Upon further review, Nicholls edition

For some reason, my DVR didn’t record the game — maybe it’s telling me something — so I’m outsourcing this week to Seth Emerson, who’s got a good breakdown here.

A couple of points he makes are worth some extra thought:

  • Bad blocking on offense was truly a team effort, which makes me wonder why Payne didn’t play more.  But the bigger problem it seems to me gets back to what I posted about yesterday, namely, if Smart wants physicality über alles, but his team’s current strength doesn’t lie in that area, does he stick with trying to mold it that way, or does he choose another path that might lead to a more productive offense in the short run?
  • “Apparently the idea that starting Eason would mean airing it out was also wrong. Georgia started the game with 18 runs, 8 passes.”  Perhaps the intent was for Eason to throw more after the game was under control.  In any event, if you wanted Eason to get plenty of reps in the passing game Saturday to prepare for what’s coming, that went out the door.

Speaking of yesterday’s post, “Smart wondered after the game whether this was a “wake-up call,” but twice during the game his team should have been stunned into action, imposed its will, and run away with it.”  If that’s not Smart’s biggest coaching challenge this week, I don’t know what is.


Filed under Georgia Football

50 responses to “Upon further review, Nicholls edition

  1. 92 grad

    We’re all thirsty for a “baseline” of where this team is at. There is a tremendous amount of angst with most fans right now from the largely positive game 1 and the largely wtf of game 2. As much as it hurts right now, the baseline won’t reveal itself for another few weeks. We’ve got to attempt to sit tight and enjoy what we’ve got.

    • Brandon

      I don’t know that there is or will be a “baseline” for this team until much later in the year. This is going to be a roller-coaster ride folks with some highs (already big win vs. UNC) and lows (narrowly avoiding biggest upset in NCAA history one week later). What we are is a relatively young, inexperienced team with almost an entirely brand new coaching staff. This should not be surprising. While this week ALMOST could not have been any more disappointing, we escaped with the W and at the end of the day that’s all that matters. I just hope they show up next week with the same focus and energy we saw in the dome.

    • steve

      ‘Baseline’? We are just playing ‘hard-to-get’ with the dominate and win column. These first two were just the ‘slow dances’…warm ups…Against Missouri we will get the rhythm with ‘Shotgun’ by the Funk Brothers. Then Ole Miss will get their eardrums blistered and the Grove fouled with ACDC ‘Shoot to Thrill’ as Jacob ignites a July 4th display. We are 4-0 when Sgt. Carter gets to Athens.
      Each week Auburn hums Dave Roth in….. ‘I’m just a gigolo’…without knowing or caring what a gigolo does for a living.

  2. Emerson’s article is very good and confirmed a lot of what I saw with my untrained eye. All 3 turnovers were caused by poor fundamentals including Nick’s fumble. The defense was good at times and very poor at times. The offense was generally a mess and that started from the line backwards. Finally, Brian Herrien is quickly becoming one of my favorite players. He looks like he’s going to be the type of player thankful for his opportunity and will play like it every chance he gets.

  3. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    ….or does he choose another path that might lead to a more productive offense in the short run?

    I have as much yearning for short term success as anyone, but in my mind, if you try to achieve that by changing paths you run the risk of putting aside the main goal which is to dominate. That gets us no where. Besides, poor blocking (and yes, there was plenty of it) can’t really be evaluated by a game with Nicholls. Any SEC team should be able to block them. This was just bad. Keep turning the battleship, I say.

    On Eason and running plays: I never thought the plan was for him to air it out. I always thought the plan was for him to practice running the offense, and mainly take snaps under center, read the coverage, and react appropriately. I am sure that was the plan. I leave it to the coaches to decide how well he did and to work on corrections. I think everyone – including Jacob – understands that talent is great and necessary, but it ain’t the only thing. This was a game for him to learn. I hope he did.

    • Jared S.

      I think you’re right about the game plan for Eason. I don’t think he needs practice throwing the long ball. He needs practice running the offense in game situations.

    • Just a question … Would you accept 5-7 including losing to all of our rivals in exchange for turning the battleship? If I were Kirby, I wouldn’t. The object of the game is to win not to dominate. The ability to “dominate” gets developed between January and August through S&C and spring practice. September to January should be about winning and nothing else.

  4. Jared S.

    After last weeks game I said the team had a lot of work to do but I was really happy with how they played because of their spirit. “Relentless” is what CKS called them, and he was right.

    I don’t know what team was playing against Nicholls. It’s like Georgia didn’t even want to be there. Playing their home opener, and most of the team looked like they were thinking about God knows what.

    It’s troubling because it’s not just an indication they didn’t take Nicholls seriously during the week they were supposed to be preparing. They evidently didn’t take their coaches seriously. And when they struggled as a team they looked like the opposite of relentless. Folded like a wet paper bag.

    All I can say is it’s a good thing that pick-six wasn’t over-ruled upon review.

    • Jared S.

      “Pick-six,” I mean the forced QB fumble.

      • Brandon

        Also though… As I can pick any three plays, reverse the outcome and we lose… I could just as easily pick another three plays, reverse the outcome and we cruise to win by 3-4 TDs. Goes to show how big an impact just one “mental lapse” or dumb mistake can have on the game. The general lack of focus on the multitude of bonehead mistakes everyone made is what concerned me the most.

        • Cojones

          The play of the Nicholls’ players helped create those mistakes. They were ready and had a second bag of energy to draw from.

          Get used to it folks. Eason has some playing to do before he is an SEC team leader. He could get away with mistakes undetected in HS because he had at least one great receiver who could run under all Jacob’s passes and make him look greater than doing it all alone. You have to factor that into your expectations and don’t try to make him a hero – let the team do it for him.

  5. ASEF

    Every team has a high ceiling. Every team has a low floor. The watchword in the SEC this year is “potential”. Aka: “roller-coaster”

  6. David K

    Being Alabama is easy. You out recruit everyone on your schedule and impose your will on your opponent. If Smart wants UGA to become that, fine but it’s sort of lazy. How about actually managing a game. You out scheme, find weaknesses, find advantages, create mis-matches, etc. To just out-recruit and then punish your opponent with sheer talent is nice when that’s what you’ve established but we’re not there yet and Smart better figure that out before we face Tennessee, Florida, etc.

    • @gatriguy

      This ^. Kirby can’t play the style he’s most familiar and comfortable with until he can rebuild the OL. He has to play the hand he’s been dealt.

      • I’m starting to wonder if Kirby watched Bama’s offense evolve with Junior over the last couple of years. Alabama is a multiple, pro-style offense now compared to when McElwain and Nussmeier were in T-town. Sure, they have a great offensive line, but a lot of what they do doesn’t require a 2-deep full of blue chip linemen who just bully their opponent. That’s a luxury and makes their QBs look better than they really are. Lambert would be a 3,500 yard passer behind Bama’s front 5.

    • Jared S.

      I admit there’s no argument that Saban amasses the most talent and is effective at punishing his opponents. But you seem to be insinuating that he just wins because he has the most talent on the field, and not necessarily because he’s also a brilliant tactician. Here you’ve lost me. I think the man has proven that he’s one of the most brilliant minds out there. I’m not sure there’s a current coach anywhere (except maybe Jimbo?) who is better at making half-time adjustments.

    • ASEF

      It’s a classic college coaching conundrum. Where’s the line between expediency and consistency? You want to win every week, but you also want to get better every week, building proficiency in some core executions game to game.

      I’m not so sure there’s a gap here. Beating Tenn and Fla is going to require winning the trenches, and that starts with mindset.

  7. lakedawg

    Will take a bad win overa look good loss ever game we play and be happy about it.

  8. Kirby had been mentioning the athletic shortfalls since he arrived on campus (size, physicality, leadership etc). He had all all summer to either improve upon that or find a new strategy to work with what he had. It appears to me he’s trying to fit our square players into round holes and getting upset they don’t fit. I don’t see how this can be fixed in 6 days if he couldn’t fix it over 6 months. Options are to change your strategy to suit they players you have and work in parallel to recruit they type of players you need, or to be stubborn and stay the course.

    That’s not to say I think he can’t ‘coach em up’. We’re all hoping for that. I just fail to see how he’s going to do it in 20 hours of practice this week if he hasn’t been able to do it to this point. Likely it will take shape over the course of the season but early SEC games are likely to have a poor outcome as we’re early in the learning curve.

  9. Extremely worried we just got Muschamp 2.0 as our head coach.

    • Jared S.

      Ha. I’m extremely disappointed after this past game, sure. But I don’t think CKS could ever ever ever ever ever be as bad as BOOM.

      • Hope you’re right.

        Whenever a coach isn’t flexible and demands his team acts like something it is not, it’s a recipe for disaster. Richt and Bobo, for all their faults, evolved a lot on offense over the years and made great use of the talent at hand (last year notwithstanding).

  10. I seem to hear during the post game coach speak, Kirby saying he may even consider more pass than run. So it is evident from that comment that the game plan against Nicholls was really more run than pass. Whether Chaney/Kirby try it against Mizz will be seen nest Sat. In reference to Mizz they seem to have won because their opponent did not have a passing game. At least that was evident when I watched the first quarter.

  11. 86BONE

    I certainly agree with most of these posts, however I also feel like we have failed to mention, believe it or not, that the Nicholls defense played smash mouth football for four quarters. Yes, our opponent was MUCH better than we are giving them credit. I don’t have time to circumcise a mosquito this morning, but for all of you golfers on this blog, we all know that on any given day our opponent can shoot lights out, go low, and play the round of their life! It happens, it’s sport….and quite frankly I was proud of Nicholls effort as they were playing for a much larger cause!
    See everyone in Columbia…Go Dawgs!

  12. Chris Austin

    The worst part is coming into work and having co-workers give you a hard time. Of course the loudest was a Mississippi State fan I and all I said to him was “At least UGA WON.” Also had a GT fan chip in but I ignored him lol.

  13. BA Baracus

    I’m going to try to take the “glass half full” perspective until proven otherwise…

    I really think (hope) that the coaches were using this game to try to work on all the things that they know we don’t do very well right now, but that we need to do well to be the kind of team they ultimately want us to be.

    I do think (hope) it’s telling that in both game 1 and game 2, when we got behind and had to put points on the board, we put Eason in the shotgun and spread the field. I think (hope) the coaches feel good about how Eason can perform in that situation, but really need him to master all the other aspects of playing QB in this system that he never had to do in HS.

    Then again, I may feel completely different a week from now…

  14. Brandon

    We’ll definitely learn alot about Chaney this week to see if he can develop a successful game plan vs. that Mizzou D after all of our offensive deficiencies that were exposed

  15. Macallanlover

    I agree that most are over reacting to a pathetic, off day. UGA isn’t as bad as we looked,and I blame the players for basically mailing it in. But we cannot ignore the obvious malfunction along the OL, the shaky QB play, the lack of receivers stepping up, and our defensive front not making contact until the runners are across the LOS and then falling forward for additional yardage.

    I am not giving up hope but based on the first two games I am revising my
    9-3, or 8-4 regular season forecast to 8-4 or 7-5 with more likelihood of downside than upside. I think we can win this Saturday but not as confident in it as before but don’t see us beating Ole Miss, TN, or Florida based on the limited sample we have. Not a disaster, but not what we were all hoping for.

    • Brandon

      Let me revise you’re first paragraph to defensive front not named Trent Thompson. That kid played his tail off and is becoming the anchor in the front we all had hoped. Everything else you stated is spot on.

    • Mac, was it an aberration due to mailing it in or a harbinger of what’s to come? I don’t know, but we’ll have our answer around the night of October 1 after these next 3 SEC games.

  16. Just Chuck (The Other One)

    My daughter who is a pessimist when it comes to Georgia football, is inclined to wonder how coachable some of these kids are. Her frame of reference is a band director taking over an existing band. To get kids who buy into the new system completely she believes it’s three years for a middle school and five years for a high school. For the kids who are there when the new person arrives, it’s often a “we’ve never done it this way” reaction. Obviously, this is football, not band, and a D1 coach should have more control but I wonder if the analogy applies?

    Your thoughts?

    • @gatriguy

      Almost certainly to this as well. See Kimbrough, Tim.

    • DawgPhan

      Smart has created a culture where it acceptable to just not show up. We saw that on Saturday.

      It doesnt take 3 years to get buy from a middle school band, it doesnt take years to get buy in from a football team. It takes transparency and accountability. It takes setting expectations and tracking the efforts against those expectations.

      • JCDAWG83

        I would say Smart INHERITED a culture where it was acceptable to simply not show up. we had seen that over and over for the past 10 years. Smart’s task is to change that culture. we’ll see how he does with that starting this week.

        Saban inherited a similar culture when he went to Bama. He even called out the players after the La Monroe loss. Kirby gets a pass from me this season, he is having to put his stamp on Richt’s players for the most part. Next season, the honeymoon is over.

  17. Coweta Dawg

    Sickening and surprising game. In retrospect, though, it shouldn’t have been so surprising. Huge win in week 1 over a good team that hung 48 pts. on a Lovie Smith Illinois team in week 2. Dawgs propelled up into the top 10. Everyone talking about how Dawgs would dominate week 2 opponent — 55pt spread, right? Week 2 rolls around for a noon game against team with a) new coach, b) 1st game of their season, c) fresh energy that comes with game #1 and new coach, d) no chance to win, ergo, nothing to lose. Dawgs have new head coach himself prepping for upcoming conference schedule. All the ingredients were there for the classic let-down game and that’s what we got. Players (& coaches) looked mentally and physically stuck in 1st gear when opponent used 5 gears or more.

    It will be a bumpy ride this season, but if we get the right bounces and avoid injuries, I think we’ll have a chance to win every game (conf. championship, excluded).

  18. 3rdandGrantham

    IMO, we are in big trouble this year. A 50 point lowly fbs underdog coming close to pulling off the biggest upset in CFB history should be a huge red flag to everyone. Frankly, I’m surprised at all the excuse making I’m seeing here and elsewhere — just think, if Lambert doesn’t compete that 3rd and 7 pass late, they get the ball back in good field position with a chance to win with a fg.

    I’ve seen some horrid efforts in my time, from Vandy ’94, So Miss in ’96, and a slew of games under cmr’s watch…but that was absolutely the worst I’ve ever seen.

  19. CB

    After the first two weeks the glaring hole in the offense is right guard. Lamont Galliard was routinely blasted against UNC which led to Sims getting the start this past weekend. Sims looked just as bad against Nicholls as Galliard did against NC (which is really saying something). They both miss gap assignments on pass blocking plays and have trouble getting movement on run plays especially when they are arch blocking or cutting off the backside. Opposing d linemen just run right through them bc they’re both slow off the ball. That first step has no power and they can’t explode off the ball. Gotta do better.

    Looks like Pittman is just gonna have to coach em up bc apparently they’re all we’ve got for now. From watching him in hs Big Ben Cleveland just doesn’t have the technique to contribute as a freshman.

  20. Eldawg

    I disagree with the commentators who suggest our Coaches don’t know how to game plan, and with those who are downgrading expectations for the season. Time out please!

    This was a classic trap game. Young team coming off emotional first win, looking ahead to two tough conference road games. Clearly the Offensive game plan was vanilla run first. A legitimate criticism can be laid on the OC for being stubborn and not airing it out a bit more when things got tight. Too many third and long put the young QB in a tough position. I think the kid was frustrated his offense wasn’t getting it done and he forced one in the red zone. It makes perfect sense to me the Coaches said that’s enough for Eason (i.e. don’t let him make a critical error when he is frustrated and prone to force another throw potentially costing the game and his confidence), so put in Lambert and hang on for dear life. We are 2-0.

    What you’ll see this week, if Mizzou stacks the box, is more spread em out offense, take shots on 1st & 2nd down. Eason starts no question and they are going to let him throw it around some. There will be less predictability on offense. Lambert is the backup. The team energy level this week will be much better. Dawgs win close one and go to 3-0.

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