Having replayed the ESPN broadcast and looked at the stats more closely, I’ve got a few more observations to share about the win:
- When you break it down, the running game was more than serviceable. Samuel, Smith and Thomas combined for 152 yards on 23 carries, a 6.6 ypc average. I’ll take that all season long, thank you.
- I think what I’m more puzzled about with Bobo Saturday night was his personnel selection rather than the playcalling. Logan Gray saw more action on special teams than he did at quarterback – and it’s not like the Dawgs didn’t have plenty of red zone opportunities to deploy him (that was the reason du jour last week as to why Gray didn’t see more action). Even more puzzling was the decision to keep Samuel out of the game for a long stretch in the first half when it seemed like he’d developed a really good lather.
- On the other hand, 5 of 9 on third down conversions and 5 of 5 in the red zone – all of those scores touchdowns, mind you – means that Bobo must have been doing something right.
- Some of that may have been the result of taking advantage of what South Carolina’s defense offered.
- Garcia did a surprisingly effective job of keeping his game under control. His pocket presence and awareness of the rush was uncanny; he saved himself from at least three sacks on plays that turned into decent gains.
- I should have mentioned it in my previous post on the game, but Bryan Evans’ breakup of the end zone pass on Carolina’s last drive may have been the finest coverage moment of his career. And don’t tell me your heart didn’t leap in your throat, if just briefly, when you realized he was in single coverage on that play.
- The replay reinforced my initial impression of the job Martinez did. Given what he had to work with – the injuries, the turnovers and Garcia’s surprising effectiveness in negating what was an improved pass rush – his overall scheme was sound. No, he didn’t get any three and outs, but he did get the ‘Cocks to settle for a large number of field goals (and remember how shaky Lanning had been in that department coming into the game). In the end, that was the difference.
- TV makes the players look smaller (it was much more apparent live how much AJ bulked up in the offseason) and faster (that fourth quarter sack of Cox by the cornerback on a blitz seemed like it took forever from the stands).
- The one long kickoff return Georgia yielded wasn’t Walsh’s fault. Georgia lost contain on one side and Culliver took advantage of it.
- From a penalty standpoint, that was a sloppy game (24 total penalties for 206 total yards). But it could have been much worse, as the refs failed to call a bunch of holding penalties that I thought appeared pretty obvious. Georgia also got bailed out by some poor Garcia throws on what could have been a couple more pass interference penalties.
- The irritation factor of the Mike Patrick-Craig James team is pretty significant. But at least we didn’t hear about Britney.
- And I’ll stick with my Orson Charles prediction. When that kid figures out what he’s doing, he’s going to be an utter stud. As it is, he knows how to get open on a route, he’s got great hands and he’s passionate about his play. What’s not to like?
- The issue with Cox isn’t what we thought would be his weakness – his physical limitations – but his strength – his consistency and accuracy. He was 17 of 24 (not bad). He averaged about 2.5 yards more per pass attempt than Garcia did, on Garcia’s career night. His touchdown pass to AJ was flat out perfect. But there were all those little annoyingly dumb decisions that make you wonder what’s going through his head sometimes, like his pick six. I’ll be curious to see if, another week away from the flu, he progresses this Saturday against a team that isn’t nearly as formidable on defense as South Carolina is.