Strangely, a cause for optimism

The best thing about last night’s win is something to take from a couple of player quotes.  First, Justin Houston:

“We started out doing the little things, but toward the end we quit,” Houston said. “We stopped. That’s one thing we have to learn how to do is finish. That’s a team right there that plays a hard second half. We came out in the second half and we were light on our feet. We weren’t playing as hard as we did at the start of the game. We got to learn how to play all four quarters.”

Then, Sanders Commings had this to say.

“Really, when the game is close, that didn’t really happen to us,” Commings said. “When we have a big lead like that we kind of relaxed. That’s one thing we have to work on.”

Players clearly relaxed in the second half.  It wasn’t just apparent on defense.  Walsh shockingly missed the first extra point attempt of his career and special teams botched the last onsides kick.  But in the end, it didn’t matter.  It was a road game – an SEC road game – and a Georgia team that lost some of its focus, yet they still won the sucker.  That wouldn’t have happened earlier this season.

In this case, a lot of that was due to the toughness of the offense on that last scoring drive of the night, a 13-play (all runs) fourth quarter effort that took over eight minutes off the clock and killed any hope that Kentucky would be able to pull off another come from behind win.  That’s what was missing from some of the losses.

This team is steadily getting its act together.

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24 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

24 responses to “Strangely, a cause for optimism

  1. thewhiteshark

    I agree. Stats don’t always tell the real story. Turnovers aren’t just a matter of luck and the other team’s mistakes. For much of the game the defense played hard and fast. There were times when there were so many helmets around the ball that it looked like the Junkyard Dawgs of old. The play that was encouraging was when Kentucky ran a sweep and Tyson tried to run the play down and dove when the ball carrier was getting past him. He wasn’t close enough to get him but the effort was great. Tyson didn’t break into the lineman trot when it looked like he couldn’t make a play.

    Cuff looked over matched a couple of times. Kentucky has some play makers. Hartline stood in there and made plays against a pretty ferocious pass rush for most of the night. I am concerned about third downs but Kentucky has been a really good third down team this year.

    The eight minute drive was sweet.

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    • Brandon

      The defense played pretty poorly, anytime you give up 400 plus yards to somebody and 31 points you haven’t done a good job in that department. That’s not to say there wern’t bright spots like Justin Houston, Akeem Dent, and Sanders Commings. Also I think you’ve got to give Kentucky some credit, they’ve got some playmakers, Randall Cobb is first rate and Mike Hartline is very solid college QB who will make you pay. Kentucky is very tough especially at home they just beat S.Carolina and took Auburn down to the wire so its not like they are a patsy. It was a road win and the SEC and you can’t undervalue those. Our defense is going to have to get better, I think Grantham’s got them going in the right direction though. Bobo took what was there all night. He thought we could run on them and he was right, well played.

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      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        I though the D played great in the first half then badly in the second half when they thought the game was out of reach for UK. If the UGA D had played with the same intensity the entire game the Dawgs win by 4 TDs. The D is going to have to play 100% for the whole game to beat FLA who, once again, has 2 weeks to get ready for a WLOCP game.

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        • Brandon

          Yes, you are right they did play a lot better in the first half than the second. I didn’t think the problem was schematic which means its fixable. What I liked about Grantham last night was he was willing to mix it up, he’d bring pressure, then he’d sit back, he was trying everything, Hartline is just a good QB and we weren’t tackling well, we used to just do the same crap the whole game.

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    • Brandon

      Sorry whiteshark, I meant that as a general post not a response to yours. I agree with much of what you said.

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  2. The Coondawg

    Being able to get the takeaways aaaaaaaand make them pay by actually putting points…touchdown points, was the difference

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  3. Scorpio Jones, III

    +1 to all the above.

    I am just…..well, aw shucks, proud of this bunch of kids and their coaching staff for finding a way to make life bearable again.

    “You gave up….I gave up….we were out of it and gone.” Larry Munson.

    And, as we trek, both literally and figuratively, to Duval Street this week, there is a little, tiny bit of hope.

    For that I am truly grateful.

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  4. SCDawg

    Wasn’t this exactly the way we all expected to see GA play at the beginning of the year? Run the ball from the I-form. a lot, don’t ask Murray to do too much running or throwing, get Butler to flip field position on punts, and alter the bad turnover margin we had last year.
    What if this game plan had worked against Ark, SC, and Miss State?

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    • Macallanlover

      Interesting point, and you are right of course. First game the OL has completely dominated and allowed the running game to move the ball at will, eating the clock when needed, scoring anytime in the red zone. And the defense blitzed from all angles, penetrating into the backfield to get sacks and tackles for loss and, yes, blowing some coverages to allow big plays. But why did we treat Aaron Murray, at this point in the year, with all he has accomplished, like some RS Freshman who might do something totally stupid and was unworthy of our trust. Otherwise, why not run the 2 minute drill before half time and apply the kill shot? Why no passes to the TE, and hardly any to Durham?

      We completely minimized the scoring opportunities as we attempted to run the clock out beginning early in the 3rd Qtr. I had no problem with us pulling back against TN and Vandy when we had the game well in hand. This was different, on the road against a team with a reputation for 2nd half comebacks that was still using all the tricks in their bag and loaded with playmakers. Kill the beast, make the fans flee, don’t back off too early and let them have even a smell of victory. I am rarely a critic of playcalling, but last night was the worst I have seen from a strategic standpoint. We have already given away three games this season, there was no excuse for flirting with another. I know the final margin was never in much doubt, but we could have ended this contest much, much earlier. It was almost as if we trying to keep our passing game under wraps for next week, and that makes no sense to me.

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      • fetch

        This new found running game will definitely give Fla something to think about this week. It may cause them to alter their game plan and negate some of their advantage of having an extra week to scheme.

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      • Biggus Rickus

        They sat on a comfortable lead and won easily. I don’t see the problem.

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        • Scorpio Jones, III

          I was a little concerned we did not go for the home run at the end of the half, but that’s an observation from section HD, things look a little different from the sidelines and coaching box.

          Again, the best defense we can put on the field is an offense that can run the football.

          Clearly some folks see it differently…cheap scotch?

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        • No One Knows You're a Dawg

          Did you see the Oregon game Thursday night? When you have a team down, don’t step on their neck, stomp on it.

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          • Biggus Rickus

            As long as said team never gets closer than 13 points (and in the final minute and a half, no less) I really don’t care. Though it would be nice if the defense could stop a halfway competent passing game. Also, they scored 16 second half. It’s not like what they were doing was ineffective. At the end of the day, complaining about the strategy comes off as complaining for the sake of complaining.

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      • Lakepoets

        I could not agree more. Not trying to even move the ball at the end of the first half and then basically mailing it in for most of the second half…

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  5. Ryan Van Meter

    I told a buddy after the game that I wanted Richt to come out angry about the way his team finished. The only thing better than that is the team itself being angry about it. Box checked, with a bullet.

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  6. 69Dawg

    Yea what the heck ever happened to Finish the Drill. They should take their t-shirts away. I have said this team has ADD. UK was beat in the first half of our 2009 game and came back with our help to tear my heart out. So we were going for a repeat this year. If ever we needed to keep our foot on the accelerator it was this week. This team scares me to death because they have the attitude that they are good enough to coast, well news flash they aren’t.

    We will know in the first possession in JAX how it’s going to be. If we piss our pants on the OL or DL game over.

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  7. Husky Jeans

    We scored 41, should have been 45, and people are pissed? Bobo and Richt clearly saw that they couldn’t stop the run, and they know KY can score quickly, so why not stick with the ground game and control the clock? I admit, I was frustrated about the end of the first half, but in hindsight, they had just scored, we were getting the ball at the start of the 2nd half, and we knew they couldn’t stop us…so the worst possible thing in that situation is a pick 6 to end the half. My frustration was with the defensive letdown in the 2nd half, but it’s almost forgivable considering we had a big lead and UF on the horizon.

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  8. Vious

    The fact that we have players quitting while with a losing record is not that shocking

    It is pathetic really

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    • Jay

      No – what’s pathetic are “fans” who can’t be glad for a team that just scored 40+ for the third straight game in a decisive win on the road against an SEC East opponent a week before the WLOCP.

      You want perfection? Go root for the Yankees or Phillies. Oh…right.

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