Brave Sir Gary

I’ve long respected Gary Danielson’s acumen as an in-game analyst.  In fact, he’s been good enough in that department that I’ve been willing to overlook his embarrassing SEC homerism and blind stubbornness about the spread offense.  So needless to say, I’ve been looking forward to hearing what he has to say about Georgia this week.

The heavens quaked, the earth moved… and Danielson opined this:

Danielson said it’s tough to judge Georgia because they’ve played a relatively soft schedule since a turnover-filled 17-9 win over Florida on Oct. 27.

“We don’t know how real Georgia is,” he said. “They hit a terrible slump in the middle of the season when even their own players called their team out. That seemed to ignite them. They played a very good defensive football game against Florida where their quarterback had a really tough first half and he almost kind of tossed a game away that they should have won pretty easily.

“But since then, when the rest of the country was playing really tough football games, Georgia has played Ole Miss, Auburn, Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech. They haven’t been tested. So they’re basically coming from the Oct. 27 game into the championship game and we don’t know if they’ve gotten any better or where they stand.”

That’s it?  I mean, gee, Gary, that’s a little underwhelming.  You can’t tell us anything about Georgia from its play over the last month?  Nothing at all?

Here’s what good football teams do against mediocre opposition:  they dominate.  And very good teams do it consistently.  (The difference between Alabama and Georgia is that what Georgia’s done for a month or so, the Tide has done pretty much all season long.)  So can’t you draw some conclusions from Georgia’s defense holding its last five opponents to their season lowest scoring totals?  How many other schools have done so five times this season, let alone consecutively?  What does it say that Georgia over the last month leads the nation in defensive scoring?  Isn’t that what elite programs should do with football teams that don’t test them?

And as far as Aaron Murray goes, he’s been putting up obscene numbers since that “almost, kind of tossed away” time you’re focused on.  That doesn’t tell you anything?  Besides that, you’re the guy who, as you sat there analyzing the Georgia-Florida game in the fourth quarter, felt that Georgia was going to have to turn to Murray to put the game away with another score and then watched exactly that happen.  And took (justifiable) credit for calling it!

I’m a dumbass blogger who’s never been in the arena, but even I can tell from my limited vantage point that Georgia’s playing well over its last five games.  So I’m a little dumbfounded that Danielson, who’s exposed to a lot more football week in and week out than I am, can’t see that.  Or won’t.

I don’t know what this is about.  Maybe he thinks he’s being profound.  Maybe he’s unwilling to make a prediction.  Maybe he’s got too much respect for Saban to come out and say that Alabama will be seriously tested.  And I get that everybody’s fixated on Georgia’s schedule (which, by the way, comes in at a respectable if not stellar 42nd in Sagarin’s SOS rankings).  But, geez, how much would it hurt to take something resembling an analytical stand here?

63 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

63 responses to “Brave Sir Gary

  1. TennesseeDawg

    This game will boil down to Aaron Murray. This is the game that cements Murray’s legacy at Georgia. Will he be the guy that only looks good against poor defenses or can he put together a big game in the biggest game for Georgia in the last 30 years. I think the defense can hold their own but Murray has to make the big throws when we need them.

    • Hogbody Spradlin

      Gee. Nobody’s said that before. ;-)

      • I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Aaron play QB, even through his struggles. He is one win away from passing Eric Zeier as perhaps my favorite UGA QB of all time. I can’t express how much I love watching him play QB. As a college QB (and maybe eventually as a pro), he is LIGHT years ahead Stafford, and who didn’t LOVE seeing Stafford play QB?

        He has made a LOT of progress this year. He is so much more accurate and so much quicker in his decisions MOST but NOT ALL of the time. The Senator’s point about how we have dominated our opponents is due in large part to his accuracy and decision making this season, which seem to be particularly great. While I don’t have the benefit of deep football knowledge nor film study, it certainly seems like he has combined the correct reads with accurate throws a very high percentage of the time. Forgetting completion percentage and yards per attempt for a moment, which obviously paint that favorable picture, I would be shocked if one could measure decision making and accuracy if the gap between Aaron and other QBs in terms of efficiency would not be EVEN HIGHER than it is.

        ALL THAT SAID, it is true that he is yet to have one of his “signature” games in a game that counts most. All of my fellow UGA fans here are probably going to HATE this comparison, but Aaron’s career trajectory is similar to that of Peyton Manning. Remember his “happy feet” at UT. Aaron and Peyton are so similar in their cerebral approach, their accuracy, and their competitive natures. Certainly some of Manning’s issues were UT’s issues (both mental and physical) being superimposed on him. Think some of UGA’s issues have been superimposed on Aaron? I do. Ultimately, no one is perfect. You can’t have a QB work as hard as he does and expect him not to care enough that he is totally unmoved emotionally. That is perhaps Stafford’s enduring legacy. He was a great teammate, worked hard, was tough, and NOT AT ALL me first like he could have been, but do you really believe that winning and winning for UGA meant as much to Stafford as it does to Aaron? I don’t. I think Stafford probably dreamed of being an NFL QB from the time he first realized he had special talent. I think Aaron thinks about being the best and winning all the time. Yes, he seems “happy go lucky” and even a little “dorky” (so is manning AND luck btw) but he also cares deeply about winning in a way few guys do.

        MY LONG WINDED point is that this is what you get with a kid like Aaron. Perhaps Manning (and Aaron now) pressed too hard in big games until he had enough experience to simply block out the emotion and trust their talent and preparation. All they know how to do is keep working hard, keep preparing for the moment that it “all clicks” in a big game. Hopefully, the UF game got Aaron over that hump, and no it does not take a ton of analysis to point out that Aaron playing to his ability is going to be a large determinant in the outcome of the game. It may not be insightful, but that does not mean its not true.

        Senator, as for GD’s comments, I also don’t think he is off base. I think the real flaw is that no one is pointing out the fact that Bama’s defense has been almost as bad in its two bad games as our offense was in its two bad games.

        • The Lone Stranger

          Lacking in brevity, perhaps, but not in GRAVITAS! (And for what it is worth I believe in Murray this game, and see him exposing a flimsy Bama defensive backfield)

        • Lakatos Intolerant

          Enjoyed your post.

          I’m squarely in the Aaron Murray camp. It’s strange, but he may be one of the most polarizing QBs in UGA history. I think people get a bit too caught up in the measurables (in this case, his height) and don’t pay enough attention to the intangibles. People tend to overlook a couple of Staff’s less than ideal performances because he was 6’3” with a laser rocket arm and destined to represent UGA in the NFL. There’s no arguing Murray’s shortcomings in nationally-televised, meaningful games up to this point in his career. He’s also one hell of a student athlete, teammate and competitor, and I, for one, am pumped that he has another opportunity to turn the naysayers into believers. He’s on the brink of greatness, my friends.

          I want the W for the entire DawgNation, but I may shed a tear of awesomeness for both Murray and Richt if they are able to pull this one out.

    • Jim

      I think that throw to mitchell in the UF game exorcised some demons from aaron and i am thinking he overshadows maccaron on saturday.

      I share the concern a lot of people have with the offensive line against ‘bama’s front, but i think our coaching staff learned a valuable (yet painful) lesson against Sc – you have to gameplan for a front like this and not just pray we can play our game with an occassional chip from a freshman back thrown in.

      So expect to see more of hall and ‘tree jr and a lot of PT for the tight ends. Murray and our receivers are good enough to move the ball from “max protect” formations. That said, i wouldnt be surprised if we came out trying to sling it around and spread the field initially to get a feel for how our line is going to hold up

    • Maybe he’s had too much to drink or not enough. Maybe he can’t think of anything to write. Maybe he does not know the facts. Maybe he needs inspiration. Maybe he needs to be fired if he can’t write any better than that!

  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    Way to stick the ole neck out there Garo. Your decisiveness is your hallmark.

  3. gastr1

    It is getting damn tiresome and ruining what should have been a fun week. Instead of competent analysis and interesting debate, the majority of what we hear is how lucky we are in one fashion or another. At this point it strikes me that even a close loss like LSU’s will not be enough to change the perception that we did not earn this.

    I hope it’s added motivation, as if any were needed. It’s getting me fired up–angry–and I’m not even in the arena.

    • Cojones

      I’m sure CSS will replay their show from last night. Good comparisons of all meaningful aspects of both teams and coaches. They ended up split, but STs gave Bama the edge in departments judged. They made it plain that everything was close when comparing each team and that they didn’t think that either team had an overwhelming advantage in any area examined. They split their votes when picking the winner, 2 and 2.

  4. charlottedawg

    Just win the damn game. We control our destiny and Bama’s the best team in the Nation, we have to and can concentrate on the work at hand without giving a damn what anybody says.

  5. Lrgk9

    We are the very definition of underdawgs. Time to GATA and Sic ‘em.

    Tee it up Boys !

  6. AthensHomerDawg

    Poor Missouri. First year in the SEC and they draw the #2 SOS. Yikes.

  7. cbauga

    Someone else said it above…he does not want to tell the public we’ve turned it around because he does not want to stick his neck out in case we lay a stinker like we did against South Carolina.

  8. Lrgk9

    SEC Rules Babeee

  9. JaxDawg

    The analysts and talking heads are fixated on the first 6 games of the season, as if they are purposely looking for reasons to doubt this team. Other than Tom Luggenbill (sp) from ESPN, I haven’t seen or heard anyone raise the points that Senator does above. This myopic analysis has prevented the supposed “pro’s” like Danielson from objectively calling this game. Phil Steele gets it, but he’s an anomoly in this situation. All this is fine though – they will all say that UGA surprised them when the game is over when us fans know that didn’t have to be the case.

    • sniffer

      Mark Schlabach and Gene Wojo********** (sp) have picked Ga to win. There are a number of national reporters and pundits who have done the same.

      • Yeah, I agree. This isn’t about Georgia being disrespected by the national media. It’s about GD being a wuss.

        • JN

          His answer reminds me of being in college and trying reel in an 8.5 while still leaving bait out there for the 9+’s. Your answer has to be one that can always be interpreted to your advantage.

          8.5 – So where’s this headed
          Guy – Baby, all I know is I’m crazy about you.

          2 weeks later after you are trying to spit game at her 9.5 sorority sister…
          8.5 – What The Heck?
          Guy – What? We never defined anything. I am crazy about you, but I I’m just not ready for anything serious.

          or

          2 weeks later after she goes out w/ another guy
          Guy – So what’s this all about
          8.5 – Well…you never committed.
          Guy – Dang baby, I told you I was crazy about you. What else could I possibly say? Do I need to spell it out?

          Calling Gary a wuss is exactly right. He knew the question was coming regardless of the outcome Saturday, he can spin it that he was right.

  10. Brandon

    I am going to say something I probably shouldn’t since I am not going to be around a whole lot until tonight due to real life but I’ll try and say it quickly. I think some of the doubt national punditry has towards Georgia is not undeserved and what I mean by that is that since the 83′ Cotton Bowl game with Texas we have been a team that more often than not stumbles when the lights shine the brightest. That is not to say that we have not one any big games in the last 30 years, we certainly have but Georgia usually succeeds the most when we have been written off entirely by everyone. I think a lot of pundits are just gun shy about Georgia because since they all usually just follow convential wisdom, in the last 30 years or so when conventional wisdom has started to point towards a Georgia win, we have laid a big egg. There are other quality programs that are like that, Texas is one (2005 aside but again everybody and their brother gave Texas no chance against Southern Cal), since 2000 Oklahoma has been prone to lay eggs when in the spotlight (unless playing Texas). These pundits hate looking like fools (even though they do frequently) and the bottom line is they don’t trust us, if they are going to be wrong they want to be wrong along with everyone else, safety in numbers. I for one prefer them not to give us respect I hope our team realizes they are getting no respect. For those of you who would like to see this trend reverse itself, let’s beat the hell out of Alabama and then Notre Dame and we’ll get it. At the risk of being extremely overdramatic about a football game, let the results be our judge like the bad ass speech in Gods and Generals:

    ‘Here I abandon peace and desecrated law. Fortune, it is you I follow.
    Farewell to treaties.From now on war is our judge.’” Hail, Caesar: We who are about to die salute you. Have a good day.

  11. All this talk will be over soon. Focus on winning. Focus on these boys who have given their mind heart and soul to this game this year. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure whatever is lovely, , whatever is admirable — If anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Philippians 4:8

  12. tbia

    Who is really getting disrespected in this arguments is ole miss. That team got better as the year went on…sandwiched last second losses to Johnny Football and the glorious LSU…but since we dominated them they are a poor football team.

  13. Bryant Denny

    They are the #2 and 3 teams in the country (rightly so, I might add).

    They’ve both played less than overwhelming schedules and struggled enough at times to make us wonder who’s in there.

    They both are very talented. Both with great QBs and running backs, etc., etc.

    It is what it is. (See what I did there?)

  14. JN

    I feel the same way as Danielson, except about Bammer. It’s not that I think UGA is better or worse than Bammer, it’s that I don’t know what to think of Bammer. Obviously it goes unsaid that they’re one of the best teams in America (but you have to say everything on these blogs to keep the Mr. Knowitall’s from wasting your time w/ pointing out the obvious things that you only thought went without saying). The question is how good are they. They two best teams they played out played them and one of them beat the bammers up and down the field like a snare drum in every way possible except for the scoreboard. Bammer’s offense didn’t get a 1st down in the 2nd half until that last drive of the game (only other time I’ve ever seen that was UGA’s offense against LSU in 09 led by Joe Cox and LSU didn’t have a first down in the first half of the SECCG or MNC games last year).

    Point being – do I think the Rammer-Jammers are one of the best 3 teams in the country, absolutely. But are they the almighty Bammer from last year or the one that the media portrays, no. Where in fact do they lie in between the two?

  15. I know how he feels, though. I’m not entirely sure what we’ve got either, which is amazing this time of year. The last time I thought “Damn, we’re good this year” going into a big game was after Vanderbilt. And then South Carolina played the game of their collective lives and trucked us.

  16. Dorothy Mantooth

    …who nearly fought the Dragon of Endor

  17. Red Clay Hound

    I love reading the comments on this blog. I mean it. These are real football fans. You can tell that actual thought has gone into the postings. Nice change of pass from the AJC. I know it is off topic, but just thought I would share.

  18. NC Dawg

    For much of the year, Georgia had the visceral feel of a work in progress. Sloppy early, way up against Vandy, way down against S. Carolina. In Jacksonville, sloppy early, putting it together late. But lately, it’s been steady Bulldog domination for a decent stretch of games. Do it again Saturday, and there’ll be no denying that Georgia has arrived.

  19. Keese

    Can we stick with the Munson doctrine? We have no chance!!

  20. Alcoholic Genius

    Amen, brotha Senator! Aint no thought gone into this posting. Pure emotion. Tears in my eyes as I type. I said it before the Floriday game when all them pissant fool poor mouthin the Dawgs. I feel it even more in my bones now. When Floriday #11 lost that ball going into the endzone, I knew. We back. Felt a little like Beleu to Scott. Munson would have said something like, “Jarvis just reached in there and pulled out their heart, still pumping and squiting blood everywhere in those empty Florida seats!” Can’t ya hear the Godfather sangin, ya’ll? They’ll knock ya, they’ll sock ya, . . . Junk Yard Dawgs! Hey, hey, hey hey! That Jarvis, man, he a bad mutha, shut yo mouth. Tree. Big John. Rambo. It gone be old fashioned Georgia ball with DEFENSE. You don’t think them dudes will be focused? This aint Buffugalo. This why they came back. We score just a little bit, we win. Ghost of Coach Russell on the sideline. The entire country gonna see the badest dudes in the land. Irish be shakin. We will be the DAWGS again.

    • Macallanlover

      Even at this time of the morning, I’ll drink to that passion! Don’t forget the offense now, they have some studs too.

    • Comin' Down The Track

      I have stated to my friends that I am glad that we now have a new legendary play for the Lizards to have nightmares about.

  21. W Cobb Dawg

    I think Danielson is close to the mark. I’d add this is the closest CMR has gotten to the mnc in his 12 seasons. We’ve had plenty of ups and downs. Now’s our chance to show the national football audience we can go all the way.

  22. Macallanlover

    I am a Danielson fan when he is doing “in game” analysis, and see him only behind Todd Blackledge, he is the 2nd best in CFB. But listening to his comments away from the game, interviews I hear on radio mostly, he does seem to lack perspective of the college game and tends to “live in the moment” and base his thoughts on what he last saw. Perhaps he doesn’t do a lot of research away from the game/teams that he calls because you rarely hear him reference other areas outside the SEC, or even the top of our own conference. CBS has pretty much limited its coverage to 6-8 teams, maybe he never watches or reads about other games.

    Perhaps the posters above are right and he doesn’t want to get burned by praising UGA, or perhaps he is worried about upsetting Little Nicky and the rabid Bama fans who attack anyone who dares make positive comments about anyone but the Tide. We have those guys too, but they are maybe 10% of our fans, I think the extreme Bama loonies comprise about 70% of their fans (or maybe FBomb’s show makes it seem that way.) I think he is a Murray fan, and he certainly suggested CMR and CMB to trust him in the 2nd half at Florida.

    • Bryant Denny

      Overall, I think the whole CBS broadcast comes off as lazy. Sure, Gary watches some “film” and they have a conference call with the coaches each week, but the whole thing just seems lacking.

      Perhaps that’s because of they only do SEC games and concentrate on just a few teams within the league. Maybe it’s because a handful of the games turn out to be duds. Or maybe I’m just biased.

      Blackledge is the best, hands down. Herbstreit is very good, too, but he’s venturing into the area of being too corporate.

  23. UFTimmy

    >> How many other schools have done so five times this season, let alone consecutively?

    UF has done it with 7 opponents :)

    Would have done it with FSU too if not for our gifts, but we did hold them to their season low in yardage.

    Also, I don’t think dominating bad opponents shows you are a good team. UF blitzed some bad teams like 55-3 a couple of years ago to open the season, and then got blitzed the rest of the season.

    All that being said, I of course am not arguing that Georgia isn’t a good team, just to try and stave off some of the negative comments that will follow.

  24. Dboy

    I think the national press / analysts are a little hesitant to credit UGA and / or believe they are “for real”. This can be directly traced to a number of big game beatdowns we have been on the losing end of over the past 5 years or so. The only exception is the UF game this year… and people are exercising caution when crediting us for that win. No one wants to pick UGA over the uber consistent winner and perennial class of the SEC Alabama when the aren’t sure which UGA will show up: the USCe version or the UF version.

  25. Georgia chokes. What team is going to show up?