Observations from the armchair, Georgia – Arkansas edition

So now we know.  These Dawgs are still a trifle cheesed over the perception that they’re nothing without Todd Gurley.  How do you get the pundits’ attention?  What kind of two-by-four do you whomp up side their heads? How about going from playing one of the most complete road games we’ve seen a Richt-coached team to playing an even more dominating half of football on the road?

The whole game reeked of “we’re just tired of that shit”.  (I hope they’ve got some of that stuff bottled for later use.)

Yeah, I got your bullet points right here.

  • The game opened the way we’ve seen more than once, with an opponent’s perfectly executed scripted scoring drive.  However, whatever wind the Ray Drew-blocked extra point didn’t take out of the Hogs’ sails, Bobo’s playcalling on Georgia’s first drive did.  That was as good a job of in your face calls and execution as I’ve seen since that 2010 game against Georgia Tech, when Bobo kept calling for throws to AJ Green over and over again.  Bobo clearly saw something in Arkansas’ secondary he was sure he could exploit, and damned if he didn’t do just that.  The other great call in the game came on Georgia’s last score.  The playcalling had been so conservative over the second half that nobody in the joint was expecting the deep ball then, and it sent a message that Bobo knew he could collect on that play any time he needed it.
  • Thirty more carries for Nick Chubb, and over 130 more yards than Alabama rushed for against Arky’s defense.  I am officially not worried about next year’s running game.
  • Great to see a big game out of Chris Conley.  It’s weird, but that’s the first payoff from Malcolm Mitchell back on the field.
  • Offensive line was, again, a mixed bag.  Dominant at times, but also confused on some of Arkansas blitzes.  And Theus got burned on a speed rush that turned into a sack.
  • Great blocking from the fullbacks, though.
  • Mason has shaken the uncertainty from his game.  He is still not being asked to do too much, but he’s giving them everything they need from him.  His throw on that last touchdown was as pretty as any college quarterback could make.
  • Pruitt said after the South Carolina game that he was done playing soft.  He wasn’t kidding.  Georgia was aggressive with its blitzes throughout the first half, and that paid off big time.
  • Another big day on the turnover margin front.  Some of that obviously comes from the offense being careful, but the defense continues to improve in being alert and around the ball.  Mauger is much improved in pass coverage from last season.  And Swann’s confidence has grown remarkably over the last three games.  You can see how all the defensive backs are feeding off the pressure being generated from the front six/seven.
  • The only bummer on the day was the continued inability to cover the intermediate pass over the middle.  Arkansas’ tight ends feasted on the coverage.  Unfortunately, that situation is what it is.
  • Special teams were, shall we say, consistent with what we’ve seen of late.  Punting wasn’t anything special, although there two landed inside the twenty.  McKenzie flashed again in the return game.  Morgan was perfect with his extra points and field goal, also knocking out a bunch of touchbacks on kickoffs.  And none of the kickoff returns really threatened.
  • The officiating was strange.  Tons of flags thrown in the second half helped Arkansas hang around.  At least a few of the calls were questionable, especially the last PI call Bowman drew, as it looked like the receiver pushed off big time.  And Arkansas got away with a ton of holding.  (I know, forget it, it’s the SEC… but, still.)

You can complain about the foot coming off the gas in the second half, I suppose.  But, really, that game was done when they walked off after the first half ended.  And I doubt the coaches expected that the players would relax a bit, too.  Given how balls out they’d played over their last three halves of football, it’s somewhat understandable.

In any event, this team is showing that there’s something to its emotional and mental makeup that we haven’t seen from Georgia in a while.  I bet most of them would prefer not to have a bye week coming up.  For me, not so much.  It’ll be good to see if they can get some players healthier and see the resolution to the Gurley suspension.

About all that, can you imagine what Florida will be thinking if the Dawgs get Gurley, Marshall and Michel back in time for the Cocktail Party?

78 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

78 responses to “Observations from the armchair, Georgia – Arkansas edition

  1. Rusty

    Looking forward to Sehorn and company on ‘The Experts ‘ eat a little crow this week. Roll your eyes one more time, Jason!

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  2. Rusty

    Good coverage, BTW.

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  3. Chuck

    I also thought a couple of the late hit calls in the second half were a little iffy. Yes, there was contact but just a shove to make sure they did go out of bounds. Might have reasonably been no calls in my mind, but again, it’s SEC officiating.

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  4. Joe

    2 weeks to remember what happens when you are not ready to play a team that views you as their biggest rival, no matter how bad they have looked.

    Hope the cautionary tale that is losing to a horrible Scu team earlier this year is fresh in the minds of the team. Debose is the best kick returner we will see this year. UF has the best defense we will see all year. If their offense gets a couple of drives early, they will feel confident for the first time in years. Hope that we are as ready for the Cocktail party as we have been the last couple of weeks.

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  5. Coweta Dawg

    Officiating felt tight — benefitted GA 1st half, Arky 2nd half. Happy to see the chop block called (maybe we can get those refs for the game against the bees). Speaking of bees, nice to see Tech doing so well against teams clad in blue.

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  6. SAtownDawg

    Greg Pyke is the real deal…most athletic and physical Offensive lineman we’ve had in years…future first rounder and the difference in our running game between last year and this tear,,,watch the tape,,,and no, I’m not relate to him….Langley continues to impress as well…first time in 10 years I felt comfortable with a ten point lead thanks to Pruitt

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  7. AusDawg85

    I’ve defended Hutson Mason’s play because of the nasty, ill-informed, uneducated piling-on by Georgia fans. Though his play hasn’t been anything more than competent, that’s all we really needed. Yesterday, however, was a real break-out game. Chubb was spectacular, but I submit it was due in large part to Mason’s performance and softening of the Arky D. Prior to the game I listened to his interview on the SEC Network from earlier in the week. I heard a smart, humble, dedicated kid who understands his leadership role and need to keep improving.

    SockPuppet “Ron” on Tuesday predicted a disaster of a game from Mason and that he would not be starting by the Auburn game. I don’t pretend to think these trolls are serious, but there are plenty of others around here who need to step-up and admit how poorly you underestimated this kid and how insulting it is to the rest of us to have you bleat that “noodle-arm” crap. You’re not realists…you’re annoying. At least wait for Mason (or anyone else) to really screw-up before bashing them next time.

    Troll on….

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  8. Scorpio Jones, III

    Interesting how we have a freshman tailback run for over 200 yards with an inconsistent offensive line. Against a defense that allowed Bama only half that.

    Maybe we can get some of that inconsistency worked out in the off-week.

    The flag-fest in the second half was a little un-nerving. I almost never say anything about officiating, but after Devin Bowman’s third PI penalty I could have sworn I saw a black helicopter hovering off there in the distance.

    Florida may very well have a new or, at least, interim coach by the time we get to Duval Street. I had a uncle who lived in West Palm and another in Vero Beach…both of them told me a wounded gator is the most dangerous animal in the Western Hemisphere.

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    • But the guys in Orange and Blue are not alligators. They are human beings, just as our guys. We got the monkey off of our backs, we are not emotionally fragile any more, so it is a case that if both teams play their best the best team will win. Florida can beat us, sure, and we have to respect that their team has SEC caliber athletes, too, but we control whether we play our best. If we do we will win.

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  9. sectionzalum

    i do worry that opposing teams can drag a couple receivers across the middle a different depths and connect pretty consistently. but i am mostly giddy. the 1st half shutdown after Ark’s 1st drive was pretty tasty.

    on another note, has anyone ever seen Richt say this before:

    Coach Friend’s our running game coordinator and him and Coach Bobo work very close together to get a plan and to try to get us into the best possible runs.

    http://www.myajc.com/news/sports/college/richt-bulldogs-not-wearing-out-chubb/nhm9t/?icmp=ajc_internallink_invitationbox_apr2013_ajcstub1#6f21377c.612055.735525

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  10. JN

    Is it just me, or did Mason’s first throw look like it had a little more zip?

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  11. Coastal Dawg

    Swan is much better suited for the Star position. He’s physical and smart but not quite fast enough for man to man coverage at the corner. I really think the star puts him in better position to quarterback the DBs and use his football instincts.

    I like to think the sloppy second half will give the coaches some things to work on during the bye. We have two weeks to talk about how we let Arky get us 26-7 in the second half. Before anybody freaks out, I’m not complaining or trying to be a wet blanket after a GREAT team effort.

    And that first drive was Murryesque, if that’s a word.

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  12. “About all that, can you imagine what Florida will be thinking if the Dawgs get Gurley, Marshall and Michel back in time for the Cocktail Party?”

    They will collectively shit their pants. Florida has got to be mentally torn up about how sideways this season has gone, and having Gurley back will scare the hell out of them, especially considering what he did to them last season.

    My favorite kind of Georgia Bulldog team is an angry one. The defense has looked like a swarm of hornets the last couple of games and we need to keep that edginess all season, because Florida and Auburn are both due a reckoning.

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    • Coweta Dawg

      Yes, on Florida, but oh please, please, yes on Auburn.

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      • Will

        I’m not one to kick a man while he’s down, but I am of the staunch opinion that Florida isn’t as down as it could be yet, so we should be happy to kick away.

        That said, I’d love to see a 45-10 or 50-12 final score. Something to give the Gator faithful something to think about, and something to exercise the demons of 2008 and 2009 from our collective psyche.

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  13. Charles

    Senator, you called this game correctly when I was skeptical to the point of expecting the loss. Glad to be wrong on this one.

    Did you happen to hear Richt’s responses to questions about Chubb in the post-games these past two weeks? Q: “Isn’t Chubb something?” Richt: “We’ve got a lot of good players on this team.”

    I’ve heard him do this more than twice, and dryly.

    Pretty different from how he was answering similar questions about Gurley before this recent autograph problem where he was happy to confirm that Gurley is a special talent and maybe the best back etc..

    Incidentally, he also come really close to criticizing the refing in this game. Something like “It looked good to me and like they were both shoving but none of those calls went our way.”

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    • Will

      Well, Gurley also had a pretty solid shot at the Heisman, and Richt was trying to help sell him. Now that that isn’t a priority, he can give a bit more praise to the rest of the team.

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      • Dawgfan Will

        He’s still polling at third in the standings. I wonder how things will shake out Heisman-wise if he gets back in two weeks?

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  14. Argondawg

    As much as I have been underwhelmed by Will Friend’s recruiting, this offensive line we have is actually pretty solid. We have an occasional breakdown in pass protection but they come off pretty nasty in run blocking. I can’t help but think how dominating this line would be if we had been able to land Tunsil. We are playing solidly on the road. That is usually where crappy O-line play really becomes apparent. Not these Dawgs!

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  15. Mike Cooley

    I made a long post on one of the other threads about how annoying Andre Ware was yesterday but accidently deleted it before I got it posted. I know he’s on the broadcast F team for a reason but man he got on my nerves yesterday. As the Senator said, although the second half farting around was a bit annoying after such a brilliant first half, the game was over at half time. Yet there was Ware, while we were crushing ark in the waning minutes of the half, blabbering about how it was anybody’s ball game. His second half cheer leading for the hogs was nauseating as well. And he did the same thing in the Troy game. When we were ahead about four scores he was talking about how much closer the game was than the score might indicate and how we were just lucky that we stopped Troy on their opening drive because it easily could have been a different ball game. Is he just stupid or is he yet another talking head that hates us for no apparent reason?

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    • Charles

      Is he just stupid or is he yet another talking head that hates us for no apparent reason?

      I took it as an unskillful attempt to keep things interesting, sell the viewership. It was annoying, but it didn’t feel targeted at Georgia.

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      • Russ

        Exactly. He’s shilling for the network, which is his job. What’s he supposed to say “this one’s over, folks, go ahead and flip to another game”?

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        • WF dawg

          What was worst to me was their perpetual failure to cover key injuries (e.g. IMac) or to explain penalties promptly, or at all. Usually, these were sacrificed to the need to recount some ancillary information. What are they there for, if not to give us eyes on what we can’t see from our couches?

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          • Will

            At least he hasn’t spent this season talking about his time playing QB. Did you know he was at Houston? And that he played QB? And that a “system QB” isn’t as bad as most people think?

            Jeesh.

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        • Mike Cooley

          Of course not. I just thought it was a little over the top. To me the entire concept of a broadcast team as part of the entertainment is stupid. Just tell us what the average fan or casual fan may not know and relate to us what we can’t see from where we sit. There is really no need to shape anyone’s view of what is going on where the score is concerned. Anyone can see that one team is whipping the other one’s butt.

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          • Russ

            Mike, I agree with you, but I guess I’ve given up hope. The only broadcast I’ve truly enjoyed was that game back in the early 70’s when NBC showed it without any broadcasters, just a tie into the stadium announcer.

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            • Dawgfan Will

              ESPN runs a alternate feed of some games from the Skycam. No extraneous sounds; just the crowd and the band. It’s pretty sweet, but they only do it for certain games, and you can only watch it online.

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        • Brandon

          +1. As bad as they are I’d still take Neal and Ware over Musburger and Palmer.

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    • 80dawg

      exactly why I turn off the TV volume. I can’t stand hearing or worse yet looking @ the talking heads vomiting out their “opinion/assessment” comments. Just announce what you see & report the stats & facts. Otherwise shut-up & let us see the fans, co-eds, offense-vs-defense set-up before each play.

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      • Dawgfan Will

        I wish there wasn’t still the 5-second delay on the television feed. I used to like to listen to the radio broadcast, but now you hear what happens before you see it, and it messes up the experience.

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  16. Mike Cooley

    10 4. Maybe so. I think next time we draw him and the remaining Dave I’ll just turn the sound down and listen to a Scott Howard.

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  17. stuckinred

    The Georgia debate has a question about Gurley!

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  18. JT

    We need to call the call in show, make signs and remind anyone close to the team that a certain Mr. Allen is a FLORIDA fan.

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  19. Russ

    I see we’re still being overlooked/Dawggraded. That’s fine. I hope the team picks up that chip and puts it on their shoulders as well. If we keep winning, it will all take care of its self.

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  20. Spike

    Mason threw a nice to Bennett.

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  21. Some stats concerning the OL that were being bandied about before and during the game: Against Mizzou, Chubb was hit at or behind the line on 22 of 38 carries. During the game, they were saying this was true for 47% of his carries on the season. The rate for Gurley was noted as being much lower (but not specifically mentioned).

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    • Biggus Rickus

      I heard that, and the rate is so high specifically because of the Missouri game. He simply hadn’t carried the ball that much before Gurley’s suspension, and he got 38 in a game where Georgia had trouble blocking the front 4.

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      • If the rate is still 47% (and it may not be), that means he’s had ~24 carries or outside the Missouri game where he was hit behind or at the LOS (of 61 carries not in the Missouri game, it should be noted). The point is, he’s had a non trivial number of such carries outside of the Missouri game. It isn’t surprising, because we’ve twice watched games where the OL failed to block well for him for whatever reason (UT, Troy). Obviously this is not something the OL does deliberately, but the OL play has been inconsistent all year.

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        • Biggus Rickus

          I ran the numbers myself leading up to the game. The rate before Missouri was about 33%. Not great, but not 47%. And it’s understandable considering how teams have stacked the box and run blitzed to try to control the running game. Gurley can limit the effectiveness of that stuff, but he’s a once a generation back.

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  22. “…this team is showing that there’s something to its emotional and mental makeup that we haven’t seen from Georgia in a while.” I agree 100%. The defense looks to be improving week by week and they are playing with fire and energy. Greg Pyke is a monster out there. Mason looked better than my average as grits comment last week. Good for him and I he continues to improve! It was a fun game to watch and enjoy from start to finish. Hopefully we will see the same type of play in Jax in 2 weeks! Auburn is setting up to be fun!

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  23. I keep seeing folks selling Chubb short. He can’t hold up, he’s not Gurley, etc. Dude just carried this team as much as any Dawg in a while…to the tune of 140 and 200. I wish more folks knew/understood his work ethic and background.

    On the being a better team thing….I honestly believe they’ve been a strong team before we lot Gurley. His greatness just overshadowed how much of a TEAM this is. Something is different this year. I felt it after Clemson and then convinced myself it was the exception after USC. I have no doubt now. Getting rid of the cancers did more to solidify this team than losing Gurley. IMO, of course.

    The “fight” between Bobo and Pruitt over who will be our next HC should be interesting. I’d hate to last either but….

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  24. That’s a fine critique Bluto, agree with all your points. Another great post.

    The only bummer on the day was the continued inability to cover the intermediate pass over the middle. Arkansas’ tight ends feasted on the coverage. Unfortunately, that situation is what it is.

    Have to go back and look to be sure, but I think most of that is when they caught us in a Cover 2 Zone, which is vulnerable, by definition, to those routes. I’ve never really like it for that reason.

    We played mostly zone the first two games, and have since progressively implemented more man, I suspect as Pruitt gains confidence in his unit’s man-to-man abilities. We’ve certainly tightened the man-to-man coverage down, and not just a little bit. He’s getting those guys better every week.

    I’ll be glad when we don’t have to go to it at all, except when Pruitt wants to. IDK, but it could be we aren’t too far away from that point now, though I would say Bowman is the weakest link. But he has enough ability to get there.
    ~~~

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    • Will

      What I find odd is the seeming overlap between when we drop into the cover 2 zone and when Pruitt stops bringing pressure or blitzes. If you know that your DBs are still an active work in progress and your defensive strength is your pass rush, why throw your DBs out there only to get burned?

      And then do it repeatedly over two games?

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      • If you’re talking about the first two games, I don’t think our DB’s were ready to handle the man-to-man. They really have come a long way since then, and the players most able are being identified.

        Pruitt himself indicated after those games that he had had it with being conservative. IDK why he started out that way, but it’s natural for coaches to lean that way with new players or something new, so that’s a possibility.

        I suspect he decided the risks of being aggressive right out of the box, combined with a secondary that really wasn’t ready to play, was more than he could bear, because he’s all about aggressive defense. But mistakes are very costly if you screw it up, so that could have been it.

        Even the call that set us up to win the South Carolina game (Swann’s interception) had never been called before. But to win the game we had to make a play, so Pruitt rolled the dice.
        ~~~

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        • Will, meant to say the downside of our approach to the first two games, is the vulnerability of receivers having open seams in the middle 2/3 of the field, exactly as you pointed out.

          So after the first two games, Pruitt had had enough. I suspect his instinct all along was to be more aggressive, but just didn’t have the confidence we were ready for it, what with freshmen and inexperience everywhere.
          ~~~

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  25. “You can complain about the foot coming off the gas in the second half, I suppose.

    Given how balls out they’d played over their last three halves of football, it’s somewhat understandable.”

    =========================

    3 halves in a row playing hard is enough to take a half off?

    Sorry but no. I’m not freaking out about it, but this mentality has been one of the core problems with our program. Taking halves off periodically has cost us some huge games that likely cost us a shot at 2 titles at least.

    I know it happens, and like I said I’m not calling for people’s heads because of it, but at least it shouldn’t be forgiven/accepted. It should be called out as a bad thing and targeted for work/fixing.

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  26. Well, no matter where we’re ranked or what anyone says…we truly control our SEC and playoff fate. About time we make up for those times we were so close. Why not us, why not Georgia??

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  27. Lrgk9

    3rd quarter 2 3&outs and a 5&out
    Possession = 5 minutes and change
    Bobo’s phantom quarter
    Didn’t do the defense any favors

    But, in the 4th = had a 5 minute drive to close her out.

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  28. I’d be estatic to how any of those guys back by UF. Chubb is beast mode at this point but he sure as hell could use someone to spell him right?

    Be nice to have any of those guys back in a couple of weeks for sure.

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  29. R & B

    The fact that Jeremy Pruitt was attracted to Mark Richt says so much about Jeremy Pruitt, and so much less about Florida State, and it’s obvious it says everything about the Georgia Bulldogs.

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