Observations from the armchair: Georgia-Tennessee

I got exactly what I was worried about yesterday, as Butch Jones tossed out the kitchen sink.  A lot of it worked, like going 3-3 on fourth down.  And no question that injuries had an impact on Georgia’s psyche and Jones did a good job jumping on and riding the second half momentum swing for all it was worth.

There’s stuff to fret about, no doubt, and the injuries are a legitimate concern going forward, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that a young team was looking at a pretty dire situation with less than two minutes to go in a road game and managed to find a way to pull out the win.  Remember how we’d argue that a Boise State couldn’t survive the grind of an SEC season?  Yesterday is what we’re talking about, peeps.

On to the bullet points:

  • I’d really, really like to quit typing that special teams were a mixed bag. But damn it, Dawgs, I need a little help here.  The 56-yarder, a stadium record, was remarkable, and kudos to Morgan for drilling the winner as visions of the Michigan State fiasco flashed through my head.  But the clanger to end the first drive of the second half was the psychological turning point of the game.  And there simply is no excuse for a top ten team giving up two blocked punts for touchdowns in five games.  Yes, somebody whiffed on the protection, but I’m also coming around to the idea that Barber is a little too deliberate with his punts.  In any event, you can bet that every coach facing Georgia for the rest of the season will be playing for the block when the Dawgs are punting from inside their 20.
  • Days like yesterday make me sympathetic to why Mark Richt prefers to play it safe on punt returns.  Why has it become so hard for Georgia to find a competent returner who can be an occasional weapon, like Damian Gary or Thomas Flowers?
  • There is no truth to the rumor that in honor of yesterday’s results, they’re going to start referring to the Neyland Stadium turf as “the 12th man”.
  • Anybody got an explanation for Butch Jones’ clock management at the end of the first half?
  • The weirdest thing about yesterday is that Murray completed passes to eight different receivers, but none to a tight end.  This, against a Jancek-Martinez defense.
  • How ’bout Ray Drew coming on?
  • Woot, with six catches, two for touchdowns, including the one they had to have.  Every week, it really does feel like somebody else steps up in the receiving corps.
  • So this week they decided to call pass interference.  Hmm.
  • I think we’re overreacting to Justin Worley’s day a little bit.  He made one nice throw, on the TD to North, and didn’t self-destruct.  But he was 17-31 and averaged less than seven yards per pass attempt.  Stuff of legends that ain’t.
  • All the way around, it’s hard to get a handle on the defense’s game.  On the one hand, there’s the second half meltdown.  But the first half might have been their most consistent effort of the season, as they held the Vols to three points and less than 120 yards.  (In fact, I kind of wonder if that lulled Richt and Bobo into a false sense of security with some of the second-half playcalling/strategy.)  They were fairly stout up the middle – Herrera and Wilson both played well – but they got embarrassed on the outside as the OLBs and safeties continually lost contain.  And they got suckered on misdirection so much I thought Cornelius Washington had returned.  I’m not surprised that UT was able to throw with some success.  Georgia plays zone and a quarterback with time is going to find holes.  Tennessee’s offensive line is above-average and won its share of pass protection fights.  But five games in, some of these kids should be showing more discipline than they are.
  • The offensive line continues to lower my anxiety.  Another solid run blocking day.  Pass protection was a little shaky here and there, and Beard was awful on that sack he allowed, but overall serviceable.
  • Let’s hope JJ Green can get his pass blocking skills up quickly, because it looks like they’re gonna need him in the backfield for the rest of the season.  Great game.
  • Bobo was a little too conservative for my taste on occasion, but going back to Douglas on that last drive in regulation with that swing pass was a ballsy call, especially after Douglas had dropped a pass on the previous play.  And the man deserves a little credit for helping to make Aaron Murray the cool customer he was on that drive.
  • There’s really not much left to say about Aaron Murray, other than that his clutch play is at such a level now that the Hutson Mason jokes aren’t funny anymore.
  • And Chris Conley has gone from being the guy who shouldn’t have caught the pass in the SECCG to Georgia’s number one guy at the position.  It’s a good thing he looks up to the task.

Do I have the feeling that the game would have been much different if the offense had managed to put the ball in the end zone on that first drive of the second half?  Absolutely.  But survive and advance, baby.  It sure wasn’t pretty.  It wasn’t smooth, although, seeing as this was the seventh straight game Georgia’s played in which it’s faced not having a lead in the second half, that’s something I’m getting used to.  There are plenty of Richt-coached teams we could point to that wouldn’t have the resiliency to mount that tying drive.  It says something about the day that Aaron Murray’s going to be remembered more for what he pulled off to save the game than that he set the new conference career yardage record.

In the end, metaphorically speaking, Aaron Murray did what Casey Clausen bragged about hoping to do.  He won the Georgia-Tennessee game with one arm tied behind his back.


Filed under Georgia Football

92 responses to “Observations from the armchair: Georgia-Tennessee

  1. gastr1

    The somebody who whiffed on the blocked punt protection was Quayvon Hicks. It was absolutely an atrocious play.

    • DugLite

      I agree. Watch the rest of the punt block play and see the UT player try to blind side Hicks, then watch Hicks decleat the LB on the Douglas rushing TD.

  2. 69Dawg

    Being a veteran I’m hesitant to use war as a metaphor but yesterday our guys were falling like the Vols had machineguns. That was the most injuries to key personnel I can remember. Do we know if any of them have a chance to come back this year?

  3. DugLite


  4. Irishdawg

    “The somebody who whiffed on the blocked punt protection was Quayvon Hicks.”

    And that’s puzzling when you see how he was blowing up UT linebackers for most of the day.

    • The inconsistency from Hicks is something the coaches saw in practice and thats why he didn’t start last week. All it takes is one man to ruin your day on special teams.

      Mizzu scares me. This is gonna be a serious test for Grantham. He better have his unit ready to play.

    • McTyre

      Exactly. Unpredictable motor – which may explain why 48 has lost FB reps to 43.

  5. You are right in that Worley’s stats appear just average against UGA. BUT, Worely had been horrendous against South Alabama (3 picks) last week and just about every game to date. So by that measure, his performance was a breakthrough.

    UGA has 1 interception in 5 games and has forced only 1 fumble. That is absurd. We are last in the SEC in both categories.. Tennessee has 11 interceptions so Willie must be doing something right.

    We are last in the conference in red zone TD defense. We allow TD’s 72.2% of the time.

    We are last in the conference in opponent 3rd down conversions.

    in short, UGA defense can’t tackle, can’t cover, and can’t create turnovers. But our DC yells a lot and had a pretend interview with the Saints so I guess we are lucky to have him. .

    • Worley’s passer rating against Georgia was 123.74. His season average is 121.54. Average QB passer rating is 130. Like I said, the big thing about him yesterday is that he didn’t self-destruct.

      You are spot on about the defense’s failure on the turnover front. It’s really killing them right now.

      • WF dawg

        Are we even on turnovers this year as a team? If you count the fumbled punts by LSU and Clemson, I believe that gives us three.

    • Beer Money

      Not excusing yesterday’s lack of turnovers, but to be fair, UGA has played 3 of what I would say are the top 10 QBs in America (Boyd, Shaw, Mettenberger) where multi-interception days are just not going to happen.

      What blows is how we have dropped an INT in each game so far. Swann’s yesterday would have taken a remarkable catch, but he was there. And Herrera’s in the Clemson game probably wins it for us, dammit.

  6. timphd

    Had to DVR the game and haven’t seen it yet, but I did listen to it via Sirius satellite radio. That meant I had to listen to the Vols radio broadcast. While it was painful to hear them celebrate another Dawg defensive breakdown (such as the 43 yard run on 4th and 1) I have to admit they were fair in their description of the action. They were completely uncomfortable after Tenn scored their last TD, saying that there was too much time on the clock for Aaron Murray. They gave him more respect than a lot of Dawg fans do. It was clear that they gave him complete credit for the win, which sounds fair to me. I will watch the game tonight to see for myself, but it seems that despite the average numbers he put up, he put this team on his back and carried it home on a day when it would have been easy to say the fates were against you. Don’t know if I am confident that this can continue though with the injuries and special teams blunders and defensive lapses. Sounded like the D was playing well in the first half but didn’t make any adjustments in the second. Glad to be in the position they are in record wise but I’m dreading Missouri.

    • The Lone Stranger

      I think you got the basic vibe correct over the air, with the additional mystifying angle of some unfortunately timed oddball ref decisions. I’m in the same boat — have to watch the replay. Listening to the 750 feed driving around Pittsburgh was cool though given the outcome.

  7. JRW7

    AM won the game, BUT CTG defense tried to lose it, TN is last in the SEC on offense, yesterday the TN offense had over 400 yds on CTG defense, something’s not right with our defense or is it our coach CTG?

    • Dboy

      I think special teams tried to lose it: UGA -3 on missed FG that clearly gave UT hope and swung momentum and UT +7 on the blocked Punt that was just flat out terrible, the bizarre encroachment or whatever call that said our punt return team was attempting to draw them offsides…that was a stop and gave UT the ball and they got the 4th and 1 and ultimately the TD. That is 3 MAJOR FCUK Ups that led to UT points or subtracted from UGA points.

      The defense has its problems, namely starting 8 new players and nearly the entire secondary are true or redshirt freshmen but they were not the only problem area yesterday, and probably not the biggest problem area. As I recall, LSU’s defense look pretty bad against us and they are in the same situation trying to rebuild the defensive personnel after massive NFL talent migration. We just have to deal with it as the defense matures. I’m not sure it is fire Coach Grantham time just yet.

      • Totally agree on the special teams – I place this squarely at the feet of CMR. Other head coaches take an active role in coordinating the special teams particularly Corch. We need a different approach.

        Defense – the youth excuse is getting really old. It’s time for the young players to grow up and play like champions.

      • Cosmic Dawg

        Sorry, but the missed FG wasn’t points against our D.

        As has been pointed out ad nauseum over and over on these pages – and I am trying to shut up about it myself – CTG has not done well with either veteran or freshman players. It’s his 4th year, he’s supposed to have “his guys” in place. He owns this defense 100%.

        And I appreciate that we want to think the best of him, to root for him and his boys, so we’re trying to rationalize what’s going on, but as exhausted as I am personally of ragging on our D, I’m also confused by how much we talk about how rough our poor ol’ D has got it. Especially all the references to how they have to live with our special teams, which is pretty lame in my opinion).

        I never hear how lucky CTG is to have our offense being so efficient that he gets to rest his squad, how having our offense puts pressure on opposing teams to get out of their game to keep up, how fortunate that our offense gives our defense excellent starting field position to defend because we punt so infrequently, how lucky our defense gets to practice against one of the best offenses in the country, how lucky that he’s not having to recruit in a lousy state like half the rest of the conference, for a team that’s been in the dumpster for five years like half the rest of the conference, etc, etc, etc.

        I mean, tell me, please, how hobbled, beat up, sorry ass Tennessee, with their problems, was able to score the same number of points on us as they hung on South Alabama, and twice what they got off Oregon and Florida?

        And dadgum, everybody has freshmen – was this a surprise we couldn’t have seen coming?! If playing a lot of freshmen is problematic, where are the experienced seniors, juniors, and sophomores CTG was charged with recruiting the last three years?

        The best excuse I have for CTG, and it’s worth exploring, I think, is that perhaps scoring averages are up in general, so things are tough all over. But especially with the awesome QB play we’ve seen in the SEC (+ Clemson) the last year or two.

        Keep him, get rid of him, whatever. But I can’t imagine anybody can honestly evaluate his performance relative to his peers with competitive salary and time on the job and think he’s even average.

  8. One more thing. Dear Leonard Floyd. They let you hit the QB a second after he releases the ball. Why? I think you now know. And I know you won’t let it happen again…or go overboard.

  9. UbiquitousGaAlum

    “but going back to Douglas on that last drive in regulation with that swing pass was a ballsy call, especially after Douglas had dropped a pass on the previous play”

    Guess Bobo saw how Janeck led LBs were suspetible to that …

  10. Debby Balcer

    Watched the second half of the game. Having former GA coaches coach against us is an advantage for TN. Our team has no quit. I hope we can have a game where we come out on fire and do what we did to Auburn last year GO DAWGS!!!

  11. WF dawg

    Senator, this was a fine and balanced post that sums up my thoughts exactly. Well done again.

  12. NRBQ

    I may be hard-headed, but I will never understand giving the opponent the ball after every coin toss.

    Especially when you have the greatest offense in team history, and your defense is “unpredictable” at best.

    But I was still astounded that Richt chose to defend in overtime, when the D hadn’t been able to stop the Hillbillies in the second half. Thank god for the fumble over the pylon.

  13. HVL Dawg

    Nobody seems to have noticed, but our PAT holder made a heroic catch/hold on the PAT at 8 seconds. The snap was high and into the holder’s body. He made a great catch and hold- game saver. He’ll get a bone for sure.

  14. SC DAWG

    We did not pull out the win. We luckily won because Alden Howard couldn’t hang on to the ball in OT, like he was trying to catch a greased…see what I did there. The world is not over and we were given the W, but your excuse making, especially for the D, is becoming a little too much to stomach. Mark my words, if this D does not tighten up, in a major way, it will cost us a game very soon.

    • Can you explain the lucky part about the tying drive? Maybe my TV reception wasn’t so good.

      • DawgNabIt

        Yeah, the pass interference call in the endzone. It looked like the Vol defensive player saw the ball and tried turning around to get a better angle. It probably shouldn’t have been called, but we got lucky.

    • Coastal Dawg

      I think that good fortune was pay back for the TD catch that should have been overturned. It was the only break that went our way all day.

    • Dawgfan Will

      All that would have happened had Howard held on to the ball was we would have gone to 2nd OT. It was lucky, yes, but it’s disingenuous to say that that’s the only reason we won the game.

    • sUGArdaddy

      If you think that win was luck, you have revealed to us a severe ladino perspective. Our all-American led our JV team to a victory in front of 100,000 angry rival fans when we had no good reason to win the game. We’ve got somethings to get straight, especially on D, but I can hardly think of a team I’m more proud of than this one.

    • Cosmic Dawg

      I share your opinion on the D, but I hardly think the Sen has been an apologist for CTG.

      And I strongly disagree – we did indeed “pull out the win”. If other teams never made mistakes, we would never win any games. If we’re going to start the practice of discounting certain events like Howard’s goal line fumble – events that are the culmination of each team’s skill, coaching, willpower, conditioning, etc – then one can just as easily choose to discount the blocked punt or the injuries and say that in fact we beat the snot out of them.

      I agree that sometimes you can really say you beat yourself, but I think the Vols should be proud of that game. The miscues and missed calls for both sides were few and, to me, largely offsetting. The score of the game was the score of the game.

  15. Beakerdawg

    If targeting is the rule, how was the UT player not charged with targeting as he sized up Barber on the blocked punt? How did oversensitive Vern and Daniels not saying anything about this? Oh wait these are the same people slobbering over Fairley and Cam…

    • Nate Dawg

      This. I thought they were watching that stuff. I mean wasn’t the play over? Had he not already scored / was that block necessary? I also thought Douglas was hoarse collared when he scored & it wasn’t called. I mean it doesn’t effect the actual score/play – but it would be neat to see it called. Seein’ as how it’s a rule & all and I don’t know, maybe restore a lil confidence in these refs for me.

    • Krautdawg

      Unfortunately, the punter wasn’t a defenseless player. Could’ve seen the hit coming & adjusted; he just didn’t. Also, the UT player didn’t launch or initiate contact on the head/face.

      Face it gentlemen, the targeting call looks to be reserved for the Bama secondary.

      • uglydawg

        Naw..they got the Game Cocks last week…but had it overturned..still tacked on the fifteen yard penalty though.
        If you can find it, see FSU’s hit on the Maryland QB yesterday..it was awful and everything the rule was supposed to prevent..alas, no flag was thrown. Go figure.

  16. El Dawgo in El Paso

    My favorite play of the day: Aaron Murray’s scramble in the 4th to put them in position to score. Amazing run-I thought he was about to slide down 3 or 4 different times but he saw he could keep going.

    The defense? Our goal-line setup leaves the edges wide open, wherever on the field we line up. I almost prefer to stay in a base defense until we learn basic fundamentals/angles/etc.

    And I am still stewing about the ridiculous call on 4th and 6, even if by strict interpretation it was a correct one.

    • fetch

      +1 on the AM run. If he hadn’t whiffed on the stiff arm at the end of it, that’s a TD. But, it’s obvious that no one at UT expected it, and he ran like a determined man that would not be denied. He was going to put himself on the line to win this game all by himself if need be.

      • oscardagrch

        I think when it is all said and done we are going to look at AM as the best QB is UGA history…..and yes….I know that is mighty high praise.

        P.S. I hate the guy that sits behind me that complains about Murray “sucking” every time a play doesn’t work out. AM is the only reason this team has won any games this year.

        • WF dawg

          It’s just about reached the point where if you punched that guy behind you, all you’d get was a chorus of approving smiles and satisfied nods. It’s beyond ridiculous to dog Murray at this point.

  17. fetch

    Does anyone know if they did anything to the field to try to slow our players down that might have contributed to the knee injuries? One freak knee you can understand, but this was unreal.

    • Darrron Rovelll

      I was listening to the pre-game and the condition of the field was mentioned a couple of times. I don’t think that it was something that was done on purpose but Zeier said in his comments before the game, there was a lot of painted sand on that field.

      To have two guys go down with knee injuries in the same where contact was not even a factor is just freaky. I would not be surprised to hear either of them say that the knee gave out after stepping in a big pile of sand.

      Also, did anyone notice that Bennett grabbed at his knee after an incompletion in the end zone? I wondered if he may have tweaked it earlier in the game before it just blew out later.

      • 79dawg

        From our seats miles high, the South end zone (where OT was played) definitely had several large, bare/sandy patches – really couldn’t tell anywhere else though…

  18. John Denver is full of shit...

    I’ve been to two games in Neyland Stadium…I was in the endzone for the hobnail boot and yesterday I was in the endzone for the field goal…the only difference in witnessing these two games… celebrating, there was no celebrating. Sure we were happy the kick was good, but the happiness was more of relief rather than satisfaction. There was no singing “mean machine” on the way out of the stadium, no high fives to strangers in red, no champagne in the parking lot, but alas a victory.

    This team is winning games regardless of the officiating, injuries, youth, etc. and that is what I am celebrating today!

    Go Dawgs!

    • BosnianDawg

      I got the same impression regarding the feeling amongst fans at the stadium. I know I was mostly just glad it was over and we survived. Kinda like walking away in one piece after a bad car crash.

  19. Ed Kilgore

    I remember thinking before the season that I’d never seen a team with the kind of quality depth the Dawgs had at WR/TE. That could be the key to the season. Remember what happened to UT two years ago when Omar Hunter went down early? Can you imagine what LSU would be like if they suddenly lost both Landry and Beckham? Has FL been affected by its WR issues in recent years?

    I’m praying Bennett and Scott-Wesley aren’t following Mitchell in being out for the year, but if as appears likely they are, it’s a miracle and a tribute to recruiting (and Coach Ball) that Georgia’s season’s not basically over.

    • Connor

      I second the comment on coach Ball. He’s already doing a stupendous job, but if there isn’t a significant drop off in our passing game he deserves his own statue. The fact that we’re even contemplating life after 3 of our top 4 receivers have gone down is remarkable.

  20. I just watched my replay and our number 20 was in on every blown defensive play ……I’ll look it up later but I have to assume that #20 is Trey’s replacement and next week several of the long plays will get stuffed with Trey back in the defensive backfield.. After further review #20 was the player who let the TN tailback just walk into the end zone with 1:52 remaining which may have been the best and most brilliant play of the game because if UT melts another two plays off that clock we do not have enough time or timeouts left to tie the game. Funny how sometimes bad is good and visa versa….time to start drinking again.

  21. RomeDawg79


  22. Jim

    It’s official. JSW and KM gone for year. Don’t know yet on Bennett but he is definitely out for Missouri. Damn

    • RomeDawg79

      i’d be nice if we could salvage Bennett out of the bunch. Sorry for Marshall and JSW.

    • uglydawg

      YEOW! Fortunatley there seems to be a lot of depth..If Gurley comes back for Missouri he will probably not be full speed..but Green impressed. The offensive line is always key and it’s intact…isn’t it?

    • fetch

      Damn! Do we blow some redshirts now? I know we have depth (6 other players caught a pass and JJ ran for 120+) but, damn, all hands on deck so to speak.

      • fetch

        And where the hell is Jonathon Rumph?

        • Ed Kilgore

          Hamstring, plus he allegedly still has the ill-defined “work ethic” issues the coaches were complaining about before he did so well in the Spring Game. Guy needs to figure out he’s got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity here.

          • Cosmic Dawg

            Hamstering, this time of year?! He needs to be focused on football, not hunting. He can go hamstering in the spring like the rest of us – my Siamese won’t even track in cold weather.

        • Dawgfan Will

          Still nursing a hamstring.

  23. Dawg Vegas

    Ugh – so sorry to hear that about JSW and especially Marshall. Where is Richard Samuel when we need more depth? Glad we kept recruiting there even when we had two sensational freshmen.

    Thinking about Willie M….I wonder if Grantham is able to survive this if things keep going in a bad direction. There always seems to be a reason why the D can’t get it done at the level everyone expects, for a couple of years now. After a while, the excuses seem to be just another way of saying something is deeply wrong. Let’s hope we bring the sustained execution back soon – the offense can’t always carry us without a little help, and it sure isn’t coming from Special Teams.

    • VoxDawg

      So what is the answer at DC? “Let” CTG return to the NFL? It seems that 2011 was the outlier due to sheer talent, and this year is consistent with diminishing returns.

      The “experts” are foaming at the mouth to replace Mack Brown. Who is the Dream Team of DC candidates to replace CTG when no one begs him to stay?

      • Dboy

        I think we are playing at too high a level to break in a new DC. By the time he gets up to speed, Bobo will leave for a HC job and then we will need to transition to a new OC. Richt’s NC window is now…we aren’t changing DCs unless there is a complete meltdown. This Defense is VERY young. I wish people would come back down off the ledge about the defensive coaches and realize that we are number 7 in the country and have a chance to get better on defense as the season moves on and still have a chance at a natty. In any championship season, there are always close games against inferior opponents. Hopefully, this was our last one for the foreseeable future.

  24. Raven

    Just where is this great defensive team everyone thinks we should be? Bama, LSU, Ohio State, Stanford, Ducks. . . .

    • Connor

      Do you need more teams? There are another 94 giving up fewer points a game.

    • BAMA shutout Ole Miss last week btw. The odds of UGA shutting out Ole Miss with Grantham as DC are about 1 in a million. Its not even in the realm of possibility that UGA could shutout Ole Miss. Hell, I’d say it about 1 in 10 shot we would even hold Ole Miss to under 30 if we played them. I am not exaggerating given that six straight FBS opponents have torched us.

      The Vols scored only 17 against Florida (and one of the TD’s was a pick 6). They scored only 14 against Oregon, and South Alabama played better much defense against them.

      There are lots of teams playing much better defense. Yeah, Alabama and LSU had their one game defensive lapse. BUT UGA has been lit up on defense for six games in a row, and don’t forget we greatly underachieved last year. Man I’d be giddy if our defense only collapsed at the same frequency of LSU or Alabama. Hell, I will settle for just 4 collapses a year.

      • Macallanlover

        I would settle for one less broken record for a “fan”. Do you ever do anything but bitch? Get a little balance in your life.

        • I know it is early in the month and we have this week to get through….but that Florida Defense really is great. Scott, Mac is right….stop bitching and remember we have only lost one game in spite of our defensive shortcomings. Balance….it is essential.

  25. NRBQ

    Bringing up the SEC rear in points allowed. UGA must not have an talent on D, right?

  26. Normaltown Mike

    “the Hutson Mason jokes aren’t funny anymore”

    Yeah, but have you heard the one about Hutson Mason, the blind Priest and the acrobat?

  27. RomeDawg79

    What’s the story on Wooten? Haven’t heard his name much this year.

    • gastr1

      Is he even on the team? Please, someone fill us in on the whereabouts of Wooten.

      (you were kidding, right, RomeDawg?)

  28. Will Trane

    No doubt the 3 injuries took a toll in game. Bennett and Scott-Wesley usually line up on the same side, and SW is a deep threat,speed, and hands. Huge work and game planning going on now for OC and CMR.to replace your top 2 tailbacks and top 2 deep wideouts. Can not have enough RBs at UGA now. Recruit them.

  29. Will Trane

    Marshall, Bennett, & Wesley forced OC to stay on plan but check what would work, UT did not have to do that on D, but they adjusted due to only Conley as deep threat in game. Amazed Green and Douglas burned them so bad in that last drive. Complain about TG all you want, but thank goodness we do not have Jancek & Martinez. Just stuns me to see kids leave this state and go to Knoxville. Even Lane Kiffin figured that one out.