More thoughts, observations, reflections from Sattidy night’s disappointment:
- I find myself in agreement with Spurrier’s observation that the result wasn’t a shock. I think the Dawgs are a more talented bunch than the Gamecocks, but talent was trumped by experience and the obvious fact that Nix was better prepared for the game than was Bobo. South Carolina deserved the win.
- Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that makes five straight losses for Georgia to SEC East teams – something that never occurred under either Goff or Donnan.
- One good thing in Georgia’s favor is that the Dawgs won’t see a dominant defensive line until late in the season, when it’s time to play Auburn and Georgia Tech. One bad thing is I’m still not sure the offensive line will be molded into a functioning unit by that time.
- Most of the questioning I see with regard to game decisions is focused on Richt’s call to kick the last field goal. I didn’t have a problem with the call. At that point in time, Georgia had converted only two third down opportunities for the entire game. The odds of pulling off fourth and fifteen were slim, especially given the fact that the offense sputtered on that drive the moment it reached the SC eleven. There was still about four and a half minutes left in the game at that point, more than enough time to regroup and take another shot at the endzone (especially considering Spurrier’s strange playcalling on SC’s previous drive).
- Far more questionable was Richt’s decision to go for it on fourth and two on the SC 33 in the third quarter – why not let Coutu try a 50 yard FG in that spot? As it turned out, the play called was a disaster and gave the ‘Cocks the ball almost at midfield and set up a short field for their second FG. Even a punt that went in the endzone for a touchback would have been a better decision.
- I don’t know what’s happened to Bryan Evans, but it looked like his coverage skills have regressed significantly. Spurrier saw something there and exploited it successfully. The sad thing was that Mitchell’s throw on the 31 yard completion was pathetic and had Evans looked back, he’d have been in a position to break the pass up.
- Stafford had a frustrating game: not only did he overthrow receivers, but he missed seeing open ones. He rarely looked comfortable, as his completion percentage indicated. He never ran, although I saw a couple of occasions when he could have picked up a few yards. He was also lucky in that he had two INTs dropped. On the other hand, he still managed to throw for 213 yards (forty more than Mitchell) and his completion on 3rd and 23 to Massaquoi was jaw dropping on both ends of the play.
- I think it’s safe to say that the old saw about team improvement from the first to the second week took a serious hit to its credibility last night. Along the same line, this team continues to exhibit a disturbing tendency under Richt to follow up a dominant performance with an unfocused one. They seemed surprised by South Carolina’s emotion at the start of the game. Why I’m not sure, as the home crowd seemed pretty geeked up as well.
- I know it’s only one game and one loss, but the reality is that it’s going to be extremely difficult for Georgia to win the East at this point. It’s true that Georgia misses LSU, unlike SC and Florida, but so does Tennessee. Winning in Knoxville is mandatory just to maintain a pulse. Saturday night’s loss also makes it necessary for Georgia to lose one less conference game than SC in order to pull it off. In essence, it’s likely that Georgia can’t lose another SEC game. I don’t see that happening, frankly.
- As playmakers, Moreno, Brown, Henderson and Massaquoi continue to impress. Bailey was good, but not as good as he was in the opener. I am curious why Stafford went to Wilson and Moore as much as he did, as Massaquoi appears to have regained his freshman mojo. As I mentioned above, the catch he made to convert the third and 23 was nothing short of stunning.
- Georgia won’t win ten regular season games in ’07, and it’s not because the SEC is overwhelming this year. Every team in the East struggled at least part of the day on Saturday, and Auburn was upset at home by USF. Assuming Florida holds serve in the Swamp next week, it looks like the UF-USC game in Columbia would be for the East – and don’t you think the OBC will pull out all the stops for that one? That’s a tough choice for Dawg fans.