Seeing as I’m on record saying I’d have settled for an ugly one-point win last night, I’m feeling pretty giddy about Georgia football this morning. Looking at it today, it’s sort of the best of both worlds – a dominating performance from a team that still has areas it can improve.
Here are some specific observations from the early morning:
- The biggest point of concern has to be the sloppy tackling on defense. Charles Scott is a hoss, but that’s still no excuse. Reshad Jones went from having the best game of his career against Vandy to a forgettable performance against LSU (and that’s even with a nice sideline pick). Tackling like that against burners like Harvin, Demps and Rainey will be costly.
- That being said, don’t get too worked up about pundits wringing their hands about the Georgia defense giving up almost 500 yards yesterday. 182 of those yards came in fourth-quarter garbage time after Georgia had opened up a 21-point spread in the game and the Dawg defense looked like a bunch of guys who kept checking their wrist watches to make sure they weren’t going to miss their plane back to Athens.
- This one came down to quarterbacking. I haven’t seen Matt Stafford play a better all-around game. He’ll need to do it again in Jacksonville.
- Likewise, kudos to Bobo. His game calling was spot on. He didn’t panic; quite the opposite, he stuck with Moreno and adjusted his passing game as LSU adjusted its pass defense.
- But the game balls should go to two assistant coaches, Searels and Jancek. Mark Richt’s summary of the offensive line’s performance – “I’m not going to sit here and say that they dominated the game because they probably didn’t. But they fought like mad and gave Matthew enough time when needed and gave Knowshon room to run.” – is a tribute both to the players as well as the guy that’s held things together all season. Jancek’s done much the same with a linebacking corps that’s managed to remain the strength of the defense despite being ravaged with injuries.
- Speaking of which, I’m not sure how often the SEC awards the defensive player of the week to a kid whose defense gave up 38 points, but how can anyone ignore Gamble’s titanic performance (thirteen tackles and an NCAA-tying two pick sixes by a linebacker)?
- A pass to the tight end! A forty-eight yard pass to the tight end! Woo hoo!
- Nice cell phone gesture, Knowshon.
- In the credit where credit is due department, CBS was on its game yesterday. The graphic about how Georgia’s offense has played with and without Southerland was a noteworthy job of good reseach. And while Gary Danielson may be somewhat incoherent about the future of the spread offense, he was his usual uncanny self predicting play calls, particularly in the red zone. His description of how Bobo’s passing game plan and Stafford’s ability to throw the ball forced the LSU defensive coaches to adjust the Tigers pass defense was as good as a TV analyst gets, too.
- That was the best performance we’ve seen from Georgia’s special teams this year. Holliday handled the ball ten times on punt and kickoff returns; his longest return of the day was a 26-yard kickoff return. Walsh hit a 50-yard field goal when it was needed. Mimbs was solid, averaging over 50 yards per punt. Just like with Stafford, they’ll need to replicate that level of performance this week.
That was a win worth savoring – Mark Richt goes to 28-4 in opponents’ stadiums, an incredible record for an SEC coach and the Dawgs ended a thirty game LSU home winning streak in dominant fashion. That ain’t exactly chopped liver. Sure, Penn State complicated Georgia’s chances to play in the BCS title game and we’ll be rolling our eyes this week over tales of Gator revenge, but that’s all in the future, even if the future is only a day or so away. This was a damned good win. Enjoy it.