September 17, 2018 · 2:39 PM
Curious what the brouhaha was all about? Evidently Walker wasn’t any happier with the way Georgia was defending the run than we’ve been.
Rushes on the two previous series of 7, 6, and 6 had drawn Walker’s ire, as he recognized the young 5-star prospect Cox was having an issue with his assignment.
“We had kind of a bust on defense we didn’t close as we should have, and they gashed a pretty good run, and they did it two to three times, and the same individual was not closing,” Ledbetter said. “We had to address that as a team and we did, and we came back and we fixed it, and that’s what you do.”
Let’s hope the same individual gets his shit together.
September 17, 2018 · 1:23 PM
From the Alston trial, currently in its fifth day, comes this observation from the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin:
I doubt coaches are paying much attention now, but if the day ever comes when the NCAA openly and actively lobbies for that antitrust exemption, it’ll sure be amusing to watch the light go on.
UPDATE: Doubling down.
September 17, 2018 · 12:38 PM
CBS is coming back to Athens, y’all.
Color me a little surprised CBS didn’t opt for Dan Mullen’s triumphant return to Starkville.
September 17, 2018 · 12:18 PM
Looks like the Coke bottle’s been benched.
No word yet on whether it’s due to performance issues or some team rules violation.
September 17, 2018 · 9:27 AM
Ah, jeez… just shut up, man.
The closest thing to an actual admission in there is his “And it caused them to question my honesty. For that, I’m truly sorry.” line. Except he misspelled “irritated” at the end.
September 17, 2018 · 9:09 AM
Georgia, in case you haven’t heard, is dead last in the conference in sacks. How concerned should we be about that?
I can’t say it’s freaking me out, for two obvious reasons. One, Georgia is tops in the SEC in scoring defense. Two, guess which SEC defense yields the fewest yards per pass attempt? (Both of those are in the top six nationally, as well.)
You know who else isn’t worried? That Kirby Smart dude. Per Seth Emerson ($$),
“I’m looking more at total yards per completion,” Smart said. “And how many points they had on the scoreboard. That’s what matters to me. I know everyone wants sacks. Everyone wants pass rush. But if you put a stopwatch on it, and you take the whole offensive line off the field, and don’t block anybody, I don’t know that we could’ve gotten there. So you better defend the pass.”
I’m not a mind reader and I’m certainly not sitting in on the coaches’ meetings, but I’ve got to think those guys realized what they have on offense sooner than the rest of us did and realized the biggest tactical call to be made on defense early on was not to get killed by the big play. I’ve yet to see Tucker forced to bring either of the safeties up to defend against the run.
Oh, did I mention that Georgia’s defense ranks eighth nationally in opponents’ plays of ten+ yards? It’s also first nationally in opponents’ plays of twenty+ yards.
Everybody points to how much Georgia lost from its 2017 defense. What Smart and the staff have come up with is an approach that is allowing this year’s bunch to grow into the job while the offense provides the game pressure. (Compare that with the way the 2013 defense handled personnel turnover, if you can stomach doing that.) If that comes at the cost of a few sacks, that’s a trade off I can live with.
Now they just need to tighten up the run defense a little more. I don’t think I want to see a game where Tucker has to bring up one of those safeties because the defense is getting gashed on the ground…
September 17, 2018 · 8:40 AM
Mother Nature, bless your heart. My favorite two words from Saturday were “cloud cover”.
- Give the fan base some credit — the second straight home cupcake game, time moved up seven hours and the joint was damned near full anyway. Crowd wasn’t sleepy, either. Pat yourselves on the back, folks.
- Maybe I’m imagining this, but it seemed like they cut back on the canned music a little and let the Redcoat Band show out more during the game, especially the first half. If that’s right, whoever made that call, thanks.
- You may have heard something about this already, but there is ridiculous, outrageous speed on offense. Holyfield looked like he was shot out of a cannon on that long run. Simmons showed some freakin’ afterburners on his touchdown jaunt. Those are just the most recent examples I’ve seen; the usual suspects were still rocketing along when they got the opportunity.
- Run blocking was excellent. On the aforementioned Holyfield run, the middle looked like the proverbial parting of the Red Sea. Pass protection got better as the game went along, but one of those sacks was definitely on the o-line. Cade Mays wasn’t as good Saturday as he was against South Carolina. (No shame in that for a true freshman thrown into the fire.)
- I hate to keep picking on him, but Woerner’s blocking continues to be a real liability.
- Multiple completions to the tight ends? Get outta here!
- One thing cupcake games are good for is the chance to develop depth in a lower risk setting. Godwin is still coming back from his injury, but that means there’s an opportunity for others, like Jeremiah Holloman, who’s really starting to blossom. The receiving corps looks like it’s going to be something to reckon with.
- I know the official reason we’re not seeing much out of Robertson yet is that he’s still learning the offense, but I think the real story is that he’s not blocking downfield the way the rest of the receivers are. That may not have mattered at Cal, but it does in Athens.
- I haven’t heard anything dark about why Swift’s day was short, so I’ll go with Kirby’s reason, that he wanted to give other backs the opportunity. It’s not like Georgia didn’t get ‘er done on the ground. Holyfield, in particular, is really coming into his own and if he and Swift can give the team a legit one-two punch like a couple of other guys did last year, I’m okay with that.
- Fromm got off to a somewhat slow start. (Relatively speaking, that is.) He was guilty of holding the ball too long at times and that almost cost Georgia on the strip sack that Cleveland recovered near the goal line. The switch got flipped, though, much like it did against South Carolina and when, Fromm is on, the offense really hums. The bomb to Holloman came off a pump fake and was a beaut. The TD pass to Holloman came off a roll out to the right, something Fromm looks way more comfortable doing this season. Much like the Carolina game, when the dust settled, he was freakishly consistent, if that’s such a thing.
- Fields isn’t exactly chopped liver, either. You can tell he needs a few reps under his belt to get settled in, but, man, once he does, he is smooth. His touchdown pass to Stanley was perfectly thrown into tight spacing. Not that I’m wishing anything, but if Fromm got hurt, I wouldn’t be concerned the way I was when Eason went down last season.
- The defense is still playing vanilla, so much so that I was startled on one of the rare occasions when Tucker dialed up a blitz (it worked, too, forcing Stockstill to throw earlier than he wanted for an incompletion). I do feel that’s a big reason they’re still not getting to the quarterback as much as we’d expect, or, in Saturday’s case, at all.
- That being said, MTSU’s passing game didn’t pose much of a threat, as the Dawgs forced everything underneath. The one big play suffered was clearly a defensive breakdown, as Campbell was cleanly blocked by his man and one of the safeties (Reed?) took a bad angle on the receiver. I imagine some ass will be chewed about that this week. I’m not sure Georgia allowed another pass to gain ten yards.
- Run defense is a little more concerning. Part of that is likely due to playing a lot of dime coverage. Again, it’s not like they got burned for any big plays, but they did allow the Blue Raiders to nibble steadily for much of the game. That’s stuff that’s got to be tightened up, and soon. And that starts with the defensive line.
- The ILBs did a respectable job against the run, but they were cleaning up too many plays four yards past the line of scrimmage. Taylor looks like he’s getting better each week.
- Lots of people got the chance to play in the secondary and that meant I got to watch a fair amount of Otis Reese. He’s gonna be a good one. Poole looked good, too.
- Special teams were special-er, I guess. Blankenship was his usually consistent self and Camarda finally mixed in a punt with a little touch to go along with his boomers. The big thing was the punt return blocking finally shaped up enough to allow Hardman to break two big returns, one for his first touchdown. Downside was both he and Crumpton allowed a couple of punts to hit and roll, so there’s still work to be done there. And what was the deal with not one, but two offsides calls on kickoffs?
Georgia didn’t bring its A game Saturday, but it didn’t need to. The coaches called the kind of game you’d expect and there’s enough talent at their disposal that it played out as expected. Three games in and they still haven’t shown many cards, tactically speaking. That’s bound to change as Georgia returns to conference play for the next few weeks. We know there’s plenty of talent and depth. What we don’t know yet is something we learned in the second game of 2017 and that’s how this team responds to adversity.
September 17, 2018 · 7:41 AM
I’m not going to go into any details, but I received a message from someone who is a regular reader of the blog that reminded me of a post of mine from a few years ago about the bonds we share as Dawg fans.
Every once in a while, it really hits me why I enjoy this blog so much. Certainly it’s nice to have a public outlet to express myself and it’s gratifying when I get a public response to my opinions. It’s no secret that I enjoy the give-and-take of a good debate as much as anybody and I’ve had plenty of those with you guys in the comments.
But the best part of the GTP experience for me, hands down, comes every time I’m reminded what’s at the core of why you and I have a special feeling about college football, which, after all, is just a game. And that core isn’t statistics or playoff formats or whether this coach or that one is the right man for the job… and it sure as hell isn’t money.
It’s community. It’s being part of a group of people who bind together, both face to face on a few special Saturdays every fall and by sharing something of themselves in a virtual sense the rest of the year, over a common passion. You know the pain and pleasure, the highs and lows that everyone feels, even if those sometimes are expressed very differently.
I’ve been lucky in both ways. I’ve celebrated the fall with a close group of friends for more than thirty years now. We’ve watched each other get older, seen our kids grow up, had our laughs and our share of tears. And on the blogging side of things, I’ve been the recipient of a steady stream of e-mails that start with something like “I’ve been a long time reader of your blog and wanted to share this with you”… and then they do. And I honestly marvel every time I see that how this shared experience matters.
Just a reminder that you guys are the best and I appreciate all of you. It’s why I keep at it.
September 17, 2018 · 7:00 AM
Saturday was a banner day for the Big Ten.
The Big Ten had a historically bad day. Outside of Ohio State, which asserted control in the second half to beat TCU 40-28, the league’s performance has been ordinary at best through three weeks of the season. Akron’s 39-34 win at Northwestern won’t have any impact on the playoff race, but it continues the well-established narrative that the middle of this league is exceptionally mediocre. This week, it was BYU coming into Madison and punking Wisconsin, 24-21. It was Troy upsetting Nebraska, 24-19. It was 0-2 Temple going to Maryland and dominating for a 35-14 victory. And it was Missouri coming away with a last-second field goal to beat Purdue, 40-37. Obviously, the Buckeyes are very good and are well-positioned to make the College Football Playoff. But this isn’t a one-week trend. Michigan State melted in the desert last Saturday night. Michigan’s loss to Notre Dame in Week 1 erased the Wolverines’ margin for error. Obviously the Buckeyes can carry the banner for the Big Ten all the way to the semifinals, but it would be hard to draw up a worse start for the league than what it has experienced.
From a CFP perspective, as bad as that was, the Pac-12’s playoff picture already appears to be reduced to a heap of smoking rubble.
Which leads me to this question for those of you who advocate that the playoff field should be populated by conference winners only: should Alabama and Georgia live up to early expectations and run the regular season table (if you check out their FPI projections, you’ll find that the Dawgs have only one game with a win projection under 80% and Alabama has none), what team keeps the loser out of the semi-finals field?
The Big Ten has two contenders in Ohio State and Penn State, but as they’re both in the same division, one of those two won’t even make it to their conference title game. Oklahoma looks to be the class of the Big 12; if it turns out that Oklahoma State is a legitimate threat, those two will play each other twice, which will eliminate one or possibly both. The ACC is Clemson.
If you’re an advocate of the best teams playing for the national title — which is supposed to be the selection committee’s guiding principle — essentially all of those teams would have to run the table to avoid being ousted from the semis by the loser of the SECCG. If that doesn’t happen, but any or all of those teams win their conferences, which would you put in ahead of what looks like right now to be one of the country’s two best teams losing to the other?
September 17, 2018 · 6:57 AM
Is the SEC on the upswing in 2018? Certainly the West is. Three weeks in, Auburn, LSU and Mississippi State have all notched wins over P5 non-conference foes and Texas A&M gave a credible showing against Clemson in a loss (let’s see how many ACC teams play Clemson as closely as TAMU did).
The story in the East isn’t as pretty, which isn’t that big a surprise, I suppose. Tennessee and Florida are miles away from what they once were and South Carolina wet the bed in its first true test of the season, but Missouri squeaked past a Big Ten team on the road, Kentucky is showing signs of life behind a dynamic quarterback and Vanderbilt gave Notre Dame all it could handle in its house before falling late. Baby steps, to be sure, but I do think it bears watching.
- Alabama. No, I don’t think the Tide could beat the Browns. But you might could talk me into thinking they could hang with them for a quarter or two.
- Georgia. My impression of this team after a quarter of the season is that’s in the process of figuring itself out, which is probably not good news for the teams on the second half of the schedule.
- LSU. You’ve got to tip your cap to the two big wins, which is why I moved the Tigers up this week. But I have serious doubts this team will beat Mississippi State.
- Mississippi State. Looking at the schedule, it’s not out of the question that the Bulldogs roll into Tuscaloosa undefeated. They get Auburn and TAMU at home and have a bye week before traveling to LSU.
- Auburn. You say Auburn lost a game at home on a last-minute score? Do tell. Gus is frantically looking for that rabbit’s foot he misplaced.
- Texas A&M. Got back on the winning track with a cupcake game.
- Missouri. The Tigers remain undefeated with a last-second road win of their own, but the defense is starting to show cracks. Is Drew Lock good enough to overcome that this week against Georgia?
- Kentucky. Give ’em credit, they didn’t suffer a lapse against a cupcake opponent.
- Florida. The Fightin’ Bobos get two million dollars, but not two SEC wins. Next stop: meteor game.
- South Carolina. Turns out there is rest for the weary.
- Vanderbilt. Had they played a little better in spots, they could have won that sucker.
- Ole Miss. It’s not just that they suffered playing Alabama’s crazy good offense. That defense is atrocious.
- Tennessee. When you’re about to embark on a five-game stretch against conference opponents that includes three highly ranked teams, it’s probably not good to look underwhelming against UTEP.
- Arkansas. If anything, the Hogs are worse than you think. They have a losing record, despite being one of only seven P5 schools that haven’t faced a P5 opponent yet.
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