Observations from the 35, it’s better than losing edition

I don’t think there’s any doubt about what last Saturday’s highlight is.  And thanks to the officiating crew for milking the drama by getting the touchdown call wrong to start with.

As for the rest of the day, let’s whip up a few bullet points.

  • The weather was threatening, but unlike the Alabama game, it held off.  Much appreciated.
  • The crowd was better than expected, to be honest, given the weather and turmoil.  There were a fair number of empty seats at kickoff, but things filled in to the extent I’d say the crowd was in the mid-eighties.  The mood was supportive; the closest negative moment I can recall was after the Morgan missed field goal.  But even that was more of a collective groan than a boo.
  • Speaking of which, special teams continues to be its usual mixed mess.  The coverage units were solid, but the return team play is still awful.  There wasn’t a single time when a Georgia player had a clean field in front of him on a return.  I called the onside pooch kick before it happened – and really, why wouldn’t you?  The one clear area of improvement is perhaps the most unlikely, the emergence of Brice Ramsey as a weapon at punter.  (Barber, meanwhile, continued to be dependable at delivering the wrong type of punt at the wrong time.)
  • I know it was against Kentucky, but the defense turned in an excellent effort.  Basically, it was one Isaiah McKenzie fumble away from pitching a shutout.
  • DeLoach played his best game of the season.  Parrish just played another great game, period.  He’s really come on this year.  Sanders did well, considering one of his interceptions turned into a mere four-yard loss for Kentucky.  But it’s hard to get too upset about that, considering he’s playing with a bum hand right now.
  • The downers on defense?  Without blitzing, there wasn’t a consistent pass rush.  That’s been a problem all season.  And Towles burned both Davis and Briscoe on bad technique when neither turned around to see where the pass was.
  • How many of you got a sinking feeling after Georgia’s first series on offense?  Probably about as many of you as got a chuckle watching Godwin score Georgia’s first rushing touchdown in what seemed like a decade after fumbling the ball.
  • I know I’ve already hammered away on this, but it’s hard to describe how poor Georgia’s passing game is right now without watching it.  (Lambert throws a ball off the helmet of his own lineman, who’s three inches shorter?  Really?) It’s almost as if they’ve given up trying.  Shocking, really.  And I feel really bad for Malcolm Mitchell, who’s playing his guts out game after game, with less and less to show for it.
  • That being said, it was good to see what Michel can do when he gets into a rhythm and gets a little blocking support.  Ditto Keith Marshall.  It would be nice to see a few plays drawn up now with both in the formation, giving Michel a chance to operate in space, where he excels.
  • The performance of the offensive line was a mixed bag.  Run blocking was improved, but pass protection was inconsistent, even when UK wasn’t blitzing.  A consequence of spending more practice time getting the wildcat down?  Perhaps.
  • Er, coaching?  Pruitt’s gameplan was solid and his players handled it well.  For the first time in ages, he even had the luxury of playing second teamers late in the game.  Nice.
  • Schottenheimer must have discovered a chapter in the Georgia playbook he hadn’t noticed before.  Marshall’s score came on a perfectly designed screen pass, the kind of thing Mason executed routinely last season.  The fullback even got a carry out of the I-formation.  Once.  Needless to say, I didn’t leave the stadium overly impressed.
  • And as for the head man?  Well, no doubt this last week was as tough a week as he’s ever had in Athens.  He did manage to have the team ready to play, which a lot of people doubted he was capable of doing.  There’s also a sense that even though he denied it during the week leading up to the game, he did have greater input in fashioning the offensive gameplan, and maybe even some of the play calling.

I don’t want to take this too far, though.  It was a solid win, something this team really needed, so in that sense it was certainly a good one.  But it’s certainly not any evidence of a major turnaround on the season.  The defense is solid, but the special teams and offense still look deficient.  Basically, this appears to be a team that will go as far as its running game will take it.  That’s why it’s not worth throwing a parade over Saturday’s win.

36 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

36 responses to “Observations from the 35, it’s better than losing edition

  1. ugadawgguy

    From “outside the arena,” it sure looks like Pruitt’s unit is functioning admirably in most areas, considering the spots the offense and special teams continually put them in. Meanwhile, Schottenheimer’s on-field results point to incompetence on his part.

    And yet it sounds very much like Pruitt is the one who’s getting pushed out (or, almost as likely, finding a HC job), while the jury is still out on Schottenheimer among those whose opinions matter (Richt, McGarity, et al.).

    Please tell me there’s evidence to suggest otherwise. Seriously, without knowing what goes on behind closed doors in Butts-Mehre, based strictly on what we’ve seen on the field, it looks to me like a slam dunk that Schottenheimer should be canned and Pruitt should be retained.

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  2. Biggus Rickus

    “I am become Weis, the destroyer of offenses.” — Brian Schottenheimer

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  3. after Saturdays performances by both Schittenhammer agains Kentucky…K.E.N.T.U.C.K.Y. and the Barn against the Myles Garrett and the Chief, let me channel my inner Eyeore….the Tigers are going to kick our ass.

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    • Will (The Other One)

      I will say this, if we are going to lose to Auburn, at least this weekend, unlike the previous 2 losses to them, will not be to an Auburn team that goes on to play for a national title.

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  4. I particularly appreciate your point about Schotty finding another chapter in the play book. Maybe that’s been the problem all along. We’ve been “vanilla” because that is Schotty’s comprehension level.

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    • Jared S.

      Richt and Schotty both are vanilla. As someone else said here recently, maybe they need to take George Costanza’s strategy and do the opposite of their instinct….. Like Elaine said, “Is that the first thing that popped into your head, or the opposite? I’d STICK WITH THE OPPOSITE.”

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      • I think Richt is less vanilla and more “plays not to lose”. Richt also has a component that keeps him from running up the score on an opponent, ie., he takes his foot off the gas, It looks like Schotty doesn’t get it, or is so ingrained in the NFL “plug and play” environment he can’t optimize his talent. What would Schotty have done with Tebow?

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    • Will (The Other One)

      The offense also huddled more, which makes me think maybe he shouldn’t have tried running no-huddle at all earlier in the year given how little he’d done it at the NFL level.

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  5. HVL Dawg

    I don’t know if The Senator has watched the TV replay yet, but every time they showed Shotty on the sideline, Richt was clearly telling him what to do.

    Shotty is on a short leash.(Try saying that aloud three times.)

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    • It did seem like they were talking a lot more. It also seemed like Pruitt and Richt were rarely less than 10 yards from each other and practically never on the same screen…but that could just be me reading too much into the situation.

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    • paul

      My wife and I noticed that too. We don’t remember seeing that before. Perhaps it’s happened and the TV cameras simply weren’t focused on it? I don’t know, but it seemed to us that Richt was a whole lot more hands on.

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  6. paul

    I just can’t wrap my brain around the concept that Pruitt is the one headed out the door. Why? He’s abrasive? Well, sure. We knew that when we hired him. We gave him leeway to make some hires and it seems to me he’s doing precisely what we asked him to. Shake up the status quo. Now perhaps the administrative types didn’t realize that meant them too. So we’re saying we need to get rid of him because for once we actually got what we wanted?

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  7. diving duck

    Watching it on tv, it looked like Richt was in Schott’s ear a lot more than usual.

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  8. C

    Where is Lorenzo Carter this year? Is this just a case of all the talent in the world, but no heart?

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  9. The screen pass was a great call, but Lambert and Ramsey have both been terrible at executing them this year. The play you mention where Lambert managed the near-impossible and threw it off of Wynn’s head was a screen, I believe.

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  10. Spike

    Lambert doinking it off the O lineman’s noggin’ on the first play of the game. Any wonder why I say play the others some? He must have some photos of Shotty..

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    • Dawgfan Will

      Yeah, but Michel had nothing but red jerseys and green grass in front of him when Ramsey overthrew him on a screen later. We just plain stink at QB this year.

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  11. Jared S.

    If I was Faton I’d be wondering, “Why didn’t I get a chance to ‘Wild Dawg’???”

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  12. Macallanlover

    Mitchell is having an incredible year with few yards/TDs to show for it. Lambert’s inability to throw the screens and short passing routes is puzzling given his height and has taken a very successful part of UGA’s offense from the past few seasons. Auburn has some of the same coverage issues that we have and our only way to exploit it to consider Ramsey for this week’s game. I was one who said I had seen enough of him but honestly think he might be the only one that can exploit that advantage on Saturday. We will not beat Auburn with the offense we used against Kentucky (unless we the pass from the Wild Dawg) so I hope BR has a great week of practice since tryouts still continue.

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  13. Ramguy

    On another note, the dumbest remark made by a commentator. In 2ed quarter just after the Sanders INT and fumble,. There was a running play where a Kentucky lineman grabbed and the facemask of Sterling Bailey. He actually grabbed it and turned his head. One of the commenters remarked when watching the replay that he didn’t know about the call and that
    it looked incidental to him. smh

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    • The Truth

      While I enjoy a good, crushing stiff-arm as much as the next guy, I must admit I’m a little confused about offensive guys getting away with something that would be called illegal hands to the face on defensive guys. Not the case on the Marshall play, but I’ve seen others this year and in recent years.

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      • The Truth

        Change that. Just watched the replay again and now wonder, why not illegal hands to the face? Bet if a defensive player in the course of making a tackle put his hand right where Keith put his it would be called.

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        • Biggus Rickus

          The rule is that you can stiff arm the face mask as long as you don’t grab it. I think the refs err on the side of not calling it, because I’ve certainly seen some grabs not called over the years.

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  14. Bobby Bowden Syndrome

    The D looks great, but then it is UK. I hope CJP sticks around for a few.

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