I haven’t watched a replay of the game, so what follows is simply basic observation of what I saw on the field (after five or six hours of pregame preparation, mind you), so take it for what it’s worth.
In his post-game presser, Mark Richt kept referring to the win as being “solid”. That may not be the most colorful of adjectives, but it’s accurate. That’s the kind of win you get when you have a coaching staff that does the analysis, realizes it’s got the better talent, better depth and better schemes and simply rolls up its collective sleeves, draws up the right gameplan and gets the players to execute it. Last night it was apparent that OSU wasn’t ready for prime time and Georgia was. It’s just that the Dawg coaches knew that in the days leading up to the game.
Bobo continues to impress. Great job mixing up the playcalling. On the last scoring drive, when everyone in the ballpark was sure he was going to try to score on the ground, he called pass plays on three of the four snaps. He countered OSU’s loading the box to stop the run with quick screens, and was often rewarded with backs and receivers that got the ball outside of the coverage. Best of all, outside of the meaningless series at the end, the Dawgs were in the red zone five times and scored five touchdowns.
Searels looks like a masterful coach. Certainly that was not an SEC-caliber defensive line they faced last night, but Georgia’s inexperienced offensive linemen more than held their own. They did have some occasional problems with blitz pick up, but all in all, it was a credible first effort. There were more than a few moments when you could see the potential in the power blocking schemes he’s introduced. He’s going to have a good group here by season’s end.
Last night was John Eason’s finest moment as Georgia’s WR coach. As a group, the wideouts’ route running was solid (there’s that word again). And the physicality, the downfield blocking was noticeably improved from last year (Massaquoi, in particular, looks like a totally different player in that regard). And, of course, outside of Wilson’s drop (another terrific play call by Bobo, BTW) , the group held on to the ball.
On the defensive side of the ball, Martinez had his guys ready to play. The defense was physical. The pursuit was there, but for the most part not at the expense of blowing assignments and containment. He wanted to take away Bobby Reid’s running as a threat and largely succeeded. OSU’s got some very good skill position players. Martinez wasn’t able to negate every thing they could do, but he certainly was able to scheme enough to disrupt their offensive flow. Even better, he made adjustments at half time that were effective, something that’s been lacking since VanGorder left. A very encouraging start to the season.
Jancek deserves a pat on the back, as well. He’s got a speedier group to deploy this year, and it showed. But I didn’t see guys running themselves out of plays to the degree that was evident the previous two seasons.
18 of 24, 234 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs. Sometimes a QB’s stat line may not tell you much, but that’s not the case with Stafford’s numbers from last night. Polished and in control from the get go, he did everything you could ask of him. The only thing the numbers don’t convey is how effortless he made a lot of it look. In particular, the long completion to Bailey to dig the Dawgs out of a second and 27 hole they dug for themselves was a thing of beauty.
Speaking of Bailey, he and Thomas Brown showed they’re back. If anything, Brown looks quicker than he was before he got hurt.
I don’t think I need to say much about Moreno, do I?
The defense as a whole showed itself to be noticeably faster than last year, particularly in the front seven. Howard can rush the passer, but did get blown up on a couple of rushing plays where OSU was able to isolate him and attack the corner. Brandon Miller had his moments. Johnson had the hit of the game on Bowman.
Bottom line: a solid start (there’s that word again). Georgia did what it had to do – and did it well. Next week should tell us a lot more about this team, particularly the offensive line and the linebackers, as South Carolina brings an experienced defense and a coach who knows what he’s doing to the table. I don’t want to go overboard on the basis of one game, but there were encouraging signs that this team has the chance to excel this season.