re going to show up because we have an Alabama uniform on and win the game. It ain’t … it’s not going to happen that way. And it’s going to be everybody’s choice in the organization.”
He concluded with a request for the army of media gathered in the interview room.
“So, I’d appreciate if you would sorta look at some of the things we didn’t do so well and write about that so maybe I can show it to some of the players and say ‘Look here, man. Here’s something you can do better.'”
That’s how you get to sounding like a parody account on Twitter.
The game stats from Oklahoma’s overtime win over Army (!) are insane:
- First downs, 26-19 in favor of Army
- Total yards, 379-355, in favor of Army
- Plays run, 87-40, in favor of Army
- Time of possession, 44:41-15:19, in favor of Army
Which makes this post-game scene pretty cool.
The secret to any successful play is to bring one more guy than the other team can block.
Nobody said that extra guy had to be a teammate.
… A person close to the program told The Athletic that senior university officials have begun discussions about a “coach-in-waiting” arrangement, meaning he would be Meyer’s eventual successor as Buckeyes coach. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the discussions are in progress. Day doesn’t have any head-coaching experience but did have a three-game trial run as Ohio State’s interim coach.
Urban Meyer is 54. Unless he’s headed for another bout of “Elizabeth, I’m coming to meet you” heart issues, he’s not going anywhere for a while, especially considering he knows he’s at a place that will turn a blind eye to his… um, personality quirks.
So who’s this supposed to fool?