Talk about a game that turned on a dime. The Dawgs seemingly fiddle farted around for a little over a quarter in Knoxville and then turned on the jets in the last four minutes of the first half to put the Vols in their place.
On one level, it was another example of how loaded this Georgia team is. Even when trailing, there was no sense of imminent danger. On the other hand, it was another example of how it takes this team some time to settle in, even against inferior opposition. Is that a side feature of Kirby’s devotion to manball, or are they simply choosing to hold back some of their explosiveness?
I don’t know. But I do know it’s time for some bullet points.
- The offense really wasn’t the issue during the first half lull. After all, they opened with a 13-play, 84-yard touchdown drive that burned almost seven minutes off the clock. But it seemed that a little focus was lost, as the next three series were all taken off course by (mostly stupid) penalties.
- Not that I’m complaining, but how much does Blankenship’s ridiculous consistency this season factor in to the way the offense seems to relax now and then?
- Wheel route, for the win!
- Hard to say that there’s a player who’s shown more improvement over the first five games of the season than Brian Herrien. He’s developed a sense of patience and timing that’s made him a real threat behind that offensive line.
- Yeah, Kirby, maybe you should have let Zamir White play a little in the Notre Dame game.
- It’s not so much that I’m trying to knock Tyler Simmons as it is that I wish a few of his touches had gone to James Cook instead. Cook’s been criminally underused so far this season. Maybe they’re saving him for something.
- Those of you blaming Pittman for the offensive line’s poor showing on the failure to convert a couple of short yardage situations — have you given any thought as to why Coley had Fromm in the shotgun for those?
- Pass protection was pretty damned good throughout. Fromm had lengthy periods of time to survey the field and choose his spots on more than one occasion.
- Coley trotted out a new version of a jumbo package, adding Mays as an eligible tackle, and it had its moments.
- I’d say Lawrence Cager is this year’s version of Javon Wims. Fromm certainly thinks so.
- Robertson’s route running looks so smooth.
- I dunno, guys. I don’t think this is gonna be the year of throwing the ball to the tight ends more.
- Jake Fromm is a rock. Road game in a hostile, loud environment and the home team has some momentum? No big thang, man. A (conveniently timed) busted clock? Eh, no worries. Dude takes what the defense gives him and adds in some stunning throws as back breakers, like that beautiful downfield completion to Robertson in the fourth quarter.
- Bottom line, it’s hard to complain too much about racking up over 500 yards of offense on the road. It’s even harder to complain about Georgia running 70 plays on offense.
- I know the defense again made good second half adjustments to take away the slant pass, but has anyone thought about making those adjustments earlier in the game? Like, say, right after kickoff?
- Richard LeCounte is a good, talented football player. Richard LeCounte is an inconsistent football player. Those aren’t contradictory statements, although I’m increasingly prepared to accept debate on that.
- He had company, surprisingly, as Reed had a couple of whiffs, too.
- The only guy in the secondary who turned in a consistently excellent night was Stokes, who played big.
- They miss Tyson Campbell. I’m not kidding.
- As the outside linebacking went, so did the defense. In other words, not as good as we’d like in the first half and killer in the second. Ojulari played a dominating third quarter and UT could barely move the ball.
- It was easy to miss, but the ILBs did a good job in pass coverage limiting UT’s starting tight end. I bet that surprised Jim Chaney.
- Tae Crowder keeps making big plays. Good on him.
- He doesn’t get a lot of mention, obviously, but that was a nice play Nate McBride made to break up a pass on UT’s last possession.
- And let’s tip our collective caps to the defensive line depth. Jordan Davis went out early with an injury and the rest of the cast still shut down the Vols’ running game. Not a bad night’s work.
- That all being said, the defense gave up what seemed like a lot of explosive plays in the first half. Should we attribute that to Chaney’s familiarity with the scheme, or is the emphasis on havoc leaving the defense more vulnerable to the big play than it was last season?
- Special teams… well, special teams outside of Blankenship showed a little better this week, mainly because there were no big mistakes in the return game. But I’ve got to think Camarda’s adventures are causing more concern for the coaches than they’re admitting publicly. It was a good thing that UT’s punter kind of evened things out.
- I hate to keep saying this, but I have the feeling that Kirby enjoys these little adventures of having to dig out from adversity. That’s all well and good, but adversity against Alabama and Clemson is going to be a whole ‘nother animal than adversity against Tennessee.
- Stupid penalties are stupid, David Marshall.
- I’ve made a promise not to discuss officiating in these Observations posts anymore, because it’s simply a waste of bandwidth, but, jeez, that call on Matt Landers in the end zone was horrible. Not that I’m expecting to hear a mea culpa from Steve Shaw any time soon.
I get being a little frustrated about the early inconsistent play, especially on the defensive side, but, really, this game was never in doubt. That was enough to make Kirby happy and it should make you happy, too. Now, it’s on to South Carolina… are those cannon shots I hear?