Observations from the arm chair, Georgia-South Carolina edition

If you’d have told me before the game that Jacob Eason would sport a 51.39 passer rating — for comparison’s sake, consider that Georgia’s passer rating in last season’s Cocktail Party debacle was 58.63 — and that the Dawgs would again fail to convert a majority of the turnovers they forced into points, I would have predicted an ugly outcome.

Instead, Georgia won relatively comfortably, and really should have won the game handily.  So the circumstances leading to a Sunday regular season game wound up not being the weirdest part of the day.

And now, the bullet points.

  • The reason the team was able to overcome Eason’s bad day was because the offensive line showed up and played what was easily its best game of the season.  South Carolina didn’t load the box as often as I expected, especially in the first half, but even when the ‘Cocks did, the line was surprisingly successful at times opening holes for Chubb, Herrien and Michel to run through.  Pass blocking, while not perfect (especially against the blitz), wasn’t bad, either.  If you want to feel some optimism about the rest of the season, this is a good place to start.
  • Chubb’s very first run of the day told you that things were different.  There was blocking, sure, but more encouraging was the confidence he showed, along with the burst and power we’re used to seeing from a healthy Nick Chubb.
  • Michel looked just as good, to be honest.  Chaney needs to call more plays with both of them on the field together; it’s a brutal look for defenses.
  • Every week, Brian Herrien looks more and more like the biggest steal in this year’s recruiting class.
  • As good as things were with the running game, they were that bad when Georgia chose to throw.  Was the wind an issue?  At times, perhaps.  Eason looked like he was steering the ball on his longer passes and had several sail on him.  It also appeared he wasn’t used to having the luxury of more time to throw; his mechanics looked awkward and inconsistent.  But he didn’t get much help at times from his receivers; even when he managed good throws, he was plagued with several drops, most notably from McKenzie in the end zone.  (Although McKenzie did come back with a fine catch for his score.)  Eason is also missing quite a few reads where he had wide open targets he failed to see.  The completion to Chubb was almost funny in that regard, as you could see Nick make a real effort to catch Eason’s eye as a safety valve.
  • Defensively, the team alternated between dominating one of the SEC’s worst offenses and not being able to get out of its own way.  Carolina’s two scoring drives were lengthy and were abetted by some poor tackling on key plays.  On the other hand, the defense did produce five sacks and forced three turnovers.  They were very good on third down conversions, but not so good on fourth down conversions.  A green group trying to find its way, in other words.
  • Speaking of green, this week was Tyler Clark’s time to step up and he showed some nice flashes.  Between him, Marshall and Rochester, you have to have some hope about Georgia’s defensive line taking a big step up next season.
  • Helluva sack from Trent Thompson, wasn’t it?
  • Malkom Parrish bounced back from a poor game against Tennessee quite nicely, with some good plays defending passes and an athletic interception which was the product of doing a great job reading the play.
  • All of the linebackers had their moments.  The outside guys produced several tackles for loss and most of the sacks.  Roquan Smith was all over the place and my impression that he led the team in tackles turned out to be correct.
  • Special teams didn’t cost Georgia a game this week, and I suppose that’s as much as we can ask.  Unfortunately, there’s nothing I saw to give me hope that’s an outcome that will be avoided in future games.  Long is an inconsistent punter who was bailed out by a couple of fortuitous bounces.  Nobody can block for McKenzie on punt returns.  The void at kicking field goals continues to have a clear impact on the play calling and decision making when the offense is on the opponent’s side of the field.  At least Blankenship managed to put a couple of his kickoffs in the end zone.
  • As far as the coaching goes, Chaney’s run/pass mix recognized what was working and what wasn’t, although there were a couple of occasions when he might have chosen to run the ball a little bit more.  Still, part of what is on his plate as the coordinator is to develop a true freshman quarterback, so I can’t be too critical of his day.  Tucker and Smart are in a similar boat with the defense, as they change the scheme and develop talent.  The most troubling area in that regard is that defensive tackling is still too mechanically inconsistent.  Speaking of mechanics, though, Pittman deserves a shout out, as that was the soundest fundamentally the offensive line has looked all season.
  • The mishandling of the clock at the end of the first half means this was not one of Kirby’s best days.  I also didn’t get the failure to challenge what appeared to me to be an interception by Mauger that was wrestled away after he was down.  Overall, though, the game was fairly well managed, in that Smart played things conservatively, given how poorly South Carolina’s defense handled Georgia’s running attack.
  • Weird game from the officials, who actually called holding penalties on both offenses, let both secondaries play pretty freely, but appeared to whiff on that Mauger pick.  Also, while the overruling of the targeting penalty appeared to be correct, did anyone think the biggest factor behind that was Eason’s height?
  • It’s time for Brent Musberger to be put out to pasture.

It’s a conference road win and I’m never going to downplay one of those.  While the main goal for the rest of the year is to win games and build confidence, it’s just as big a deal to develop talent for the future, even if that means short term growing pains.  The softness of the remaining schedule is certainly a benefit in that regard, but there are enough concerns, particularly with special teams being a black hole with no end in sight, to make me think there are going to be a few more close calls coming, if not worse, this season.


Filed under Georgia Football

81 responses to “Observations from the arm chair, Georgia-South Carolina edition


    14 point conference road wins don’t grow on trees. 10-2 in play IMHO.

    • dawgtired

      I haven’t been on board for a couple of weeks…I was pouting…I feel a little more like talking now.

      10-2 would be very nice considering a new coach and freshman QB both learning the ropes and showing it. The rest of the year is going to be exciting. I expect challenges every week but expect to win.

  2. Aunt Edna

    Musberger absolutely whiffed on multiple calls. I actually felt bad for him a few times. He came across as a confused old man.

    • DawgWalker07

      Yeah I was surprised when I heard “Jason Eason” was coming in, and I almost felt bad that Jesse Palmer had to correct him several times when his calls were blatantly off. But Palmer was apparently confused by the giant “SEC Saturday Night” banner he was standing in front of because he kept saying stuff like, “they’ve had a tough time with that all night” and it was 3:30 in the afternoon. So I don’t really feel all that bad for him.

    • Otto

      I am hearing “what does Uga think about that” after every Musburger missed comment.

  3. Bright Idea

    Chaney’s worst call came on 1st and goal at the 9 yd. line when he brought McKenzie into the backfield with another back and gave him the ball. He couldn’t make the corner and lost 4 yards. The defense was all over that play. Other than having a man crush on McKenzie, why give him the ball in that situation with Chubb, Michel and Herrien available?

    • Aunt Edna

      McKenzie’s shortcoming is that he thinks he can turn any play around by cutting back. He should have had no gain or even a yard loss on that play, but he tried to cut back.

      • PTC DAWG


      • Bright Idea

        All the reason to consider another option on 1st on a goal. The next play was the interception when the ball deflected off Wims, a guy who doesn’t fight for the ball IMO.

      • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

        That is true on that play, but how many times has he done the exact same thing and made something out of it? I just think knowing how iMac is, it was the wrong call there. He needs defenders a little more spread out to make that work. Goal line plays with no secondary playing zone is not where he shines.

    • It looked to me like McKenzie gave up on trying to make the corner and made a bad decision to reverse field.

      • adam

        Yeah, I actually think he may have gained a yard if he had just gunned it outside and ran out of bounds.

        The call on second down was a beauty that had McKenzie wide open for an easy TD on the corner route. Eason forced the ball underneath to Wims, who was well covered, and it ended poorly. Not a bad call at all, though.

        • The Truth

          Never use “easy TD” and McKenzie in the same sentence, because you can’t know if All World Ike or Dropsy Ike is going to show up.

    • fred russo

      No it was after we ran the ball 60 some yards and he calls a pass play that was intercepted near the end zone!

  4. DoubleDawg1318

    I only saw pieces of the game and even in a limited sample Musberger was awful. It felt like he was cheering for Carolina at times, not to mention the mistakes. I mean, if you make Jesse Palmer look good calling games then it’s definitely time to hang it up.

    • 3rdandGrantham

      Yea, he’s a Gator, and yes, he wears trendy dress shirts that are way too tight on him, but I’ve always thought Jesse Palmer was a solid commentator.

      • DoubleDawg1318

        I think he talks way too much. I wouldn’t say his X’s and O’s talk is particularly insightful either.

      • Snoop Dawgy Dawg

        I’m with you. I like Palmer. he is rather talkative, but who in that role isn’t? I think he does a pretty good job, generally, helps break things down both about life on the field, preparation, and the actual plays. I think he could slow it down a little. not sure why he gets bagged on by fans across the SEC.

        It was nice to see we added a new safety again this week in Quincy MahJay

        • I can’t believe neither of them said anything after Mauger’s interception was called an SC completion. That was maybe the worst call I’ve ever seen, and they both just dismissed it.

  5. Musberger was pretty bad, but still not bad enough to make me want to turn on Scott Howard. From the highlights I have been hearing, he refers to a big Nick Chubb play as “chubby time.” I am sure Nick appreciates that.

    • Otto

      I turned Scott Howard on but he was ahead of the TV broadcast. If it happens again I will see if logging into the online radio broadcast would be any closer..

    • DoubleDawg1318

      Words cannot describe how cringe worthy the ‘chubby time’ comment is every time he says it. I know he had impossible shoes to fill but even still he’s not very good. He doesn’t have any iconic commentary (aside from Stafford’s ‘one and done’ play) and his voice breaks into high pitched yells when good things happen. Obviously, he’s not going anywhere unfortunately. However, he is very good at basketball. I actually really enjoy listening to his basketball broadcasts.

    • TomReagan

      In re Scott Howard, one of my favorite things about Munson, and something that isn’t mentioned about him very often, is that everything was organic with him. Munson didn’t have canned or pre-planned calls or forced catch phrases. “Give him six!” comes to mind.

      Howard spends too much time thinking about making iconic calls and the result is forced and unnatural.

    • DMarler

      I am hoping the Alabama-ization stretches to the broadcast team and, at last, we get professional broadcasters to replace Howard, Dantzler, etc. It is possible to be a homer and still be good at the craft. Howard tries way too hard to be Munsonesque and, for this fan, he fails miserably.

  6. 83dawg

    Wind wasn’t really a factor. Just a light breeze up in the top deck where I was, and looked like less on the field.

    It has been a very long weekend, and I will need to watch the game I have recorded to be sure, but the most amazing thing was that the Carolina fans just gave up and started filing out when they were clearly still in the game.

    I mean, Carolina down 2 scores with 9 minutes left in the game and they all started leaving.


    I was talking to some of the Cock fans (so to speak) around me as they were packing up and saying “we do realize that this is the same Georgia team that managed to lose after going up one score with ten seconds left last week, right?”

    They just kept leaving.

    And I never want to hear ‘sandstorm’ again…

  7. Spike

    All good points. Me likey Herrien as a runner! Give him some love running the rock! The Zebras blew the pick by UGA and no replay review? And, at the risk of incurring the wrath of some on here.. I’m not buying “the wind” excuse.

  8. Justin

    What was at least enjoyable about this game versus similar games last year is that you can at least pick out reasons to be positive, despite the relative lack of energy this game produced (most likely a product of the date change). Last season’s wins just felt different than any year I’ve ever been a fan. Maybe it was a combination of the impending axe coming down on Richt and knowing that anything Lambert did wouldn’t matter once Eason arrived but this season, thankfully, has me enjoying Georgia football again.

  9. Your last comment was the most important. Musberger needs to be put to pasture. Maybe even used for glue. His time is up. Painful to listen as he calls a game.

  10. It would be nice to be able run AND throw in the same game. We’re going to have to do a little of both to beat UF and auburn.

    • dawgtired

      Amen! Dang we can’t put the two together. One complements the other. If we every put it all together we’ll have a serious chance at dominating a game.

      • Bigshot

        Haha, when has UGA ever dominated a game and when have they ever been able to put together a complete game?

        • Russ

          Off the top of my head, I’d say the fifty-burger we gave the Ol’ Ball Sack last year as a parting gift was a pretty complete performance.

  11. D.N. Nation

    If you read between the lines of Kirby’s answer about why he didn’t challenge the non-interception, it was basically “because these morons would get the call wrong anyway.” Which is probably right, but seems ex post facto to me.

  12. As someone that grew up in Savannah going to Columbia every other year, I say this with 100% honesty: anyone upset about a 14 point win in Columbia hasn’t spent enough time around SCU fans when they win.

    • Normaltown Mike


      Many fine UGA teams have shit the bed in Columbia over the years so I’ll take the win and be glad we didn’t play Saturday night at 7 with a jacked crowd..

      I know a bunch of folks that say leaving Columbia after the debacle in 2000 as the worst experience they’ve ever had on the road.

      • That sounds believable. 2014 was miserable too.

        They just aren’t fun people to be around, pre or postgame. They are so insecure that we don’t view them as a rival they same way that they view us that it eats them alive.

      • Daniel Simpson Day

        As someone that grew up in Columbia and went to Georgia I’m too aware of what those fans are like. Further, 2000 was definitely the worst game I’ve ever been to – an old man tried to pick a fight with me (seriously, the guy looked like he needed a walker), people were throwing drinks on us, our answering machine was completely full by the time we got back home with people already calling from the damn game….any time we get out with a W is less of their delusional BS I have to listen to. Hope Agent Muschamp drives them into the Stone Age.

  13. 3rdandGrantham

    A few random, pointless musings:

    –That piped-in rooster noise they do over the loudspeakers is the most godawful thing ever. I know SCU isn’t exactly an esteemed institution, but who is the idiot who approved that shtick and/or continues to push that button somewhere up in the press box? And to make matters worse they play it over and over again when they are on D. It sounds just terrible on TV with that screeching nonsense blaring into your living room, so I can only imagine having to hear in live inside the stadium

    –I’ll certainly get some push back here, but what the hell: I’m sorry, but Jim Chaney needs to lose some weight. That dude just doesn’t look good waddling around on the sidelines, and if I’m an O player, I’d have a hard time taking my coach seriously when he says anything related to discipline, control, focus, will-power, dedication, or anything else remotely relating to self-control. At one point my wife turned to me and said, ‘well, at least he’s smart enough to wear black…though that’s not exactly helping him all that much.’ Look, I don’t expect the UGA coaches to be a bunch of Tony Horton clones, but to allow yourself to get that far out of shape when molding/mentoring 18-22 year olds is just not ideal

    –I was surprised at the crowd at WB stadium overall, and expected a far worse attendance than what showed up. Sure, there were some empty seats in the high sections, but I thought there would be entire swaths that were relatively empty

    –Upon further review last night, I’m happy with the win overall. I don’t know what it is about Columbia and that upside down cockroach looking stadium, but that place has been kryptonite for us for as long as I can remember. So getting out of there with a rather pedestrian win, in which we truly were never nervous about the outcome, is always a plus. With that said, coach Boom’s Hitler impersonation using a band-aid was tasteless, IMO, and the SEC commish should call him out on it.

    • Gaskilldawg

      Agree with your comments. I especially agree with you about Cheney. Lord have mercy, if nothing else the physical toll of waddling that weight along the sidelines for 4 to 5 hours, including warmups, has to affect his mental edge during the game. Fatigue affects judgment and reasoning.

      Not to mention he owes it to himself, his family and his employer to look after his health.

    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      Leave Jim Chaney alone dammit! Fat guys unite! The only thing about his weight that worries me a little is that I want him to live long enough for us to win some titles, and Eason to set some records.

    • 83dawg

      I’m mid-50’s and 6′ 2″ 255 lbs and want to know where he gets those really comfortable-looking shirts…

  14. Legatedawg

    Internet was laughing at Foosburger’s audible anguish as Goodwin snatched the onside kick and took it in for the final score. He even screamed that the ball was down where Goodwin caught it. Consensus among Feldman, Mandell, Sallee and others was that he had bet $$$ on this game, taking Carolina and the points, and Goodwin’s feat put paid to that. But then I have found him to be very unlikable for over 40 years now so his foolishness yesterday is just another reason for me to feel this way.

  15. DawgPhan

    always happy with a road conference win, but we played a lot of really bad football yesterday.

    the whole not getting points from turnovers thing that we are mastering is crazy.

  16. TomReagan

    After ESPN panned to a shot of our kicker on the sideline, my 5 year old let out a huge groan and says, “ugh. not him.”

    That summed up our special teams situation pretty well.

    • The Truth

      Devil his due: his PATs look like real PATs and a couple of kickoffs were touchbacks. Obviously still not a lot of confidence in FGs.

      • Russ

        We should have tried the 40 yards FG instead of taking the delay of game penalty. We are going to need Blankenship at some point this season and yesterday was the perfect time to work on his confidence.

        Vandy should also be a good opportunity. It’s a stupid move by Kirby to just totally write him off like that.

        • Athens Townie

          I hear you on taking opportunities to develop Blankenship.

          But Kirby was just worried about winning the game at that point.

        • Macallanlover

          Absolutely we should give him a try rather than putting up a white flag, He can kick, has some leg and hits the ball well. Not going to gain any confidence by passing up opportunities to let him make the effort. He may not be a high percentage guy but he is capable of a 40+ yarder, saw him do at G Day. I understand that if he were Hamm who does not strike the ball well enough.

          • TomReagan

            As to Blankenship moving forward and performance, I agree that he’s been miles ahead of Hamm, especially when it comes to striking the ball as Macallanlover said. But it was pretty damned funny to hear him say that.

  17. Biggus Rickus

    Here’s the thing about the targeting rule. Shouldn’t the intent matter? If a guy incidentally makes helmet to helmet contact without trying to lead with his head, why should that be targeting? Likewise, if a guy clearly leads with the crown of his helmet but fails to make contact, shouldn’t that be targeting? The intent of the rule is to stop the trend of leading with the helmet, right?

    • Biggen

      If we are going to attempt to use “intent” to enforce the rules then the players will also need layers on the sidelines to argue their case…

    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      Well, yeah. And when we have refs that can read minds I expect that will be written into the rule book. Can you even imagine if Penn Wagers could make calls based on what he thought a player was thinking? Welcome to your 7 hour football game.

      • Biggus Rickus

        It’s not difficult. If a guy leads with his helmet you call it. If not, you don’t. They already review every one they call.

  18. Atticus

    The lack of pass rush is very concerning.

  19. truck

    Random observations, but you have to love John Atkins’ blocking in the jumbo goal line package and Isaiah Wynn’s crushing tackle on the interception.

  20. DawgPhan

    I know everyone on here loves the Advance Stats Profile over on Football Study Hall. If was just updated for the USC game. I would recommend not looking at it if you want to stay happy about a USC win.


    • Hardcoredawg 93

      Great news! I’ve been waiting for that thing to be updated so I know how to feel about the game.

      • DawgPhan

        Wins are great, but I like looking at these numbers to get a sense of if the team is improving or not. Like so many folks, rightly, point out we didnt really beat any great teams last year and that not all 10 wins are equal.

    • Jared S.

      I like this win because it’s a win. But as far as actual play I liked it less than I liked the TN loss. Georgia should have won this game 45-7. The fact that we left at least 21 points on the field, can’t kick FG’s, can’t return Kicksoffs/Punts, couldn’t catch balls, and converted points on only 1 of 3 turnovers are all huge areas of concern – not withstanding the improved OL play and great running attack.

      In addition some of the offensive play calling was more than worrying. The drive where we ran it down their throats (like the whole game) and ended up 1st and goal, McKenzie was tackled for a loss, then on “2nd and goal” (14 yards to goal line) Eason who was 3/13 on the day tried to throw for a TD and was intercepted.

      1) on the first play Chubb, Michel, or Herrien should have been handed the ball, not McKenzie. Duh.
      2) The next three plays – yes three – should all have been to Chubb Michel, or Herrien.

      But what on earth do I know. I’ve never been in the arena.

      I will be shocked if we win 10 games. Shocked. I’ll pleasantly surprised if we win 9. And if we win 8 I’ll shrug.

      • Jared S.

        I’m not football whiz. Admittedly.

        But am I the only one who thinks Chaney is showing evidence of a disease common among OCs? It’s called “Cute Play-calling,” evidenced by a refusal to do the obvious, even though it’s working like a charm, and opt for the thing the other team will never expect!!!!!!! (The exclamation points are part of the disease and appear in the diseased OC’s brain when they have these thoughts.)

        • Got Cowdog?

          Oh no, here it comes ………

        • junkyardawg41

          I get what you are saying —- but we were on the 1 and it took 3 plays to punch it in one yard for our second touchdown. I thought iMac made a poor decision trying to cut it back but it isn’t like he hasn’t found success before doing that — albeit not in the redzone.

    • mg4life0331

      Yeah they are terrible. Im glad we won, but I aint drinking the revamped running game koolaid

      • Biggus Rickus

        The offensive line has blocked pretty well in the running game for three straight weeks after their nadir against Missouri. I mean, they aren’t going to run for 300 yards against most people, but they are at least an effective running team again.

  21. GM Shepherd

    Jeff Dantzler is over the top with his repetitive praise of “Hall of Famer, Greatest College Kicker of all time, the iconic Kevin Butler. I like Kevin but statistically speaking he is not even UGA’s greatest kicker ever. He kicked off a three inch tee for all place kicks and the uprights were wider in the 1981-1984 time period. He was a very good kicker but no kicker is an “icon”!

    • The Truth

      Put a period after the word “top” in your post above and it pretty much stands on its own.

      • ^^^^ this – Dantzler gets on my nerves. While Butler was the greatest kicker in his era, I’ll take Brandon Coutu in today’s game. The guy seemed like he never missed and could kick the 55-yards from off the ground like it was nothing. When Coutu would kick in a dome, it was borderline unfair to the other team.

  22. ugadawgguy

    Two responses:

    (1) “It’s time for Brent Musberger to be put out to pasture.” I couldn’t agree more. His call of the game was among the worst I’ve ever heard, by anyone. He no longer gets players’ names, players’ numbers, schools’ names, school mascots’ names, or outcomes of plays right. That was painful to listen to.

    (2) I see people above talking about going 10-2. To my eyes, 8-4 seems more likely. While I have to credit the coaching staff for FINALLY acknowledging the obvious and shifting to more zone blocking, as you say, the special teams are atrocious almost across the board…and while Eason has a cannon, he does not appear to be improving from week to week. His accuracy is awful…you just never know what you’re going to get from him.

    While the resurgent Auburn looms large, it is certainly not out of the realm of possibility that this team could lose to Vanderbilt (which has a great defense) or Tech (I am not confident in this coaching staff’s preparedness for that mutant offense)…and Kentucky is no longer as terrible as they were to start the season.

    Yeah, 8-4 still seems right.

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