Observations from the 35, MTSU edition

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.

45 Comments

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45 responses to “Observations from the 35, MTSU edition

  1. Exactly…. I think we’ll now begin to see two things we haven’t seen much of at this point. Blitz packages… Deep balls coming off the play-action pass.

    By the way… Read a few ‘concerns’ from the Auburn faithful… Apparently there were a LOT of empty seats on the Plains Saturday. The concern was obvious – how can you not show up for a #7 verses #12 match up against an arch rival and how did the recruits who were at the game feel about that…

    Georgia shows up to see MTSU at noon with 24 hour notice of the time change.

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  2. Will Trane

    Good morn Senator,
    Agree with your comments on Woerner.
    Hard to understand how May let his play slip back in this game.
    Seems starter injuries are beginning to build up during a period of 3 games with only one conference game.
    Concern.
    May have to sit those guys completely for next game. Not on road trip roster.
    Have to giver some credit for MTSU adjusting to time game change, too.
    Good for game being moved up those 7 hours considering they go on the road against an improved Missouri team with a 4 year starter. How much Dawg defense has Lock seen, more than any QB in the conference.

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    • stoopnagle

      I chalked any setbacks with Cade Mayes to the fact that he didn’t have Andrew Thomas beating up on the guy across the LOS for the first half before coming in.

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    • 69Dawg

      The color commentator made a good observation. He said when you have a tackle that big going up against a much shorter DL the tackle can lose leverage. As we know low man wins.

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  3. Derek

    I’m speculating but I think Swift may not have been feeling well. He had a clear cut back on his first touch and just sorta fell down. Kirby talked to him on the sideline and he got a couple more unimpressive touches and got shut down. I suspect he was struggling with something.

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  4. Biggus Rickus

    The defense was pretty underwhelming, but I don’t think it’s anything to be particularly worried about. They brought their C game and won by six touchdowns. The offensive skill positions are scary on this team, and they have a line to enable them. LSU reamains the only game that somewhat concerns me.

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  5. Doggoned

    Interior of the defensive line (ok, nose tackle) has been worrisome, since up-the-gut runs seem to be working against us no matter the opponent, but overall it’s been a great start for UGA. Hard to improve on this offense.

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  6. Greg

    Good job, kinda hard to really nitpick with this team. Got where I really love watching special teams, just do not see enough of them. For example, we’ve only have 9 punts to date at 47.44 per. That would be either 3rd or 4th best in the nation…and he is a freshman. Coverage…it’s there.

    Kickoffs….shit, they can’t return them. I believe he has put every one of them in the end zone. Field goals & extra points… he is automatic.

    Defense…we are 2nd in the nation in points allowed, 1st in the SEC. Total D’, 7th in the nation and 1st in the SEC. So much for sacks, don’t mean shat about shat.

    Offense, seems like we score at will with the 1st & second team in there. The speed is crazy….both side of the ball.

    I’m trying….but too hard to find anything to bitch at so far. Thinks we beat MIZZOU by 21 plus.

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    • Biggus Rickus

      Blankenship mishit one against South Carolina that trickled into the end zone barely. Otherwise, he’s been perfect on knocking it out of the end zone.

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    • Uglydawg.

      I think we (the left side) were off sides on kickoffs a time or two this year that didn’t get called. Better fix it because it will get called against UGA in big games.
      With every kickoff a touchback, it’s easily fixable.
      But it does say positive things about the aggressiveness of the kickoff team…When a kick is returnable, it gives the receiving team something to consider.
      Maybe Fishfry will check it out

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  7. Salty Dawg

    It definitely feels like the Dawgs have been coasting somewhat, and I get it. Don’t want to show your cards at the wrong time. From here out, we will be seeing a more amped up team, I think. I can’t wait! I hope they turn up the fire and stomp some butts!

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  8. Jim

    Haven’t seen much talk about the toss sweep to Kearis Jackson at tailback. Did anyone else notice that?

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  9. ChiliDawg

    I didn’t check the stats but it seems like Nauta is Fields’ favorite target, not so much Fromm’s. It was nice to see him get a few catches. Fields, OTOH, looks really damn crisp for a freshman. And that TD run? Nice.

    I only regret that we didn’t run up a few more style points.

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  10. tbia

    Our blocking was terrible, and the only evidence I have for that is the yahoo in section 132 who screamed “Come on line, damnit, block somebody” after every single play.

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    • stoopnagle

      We should get him together with the expert who was behind me in 134. “He threw it to the wrong guy” on a TD. “They’re playing to soft on coverage” when it was a wrong angle. I get it, pal, you want everyone to know you’re an expert. We all just want you to shut up.

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  11. My #1 concern is getting Thomas back at left tackle before Cade Mays gets Fromm killed. He is not looking good at all in pass protection. Watching a speed rusher like Bosa in action Saturday night compounded my worry. We don’t face him, but the SEC has guys near as good on every roster.

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  12. Cojones

    I can’t attribute all negative play observations and mistakes to coasting by any stretch of the imagination. Self-induced flubs aren’t coasting and I saw quite a few Sat. I’ve posted before that there seemed to be some understandable “shaving” going on in earlier games and that we don’t want to show too much, but Kirby stepping up and minimizing some mistakes and generalizing how a few tweaks will be forthcoming doesn’t leave me with anything but a Munson headache.

    I appreciate the take on throwing Freshmen into the breach, but the mistakes I saw Sat didn’t happen in the other games that saw much Freshman play. No, the sky ain’t fallin’, I enjoyed the game play overall, we are fortunate not to have more injuries and this team will kick much butt in the coming weeks, but there just seemed to be a disconnect this game that I haven’t seen since Nichols played. As Munsonesque as it seems, there was a change in play in some areas that leaves me wondering if something teamwide is going on, at least for this one game, that all the good and great plays can’t seem to succeed in wiping concern away.

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    • Jim

      I can see where you are coming from. There were times where we just mentally weren’t in the game. Cox and Walker fighting, Swift disappearing. Enough to make you wonder if there is something else going on

      In Kirby we trust I guess. I suppose he has earned the benefit of the doubt

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    • Uglydawg.

      ” a Munson headache”…well put, Cojo !.
      More than a few of us still suffer from those, but they are becoming less severe and frequent.

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    • Macallanlover

      Agree with you guys. It seems to be a combo of effort and focus we are lacking as a team and, hopefully, it is just due to the weak schedule we have played. Sloppy, hope we don’t get in a rut. Could be what is going on with Swift, practice and effort issues in games, KS won’t stand for it. If not injured, hope he wakes up because we have studs ready to step up.

      But the overall team looks to be sleepwalking, and uninspired. A few guys are just shining brightly though. Hardman is looking like a guy who may be playing his last year in Athens, young man is hitting on all cylinders. I mentioned both Holyfield and Holloman before the season began, hugs game from both of them. Fromm is even better, if possible, and Fields is earning some playing time, could not be more comfortable with position. On defense, Baker is still Baker, and Reed/Lecounte are solid at safety. I think Campbell is pretty good at CB but this weekend will be a big test for him, they will test him often.

      Bottomline, the talent is off the charts. The team needs to be as hungry as they were at this point last season. May be leadership fall off, or just reading their press clippings, but with conference schedule heating up, time to rise and shine guys. As they say, we ain’t running a Hall of Fame here. the book on last season is closed.

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      • Mike Cooley

        To me, the issue.here is that some of our fans are getting spoiled. In offense, any play that doesn’t result in a touchdown or a big gain is indicative of an “issue”. The defense plays vanilla through three games because they can and some new starters are learning and people complain despite where we rank nationally in several defensive categories. Even Walker getting on Cox’s ass in a moment of players doing the coaching and people complain because they don’t like the way it looks. Kirby is on the mother. He is so on the mother that our fans are having to invent things to worry about.

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  13. AusDawg85

    This team is a Ferrari and it’s only been taken out on the race track for a couple of quarters in Columbia. Idling in traffic is never going to let this machine work best. I expect the nits being picked go away at Mizzou for at least the first half while the beast gets unleashed.

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  14. Bright Idea

    Something is going on within the team….a belly full of cupcakes, including SC. That’s not good for a young team this loaded who know it.

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  15. Trbodawg

    I think the deal with Mays is that last week, he came in after Thomas had already spent two quarters wearing his guy out. DE sees him go down and is happy, until he sees the massive Mays and just gives up. The MTSU DE was fresh and able to take advantage of Mays’ first start jitters. The upside on Mays is phenomenal tho’.

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    • Russ

      Yeah, and it sounded a lot like Mays’ problems were technique, not ability. So I expect that to get sorted out soon. In the meantime, he’s getting valuable experience.

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  16. Biggest thing that kept cropping up to me was the inability to set the edges on their outside runs consistently & being fairly soft on the interior of the D Line. This has to get cleaned up fast or LSU & Auburn are going to have a field day.

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  17. 69Dawg

    This thread has me in full Munson. We obviously won’t be in another game this year. We are one year away. Besides the winner of the East gets Bama and Bama has got an offense that is the best I can remember to go with the other worldly defense. We’re DOOMED DOOMED I tell you.

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  18. ugafidelis

    What’s the rumor mill about the Walker/Cox scrap?

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  19. 92 grad

    I’m hoping the LSU-auburn game kind of got our teams’ attention. Lsu had no business winning that game, they played hard to the end, got some penalty gifts, and ran outta there with a W. I hope these kids saw that. I think the kids say ‘woke’ now? They gotta get woke.

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