Daily Archives: November 11, 2014

A somewhat surprising over/under

Per Vegas Insider, the over/under for Saturday is somewhere around 67.5-68.5. With the spread, that translates into something like Georgia 35, Auburn 33.  That would tie Georgia’s second lowest point total of the season and would be Auburn’s third lowest.

Needless to say, that seems low to me.  But the people spending their hard-earned bucks disagree.

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Filed under What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

Hungry for a win Saturday?

If you are, Waffle House has your bac… er, belly.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football

Bat down the damned ball.

Can’t help but chuckle over this.

I don’t know if the game will wind up in the same spot it did last year, but I’ll be completely, totally shocked if the secondary makes the same mistake again.

And if it somehow does the inexplicable, it won’t be because the coaches didn’t warn them.

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UPDATE:  Or maybe it won’t happen just because…

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UPDATE #2:  Then there’s this, too.

Boy, I bet they’re tired of being asked about that play.  Maybe that’s the best incentive of all.

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Filed under Georgia Football

First thoughts on Auburn

Here’s something I wrote after last year’s Auburn game:

… The team I saw play in the fourth quarter and will itself into a lead was a team that could challenge any other team in the country.  But that’s something I’ve seen in other games that were either losses – the third quarter against Missouri comes to mind – or came in wins that were much closer than they should have been, like the first half against Florida.  The problem, as it’s been all season, is consistency.

When this team plays like its collective hair is on fire, when the coaches are aggressive, when the players are focused on their assignments, Georgia is a dominant force, good enough to challenge for that national title game sights were set on at the beginning of the season.  But when the coaches succumb to their more passive sides – and there’s a part of me that admits it’s hard not to want to rely on Gurley, even when the other team run blitzes like a sumbitch, or to play soft zone to protect a bunch of green defenders who aren’t up to speed – you get first halves like we saw on Saturday.

How’s that for your “the more things change, the more they stay the same” observation, hunh?

Read Cory’s assessment of Auburn’s power running game.

When it comes to defending Malzahn’s offense it is easy to get lazy and frustrated. The key is – as it is most weekends – is playing disciplined football. The defense just needs to do its job. Against Kentucky, which we’ll break down tomorrow, Georgia, again, had times where they played excellent against the run because guys did their jobs – but, other times, we saw guys trying to do too much and getting burned. This is a game where you have to have a workman-like attitude, bring your lunch-pail, and go to work. All 11 guys, doing their job, every play. That is the key to slowing down Auburn’s power run game.

I don’t think anybody expects Georgia run defense to stop Auburn.  But we have to hope it can at least take a stab at containing it.  The fly sweep that Malzahn called repeatedly in last year’s game worked… except for the two occasions when Leonard Floyd stayed home as he was supposed to.  Discipline matters, obviously.  (Remember my earlier comment about Lorenzo Carter in that context.)  But Pruitt’s going to have his opportunities to get aggressive and he has to pick his spots appropriately.

The real pressure will be on Mike Bobo to keep pace with Auburn’s offense.  It’s great that he’ll have the most weapons on offense at his disposal this season.  It may be even better if his offensive line can carry over its excellent play against Kentucky this week.  But he has to expect that Ellis Johnson is going to try to work the same kind of run-stopping defensive game plan that he had success with in the first half of the 2013 game.  Bobo can’t allow himself to play into that, because, while Mason is coming off the finest game of his career, he’s not the kind of quarterback who’s going to will his team to a win as Murray did several times last year (and should have done at Auburn if… aw, screw it, let’s not go there).  There’s nothing wrong with being a game manager, as long as you’ve got a game you can manage.  Bobo has to at least keep things close for Mason to be effective.

Another thing that helps Georgia is a return game that actually poses a threat.  Last season, we were all happy that Georgia’s coverage was good enough to prevent a dynamic Auburn return game from inflicting any serious damage, but nobody expected much on the other side of punts and kickoffs.  This year, the worry is equalized.

This shouldn’t hurt, either.

Auburn isn’t invincible.  The Tigers aren’t any better now than they were at this time last year, while Georgia is.  The coaches need to coach with that in mind.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Too much Alabama can be a bad thing.

Boy, don’t you bet CBS wishes it could have a mulligan on choosing to broadcast the Alabama-Florida game?

As bummed as the network must feel now about that, it’s gonna be even worse if ‘Bama beats Mississippi State this Saturday.

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Filed under SEC Football

The big deal isn’t Todd Gurley starting.

It’s Todd Gurley finishing.

Georgia coaches will have to figure out how to distribute the ball among those tailbacks.

“Some of that will be playing it by ear as the game goes on,” Richt said. “Some games you have 60 plays and some games you have 80. Just not sure what the total play count’s going to be. We’ll have a pretty good idea what we want to accomplish by the time we get to the game. Part of the goal will be to make sure everybody’s ready to play hard for those last 15 minutes of the game.”

That sounds like Gurley Time.

Gurley rushed for 275 yards on 26 carries in the fourth quarter — a 10.58 average — according to cfbstats.com. That average is higher than any other quarter for Gurley and was second best in the nation before Gurley was suspended.

That’s really what’s important about his return this week.  Georgia will have three backs, all tanned, rested and ready, to deal with the Auburn defense if the game goes into the fourth quarter as most of us expect it will.  And a fresh Gurley in the last fifteen minutes is a tough, tough thing for an opposing defense to handle.  Should be fun to watch.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Upon further review: last thoughts on the Kentucky game

Again, no great insight here watching the replay.  But there are two points worthy of emphasis.

First, we’ve had the wrong “who should start” position debate.  The big question after Saturday shouldn’t have been at tailback – and Richt’s put that to bed, anyway – but over who should start at the OLB slot opposite Jordan Jenkins.  Lorenzo Carter had a superb game, not just in rushing the passer, either.  In a little over half a season, he’s shown that he is better than Floyd in holding the edge defending the run.  I hope that’s plenty of motivation for Floyd to step up his game; if Carter can keep it up, Floyd risks being turned into a pure pass rushing specialist.

Carter and Floyd are listed as co-number ones this week, by the way.

Second, it occurs to me that I may have been understated in my praise of the offensive line’s effort.  That group may have turned in the best performance I’ve seen from a Georgia line since 2002.  They didn’t allow a good Kentucky pass rush to sack Mason a single time.  In fact, I’m not sure Georgia’s quarterbacks were ever even flushed from the pocket.

The best by-product of that was how quickly Mason realized he could trust the blocking.  You could see it on the first third down conversion of the day, when he calmly sat in the pocket and waited for Michael Bennett to clear enough space to pick up the first down.  Compare that to several conversion throws that came up short against Florida because Mason was nervous about the Gator rush.  The other benefit in the passing game when Mason’s comfortable is that his footwork noticeably improves.  It’s apparent in the beautiful deep throw to Conley on the sideline that Mason dropped in perfectly.

Georgia is currently fifth in the conference in sacks allowed.  If that holds up, it would be the line’s best performance since 2009 (I guess Joe Cox avoided getting sacked by throwing the ball to the other team).  A lesson to draw from this season is that Searels’ cross-training philosophy, which Friend continued until this season, isn’t the best way to build cohesiveness on the offensive line.  Pick your five best guys, plug ’em in their spots and let them learn to play together.  Sure, it’s helped that, outside of Andrews’ sprained ankle against Florida, the line hasn’t suffered any injuries, but there’s little question we’re seeing more consistent line play than we’ve had in years.  Keep it up, fellas.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Mumme Poll, Week 11

First time this season we’ve had a four-way tie at the top.

Rank Team Votes
1 Florida State 54
1 Mississippi State 54
1 Alabama 54
1 Oregon 54
5 Baylor 52
5 TCU 52
7 Arizona State 41
8 Ohio State 29
9 Mississippi 17
10 Auburn 11
11 Marshall 6
12 Georgia 3
13 Duke 2
14 UCLA 1
14 Wisconsin 1
14 Michigan State 1

And to think a couple of you guys were giving me crap for “considering” Georgia.

I bet the selection committee will think more highly of Ohio State this week than we do.  But I think it’s kind of neat the way the vote on two Big 12 teams came out.

Thoughts?

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