Daily Archives: November 9, 2014

They play by night.

Given the Auburn loss, this comes as no surprise.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football

Observations from the armchair, Georgia-Kentucky edition

We all thought going in that yesterday’s game could go either way.  Fortunately, it was the motivated, take-no-prisoners approach that marked wins in three of Georgia’s last four games that we got.  The team came out blasting, with McKenzie’s touchdown return on the game’s first play igniting things, and quickly ran out to a 21-point lead.  In a stretch somewhat reminiscent of the second half in Arkansas, the team lost some focus on defense in the second quarter and let Kentucky close the margin to eleven before the half.

But that was all she wrote from there.  The coaches got the defense to reboot its attitude (the Wildcats only gained 110 yards in the second half).  Corey Moore picked off a pass on UK’s first play after half time, and the Dawgs scored 21 unanswered points in the third quarter in different ways.  The entire fourth quarter was garbage time and the Dawgs walked away 32-point winners.

Except for the defensive lapse in the second quarter, it was an efficient – 8 for 8 on third down conversions – dominant – Georgia scored touchdowns on every offensive possession except for the two that came at the end of each half, when it ran the clock out – performance.

On to the bullet points:

  • The most exciting thing to take away from yesterday?  All the major contributions Georgia got from true freshmen players.  Chubb, Michel, Blazevich, Lorenzo Carter and, of course, McKenzie all excelled in significant ways.
  • The second-most exciting thing was the return of Malcolm Mitchell as an offensive threat.  He’s still not 100% physically, but he clearly looks comfortable out there again.  Not only did he look smooth catching passes, but he also contributed a couple of nice blocks on some of Chubb’s runs.
  • It’s really impossible to find fault with an offense that ever missed an opportunity to score a touchdown, so I won’t.  But let’s just say it started with the offensive line, which played its best game of the season.  Kentucky’s team is upper team in the conference in sacks and was shut out.  It did manage five tackles for loss, mainly on overloading run blitzes, but as Georgia’s record on third down conversions indicates, that never slowed the offense down.
  • It was great to see how comfortable Mason looked running the offense.  When he trusts his offensive line, his footwork is noticeably improved.  He had several throws that were as good as anything he’s tossed this season.  He’s still got a little ways to go selling play fakes sometimes, but even there, he looked better.
  • Bobo kept his foot on the gas.  Yay!
  • Jonathan Rumph, ladies and gentlemen.  Jonathan Rumph.
  • The defense played solid ball in the first quarter, but seemed to relax, particularly against the run as the first half wore on.  The ILBs struggled with runs up the middle and the outside guys had some problems setting the edge.  The Florida problems, in other words.  To me, it was as if they were frustrated the ‘Cats wouldn’t abandon the run once Georgia pulled out to a 21-0 lead, but given the way Georgia’s run defense played, it’s hard to blame Kentucky for sticking with the run game.  Again, there was a sea change in the defensive play once the second half got underway and once Georgia recaptured the big lead, Kentucky did in fact back off on the run.
  • Maybe the weirdest special teams game I’ve seen.  McKenzie was incredible, particularly on the punt return, and benefitted from terrific blocking on the first kickoff.  And Georgia never had to punt.  But Quayvon Hicks was in his own little world, cost the Dawgs on a mishandled kickoff and blasted his own teammates on a couple of others.
  • As far as the coaching goes, there’s nothing to criticize there.  Bobo’s game plan was… well, perfect.  He got a ridiculous amount of production out of only sixty plays.  Pruitt deserves a nod for getting his guys to step up emotionally in the second half.  And Richt deserves a tremendous amount of credit for turning his team’s attitude around after the Florida debacle.  All around, just a very well coached game.
  • ESPN’s broadcast crew blew chunks.  I know the game got out of hand in the second half, but there’s got to be something besides Tom Luginbill’s boots to discuss.  And nobody seems to have a clue how good Chubb’s foot speed is, even as he was  outrunning people in UK’s secondary.
  • I didn’t notice the officiating crew. Thanks, fellas!  Steve Shaw should give you a promotion.
  • Brice Ramsey continues to show a nice arm.  But as his second touchdown throw showed, he’s still got to work on that whole judgment thing.  That’s what the offseason is for, I guess.

So the road schedule comes to an end.  Todd Gurley’s suspension does, too.  Georgia comes into this week’s game outscoring Auburn by more than four points a game and holding opponents to about a point less a game, too. Tell me you saw that coming before the season got underway.

Kentucky was something great to build on, but building takes an effort.  It’s up to the coaches to prepare the players accordingly.  I can’t wait to see what’s in store this Saturday.

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My Mumme Poll ballot, Week 11

The more two-loss teams there are, the tougher it gets to put a ballot together.

  • Alabama
  • Auburn
  • Baylor
  • Florida State
  • Mississippi
  • Mississippi State
  • Oregon
  • TCU

Also considered:  Arizona State, Georgia, Ohio State

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Keep bravado alive.

Georgia Tech’s rolled through three ACC powerhouses and the head man pronounces himself ready to tackle the remainer of the Jackets’ schedule.

So suddenly, yes: The next two weeks against Clemson and Georgia don’t seem as daunting.

“I’ve never been scared of them,” Johnson said. “They’ve been close games pretty much every year.”

Except, y’know, when they haven’t.

Probably should cut the genius a little slack here.  There have been so many losses, it’s probably hard to keep track of how they all went.

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Down goes Auburn!

It’s not just losing to an unranked Texas A&M team that Alabama left for roadkill three weeks ago that’s enjoyable.  It’s the margin of difference being a blocked field goal attempt to end a half being returned for a touchdown and two unforced turnovers in the waning moments of the game that makes things so deliciously ironic.

Where this leaves Auburn’s mental state as it prepares for Georgia is anyone’s guess.  The Tigers did rack up a substantial 582 yards of offense against a weak TAMU defense, so they’re still as dangerous as always, but their chances of getting back to Atlanta again may have been mortally wounded.

From Georgia’s selfish standpoint, I really doubt the Dawgs will take Auburn lightly.  But as I tweeted yesterday, you’d have to be nuts to take the under on the game.  Combined, the two teams are averaging more than eighty points per game.  I saw nothing yesterday to make me think that mark won’t be reached.  So, if you’re looking for an early key to Saturday, look no farther than turnover margin, where Georgia holds a slight seasonal advantage.

By the way, with Thanksgiving coming up, we should all be grateful that Georgia won’t have to face Myles Garrett this season.  That kid is a frickin’ beast.

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Hutson Mason’s very, very good day

A 255.1 passer rating is nothing to sneer at, even against a cupcake.  Against a SEC foe on the road – with a credible pass defense, mind you – it’s damned impressive.  Even more than that, when you look at UK’s game log and realize that Mason shredded the Wildcats’ pass defense at a rate about 120 points higher than its second-worst performance of the season

Which gives me a little bit of hope that this isn’t just happy talk after a big game:

“Hutson anticipates throws,” Conley said. “On both the touchdowns that I caught today the ball was in the air before I looked. And that’s not something we’re completely used to, Aaron didn’t really throw the ball like that. I like to think when Aaron threw the ball I could see it all the way. So it’s something you have to adjust to, but it also tells you to be patient when you run your routes. Run a great route, because when you get your eyes back the ball’s gonna be there. You have to create space. Hutson is great in that aspect, and he threw some great balls today.”

One consequence of having a studly run game is that Georgia hasn’t felt the need to make Mason throw too much.  He’s thrown 25 or less passes in six of Georgia’s nine games, and less than 20 in four of those.  If eight games in he and his receivers are still adjusting to a different approach than what they were used to in the four previous seasons, perhaps that’s because they hadn’t gotten enough in-game touches to work all the kinks out.  Maybe it’s just a coincidence that Mason has a career game after getting the chance to throw the ball over 40 times in his last start, but, then again, maybe not.

All I know is that, while Georgia is going to pound the rock against Auburn, that Tigers’ secondary is way shakier than UK’s.  Georgia’s passing game is going to have its opportunities this Saturday.  Mason and his receivers need to make the most of them.

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Please, Gawd, not another blackout.

What is it with some folks?  Gurley’s return isn’t enough to get fired up hosting Auburn?  Georgia needs a little fake juice to put it over the top?

We never really learn.

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UPDATE:  Not gonna happen.

Richt is such a spoilsport.

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Drivin’ n’ laughin’

Check out yesterday’s drive chart:

Georgia Drive Summaries
START QTR POSS. YARD PLAYS YARDS RESULT
15:00 1 00:11 UK 0 0 0 Touchdown
12:58 1 04:29 UGA 31 10 68 Touchdown
06:48 1 01:51 UGA 9 6 91 Touchdown
09:46 2 03:12 UGA 29 7 71 Touchdown
05:55 2 01:51 UGA 26 6 74 Touchdown
00:16 2 00:16 UGA 35 1 0 End of Half
14:55 3 01:59 UK 36 5 36 Touchdown
07:18 3 05:23 UGA 5 12 95 Touchdown
13:37 4 03:48 UGA 15 8 85 Touchdown
03:22 4 03:22 UGA 44 5 29 End of Game

We may never see its like again. Throw in an 8-8 3rd down conversion ratio, and I don’t know if you want to say it was Georgia’s best offensive showing ever, but it was certainly the most efficient.

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UPDATE:  The best way to shore up a shaky punting game is to never have to resort to it.

Georgia had 11 offensive possessions. Nine of them ended in touchdowns. The other two drives concluded with the Bulldogs letting the clock run out at the end of each half.

The Dawgs ran 60 plays from scrimmage — a whopping 21 of them went for 10 yards or more.

In those 60 plays, the Kentucky defense only got Georgia to third down eight times.

The Bulldogs never saw fourth down because they converted first down on all eight of those third-down attempts.

That’s why we never saw a Georgia punter.

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