I’ve noted Woody Allen’s famous observation about how 80% of success is showing up. Well, yesterday after the first quarter, Georgia decided it would test ol’ Woody’s theory out.
Verdict? Woody Allen 1, Georgia 0.
I can’t say whether the team was suffering from Gurley hangover, felt a total lack of concern about Florida’s ability to move the ball and score points with a new starting quarterback, or simply spent the last two weeks dreaming about the playoffs. In any event, the stretch between the missed Georgia field goal and Florida’s first score on a fake field goal ignited the Gator team and seemed to leave the Dawgs entirely flat-footed on both sides of the ball. By the time they realized that Florida was in it to stay, they were down by seventeen and never really found enough traction to play their way back into it.
After quarter one, Georgia looked thoroughly outclassed in every phase of the game.
- Offense. I was amazed at how much of an effect Andrews’ injury had on the offense. But the line functioned poorly once that happened. Playcalling after the first scoring drive seemed extremely conservative, again based on a feeling that Florida’s offense would be ineffective. After Georgia’s first scoring drive, the Gator secondary stopped double-covering Mitchell and that seemed to shut down Georgia’s ability to throw for a long stretch. Douglas was completely ineffective in his bouts relieving Chubb and Florida run blitzes did a good job containing Chubb after the first quarter until the game got out of hand. Mason clearly grew uncomfortable as the offensive line sputtered and of course was in scramble mode for the fourth quarter. He’s lucky at least a couple of his throws weren’t intercepted. Bobo scripted a nice scoring drive and then went into a weird place for much of the game – if I can make one suggestion, that formation that had Blazevich attempting to block Dante Fowler needs to be deleted from the playbook stat.
- Defense. I get that these guys were frustrated by Florida only attempting six passes. I know Floyd was held much of the day. But there was no excuse for the complete lack of effort on every level in maintaining outside containment. Or the on and off effort made tackling backs running up the middle of the defense. Or the pathetic way the Gator receivers dominated Georgia’s secondary blocking downfield on those long running plays. All of that was purely a matter of want, and the Dawgs didn’t.
- Special teams. I’m trying to remember the last time Georgia’s special teams play was that bad across the board in a game and I’m drawing a blank. It was stunning to watch how bad the blocking was on kickoff and punt returns – again, that’s about making the effort. The punt game gave away twenty yards of field position on every exchange in the first half. Morgan missed a field goal that was the start of the turning point and, of course, the fake field goal that really kicked things off for the Gators was due to nothing more than not having enough bodies lined up on that side of the field to handle the run.
- Coaching. Do you really have to say anything more than that Georgia’s staff was outcoached by Muschamp? The team was poorly prepared, mentally speaking, and the game plan was overly conservative. I don’t know if anyone will admit it, but it’s clear they took this Florida team way too lightly. Georgia is a team that’s played it’s best this season when it’s been challenged and played aggressively. Since it played its worst yesterday, I’m going to assume that neither was the case. That’s on Richt.
Going in, I said Georgia’s game all season has been controlling turnovers and field position. Georgia did neither. Turnover margin was zero, and, really that doesn’t tell the whole story as the Dawgs failed to capitalize on the Gator fumble, while Chubb’s fumble robbed Georgia of a chance to grab some momentum at a point in the game when it might have still meant something. Thanks to special teams, field position was a disaster in the first half, and that probably contributed to the conservative playcalling as well. Basically, after the first quarter, Georgia never was Georgia.
It was an awful game, and much of the reason it was awful was because Georgia didn’t make the effort to have it otherwise. Georgia’s two losses are to teams that have struggled all season, except when they’ve played Georgia, which strongly suggests to me that there is a real problem with focus. Yesterday’s game could be the start of a serious slide, something that wouldn’t surprise me, given that the Dawgs no longer control their fate. But it could also be an anomaly, if the coaches get a handle on things and remember what got the team in the position it was in the day before the game. I have no idea which way things go. But I do know that outside of running back, this team isn’t talented enough to win games unless it wants to. Whether it’s an appeal to pride, or a reaction to disrespect in the media, I don’t know what it will take to get things going in the right direction, but there’s a road game at Kentucky this week and if the same Georgia team shows up in Lexington (or, more accurately, doesn’t show up), it’s gonna be another long day.