Observations from the 35, UMass edition

Well, Saturday was a landmark day.  No, not because of the 66 points scored or cracking 700 yards of total offense.

They played “Dooley’s Junkyard Dawgs” on the PA system.  It had been so long since I’d heard it in the friendly confines of Sanford Stadium that it took a couple of seconds to register.  Gracias!  (Also, Jimi Hendrix!?!?!  Didn’t see that one coming.)

Georgia didn’t cover, but not because the Dawgs went into a shell offensively in the second half, as I anticipated.  Instead, they played gracious hosts on defense and let UMass rack up plenty of second half points.

No reason to get too deep into the weeds, but let’s do some bullet points.

  • I think the points and yardage speak for themselves.  Georgia made it clear from its very first possession of the day that it could name the score.  You knew it was going to be a special day when the Dawgs converted on first and goal from the five.  (Yay, sarcasm.)
  • Really, any discussion of the offensive explosion has to start with Justin Fields, who had a remarkable day both throwing and running the ball.  It’s not every day the same player leads the team in rushing and passing yardage.  His first touchdown throw came under pressure and he threaded the needle beautifully.  He showed a nifty spin move to score on the ground and tossed in a couple of longer runs.  He also should have had another deep touchdown toss, had Robertson held on to another perfectly thrown ball.
  • That being said, it was Massachusetts.  He basically out-athleted the Minutemen defense all day long.  I didn’t see a lot of checking down from Fields on his pass attempts (and he got sacked one time when it appeared he was trying to go through progressions), so he’s still not ready to take Fromm’s starting job away.  That being said, he’s showing lots of improvement.  There should be little doubt of his value as a contributor now and when he really learns the offense, look out world.
  • By the way, that Fromm kid was perfect throwing the ball.  (344.08 passer rating.  I had to look it up.)
  • Tyler Simmons was onsides all day long and had himself a career game.  Man, that receiving corps is deep.
  • Over 400 yards of rushing and Holyfield and Swift had maybe 15 carries, combined.  They’ll be fresh for Tech, or at least as fresh as running backs can be in the twelfth game of the season.
  • James Cook in space is fun to watch.  More of that, please.
  • I sure thought Nauta was going to score on that catch.  In any event, it was a beautifully designed play that left him wide open in the middle of the field.
  • Defensively, things certainly could have been better, but when you realize your offense can score when it wants, it’s got to be a little harder to maintain an edge.  I imagine Kirby and Mel are more than a little miffed at the three big yardage plays the D gave up.
  • Stokes wasn’t perfect, but you saw on his pass breakup why he’s earned the start over Tyson Campbell.  Unlike Campbell, he turned to face the ball when he made the play.
  • Rice was missed on run defense.  That wasn’t too much of a worry Saturday, but…
  • Mixed bag on special teams.  I don’t know if Rodrigo was channeling his inner Jon Fabris or if his mechanics were off early, but those were some ugly directional kicks.  He did settle down.  James Cook turned in a nice kickoff return.  (Any idea why he wore Godwin’s jersey number on that play?)  Godwin inexplicably botched fielding a punt, which led to UMass’ first score of the day.  Overall, not the kind of results that you’d want to see against Tech or Alabama (duh).
  • Coaching?  Well, it’s hard to fault Chaney for much (not that some won’t try, of course).  As far as the defensive play goes, it certainly wasn’t Georgia’s A-game, but I have the feeling that the defense spent more time working on the triple option than it has in recent weeks — and reportedly, the defense practices against the TO every week.
  • I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the warm welcomes for Sony and Nick.  They looked happy being back.

It was fun to watch the offensive fireworks and good for Fields to experience a confidence booster like that.  But if one of your primary keys to the game was coming out of it injury-free, Rice’s situation has to be a major concern.

In any event, it’s Hate Time now.

16 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

16 responses to “Observations from the 35, UMass edition

  1. dawgfan1995

    Is Natrez Patrick on the Kickoff return team? That might be why Cook had 5 on for the return.

    Liked by 1 person

    • HiAltDawg

      That was an explanation given by Sir Kevin Butler on the Sunday Morning Radio Show

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    • Macallanlover

      Good thought, if the answer is yes to your question, I cannot think of another reason. Interesting to have him lined up there, perhaps the place for him to get another couple of touches. He looks to have added a few pounds since September, looked thicker above the waist to me by 5-10 pounds.

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  2. FisheriesDawg

    I think the directional kicks were less a function of Rodrigo being off and more a need for us to practice covering kickoffs. We’ve probably only had to cover two or three all year. We’d have kept doing it if they didn’t wise up to what we were doing and just start calling for the fair catch inside the 10.

    We did the same thing on returns, being more than willing to bring the ball out to give our return team some live reps.

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  3. Texas Dawg

    With all the passing yards given up, I don’t recall hearing Baker’s name called during the game. Did he sit this one out?

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    • I believe he sat for the last few minutes of the second quarter. He didn’t play in the second half at all.

      Isabella caught two balls with Baker covering him.

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      • Macallanlover

        Get him out of there, put a younger guy in there who can stay up with Isabella and not get tired. Didn’t seem to matter if the ball was on target or not, that kid caught passes behind him, thrown low, just didn’t matter. Great effort, but doesn’t excuse us giving up those two deep throws. Can’t use the cushions and bend/don’t break excuses and have someone behind you for six…twice.

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    • Ellis

      I wouldn’t read too much into the defensive statistics. The first team was done at halftime and had held UMass to less than 200 yards. A lot of the roster got playing time Saturday which was nice.

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  4. TomReagan

    I’d be perfectly fine if Rodrigo had 5 or 6 kickoffs land at the 5 against Alabama.

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  5. Uglydawg

    I think Nauta scores if led a little bit better on the throw..he kinda had to reach down and back to reel it in…stilll a beautifully executed play. I just wish the big guy would have gotten 6.
    This offense is really coming around. GT and ‘Bama DCs have got their work cut out for them.
    No longer will it be assumed that Fields isn’t going to throw it when he comes in. Handing off the ball just might be a play-action pass now..which will freeze the LB’s for a second and really help the inside running game.
    Kirby is looking more and more like a Chess Master.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hobnail_Boot

    A couple things about Stokes/Campbell:

    1) Alabama has 3 tremendous WR that they put on the field at the same time. Smart and Tucker know this. Baker is a given. Campbell has gotten invaluable OJT this season. Now it’s Stokes’s turn to take a crash course because Georgia is gonna need all 3 guys to play well versus the Tide.

    2) In college ball, the defender does not have to track the ball. It is a common misconception and one of the biggest rule differences between CFB and the NFL.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Macallanlover

      #2 is an eye-opener, I have heard many announcers 0ver the years use that as a reason for PI….and I believed it. If that is true, we have gotten screwed more often than I have thought because I have seen several times where we played the receiver well and gotten PI with a CB not turning to make a play on the ball. Has happened to Campbell a couple of times, at least, this year. Color me ashamed for not knowing this. Frankly, I never thought it should be a penalty, pro or college, if the defender does not hold or contact the receiver.

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      • Hobnail_Boot

        I can’t remember which game it was, but I finally heard an announcer correctly point it out. I believe it was Joel Klatt.

        It’s one of the rules that ought to be streamlined across the board, along with feet in bounds and DPI.

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        • TomReagan

          Maybe I’m missing something, but I hear announcers mention that face guarding is allowed in college but not the pros fairly often.

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    • With regard to #2, I wasn’t making a point about DPI. Stokes was in perfect position to make a play on the ball because he turned to face it in order to make the play. He’s ahead of Campbell in that regard.

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