UGA: Worst 6-1 team of 2018, or worst 6-1 team ever?

You know, it’s funny.  Advanced stats still respect the hell out of Georgia — for example, Bill Connelly has the Dawgs 5th in both his base S&P+ rankings and in his resume S&P+ rankings — but to hear a chunk of the fan base and the pundit class tell it, this team is shaping up as a serious disappointment with lots of question marks.

I do think Georgia has suffered from one serious flaw this season and it bit the Dawgs in the arse in their last game.  Matt Hayes describes it nicely this way:

We’re a week from the release of the first College Football Playoff poll, and we still have no idea what Georgia is all about.

Here’s the cold, ugly reality: neither does Georgia.

I spent the past week talking to SEC coaches and NFL scouts about the Dawgs, and how – after an ugly road loss to LSU where nothing went right – a team with as much talent as anyone in the nation not named Alabama can be staring at failing to win its division, much less return to the CFP?

There were a handful of reasons, and while each separately wasn’t enough to derail a season, combined they’re debilitating.

“The look on the faces of that team – coaches and players – after the LSU game was remarkable,” one NFL scout said. “It’s like they didn’t think they could lose, and when they did, suddenly, it’s, ‘What the hell is the problem?’ It’s not players or schemes, that’s surface stuff.”

This team has spent 2018 in cruise control.  It managed to out-talent its way through the first six games and floundered when it hit the first crisis where talent by itself wasn’t enough to win.  If the team isn’t mentally prepared this week, Jacksonville could turn into the second crisis.

63 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

63 responses to “UGA: Worst 6-1 team of 2018, or worst 6-1 team ever?

  1. gastr1

    I know everyone has said that this team wasn’t tested until LSU, but that’s a very convenient memory lapse re: the national tone prior to the South Carolina game. What they suffered from then was beating the tar out of a team everyone else thought was decent.

    Like

    • Erk's Forehead

      Pundits have figured out since then, and it’s played out, that South Carolina was never that good. So our amazing game there loses luster.

      Like

  2. truck

    I thought the press anointing us the Next Alabama after last season was premature, but then burying us after one loss is silly as well. FWIW, I always questioned the mental toughness of Richt’s teams above all other issues. I’m hopeful that Kirby and Co. can exorcise that particular demon.

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  3. D as in Dawg

    Ouch. Are SEC coaches reading our comments??

    “(Fromm) is just not good on third down. He wasn’t last year and he isn’t this year,” another SEC coach said. “It’s no secret: If you can get them to 3rd-and-medium or 3rd-and-long, you’re going to have success if you can get pressure. They’re not as committed to the run as they were last year, and they’ve got three or four (tailbacks) out there. No rhythm, no attitude, no reason for the defense to not tee off on Fromm.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dave

      Not arguing some of the other points, but this is the ultimate in hot takes:

      “It’s no secret: If you can get them to 3rd-and-medium or 3rd-and-long, you’re going to have success if you can get pressure.”

      …Because that strategy always goes up in flames against a lot of other teams.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Gaskilldawg

      Fortunately Fromm’s counterpart, Franks, is worse on third down. Frank’s production this year on 3rd down is a 41.9 completion percentage and 107.26 passer rating. He is 33.3 and 59.9 on 3rd and 7 to 3rd and 9. He is completing 14.3 percent of his passes and has a 21.9 rating on 3rd and 10 and further.

      Stay out of third and long. Put them in 3rd and long.

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    • Biggus Rickus

      Fortunately, we have statistical data, so we don’t have to rely on anonymous comments. His rating on 3rd and 7-9 last year was 173.82, with 10 first downs in 25 attempts. On 3rd and 10+, his rating was 153.33, with 7 first downs in 23 attempts. Fromm was about as good as anyone is going to be on 3rd and long last year. The reason defenses try to put teams in 3rd and long situations is because nobody is very good at converting them. Fromm’s been considerably worse at it this year, and I would only be guessing if I tried to answer why.

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      • ASEF

        The rushing stats on 3rd down are interesting:

        Last year, running on 3rd and 4 or longer produced 14 first downs and 3 TDs on 50 attempts, 282 yards on those 50 plays.

        This year so far: 14 attempts. 2 first downs, 1 TD. One rush went for 31 yards and a TD. The other 13 grossed -13 yards. So, 18 yards on 14 attempts.

        The only real difference in Jake’s 3rd down stats this year is on 3rd and 10 or longer – he’s completing the same percentage, but he’s getting about 3 yards less per completion, no TD, and that’s where he’s turning the ball over.

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        • Biggus Rickus

          I thought about the run threat as a possible answer to the question. The problem with those other 13 runs that grossed -13 yards is that I suspect half of them, at least, have been sacks. It’s not just that the team is less successful trying to run on 3rd and long situations. They don’t seem to even have the confidence to try to run on 3rd and long, or they perhaps have too much confidence in Fromm to convert. But that’s just one factor, I suspect.

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        • The other Doug

          I think you are right about the lack of run support, and I’ll add he is missing Wims.

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    • stoopnagle

      That’s great because EVERYONE is worse and/or not good at 3rd and medium/long.

      Somebody is recruiting!

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    • DawgByte

      Our player rotation this year is ridiculous and one of the reasons why we can’t find an identity.

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  4. Jack Burton

    It’s pretty obvious what the problem is to me.

    Holyfield isn’t getting the touches he deserves.

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    • Biggus Rickus

      I think the love of the rotation has hurt a couple of things, the running game being one. I think it’s also hurt middle linebacker play. Rice and Patrick aren’t perfect, but they’re far better against the run than Crowder and Taylor have been. I don’t see any reason for Taylor to play much at all. Maybe he does a better job with getting the defense organized. That’s the only thing I can figure.

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    • I like rotating running backs against teams that have no/little chance of beating us.

      LSU/FL/AU, etc. we need to ride our horses.

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  5. 92 grad

    This post touches on something that’s been bothering me, where we substitute so many players that it actually has a negative effect. I think we have too much youth going in and out of games where they don’t get the chance to reinforce their skills that they work on all week. I know Clemson and Alabama typically get over 80 players in live action but I suspect us doing it, at this time, is hurting the young dudes. I also think it’s why we don’t really have an identity. One series, we’re a run first team. Next series we’re a misdirection edge running team. Third series we’re a drop back 5 wide team with a third down rpo play.

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    • 1smartdude

      Good point. Kirby had built this team to run the ball and use play action. In his words, impose their will. They continue to change identity, even when they don’t need to, which is the part I can’t understand. Figure out what you do best and do that. It gives you the best chance to win and be consistent. Be ready to do those other things of course, but if what you’re doing is working, why would you stop yourself by doing something different?

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    • Brigjt Idea

      This is correct. Only 7 seniors playing and the team is still immature. The lesson should be never again open with a Pea.

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    • Macallanlover

      This is close to where I see the offense’s issues with consistency. We never seem to have the same personnel for 3 plays in a row, and the play calling is bi-polar. The times we have looked best is in the 2 minute drill and running the clock out in the middle of the 4th quarter until the end. Too many weapons have clouded Chaney’s vision, we don’t have to give every single crayon a chance to make a mark; at least until we have the game put away.

      And what is the Fromm cannot convert 3rd downs and couldn’t last season? That coach must have missed Fromm’s rating last season on 3rd downs, wasn’t that in the Top 3? Recall it looked pretty good against Alabama’s highly regarded defense, especially when we weren’t trying to run the clock prematurely. Lot of over reaction to the disappointment of losing to a decent, tails against the wall LSU team in their house. Yes, we still have the defensive concerns to fix, but the offense is very fixable.

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    • Uglydawg

      I agree 92. And I wonder…on the second possession the Dawgs drove the ball down close with Holyfield running like a banshee…then we get down close and start throwing the ball…fade to the back LH corner of the endzone, incomplete..now behind the chains. Why? Why start throwing the ball there? You’ve got four downs to pound it for ten yards..2.5 per down if you don’t settle for three on fourth and short.which I can only assume CKS wouldn’t because he didn’t on fourth and long . So why abandon the pounding run and throw it on first down? Because a passing TD is sexier than a running TD? Padding the QB’s stats? And it’s not the first time this has happened. In fact I think it may have become predictable. The shorter the field, the harder it is for receivers to get open…so why?
      RTDB and RTDB until the defense either stops it or caves. And as you said, leave the starters in until they actually need to come out (hurt or gassed) or you have a safe lead. Gain some cohesion and consistency.

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      • DoubleDawg1318

        That 1st down pass should have been a TD. Godwin was WIDE open. The play was a good call.

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        • Uglydawg

          That was on the first possession and it wasn’t in the red zone.
          I think that one ended up three and out.
          I plainly stated that I was speaking of the second possession in my second sentence.
          But you’re right about the call to Godwin..it was thrown from a good place on the field and should have been 6.

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          • Dawg1

            The first possession was an overthrow to Mecole. He’s talking about the one where Godwin came open a split second after Fromm turned to the right and missed him completely open.

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    • ASEF

      You want next year’s 5 stars, they have to see some of last year’s 5s on the field and contributing in meaningful ways.

      You want to load up a roster 2 or 3 deep with elite talent, you have to prove you can share snaps and remain coherent in what you do.

      No, you don’t reward players who aren’t cutting it, but going into homes and telling next year’s recruits, “Hey, none of those other guys have panned out yet,” comes across as something of a red flag.

      If Georgia loses to UF – which I do NOT think is going to happen – the recruiting class could start to erode.

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      • Tony Barnfart

        We can’t go molding our gameplan around what high school kids who MAY enroll at Georgia think about our gameplan. The whole object of all of this is winning games on the field, not on signing day (forest vs trees). Winning on the field takes care of recruiting 10-fold over personnel allocation.

        Liked by 1 person

        • ASEF

          It’s a balance. Not 50/50, as you noted, but it’s still a tight rope.

          And Kirby and Co fell off of it last Saturday.

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    • DawgByte

      92 grad – I couldn’t agree more.
      One rotation that drove me bat guano crazy against LSU was Tray Scott putting in his small DL lineup on short yardage plays. LSU ate that smaller unit alive. How do you get paid 7 figures and cannot recognize the simple laws of physics.

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  6. Can we just kick gator ass this weekend then get back around to discussing what our team identity is? Thanks, I’ll hang up and listen.

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    • Uglydawg

      We’re all doing our best to make that happen, Twist.
      Now if CKS would only read our brilliant ideas.
      I suppose posting our thoughts on here could be described as “an exercise in futility”. But so could most human conversation, except that the exchange of ideas through conversation is something that is essential to the positive growth of society.
      But, damn it, I wish Kirby would check in on GTP occasionally. He might be shocked to realize this treasure trove of brilliance is so easily mined.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. 81Dog

    Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth. We got dough popped in the grill last game. Time to shake off the cobwebs and start punching back.

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  8. Rival

    That LSU loss is on execution and coaching, Add in the pressure in a hostile environment and voila. What would be talking about and hearing if those TDs to Mecole, Godwin, or Robertson landed or we don’t get silly with the fake FG?

    Run the ball, execute on D, and no sideline panic and we win this weekend.

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    • Ray Avret

      I agree …..other than the near misses thing. Give us our near misses then you have to give LSU the 6 near misses they had with wide open Wrs and a QB unable to hit them

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  9. Will Trane

    Third and long. Fromm has never been good at third and long. Is that due to the play call from the booth or Fromm checking into another play. Or is it his passing skills.
    So why is there so much emphasis and talk about 3rd and long. Like hearing wide right.
    LSU never had much 3rd and long. They had too many 4th and very short which they converted to a new set of downs, and stayed on schedule.
    What is Chaney and Pittman doing on 1st and 2nd to get into 3rd and short and more options.
    Field position. Getting a short field to play on. Gators are at the top in takeaways. Tucker and Smart not so good with this defense, and they will be missing a key inside lineman again.
    Last year that dude taking the snaps and never good on third and long had a pretty good season as a frosh. So had did he do it. His makeup as a QB from Warner Robins and a young life time of playing. Or coaching?
    Whatever, it worked.
    Field position and the Dawgs piss poor punting from a frosh from Norcross.
    He can’t get to punts down field with any consistency. Do they need to recruit another punter or a new specialist coach.
    6 – 12 points from kicking game could be huge in JAX.
    So where is the kicking game this year. Along with heavy production in run game on 1st and 2nd downs.

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    • Pittman isn’t doing anything … he isn’t calling plays. Blame Chaney and Coley if you like.

      Regarding stats, look at Fromm last year (see post above). The guy has been money for 21 out of 22 games.

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  10. Russ

    Starts at the top. No need to call trick plays, or get cute with passing when running is working. Simplify the playbook, scale back on substituting every down, and impose your will. Georgia is more talented than every team on our schedule. Get out of their way and let the players play

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  11. Bill Glennon

    When it comes to calling out “rat poison”, Kirby is no Nick Saban.

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  12. Uglydawg

    There was so much hype about the mystique and intimidation of Death Valley and the rarity of the occasion to play there, to play LSU at all.. and so much emphasis put on the game that it might have cause this young Georgia team to choke. Something distracted their focus.
    But playing UF in the WLOCP is something that Georgia does every year. Fromm and a lot of the offense were there last year for the victory. This game won’t have the same intimidation factor that the LSU game held.
    A four quarter, balls to the wall effort by these Dawgs will be just what the doctor ordered.
    Dawgs..better than UF..flaunt it on Saturday!

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  13. Ray Avret

    Georgia has had a wimpy schedule. That being said this is a solid team. Far from a great team yet just look at Texas and Ohio State to know we are far from the worst 6-1 team ever

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  14. BrightOwl

    I can’t speak for any other fan, but speaking solely for myself as someone who has been disappointed with this team all season:

    After coming so close last year, any season that didn’t end in Kirby hoisting the final trophy was gonna be a letdown. We’re past the days where it was good enough to just beat our rivals and be ONE of the best teams; we need to be THE best team. And to be the best, we need to beat the best, and that means Bama. And from the beginning of the season, it was clear that Bama is in a league of their own and much better than our Dawgs.

    We’re a good team, no question, but it looks like the players and coaches took the wrong lesson from last year. Coming so close doesn’t mean that we’re already there and just need to coast along and wait for a lucky break; it means that we weren’t quite good enough and won’t be good enough without hard work. And it sure doesn’t look like they put that work in over the offseason.

    As long as we beat Florida and Auburn and Tech (all easily winnable games), it will be another good season. But without a championship, it will feel a bit disappointing. And from the beginning, we have not looked like a championship team.

    That’s the source of my own personal doom and gloom, which I kept quiet about because I don’t like dampening a party. It’s not that we’re a bad team. Far from it; we’re actually very good. But we’re clearly not as good as we thought we were, and definitely not as good as we could have been, and that’s a bit frustrating.

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  15. Whiskeydawg

    Georgia can change the narrative this Saturday and I expect they will.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Jared S.

    I think Georgia players have been looking ahead all year —- not to the next game but THE game they want to get back to.

    I sincerely think most of the distracted ness everyone has observed is due to the fact that – as a group – they can’t focus on what’s immediately in front of them, one week at a time.

    And at the end of the day, that’s a coaching problem.

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  17. Randall Adams

    If there is a blow out; it will be the Dawgs blowing the Gators out.. I think Georgia wins this game walking away. Same for Kentucky… Have the faith in Kirby and the staff to have these guys ready. I think UF is in for a rude awakening. As for UK, they have managed 28 points since the start of the 2nd half against South Carolina. That’s 10 quarters of football against South Carolina, A&M and Vandy. Not exactly world beaters on that side of the ball.

    While I do not think this team is as focused as the last; I do think they are good enough to win out, before getting beat by Alabama (and they might surprise there). Personally have them at 11-2, going to the Sugar Bowl… Next year is the year boys and girls… The Death Star will be fully operational with 4 full recruiting classes and with a healthy distance in talent verses the East and most of the West…

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  18. MGW

    Lets just get our heads on straight and beat that ass. Don’t overthink it. I would even say maybe stay a little vanilla. Call the stuff everyone has down pat and let them play aggressively without having to think too much. Make UF play lights out to have a chance; don’t give them points because we screw up or don’t execute.

    And… please don’t drop the ball like an ass hole before it crosses the goal line.

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  19. Erk's Forehead

    Let’s all hope for a rematch with LSU in the SEC Title. Like Auburn last year. I want another SEC title. And I don’t think that’s happening against Alabama.

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  20. stoopnagle

    Man, Saturday can’t come soon enough. At least the narrative is going our way: the media is down-grading us, Tebow calling our guys quitters, fans turning on Jake, we can’t do this or that, we’re too young, blah blah blah. That feeds the dawg. Makes the dawg hungry. Gets him kinda pissed off.

    Take it out on the Gators, y’all.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. DoubleDawg1318

    But, but, but the AJC’s Mike Griffith INSISTS the mental state of this team has been great all year.

    Personally, I think he’s a hack and complacency has been a problem.

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  22. fred

    Look it’s simple it’s more than time for our OL and DL to put on there big boy pants and play like men. These kids must grow up or go home!

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  23. W Cobb Dawg

    Oh for f&#ks sake! Hand the ball to Holyfield 12 more times and we pummel LSU into dust. It was the combination of shitty playcalling and having some of our best players, like Holyfield, Swift, and Rice standing on the sideline.

    Like