Observations from the 35, Georgia-ULM edition

They say there’s no preseason in college football, but you could have fooled me on Saturday, because it sure had the feel of a preseason game.

Not that I’m complaining about that, mind you.  Given the realities of this Georgia team – a ton of youth to break in and a starting quarterback with less than two months on the roster – it was exactly what the doctor ordered.  And what I most liked about the day was how well the doctors… er, coaches operated.  There was a sense of control that I’ve sometimes sensed was missing from other cupcake openers, not in the sense that Georgia was ever in real danger of blowing a game, but in how it felt like there was real purpose to how players were deployed.  I expect there will be serious evaluation this week about what they saw from Lambert and the true freshmen we saw all over the place and plenty of coaching up.

On to the bullet points:

  • Okay, maybe Leonard Floyd doesn’t need any coaching up.  What a game.  He still looks a little thin to me, but you can tell his comfort level in this defense is off the charts.
  • Right behind Floyd’s day was Malkom Parrish’s.  He’s really come on.  He and Aaron Davis have the look of being a solid pair of corners.
  • I can hardly believe that Quincy Mauger is the same player we saw wearing number 20 his freshman year.
  • McGraw and Sanders had some weak moments.  McGraw’s a true freshman, so that’s to be expected.  But Sanders whiffed on a couple of plays that led to ULM scores that he should have defended better.  I expect he’ll be hearing about that plenty this week.
  • The sacks by Carter and Jenkins were the definition of explosive.  Jenkins, in particular, looks like he’s refined his pass rushing skills.  There are some opposing quarterbacks who will be violently separated from the football this season.
  • ULM didn’t make a first down until there was a little over a minute left in the first quarter.  Outside of a few quarterback runs on the read option, the Warhawks did little damage rushing the ball.  So you’d have to say the d-line did a decent job on the day in that department.
  • If you didn’t notice, there is a ton of speed on Georgia’s defense.  More than I’ve ever seen.  Sometimes, in unexpected places, like Davin Bellamy, who really showed some quicks.  There is ridiculous depth at the OLB position.
  • Speaking of OLB, I noticed Jake Ganus line up outside in pass coverage on one play.  Ganus turned in a nice game.
  • The defense definitely relaxed during a stretch from the end of the first half to the start of the second.  There was some shoddy tackling in spots, but I also saw a couple of plays where ULM took advantage of an open middle of the field.  Kimbrough wasn’t 100% physically, so that’s perhaps some of it, but I still saw a defense that needs an ILB who can cover.
  • And I don’t know what happened on that first ULM score.  It looked like several players just let the receiver go.
  • On offense, what can you say about the depth at running back?  Greyson Lambert must feel at times like he’s died and gone to heaven, considering what he had to work with last year.
  • What really makes Nick Chubb special – okay, extra special – is his sense of timing.  He reads the field so well and can start and stop on a dime.  His cutbacks are deadly.
  • Sony Michel had a great game, too.  His value as a receiver coming out of the backfield can’t be overrated.  It’s almost unfair to have to defend him and Chubb in the backfield together.
  • But I’m not going to lie to you.  The best story on the day was the real return of Keith Marshall, who ran with authority for the first time in almost two seasons.  He still looks fast and, if anything, showed a surprising power in his running.  It’s almost a joke to call him the best third-string back in the country.
  • As good as it was to see Marshall back, it was almost as good to see that Malcolm Mitchell appears to have his whole game back.  His touchdown catch was AJ Green-esque.  And he displayed his usual toughness with downfield blocking.  You hoped he really was ready to reclaim his status as Georgia’s number one receiver; it was big to get validation of that.
  • Physically, Terry Godwin reminded me of Terrence Edwards a little.  There’s no denying he’s fluid as he runs.  He’s also got great hands.
  • The tight ends were called on for blocking more than receiving, but we were at least rewarded with one nice catch from Blazevich on his touchdown.
  • And while we’re on the subject of one nice catch, hello there, 344-Fullback.  Nice to see you’re still in the playbook.
  • Oh, yeah, Greyson Lambert.  Overall, I thought he had a good start to his Georgia career.  He didn’t turn the ball over.  He didn’t really even have a questionable throw on the day.  It was clear on that sideline pass completion to Mitchell that his arm is more than adequate – if you’re wondering, there’s no way Mason could have made that throw – and he did a terrific job with ball placement on his touchdown throws.  That being said, he’s still a work in progress.  He locked onto his receivers way too much for my comfort.  I saw happy feet on occasion.  Both of those are things that are to be expected with a guy still getting used to his new surroundings, though.  But as the defenses he’ll face are going to be better, his game will need to get better, too.
  • I got some pushback on this yesterday, but Ramsey did well Saturday.  The throw he made to Godwin to convert a third-and-17 was the best pass by a Georgia quarterback all day and again showed what’s so tantalizing about his game.  But it was the screen pass to Michel that went for a touchdown that was special.  Ramsey (and Michel) did an excellent job of selling it, and Ramsey held on to the ball until the last possible moment before floating it with the right touch to Sony.  If you felt bad about Ramsey’s play in the Belk Bowl, Saturday should make you feel more confident about his play.
  • The offensive line had a couple of glitches, like the sack on Ramsey, but overall did the job against a ULM defense that was stacked to stop the run.  (I swear, at one point it looked like there were ten defenders in the box on one play.)
  • Special teams, holy crap!  If you think the defense looks faster, that’s nothing compared to what I saw on coverage teams.  Add to that constant pressure on ULM’s punter, solid punt returning from Davis and Collin Barber, touchback man, and it’s starting to look like an area that’s going to be a real weapon.  It was great to see Barber’s day, all around.
  • Unless my eyes deceived me, I saw Georgia using sideline cards to signal in plays.  Can’t believe that hasn’t gotten a mention.
  • And introducing us to one professor doing important research in the area of narcissism on the internet has to be the best academic tribute I’ve ever heard in Sanford Stadium.
  • I’m about to give up on the whole piped in music thing.  It’s still too loud and the constant music between offensive plays borders on the obnoxious.  My ears were still ringing when I went to bed.  Sadly, it may be time to bring out the earplugs.
  • Judging from the constant smartphone use I saw around me, WiFi kicks ass, though.

The general consensus appears to be that the coaching Saturday was good rather than great.  I assume some of that stems from how vanilla the gameplan was, especially on offense.  But I’m not really sure why that should be held against them.  There wasn’t a need to show much against ULM, as Georgia was clearly more physically dominant, something that was really beginning to take its toll in the second half when the game was called.  The big things were letting a lot of talented kids get a taste of action early on and to ease Lambert into the offensive flow.  As far as I can tell, mission accomplished on both fronts.

What I really like was how this team went about its business.  Early dominance, and then a positive reaction after the mid-game lapse.  There also appeared to be less emotional grandstanding than we’ve seen in past years.  I’m starting to get a good feeling, albeit one tempered by brain farts past.

If the old saw about a team’s biggest improvement comes between its first and second games, then I’m looking forward to what we’ll see in Nashville.  Overall, a good start.

80 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

80 responses to “Observations from the 35, Georgia-ULM edition

  1. Cojones

    Your best post, evuh. Shit, you really know how to starve a cactus, don’t you.

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    • Cojones

      Gotta take another shower. The wife is curious about why so many and I can’t tell her it’s about UGA football, so I tell that it’s in case she wants to have sex before the year is over.

      Like

  2. JT (the other one)

    I rarely disagree with your assessments. One thing I will disagree with is Ramsey’s sack. When someone creeps up to the line like that it is up to the QB to call his protection. If you go back and look the RB was lined up to the wrong side and that should have been adjusted by the QB.

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  3. The other Doug

    UGA kept it vanilla, but I thought it was interesting what they did show like Michel as a receiver, TE catching the crossing route a bit deeper than normal, the LBs playing a variety of positions, and the special teams is going to come after your punter.

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  4. Let’s see here. Lambert got outstanding protection from the O line so that this happens http://gamedayr.com/sports/college-ncaa/georgia-bulldogs/georgia-bulldogs-greyson-lambert-ice-cream-offensive-line-140596/ but Ramsey goes ass over teacup on a sack that looked like the O line opened the front door. Was there a message being sent? Brice showed a lot of poise in getting up and making the next play.

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    • AusDawg85

      I’d have to look at the replay, but I think Hunter Long was at center with some other O line substitutions when Ramsey was in…kind of recall hearing that on the radio broadcast.

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    • 69Dawg

      I thought the same thing when it happened. As an old Olineman we used to vote on the QB position with our play. I need to look back but was Long in the game at center at the time? Center should have at least rubbed the guy to slow him down for the RB but Chubb missed the block because he was on the wrong side and the guy was there so quick.

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  5. Ramsey “looked” like a QB. Not sure why. But the third down pass was a thing of beauty.

    The music is just intolerable. (Says the old fart)

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    • Will (the other one)

      Just to play devil’s advocate for the music, something I noticed watching the replay yesterday: the defensive players seem to love it.

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      • Castleberry

        The music was too much. I would love to get a decibel reading on that. I am sure it was louder than concerts I’ve been to at Chastain Park.

        The other thing I wonder is whether the crowd is actually a bit quieter after their blaring music over what could be screaming crowd noise. Probably doesn’t make a difference last week, but I’d like to think the crowd will be extremely revved up for second and third downs but it’s a disincentive for me to scream full blast over Lil John.

        I need to get some new earplugs because all of mine at home are orange.

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        • Dawg Vegas

          I think my Android speaker is louder than some concerts I’ve seen at Chastain Park – hate that place!

          I agree that the music can take the crowd out. Hopefully we don’t see that on big downs against the Cocks or Tide, etc.

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        • Gaskilldawg

          If you would love to get a decibel reading you can download a free meter app and actually take your own decibel readings to share with us.

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          • Gaskilldawg

            I am serious, not snarkey. If you measure the decibels then you can complain to McGarity with a fact rather than a vague “too loud.” As I said elsewhere it was not to loud for me but if turning down the volume helps other folks I will still enjoy it a few decibels quieter.

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  6. Watcher16

    What no mention of bathrooms, concession stands or big ass fans?!

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    • JTP

      The concession lines were just as bad or worse than last year. They may have improved technology that could speed it up, but when the Doodletown Boy Scout troop only learned how to use it 15 minutes before the gates open, it doesn’t help an awful lot.

      It is very unprofessional. They need to just use a contract concessions company and have the youth groups, etc just submit funding requests from the UGA AA.

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    • I don’t sit near the fans and don’t use the bathrooms or go get concessions during the game.

      Kind of the opposite of my in-home game day experience. 😉

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      • JonDawg

        In the last decade, I believe i’ve used the restroom once, and gotten food/drinks twice.. Quite different than the pausing i do at home (if i’m watching alone).

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  7. Paul

    Got to admit, I was looking for at least a mention of the big ass fans. That being said, I think we pretty much saw what we needed and hoped to see Saturday. Now if we can continue to improve against Vandy and then beat South Cackalckey (I don’t really even care how, just get the win) I may just exhale and relax a tad. Not a lot, but some.

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  8. Gaskilldawg

    I know I am probably in the minority but I liked the music played in the stadium. I am 61 and certainly qualify as an old fart.

    The students and younger alums seemed to enjoy it.

    Okay, folks, fire away.

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  9. JCDAWG83

    Concession problems are largely a problem of whose working there. My friend went to a concession stand, his purchase was $4.50, the girl working the register had to use a calculator to figure out the change.

    Everything about the piped in rap music sucks! It’s too loud, the lyrics are vulgar, they play it until the center touches the ball, it’s played between every damn play. We might as well do away with the Redcoat Band, they sit quietly while the piped in music blares away. I know it might come as a shock to some, but the students and “young people” actually come to the game to see a football game, not to go to an outdoor recorded music concert.

    The restroom in our section is still the delightful experience it was last season. The temperature is somewhere around 150 degrees inside it, you get to walk in a pleasant mixture of water and urine and the single paper towel dispenser is always empty.

    I never saw the big ass fans.

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    • JCDAWG83

      Damn, no edit. At the concession, my friend gave the girl a $10 bill.

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    • dawgtired

      “We might as well do away with the Redcoat Band, they sit quietly while the piped in music blares away.”

      I just don’t get it. Are they trying to do away with EVERYTHING that is college football? I love having seats close to the band and watching them play. I haven’t been to a game with the new piped-in music yet but I can tell you from the sound of the comments made here, I would not like it.

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      • JCDAWG83

        If you like the band and don’t like loud rap music after every single play, don’t go to a Georgia game until things change. The “enhancements” they talked about in the offseason have about “enhanced” the game to the point that it is unbearable to sit through.

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        • JonDawg

          As some others have stated, I hope that constant in and out between every play is changed before the SC and UA games.. I think our crowd noise would have much more negative effects on the opposing team than music they listen to , probably while they work out..

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        • Irwin R. Fletcher

          JCDAWG83-

          You figured out how to blame the rap music on Richt yet?

          Signed-

          Curious

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  10. SoccerDawg

    I have entered gate three for years. This year only students get to enter gate three. This will make the lines at gate two even longer. A lot of ticket scanners were very slow.
    The music is loud but at least it is not distorted. I would like to hear the Band more. The speakers in front of section 104 which re-broadcast the band were not as loud as previous years.
    It appeared to me that Lambert chose to throw to short receivers when long passes were open There was a glaring example in the first quarter I believe.
    I got misty eyed too when Marshall scored his TD. DGD.
    Mitchell’s catch was right in front of me and it was a thing of beauty. Highlight real time.
    Cellular data was good.

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  11. Hogbody Spradlin

    Piped in music? That settles it for me. I’m going to use the cash I would have spent coming to Athens, on a new big screen for my porch. This is college football not minor league baseball.

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  12. doofusdawg

    You mentioned Reggie Davis briefly. I gave a shout out to #14 on the vent but #81 looks like a grown man all of a sudden. He is bigger and faster and I don’t think he will have any trouble getting off the line of scrimmage any more. The way he hit the middle of the field on kick off returns was impressive… no fear. He will break one this year.

    Not getting him the ball on offense was a waste imo… but we waste entirely too many offensive plays and it looks like that will be the trend this year as well.

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  13. delardingondukan

    If Scott Howard’s spoken-word rendition of “Can’t Touch This” wasn’t the most embarrassing thing you witnessed on Saturday, you weren’t at the game. And did anyone else hear Hondo on the pregame show say, “Like R. Kelly says, give me that toot-toot, give me that beep-beep”? He must’ve lost a bet.

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  14. wes

    Hey guys. I never post but I need some help. Im a die hard Dawg fan in southern ky. I grew up in Marietta. I just got offered some tix to saturdays game. Section t row 2. Thats right behind our bench. Guy wants 275 for the pair. Ive never sat this close. Is it worth it? I have some tix that are about midways up on the 20 but these seem like an experience. Should I pull the trigger on em or not?

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    • JCDAWG83

      I’ve never been to a game at Vandy, but from all accounts tickets are plentiful and cheap. I know row 2 seats behind the bench in Sanford give an excellent view of the players backs and a partial view of the middle of the field. If you want to actually see the game, midway up on the 20 would be a much better location.

      In my opinion $275 for 2 seems very high for a Vandy game.

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    • I have been to a lot of UGA games at Vandy. You will have your choice from scalpers for a lot less than $137.50 each. The stadium is really small, so anywhere you sit it will be close. No, row 2 is not worth overpaying for tickets, unless you really want to see what transpires on the sideline (I don’t mean that snarky. I sat on row one at Auburn in 2012. I learned a lot about what the sideline reporter does during the game. It was interesting.)

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    • Go to the Vandy athletics website. Usually plentiful at Vandy face price even as late as Thursday.

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  15. wes

    Tickets are cheap and easy to get but these are more of a specialty. Ive went back and forth on this. I gotta make my mind up by 6. I know i can dvr the game if i cant see it but i just dont know what to do. Like i said behind the bench would be an experience ive never had. Plus im taking my new GF who is a KY fan. Im trying to break her of that at least during footbawl

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    • Noonan

      Does your girlfriend want to watch a football game? If the answer is yes, dont sit on the 2nd row.

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    • Gaskilldawg

      Having sat through the 2012 Auburn game on row 1 behind the team the unique perspective from that location was not worth an extra $155.00 for the two tickets.

      I will bet that if you really want the row 2 experience buy the $60.00 seats then go to row 2 and offer to swap seats with 2 guys who got stuck on row 2. Or, I will bet there will be no shows on row 2 and you can sit there.

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  16. Ed Kilgore

    My wife spent significantly more a few years ago for much worse seats at Arizona State (a surprise birthday present for me!). Was worth it to see a 95-pound rickshaw driver haul three obese Georgia fans plus their cooler up the hill from the bars to the stadium.

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  17. wes

    I know its high but I thought it might be worth the experience. I hate to spend that when ive got tix for 60 each but i dont know
    \

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  18. HVL Dawg

    Did they play Baba O’Riely pregame?

    I’m guessing the Redcoat Band didn’t play a post game set?

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    • Castleberry

      Yes, but it was one of only about three or four rock songs played. There was no Phil Collins in the pregame anymore either. It is 95% rap. I can already imagine my 10-year-old asking me what skeet is while I’m mopping the blood out of my ears for the South Carolina game.

      We hung about five minutes after they called it. The Redcoats were out of Dodge. No post game.

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  19. I always look forward to “Observations From The 35”. It was great
    to see that It has started again. I do compare my observations to the
    Senators’ But I always learn a lot by reading his.

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  20. Dolly Llama

    What’s the word on Isaiah McKenzie? Is he still recovering from the hamstring injury?

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    • Sanford222view

      McKenzie was being held back by the coaches to make sure he is back fully before the serious games. I can’t remember if I heard that on the broadcast or read it somewhere yesterday. I think it was on the broadcast. He played some on offense but was held out of punt and kick returns.

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  21. Minnesota Dawg

    As usual, great observations. I will second the comment re Mauger. His somewhat astonishing improvement is a testament to his hard work and some damn fine coaching.

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  22. Rebar

    Worried about that short passing game that Spurrier always seems to find, whether its a drag route or the wheel or the soft spot between linebacker and safety. I was hoping our ILB’s would be able to cover this year.

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  23. Argondawg

    The only thing you left out senator is that not only did we do what we were supposed to (win by 35+) but also we didn’t sustain any injuries that I could see. Playing any game and not having anyone from our side helped off the field is a rarity and something to be celebrated. Especially with us being thin at some key spots.

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  24. Mike Cooley

    Nice work Senator. Been looking forward to the post mortem as I always enjoy them. Particularly after a win. What is left to say about Chubb? Really loved seeing Sony have a good game but I stood up and cheered in the pool house of the place we had rented on St. Simon’s like I was in Sanford when Keith Marshall ran over and through ULM’s defense. That was just great to see. Lambert did what I was hoping he would do. He played like he belonged there but didn’t press and didn’t make any real mistakes. But he did more. The touchdown to Mitchell was Murrayesque. other than the lapse that resulted in the two ULM scores the defense looked dominant. Agree on Mauger. Its unbelievable. Get ready for the Commode doors.

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  25. Yo

    WiFi?! I never could pick up the network of get connected.

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  26. Chuck

    Team speed-wise, I think was Mayes who got blocked (embarrassingly) but to his credit he got up and caught him from behind. Not a good play overall, but a nice recovery. I bet he runs that fast to go get a leaf.

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  27. Is Jay Rome really 3rd or 4th team?? He was Saturday…behind even a true freshman. I didn’t like seeing Theus play every snap or damn near it. Speaks volumes of our OT depth.

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