Observations from the 25, Nicholls edition

Jeez, that sucked.

In the immortal words of James Brown, can I hit it and quit now?  No?  Oh, well, on to the bullet points, which seem to lack a sense of urgency today.

  • Let’s get the obvious out of the way first.  It wasn’t the offensive line’s greatest day. They lacked effort and found themselves outhustled all game, seemingly.  As I mentioned in my previous post, a stubborn game plan didn’t help, but even on those rare occasions when Georgia ran out of a three wide receiver set, the run blocking seemed hit or miss.  Catalina is strong and is fine when straight ahead run blocking is called for, but he lacks lateral quickness, which is kind of important for a left tackle. As far as his cohorts go, multiple holding calls against an inferior opponent are an embarrassment.
  • Watching Nick Chubb get stuffed repeatedly is an experience I hope never to see again.  No excuse for his fumble either.  That being said, I hate to think how the game might have ended if he hadn’t picked up the blitz on the Lambert completion that picked up Georgia’s last first down.
  • Speaking of which, 5 of 13 on third down conversions?  Against a mediocre FCS defense?  Argh.
  • Terry Godwin is one of the fastest players on the team.  He has the best hands among all of Georgia’s receivers.  Yeah, he’s not a great blocking threat – there’s only so much he can do with that physique – but you have to get the ball in his hands more, don’t you?
  • Okay, Chigbu is a physical presence downfield, but how much does that compensate for dropping a couple of catches they really needed him to make?
  • And if downfield blocking is your primary consideration for receivers’ playing time, I think Mr. Wims showed he’s due a little more time on the field.  The block that sprung McKenzie for his touchdown was sensational.
  • Nice Jekyll and Hyde game, Isaiah.  Speaking of which, after the fumbled punt, which coach thought it was a good idea for you to handle the kickoff?
  • Two lies:  the check’s in the mail and Georgia’s offensive coordinator intends to involve the tight ends more in the passing game.
  • Eason didn’t play badly.  He really didn’t.  There were a few missed reads.  There was also a few balls dropped that shouldn’t have been.  And, yeah, he probably shouldn’t have forced that throw that wound up being intercepted on a bounce.  But I didn’t see any reason to pull him late like they did.
  • Especially when Lambert showed nothing special in his two series.  His incompletion came after reading only half the field; too bad his two open receivers were on the side he didn’t see.
  • Weird game from the defensive line, which seemed to have issues handling second down plays and didn’t get too much pressure on the Nicholls’ quarterbacks, but also saw Trenton Thompson rack up a bunch of behind the line of scrimmage tackles and a sack.  Marshall continues to show why Smart pursued him so ardently.
  • Lorenzo Carter saw some time in pass coverage.  Okay.
  • Add the secondary to the hit and miss group.  Parrish got burned more than once.  Mo Smith wasn’t anything great, either.  Sanders was lucky that on the play he slipped leaving the receiver wide open for a touchdown pass there was just enough pressure up front to cause a poor throw.  But there were a couple of interceptions, granted on poorly thrown balls, but still.
  • Kudos to Aaron Davis for a perfect timed blitz.  Yay!
  • Special teams?  You really want to talk about special teams?  McKenzie was the little girl with the curl out there.  Blankenship was much improved on kickoffs, with several touchbacks.  Long looked more consistent with his punting.  Ham has a strong enough leg, but still looks rusty.  Outside of McKenzie’s big run, there wasn’t much else to like about the return game.
  • I joked to my friend during the game about the relative sizes of the two staffs, but Nicholls clearly got more for their money yesterday, as Georgia was badly outcoached, both in terms of game planning and in terms of having the team ready to play.  Again, the stats don’t bear it out, but when you have to burn a timeout because your defense is confused and has too many men on the field, that’s a sign of lost composure, not something that should happen against Nicholls.
  • While I’m willing to give Smart a pass from a longer time frame standpoint, there’s no doubt he bears the bulk of the responsibility for a game that almost became a complete disaster.  His game plan was that of a coach who was clearly looking ahead and his players were completely unprepared to handle a cupcake game.

Maybe Smart wanted to see if he had a team that could bring its D-minus game against a FCS team and survive.  If so, he cut that a little too close for comfort.  Maybe he wanted to show recruits a reason to believe he’s being entirely serious when he tells them the program needs new players.  (I’m being facetious.  But, if that wasn’t a reason going in, you can be sure he’ll point to it on the recruiting trail.  Whatever works, and all that.)  In any event, nothing worked.

All I know is that a good coach learns from his mistakes.  Plus, you know what they say about a team improving the most from its second week to its third… oh, wait.



Filed under Georgia Football

53 responses to “Observations from the 25, Nicholls edition

  1. baitstand

    I would expect this coaching staff to learn from their mistakes and improve. I haven’t had those expectations for about 10 years.


      • 1smartdude

        Most know that freshmen are impressionable and learn from the older guys. I wonder if that’s true about freshmen head coaches. Here’s hoping CKS can change the culture instead of allowing the culture to become his own. He’s off to an iffy start with that, at least in my mind. I know it’s early, but I just keep thinking……this was Nicholls! What really upsets me though is that this was Nicholls! Sorry but this may take a while to turn the page on, mainly because it was Nicholls! I’ve felt bad after games we’ve lost plenty of times over the years, even bad after a few we’ve won. I’ve never felt like this after a win before. We did win didn’t we? I’ve had high expectations before, only to have them stepped on. Hell, I’ve even become used to it, sadly enough, but the reason for that was because I always had that feeling in the back of my mind that it was coach related. Allowing myself to believe these kind of meltdowns left with the old staff really set me up for going down o the wire against a 50 point underdog. My gawd, is there the possibility all our problems weren’t coach related, that it’s systemic, running deep into the cracks and crevices of the program? All I know for sure is that expected more, much more. At least against a team like Nicholls! This ship needs to get righted. And now.


        • For those who thought all of our problems were coach-related, a big surprise for all of you: 18-23 year olds can be very unreliable especially when they aren’t at their best. We weren’t ready emotionally to play our best. The new version of the Dawg Walk looks more like a bunch of guys headed to a business meeting rather than a football game. I saw zero emotion when the team was on the field for pre-game. Some say the Process is about creating cold aggression. Saturday was cold (not the weather) and I didn’t see much aggression on the South sideline.

          All Kirby and his staff can do is to use this film as a teaching tool. This win was way worse than the Georgia Southern game last year or the Central Florida game in 1999(?).

          I’m more concerned about the rest of the season now especially when I thought about Auburn’s close shave with Jax State last year. It was a canary in the coal mine rather than an aberration.


          • Debby Balcer

            I agree with your impression about them being flat i know this was a cupcake but they did not show excitement for their first home game. You need channeled emotion.


          • Greg

            Nicholls State might be the lowliest opponent we’ve ever scheduled. They had lost 32 of their past 35 games, lost by a combined score of 95-0 to Colorado and Louisiana-Monroe last season and are predicted 10th of 11 teams in the mighty Southland Conference this season. I have learned to expect to be disappointed by our performance, but this was one game where our off the charts pitiful play was beyond what even I could have foreseen. Completely unimaginable that Nicholls State would have the opportunity to win the game – they are far from Ga Southern, App State or Jacksonville State. If their coach had played to win instead of inexplicably kicking a FG to cut the margin to 9 halfway through the 4th quarter, we could well be having a much angrier conversation right now.


  2. Will (The Other One)

    Only silver lining I can see is UNC did totally manhandle Illinois, so they might not be total garbage.
    So all that’s left is wondering if the whole team pulled a Varsity Blues and played with literal hangovers yesterday.


    • So. IL Dawg

      UNC did not manhandle IL. it was an 8 point game in the 4th qtr. they were the better team; but didn’t manhandle them. the Dawgs played to their opponents level in both of the first two games. I look for them to play much better next week.


    • PTC DAWG

      Anyone who thinks UNC is total garbage, well, they might be clueless.


  3. @gatriguy

    McKenzie is maddening. I love him, but those fumbles have broken me.


    • Russ

      Same McKenzie as last season, yet the coach was an idiot for not having him out there all the time last season.

      If only we knew which MacKenzie was going out to field a kick.


  4. DawgFlan

    Great post. Thank you for this blog and your writing. Your wit and objectivity helps calm the emotional swings symptomatic of the disease otherwise known as being a UGA fan.


  5. Athens Dog

    thanks for the clarity. It was more of an F effort. But maybe they will wake up. “they” meaning both players and coaches.


  6. aladawg

    At this point I believe that a clearly scripted set of plays for Eason in a clear piece of our offensive snaps is the way to break in Eason. That seems best to me, in my opinion, without mortgaging the season to “look to the future” which many seem to want to do rather than attempt to win now. While I certainly am not very comfortable with Greyson, I am also not comfortable with just turning things over to Eason. The interception to me was less a mistake by Eason, but more of a mistake by Kirby and Chaney. They could have been careful enough to allow points after a good drive without risk, pretty much sealing the game. Though we hit him hard, Greyson’s performance at the end of both games has been solid though not spectacular. He also knows the whole playbook and can check into plays, something that I do not believe the coaches are allowing or will allow
    Eason to do. thus I believe some 2 QB setup is our best option for now. Maybe not later, but for sure now.

    If our O-line, and most egregiously Catalina can’t protect the blind side, Isaiah Wynn needs to be moved back to LT to “give us the best chance to win”. While I certainly don’t like Jeff Schultz, I also know that Catalina is 23 years old or so, a graduate student and fully mature enough to answer some questions. Something needs to shake it up. Missouri has fine rush ends and we better figure that out quick. I think Kirby will focus on this, but if Catalina is not capable, do something different. I believe Kirby will learn from this.

    No way we should struggle against a poor FBS team. That’s on Kirby, not Mark Richt, Donald Trump, McGarity or Hilary…………..


    • PaloAltoDog

      Anyone notice if the TEs are being used so much to help w/ protection that they are not getting into routes? Also wonder if we got more vanilla in blocking schemes after the first drive?


  7. gastr1

    Here’s my question: When it’s obvious to everyone during preparation week that the gameplan is as vanilla as it can be, perhaps just a little bit will college kids respond lazily to it? They know what’s going on. How can they not see what the coaching staff does and think the same is ok for them?


  8. artful codger

    If you throw the ball to #5, you don’t have to worry if he can hold his blocks.



    We will see what this team is all about this Saturday night. God I hope we can play with the lead in hand. Get behind big and we are in trouble.


    • Red Cup

      We were behind by 10 last week. Did ok as I remember.


      • HVL Dawg

        Different referee crew.


        • Macallanlover

          I don’t think the missed call on the lineman who wasn’t downfield (but close) had any more impact than the missed block in the back on the kickoff return. And while I can see the other side of this, the questionable arm in motion when his arm stopped moving forward at the point of it being lost. I realize you cannot determine intent but you cannot stop your arm where he did without discontinuing the motion earlier. Doesn’t matter the kick return offsets the missed call. The others weren’t really in dispute that I heard or saw. Just because they got more penalties, that doesn’tmean they weren’t deserved. And there is no reason for a Big 10 crew to care about who won, so there was nothing sinister.


  10. SAtownDawg

    the Catalina situation reminds me of Theus/Houston…they are promised a position and stay there even though they are/were all better suited for guard…our Center also does not have enough strenth to take on a DT by himself….blown up on numerous plays…Aaron Davis redeemed himself with the sack, but how about him playing patty cakes with the receiver on their sideline TD…would like to see Mauger in there as he can at least hit…our MLBs certainly aren’t plug the hole guys, a job the departed Kimbrough excelled at…finally, taking Eason out was a classic panic move and can’t be great for his confidence…and all that said, we’ll still beat MIZZOU..GO DAWGS


  11. Kansasdawg

    Game won….Nobody hurt……Forget it…..move on to MIZZOU…….


  12. The AJC Dawgnation blogger, Chip Towers, Seth Emerson and Jeff Schultz are out delighted in down grading the team and coaches. Their statements have always been condescending win or lose. Sick of these pretenders.


  13. AusDawg85

    I’ve started and stopped about 5 posts. I’ve got nothing. I didn’t like where we were, don’t like where we are, not sure where we’re headed.

    I miss Bobo. And that feels like a weird place to be.


  14. Oyster Roaster

    Hopefully this will make everyone feel better – Nicholls gave the University of Incarnate Word a game last year:



  15. dawgfan

    Eason was the second best true freshman QB on the field behind Fourcade. He was continually off target with his throws and couldn’t get the team in the correct plays. The good news is that UGA still has Lambert who is serviceable and Jake Fromm on the way in January. Why can’t UGA recruit offensive tackles and why don’t we have a decent field goal kicker? Didn’t anyone notice that Marshal Morgan was a senior last year? It’s not a train wreck yet but Missouri ‘s defense is going to be gunning for Eason and our “light” offensive line Saturday night in Columbia.


    • I agree. Eason was the second best true freshman QB on the field.Outside of the QB & the OL, The rest of the O shows some talent..


      • TerryGrad2016

        Two dumbest posts I have seen on this site by far(which is hard to do). Eason is currently the highest rated passer in a conference where Chad Kelly plays, but he is worse than a Nicholls State QB who had worse numbers and two God awful interceptions? The dude had four drops which would have put him at a 75% completion rate at somewhere around 250 yards on 20 attempts. Yeah the pick was a bad decision and a force, but overall he has been much better than could have been expected. He is the best option for our team right now, and he is also better than 75% of the quarterbacks we will face this year even as a true freshman. He’s going to be special. You will be singing a different tune soon I imagine.


    • sUGArdaddy

      Is this serious? Do really think the answer is hand it to Lambert and wait for Fromm to get here (who will be a true frosh). The Fourcade kid played fine, but he threw 2 bad picks. Eason played fine and looked way better than stafford in the early games of 2006. The kid is a future #1 pick and you’re ready to write him off because we won an ugly game. Sometimes I’m flabbergasted by fan comments. That’s one.

      We’re going to have a very fun 3 yrs with #10. Enjoy it.


    • Step away from the edge. Fourcade was 9-19 for 90 yards and 2 picks. Eason is going to be fine.


  16. IndyDawg

    I hope Kirby and company aren’t all world coaches with 9 months to prepare and struggle with a broken crayon from week to week. Unacceptable,


  17. Macallanlover

    The game was dreadful, we all know that, and there is no way to excuse it. It was on the players to me, almost always is, but I would tip my cap to the Nicholls players for laying it all out the entire 60 minutes, The Senator is right, we made that game much closer than it was with two turnovers that gave them the ball around the ten yard line, and a fumble just outside of it. They turned it into 17 points, much better than we did on offense with the short fields we were given 2-3 times with turnovers and a STs return. Our defense didn’t stand up and minimize anything when needed, and the offense, outside the first drive was hapless. Most of that was on the players, but you have to give our OC an assist.

    We now know that while Pittman may be a good OL coach, he is no magician. We said we had 10-11 players we felt good about, and they were cross trained; well I am ready to see some different combinations. The OL has stifled our run game and our passing game so something has to change pronto. Yes, you cannot continue to run into a 9 man box but you cannot throw when you are holding your TEs in to block nd sending out two WRs who do not have time to run the routes. A mess. Defense might not be great, but it is far ahead of the offense going into the SEC schedule.

    Mizzou has been stout on defense in the past few years but they gave up 450 yards to Eastern Michigan on Saturday, and probably close to that against WVA the week before. EMU also had the ball 40 minutes as well. So there is hope the offense might be able to help the defense out this week, if we can just find the OL combination that works….at least as well as last year. We had all hoped the OL would take a step forward, based on the small sample of last Saturday, we may have regressed. I don’t know if it is the scheme, the call, or the talent, but something was very wrong in the trenches.


  18. Mediocre Dawg

    And I was settling for mediocrity when I kept telling people Richt was a good coach. . .


    • Chopdawg

      Richt was and still is a good coach.


    • Athens Townie

      We had about fifteen years to diagnose Richt’s abilities and make a decision. Let’s see what Kirby can do with a few seasons.

      Reactions like these — two games into the season / Kirby Smart era — illustrate why emotional fans aren’t called upon to make multi-million dollar long-term decisions.


  19. lakedawg

    Still hoping that JC or Chili will classify that one either a face plant or a bed wet?


  20. Jane, you ignorant slut (aka W Cobb Dawg)

    “It wasn’t the offensive line’s greatest day……. multiple holding calls against an inferior opponent are an embarrassment.”

    Dawgs finished with 3 penalties for 34 yards. Were they all on the OL?? Just asking.


  21. hailtogeorgia

    “Nice Jekyll and Hyde game, Isaiah. Speaking of which, after the fumbled punt, which coach thought it was a good idea for you to handle the kickoff?” All the round and round here last year about the coaching staff being foolish for not having McKenzie on the field full-time, and yet here we are, asking why this coaching staff kept him on the field after a muffed punt only to inexplicably try to field a kickoff at the ten that was heading out of bounds. I love the irony. Isaiah giveth and Isaiah taketh away.

    Re: Lambert coming in, I didn’t hate the decision on his second drive considering the time of the game and the need to not make mistakes, but I did find it odd that Eason didn’t go back in immediately after the pick, still having almost eight minutes to go and up twelve. Eason had just led a drive 80 yards down the field, and while his throw was ill-advised (and just not a very good throw in general), it didn’t seem like a reason to pull him like that at the first really egregious mistake. I agree with you, hopefully the coaches explained the logic and it makes sense to him, because Kirby’s explanation postgame of Lambert running the 4 minute offense more effectively only applies to the second drive, not the first one.


  22. Starbreaker

    It’s easy to get swept up in hyperbole with a game like this and, honestly, I’m trying to not over-react after that smoldering turd of a game on Saturday. My biggest concerns are the things that were very bad last year as well – poor OL play and WRs not able to get open. What is hyper-concerning is that this happened against an FCS team that, with pure talent/size/strength alone, we should have been able to out-play even if we were sleep walking through this game. Bottom line – if we can’t rectify those two things, neither Eason nor Lambert will look good and you can forget the TE passing plays (they will need to block). Well, in a few days we will have Mizzou and see what reality is. Side note – it’s going to be REALLY nice when people stop comparing every game to a) some similar instance when Richt was here or b) some game from Saban’s first year at Bama. Kirby is not Richt and he’s not Saban and there’s a ton of variables that are unique and multi-faceted in this particular situation…let’s stand behind the dude and give him a chance to get his feet under him.


    • I haven’t seen anyone bailing on Kirby after two games. Does he need to reexamine what he’s doing? Maybe. Comparison to Richt is reasonable. It’s not like CMR retired … He was replaced. Some are going to compare the new guy to the old guy in this situation. Comparison to Saban is also reasonable. It is a valid data point because Kirby is implementing what Saban did at LSU and has perfected at Bama. I don’t think any right-minded supporter of the program expected Kirby to compete for a championship immediately. Most right-minded people believe if he could build on CMR’s foundation, we could have a very successful run. That’s where I am.