There’s a perfect A.J. Green quote in David Hale’s game grades post today…
Then, of course, there’s A.J. Green. When asked after the game if he’s a regular contributor on special teams, his answer was perfect.
“Nah,” he said. “Just when we need it.”
… that reminds me of another perfect quote from a Georgia great:
Immediately Walker disarmed potential critics (read: the press) as easily as he evaded potential tacklers. Herschel, don’t you get tired carrying the football so many times? “No sir, the ball ain’t heavy.”
Which leads into this Hale tribute.
A.J. Green is a special player. I don’t mean that in a “Matthew Stafford was a special player” sort of way, when you look at a guy’s talents and think he’s capable of anything. Green is special in the way Herschel Walker was special — the type of player who simply changes the complexion of a game simply by being on the field. When that third-down pass went up on Georgia’s final drive, everyone in the stadium — including the Sun Devils — knew who was coming down with it. There’s an invaluable quality that Green brings. It’s the knowledge that, no matter what else is going on, Georgia has a chance to win because it will always, in every game, have the best player on the field. It’s an intangible bit of confidence (or concern if you’re the opposition) that cannot be accounted for but changes how the game is played. He’s one of a kind.
Well, more like two of a kind…
Man, when you’ve got the Big Ten Network’s microphones picking up sideline commentary directly from the players, who needs Erin Andrews?
Check out what Minnesota’s Simoni Lawrence has to say about his condition after semi-impaling himself on a yard marker (as you might expect, it’s NSFW):
Every team in the SEC has now played at least one conference game, so these rankings start taking on more focus.
- Florida. That first quarter against Kentucky was the most dominant performance I’ve seen from an SEC team this season. Then the Gators kinda wanked around for the rest of the day and got their quarterback hurt. I bet Tebow doesn’t play in a similar situation the rest of the season.
- Alabama. Really, it’s 1 and 1A right now between the Tide and Florida. And the gap between the first two teams and the rest of the conference is large.
- LSU. I’m beginning to wonder if this team is ever going to show up. The good thing is that they’re not turning the ball over like they were last year. But the defense hasn’t improved as much as I thought it might and the Tigers look soft on offense.
- Georgia. This team does more dumb stuff than the rest of the SEC put together. That 3-1 mark is a testament to how much talent there is in Athens. A.J. Green is the conference MVP to date.
- Auburn. The yin to Georgia’s yang. Chizik gets my vote as SEC coach of the year so far. This, too, is a 4 and 4A ranking with the Dawgs. And why isn’t this team getting its share of love from the poll voters?
- South Carolina. I’m not as impressed with the team overall as many seem to be. Yes, the defense is good. But that offense is still shaky – if you can play man-to-man and get a pass rush, you can muck up Garcia’s game pretty well.
- Ole Miss. Another good defense, questionable offense team. Snead is turning into the biggest disappointment in the conference.
- Tennessee. I suppose the letdown after the biggest moral victory in the program’s history was inevitable. The Vols move up only because the other mediocrities lost badly last weekend.
- Arkansas. So Bobby Petrino said his team played badly because it didn’t think it could beat Alabama and that mindset was his fault. Anybody else think that’s a bad sign with the Hogs’ remaining schedule?
- Kentucky. That first quarter was wretched. The Cats can’t be that bad, can they?
- Mississippi State. Mullen’s done a good job getting what little talent he’s got to play hard every week. That playcalling at the end of the drive to pull off the upset shows that he’s not quite yet ready for prime time, though.
- Vanderbilt. Sorry, ‘Dores, but beating Rice isn’t going to get you out of the cellar.
I know I’m out of the gate a little sooner than usual with this post, but it’s nut cutting time in Athens, boys. I watched a replay of the LSU-Mississippi State game yesterday and between that and my Saturday night in Athens, here are a few impressions to chew on:
- Vegas has to be cringing just a little bit at setting the line in this game. The early number is Georgia favored by 2.5, which strikes me as being as good a number as any. But really, is there any realistic spread that wouldn’t surprise you at this point?
- The stat that scares: LSU, first in the SEC in turnover margin at +7; Georgia, last in the SEC in turnover margin at -9.
- Bobo’s biggest job this week is figuring out a way to scheme A.J. away from Patrick Peterson.
- Cox’ biggest job this week is paying attention to where Chad Jones is on the field.
- I’m not sure if this is supposed to reassure me, but evidently King’s fumble was caused by Ben Jones bumping into him. If these backs can’t secure the ball well enough to protect against an accidental collision, how much better are they going to fare against defenders that are trying to knock the ball out on purpose?
- These are not your father’s LSU offensive and defensive lines. LSU currently ranks tenth in rushing offense in the SEC. Scott and Williams did not suddenly become mediocre players. And outside of Alem, the Tigers defensive line isn’t generating a consistent pass rush.
- Combine that with LSU’s sudden prowess in the long passing game (and Georgia being a mirror of LSU on both sides of the ball), and I’m leaning towards another shootout on the scoreboard.
- LSU looked like it really struggled with the option against Mississippi State, so maybe it’s worth trotting out Logan Gray in situations other than for one play on second down in the red zone.
- Trindon Holliday. Jon Fabris. Directional kicking. Just sayin’.
I know The Concussion sucked all the oxygen out of the tent, but it seems to me that the big story from last weekend was how Boise State’s chances to play in the BCS title game increased exponentially.
In that regard, the Oregon win over Cal was huge, for two reasons. First, it knocked out one of BSU’s competitors for the slot. Second, the more the Ducks rehabilitate themselves, the better the Broncos’ opening season win looks. And with their schedule, they need all the boost they can get from that game.
They’re far from a lock, but consider that they currently sit fifth in both polls. In front of them are three SEC teams that will play each other at least once, unless ‘Bama or Florida play themselves out of the SECCG. In any event, that’s all good for Boise, which is unlikely to lose a game over the rest of the year.
If Texas and one of the SEC schools win out, BSU will find itself locked out, which will no doubt lead to another round of whining from the likes of Orrin Hatch. But as unpredictable as this year has already been, it’s not much of a reach to speculate on what happens if all the major conference players in the title game hunt wind up with one loss on their resumes. If that occurs and an undefeated Boise doesn’t get the invitation, watch the howling from Hatch reach new heights.
UPDATE: To his credit, Tony Barnhart addresses the subject in his post today.