Observations from the 35, Samford edition

Well, looky here:

I can only think of two issues about today’s game.

The first is whether we’ll be treated to Nicholls, The Sequel…

It’s hard to take Samford’s chances seriously today. Add to that what would be an understandable emotional hangover after last week’s thrilling win in South Bend, and it’s not hart to extrapolate another struggle against a lower division squad. I don’t think it’s gonna happen, but I’m not gonna lie and say I won’t be watching carefully to see if this team’s learned how it needs to approach every game.

Second issue: does Georgia finally get off the under-40 points scored schneid?

Check and check.  The team lost its focus mid-second quarter, as we were treated to a Fromm turnover after a Samford scoring drive, with a couple of embarrassing drops by Hardman and Woerner mixed in.  At one point, we were staring at a fourteen-point game, the visitors with the ball deep in Georgia territory late in the first half, followed by them receiving the second-half kickoff.  If visions of Nicholls started dancing in anyone’s head, well, nobody could be blamed for that, right?

However, J.R. Reed, Lorenzo Carter and John Atkins weren’t having any of that.  Carter came up with a crucial sack when Samford scrimmaged from the Georgia 11.  Reed blocked the ensuing field goal attempt to end that particular threat.  Atkins recovered a fumble on Samford’s first possession of the second half.  Two minutes later, instead of being in a squeaker, the Dawgs went back up by 21 points.  From there, the only burning question left on the day was whether they’d clear forty.  That threshold was crossed before the end of the third quarter.

It was a dull, dominating win over an outmatched FCS team.  I enjoyed every minute of its complete predictability.

Bullet points comin’ at ‘ya:

  • My favorite play of the game wasn’t particularly meaningful, but I sure loved the block Fromm threw to free Chubb on his first touchdown run.  That followed Fromm dropping a fifty-yard dime to Riley Ridley.  Two-play scoring drives are fun.
  • Speaking of Chubb, he had several runs where he turned nothing into something.  Which means the offensive line is still struggling in run-blocking on occasion.  They did wear a lesser opponent down as the game went on, but the middle of the line had a hard time establishing push early.  There really is little excuse for not converting that fourth-and-one on the opening drive.
  • D’Andre Swift’s spin move.  Whoa.
  • Terry Godwin’s got his groove back.
  • When Mecole Hardman finds his consistency, I have the feeling this offense is going to take off.  We know what a threat Godwin is and Ridley’s smooth.  Three big play guys would be great.
  • I saw a lot of good downfield blocking from the receivers all game.
  • The best of Jim Chaney’s night was getting the right mix of run-pass.  Letting Fromm only throw 13 times while letting the running backs do their thing was exactly the way to go.
  • Second best:  no wildcat.
  • Third best:  adapting to the reality that runs up the middle were being stuffed early by taking the ball outside.
  • On the other hand, the virtual absence of the tight ends from the passing game has moved from benign neglect to something more purposeful.  If there’s a message being sent, I’m not sure what it is, but zero completions and only one or two targets is sending something that way.  Whatever is going on, it’s the opposite of getting them involved.
  • This may be the only time I mention Prather Hudson in an Observations post, so I thought I’d better get that out of the way.  Hi, Prather!
  • Other than handling the quick slant, the defense played well, which you’d expect when the other team averages a yard per rush (and even that came from the benefit of garbage time at the very end of the game).
  • I’m beginning to think that instead of doing a detailed point on Roquan Smith, I just need to invoke his name and leave it at that.
  • Tyrique McGhee was picked on, and fairly successfully.  Here’s to hoping Parrish is back soon.
  • In the midst of Samford’s first scoring drive, Trent Thompson had two jaw-dropping tackles, the first on a three-yard TFL run, the second when on a passing play he rushed and then turned around to make the tackle of the receiver several yards downfield.  No big man, especially a defensive tackle, should be that quick.  (I checked the broadcast and it really doesn’t do Thompson’s freakiness justice.)
  • At some point, the secondary needs to start converting some of those pass breakups into interceptions.
  • Samford’s offense, by the way, is well coached and Devlin Hodges does an excellent job running it.  Good arm, very quick release.  He won’t be the worst quarterback Georgia faces this season.
  • Seven-for-seven in the touchback department and a 46.5-yard average on punts with negative return yardage are things I’ll take all day long.
  • Coaching this week deserves credit for mental preparation more than anything.  It would have been easy to mail this one in, and based on history, that wouldn’t have been surprising.  Instead, they came out ready to grind, survived a momentary blip and finished the drill.

They’re 3-0, with two wins over inferior opposition and a big road win against a ranked opponent.  Now things get serious, as game prep for the SEC begins.


Filed under Georgia Football

42 responses to “Observations from the 35, Samford edition

  1. Got Cowdog

    I really liked the run blocking for Chubb by #77. On one of the touchdowns he pushed a DL back about 3 yards, then pivoted right and shived the linebacker off his feet. Chubb hit that crease right off 77’s ass and scored. I know it was Samford, still a good looking play.


  2. Somewhat unrelated, but I was a tad bit surprised to see on the broadcast where they said our OL is the lightest in the conference, average weight was 298 lbs or something like that. I guess that shouldn’t have surprised me, but we kept hearing all off-season about how the OL was bigger and stronger this year. Guess we’ll have to wait for some more of those freshmen to step up before we have a big OL that can consistently move people in short yardage situations.


    • Just to clarify, that was the average weight of the starting OL. Not all of our OL.


      • Gaskilldawg

        That is correct. Cleveland and Shaffer played but did not start.

        Interesting D’Marcus Hayes has not played yet. Wonder why?


        • Yeah if I remember right, I think he has 3 years to play 2. I’m hoping the situation is that they are just wanting to take a year to get him conditioned for SEC ball, and then get 2 good years out of him, rather than him just not being very good. I really thought he was gonna be either a Day 1 starter, or at least a major contributor.


          • Irwin R. Fletcher

            Scuttle from some of the practice reports I read was that he just wasn’t in SEC shape when he got here. Was able to coast a bit in JUCO based on pure size…got winded and worn down a bit in prax from what I read.


  3. Gaskilldawg

    Cupcake games at 7:30 pm are sure more fun than cupcake games at noon. Atmosphere in Sanford was fun.


  4. Puffdawg

    My favorite part of the broadcast was when they quoted Hatcher at halftime as saying Samford would “be winning if we were playing seven on seven.”

    Well, ok.


  5. jeff88keys

    Agreed on all points. The lack of tight end involvement is at once, stupid and inexcusable. We have a bevy of good TE’s starting with an All American candidate, Nauta, and we should be able to produce multiple opportunities for them via play-action. Chaney, get your head out of the sand. Now.


    • Saltwater Dawg

      As much as I am excited about Fromm’s confidence and leadership skills, I think it is his limitations that are hampering the tight-end play and not necessarily the play calling.

      Others have called out the obvious stare-down of the receives, but he is often not making the right reads yet. For the most obvious example, dial up the youtube video of the whole Notre Dame game, about 10:15 into the video. We line up in a 5 wide set, trips to the right. On the snap, the linebacker that shifted to cover the right, inside receiver blitzed, and the receiver was uncovered for the first 20 yards. Fromm locked onto the left wideout from the snap and never looked off, never seemed to look at the rush. The easy read was see who blitzes and go that way.

      Reads off of play action are even harder, your eyes aren’t downfield until after the 3-step drop. At this point, I don’t think the ball is going to the TE unless it is a designed TE play.

      I’m hopeful this will improve quickly, but the defenses coming up are going to be much tougher than we’ve seen.


    • PTC DAWG

      It is widely known that Kirby is not happy with the practice effort from at least one of our TE’s….playcalling will reflect that until morale improves.

      Liked by 1 person

      • NGDAWG

        During the game one of the announcers said that Kirby stated he was disappointed in Nauta’s practice habits. That when he started practicing more like a champion he would be more involved in the game plans


  6. paul

    Mecole has had a fair amount of drops so far. But they keep sending the ball his way so they apparently believe in him. Georgia is quickly becoming known as a school where talented tight ends go to block, not catch passes. It’s going to become difficult to recruit tight ends if we don’t get them more involved.


    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      UGA has always been a place where talented TEs go to block, at least in my lifetime. But for the same reason a good many of them play on Sunday later; I don’t think it is an accident that we still recruit them, and that they still come.

      I do agree they did seem under utilized in this game, and have heard rumors that it is a result of the coaches displeasure with practice habits, but since that rumor can’t be proven or disproven by us, I have another thought: the TEs, especially Nauta, were Eason’s favorite targets, but now that he is sidelined the change of quarterbacks and a slightly different approach to the running game (more to the outside) may be all there is to it right now.


  7. The Truth

    I feel the same way about the tight ends, but I watched a good portion of the replay yesterday, and the broadcast crew (who I would rate pretty good for SEC-Alt) basically said Nauta is in Kirby’s doghouse. Kirby told them that Nauta doesn’t practice the way he should and won’t have a bigger — and perhaps an even diminished — role until he does. A pretty candid call out.


  8. rjrtex

    “I’m beginning to think that instead of doing a detailed point on Roquan Smith, I just need to invoke his name and leave it at that.”


    Also, the offense was by design very vanilla, I am expecting to see a healthy dose of tight ends this Saturday.


  9. bulldogbry

    So we’re just not gonna talk about Brice’s first completion of the year? It didn’t go unnoticed by the crowd.


  10. The Truth

    RE: Roquan — I’m at the stage of my life where I’ll be sitting watching an NFL game with my grandson a few years from now, as #3 reaches the end of a long and illustrious career, and he’ll say, “Pops, you got to see Roquan play in college, didn’t you?” I’ll just smile and say, “Yes, yes I did.”


  11. Uglydawg

    There may be a positive factor in keeping the tight ends in. MSU hasn’t seen that aspect of the offensive warchest. i”m betting we see Nauta rolling down the field with the football more than a time or two this Saturday.


    • I dunno. They weren’t used much against ND, either. At this point I think it sort of is what it is. Eason seemed to focus on Nauta (for better or worse) while through three games Fromm seems more apathetic to one guy (which isn’t a bad thing). But sometimes you need to feed your beasts intentionally.


      • Fromm sure tried to force things when Woerner was in the game… and Woerner dropped the ball.

        Woerner is Fromm’s boy. Nauta is Eason’s boy. Drama Drama Drama.


        • Macallanlover

          I think it is logical to think each is probably more comfortable with their own roommate, someone they likely work with more playing pitch and catch, and with timing. But it is BS that they favor a receiver because they are roommates, either of our QBs is going to throw to the open receiver regardless of who any of them are sleeping with. 🙂 These guys are competitors and want to win, help the team, and earn the starting spot.


  12. Skeptic Dawg

    “with a couple of embarrassing drops by Hardman…”. So it is still early, I will grant that much, but I have seen enough of Hardman to know that he is not a WR deserving of many targets. Let’s put the ball in the hands of those with hands. Far too many drops for this kid to keep getting looks.


  13. AusDawg85

    We run the ball well outside. We’ve always run the ball well outside. Our OC should continue to favor our running the ball outside.

    Better focus on defending those quick slant routes. I’m guessing Tucker will be blitzing / twisting a lot to contain and rattle Fitzgerald, but he has the ability to see the field and hit those quick open routes far better than Wimbash. Winning with D is good, but our O better be prepared to make long, consistent, time consuming drives vs. MSU. 3 and outs are going to get us behind on the scoreboard real fast.


    • Macallanlover

      Agree, we do move the ball well outside (when used), often off of laterals and quick swings. Not only do those plays take advantage of our speed, they open up the inside runs as DEs and corners have to respect that threat and stop crashing down the line sealing off potential running lanes.


  14. Jack Klompus

    When Thompson made that 3 yrd tackle for a loss, I thought it was a LB coming through the line because his speed. Love me some JR Reed…dude can ball. Nice to see Chubb look like Chubb again.


  15. John Denver is full of shit

    3rd n 2 end of 2nd qtr to put the game away with Chubb in backfield and 6 men in box we throw a pass to a tight end that hasn’t played a snap, regardless of whether or not he should have caught it, fuck Chaney.


  16. W Cobb Dawg

    Is Prather Hudson the new Brandon Douglas?


  17. dawgtired

    “We know what a threat Godwin is and Ridley’s smooth. Three big play guys would be great.”

    Couldn’t we add Wims to the big-play-guy list?


    • Agree – Wims has been the big play guy.
      I think Samford made sure he was doubled all over the field. I would suggest Wims and Ridley on the outside with Godwin in the slot is probably our best combination.


  18. D as in Dawg

    If we can beat MSU, we’ve arrived. They appear to be the best team left on our schedule, perhaps by a long shot. Of course, is LSU that good? We shall see.