Confessions of a neurotic Georgia fan

Whew.  Ten games (and another divisional championship) in, one thing’s apparent to me.  These Dawgs aren’t built to break your heart.  They’re constructed to drive you absolutely crazy, week after week.

Yesterday, I watched a defense totally dominate a team for three quarters in a setting that had been Smart’s kryptonite for three seasons.  While the offense hadn’t exactly been a model of efficiency, it had done enough damage to contribute to a 21-0 lead.  All Georgia had to do for the next fifteen minutes was keep on keeping on.

Instead, Kirby chose to get cute.  The defense played soft zone and the offense did nothing other than go into straight clock milking mode.  The results were predictable.

Make no mistake about it, Georgia was reeling.  Bailed out on Auburn’s penultimate drive with a dropped pass by a wide open receiver, the Dawgs’ offense delivered another three-and-out that took all of about twenty seconds off the clock and returned the ball to the Tigers with more than enough time for them to drive the field and produce the tying score.

And then the most extraordinary thing happened.  After running backwards for the entirety of the fourth quarter, the Georgia defense bowed up.  The coaches ditched the soft zone and the players made plays, capped by this:

My first thought after the catharsis passed was simply, where was this for the previous thirteen minutes?  It’s impossible for a defense to turn a switch on like that at a moment like that without having had it there all along.

I have no answer for that, other than that it’s crazy.

Much the same can be said about the offense ($$).

Georgia’s offense crossed the Auburn 40-yard line three times Saturday. It went three-and-out nine times — four more than Auburn — and only put up 2 yards of offense in the fourth quarter. But all three of those possessions inside the Auburn 40 ended in touchdowns.

… Ten of the Bulldogs’ 14 drives went for fewer than 10 yards. One other went for 16. The other three were still enough to beat the Tigers.

Seriously, how is something that all or nothing possible?  Sure, Auburn’s defense deserves some credit (or blame, depending on your point of view), but so does Coley’s bipolar playcalling.  What he dialed up on Georgia’s three scoring drives was nothing short of brilliant.  He made great use of personnel and formations to confuse Auburn’s defense.  Play designs got receivers open routinely; on Wolf’s touchdown catch, all three receivers were open.

As for the rest, he had nothing.  Playcalling was predictable, so predictable, in fact, that we were calling entire series from the stands before the first snap.  Runs were repeatedly busted up because Auburn had a free shot at flooding the play with more tacklers than Georgia’s line could block.  Receivers were rarely open enough to haul in the pass.

But, again, Georgia’s offense showed in the same damned game that it was more than capable of doing damage, so how do you let Jake Camarda punt the ball a stunning eleven times?  How do you wind up generating stats like this?

I have no answer for that, other than it’s crazy.

Let’s not forget Jake Fromm here.  His completion rate was 46.4% (he was actually worse last week against Missouri).  His yards per attempt were a measly 3.9 (again, he’s been worse).  His passer rating was a subpar 114.79, pulling his season average down to a mundane 147.90.  And yet, when they needed him to make plays, he made enough of them to drive Georgia to three touchdown scores.  Those wound up making the difference.  How does a quarterback routinely go from sublime to ridiculous, all in the same game?

I have no answer for that, other than it’s crazy.

That there is my mantra for Georgia football, 2019 edition.  The destination, so far, is all good, but the journey is maddening.  All we can do is brace ourselves for more of the same.  (You probably don’t want to look at the weather report for next Saturday.  Just sayin’.)

68 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

68 responses to “Confessions of a neurotic Georgia fan

  1. NoAxe

    Some questions defy explanation.

    Like

  2. Athens Dog

    At some point Kirby has to understand that going conservative loses games. You’d think he would have figured it out by now. Oh well. We can complain but SEC East 3 times is pretty sweet

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mayor

      Remind me. How many times did CMR win the SEC East?

      Like

      • Athens Townie

        Richt won the SEC East six times in fifteen seasons, 40 percent of the time. If we give him a break on the first season he took over, it’s about 43 percent.

        Richt never won the East three times in a row. Until Kirby just did, only Spurrier had done that.

        Kirby has won the SEC East three times in four seasons, 75 percent of the time. If we give him a break on the first season he took over… you can do the math.

        We’ll see where things go from here.

        Like

  3. bcdawg97

    I’m done being mad at Kirby and Coley in 2019. We are who we are. Crazy, maddening, exciting, all in one. Celebrate the wins and don’t let the losses drag you down. It’s just football, so enjoy the ride Dawg fans.

    Liked by 4 people

    • gastr1

      You’re really not going to be mad if we get up 14-20 points in the SEC title game or playoff game and blow it in the 4th again? Really?

      Because if that happens again…shit, I don’t know what I’ll do. I might become a Vanderbilt fan because the losing because our coaches can’t learn from their mistakes will otherwise drive me to hari-kiri. Yes, the wrist-slitting may yet be a thing.

      Like

      • bcdawg97

        Oh, I hear ya. But I can’t be mad because we all know it’s coming 😉 It isn’t a surprise anymore so I’ll just pray that we can hold on. Yes, I am getting tired of having to hug my loved ones as a replacement for the joy of watching UGA win a national title. As Athens Dog mentioned above, yes you’d hope that Kirby would’ve figured out that going conservative reduces your chance to win games, but it just isn’t in my control, so why be mad? We know what we are getting in a Kirby coached team, just like 2008-2015, you knew what you were getting in a Richt coached team.

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        • gastr1

          I’m saying it’s easier emotionally to handle a team that never quite gets there versus one that wets the bed at the finish line, IMO.

          Like

  4. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    So what you are saying is it isn’t just the Jimmies and Joes, nor is it just the Xs and Os, but rather, it’s the Jimmies and Joes and the Xs and Os.

    I hope that Kirby and staff are just waiting for the right moment to release the Kraken.

    Like

  5. Joe Schmoe

    Kirby has to realize at some point that playing conservative and playing it safe are not the same thing. Playing conservative risked this whole game. If we had stayed aggressive on D and actually were a little aggressive on O for one more series each, this game would have been a cake walk.

    Kirby may not care about style POINTS but he is obsessed with winning using a certain style rather than winning whatever way is easiest.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gastr1

      The really bizarre part is that he coaches as if he has the lesser players.

      Liked by 4 people

    • doofusdawg

      It’s not that Kirby wishes he could go back to the days of wearing a tie on the sideline. It’s more that Kirby would be more than happy if games were shortened to two quarters instead of four. His mindset is that he wants to burn clock to get the game to a point where risks of losing are all but eliminated. That’s why on one series we can be aggressive and successful…. but if it works and we score then it eliminates the need for having to go back to the well again. Why take the risk of throwing over the middle when so many bad things could happen… just burn clock and keep the other guy’s offense off the field.

      The defense is all about emotion and intensity and the offense is all about percentages. Kirby can’t be both and that’s the dichotomy.

      Like

      • Napoleon BonerFart

        The irony is that the opposite is true. Superior talent will show itself in the long run. That’s why superior teams want to run more plays. To have more drives. It’s the inferior teams that want to shorten games and run as few plays as possible.

        But you’re correct that Kirby wants his team running 50 plays instead of 75.

        Like

        • Doggoned

          I have to agree with this. Superior offenses (better athletes, which we have) should want to run as many plays as possible, which means trying like hell to push the ball downfield as much as possible. We have been spectacular with the hurry-up offense on the few times we’ve used it. To leave that on the shelf unused makes no sense to me. Keep going to what is working.

          Liked by 1 person

    • spur21

      Didn’t Tek have a coach with a similar mindset?

      Like

  6. GruvenDawg

    Just win…

    Like

  7. Derek

    For every bitch about “we went conservative and almost lost” there are dozens of teams that “kept on keeping on” and actually lost the game.

    I’d rather win.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gurkha Dawg

      I think that failing to get conservative is what cost the Falcons the Super Bowl.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mike Cooley

      I think most people agree with that. The gripe is that this is not sustainable. I have the same reaction for this season that the Senator has. Passive acceptance. This is just who we are going to be in 2019. But what I hope is we take a long hard look at ourselves after the season and make a few changes in offensive approach ie not playing like we have less talent and defensive approach ie not going into a shell and playing not to lose when we get up on somebody. But for this season I have just accepted that is the deal and we are going to go as far as that takes us.

      Liked by 1 person

    • California dawg

      I rather win too and I’m ecstatic that we did, but relying on our defense like this is not sustainable. You’re honestly okay with an offense that had that many 3 and outs? That couldn’t make a single first down in the 4th? This is not a recipe for success against LSU or hell even A&M.

      Like

      • Tony Barnfart

        But we’ve been saying “this is not a recipe for success against _____, _____, _____….. except that the blanks keep getting shorter and shorter. A&M is gonna look like some combo of Mizzou/ Auburn, you understand this right ? And we should win with that.

        Like

    • sniffer

      For every bitch about “we went conservative and almost lost”…

      If we had been told pregame:
      UGA 21 – AU 14
      Swift rushes for 100+
      No major injuries

      Every one of us would have taken it and not asked what it looked like. I didn’t bitch because we went conservative, I bitched because we were inept on offense.

      Like

    • UGADrake

      Deep in my gut (although it defies historical and empirical evidence) I think this team is about to explode. Similar to what we saw at the end of 2007/2017/2012. I’m not saying we win against LSU. I’m just saying that I no longer think they run us out of the building…we are close…I can feel it.

      Like

      • Dawgwalker07

        I agree they don’t run us out of the building but that’s because I think our defense is really good and their defense is not nearly as good. I definitely don’t see our offense suddenly lighting up a scoreboard.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. “This team is whack” I posted on other internets.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. 69Dawg

    The offense has repeated the same hot and cold play in big games all year. They find something that works and don’t try it again. Coley is obviously off his meds. We’ve got the plays but either Coley isn’t calling them or Jake is going with the wrong play out of his choices. Some coach said it best Georgia plays best when ahead, not when they are behind. That was true until the SC game after that shit show we have played schizo on offense. While Jake has shown flashes of his greatness he has also become the slowest QB I have ever watched throwing the damn ball.Thank Dawg we have the offensive line we do or he would have been killed by now. If Coley can’t or won’t design quick throws with less than 5 reads then our defense better have a lot of takeaways in the SECC. Pass the Tylenol.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Macallanlover

      The way our receivers have been blanketed, it is going to take longer. You know Jake would like to find a 1st look receiver occasionally, waiting to look at Option 5 can get you maimed against Auburn’s front line guys. Just fortunate the pass blocking is better than the run blocking. He isn’t slower this season, we are simply having to go deeper on the checklist. Didn’t help that Cager was lost again, allowed AU to not have to arrange special coverages for him.

      Like

  10. Uglydawg

    Senator…You wrote, “My first thought after the catharsis passed was simply, where was this for the previous thirteen minutes? It’s impossible for a defense to turn a switch on like that at a moment like that without having had it there all along.
    I have no answer for that, other than that it’s crazy.”

    Here’s the one thing you are missing.”

    Georgia’s last three plays (other than the final Victory Formation set) forced Gus to use his timeouts. (And BTW..I don’t think even ten seconds were consumed. I’ve never seen a clock get stopped that fast) ‘
    Anyway..Gus had to use his Timeouts. That was huge.
    THAT is why the defense was able to go after NIX on AU’s last chance drive.
    There wasn’t a chance that Gus would run the ball and eat up time.
    That’s how they did it.
    Georgia defense, no longer having to play the run, were able to just go after him.
    And it worked..
    But it’s still a hell of a way to run a railroad.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Keese

    I’m still bearish on this team. I’m not sure the dawgs have faced a good experienced starting QB all year. Not a freshman or backup like all other games.

    On offense, just straight awful with exception of a few plays each game. Wasted playmaker talent all over the field

    Like

  12. practicaldawg

    If you’d told me we win without Rod attempting a FG, I would have said nope. Crazy stat line, but the final score looks good.

    Like

  13. stsbms

    Got this from UGASports: “Georgia’s three touchdown drives happened in 22 plays and gained 230 yards. The other 39 non-kneel down plays accounted for 35 yards of offense.“
    When Coley is hot, he’s hot. When he’s cold, he’s below zero

    Like

  14. Bright Idea

    The difference late to me was Auburn getting 3 TDS behind and being forced to hurry up and throw a few verticals. They were the ones that played conservatively for 3 quarters depending on smoke and mirrors that weren’t fooling anybody. As for the offense, Fromm seems uncertain about everything right now including taking forever to make decisions at the line. None of us can fix it so hang on for the ride or beg for an SECC game forfeit.

    Like

  15. Morris Day

    I’m hanging on to this…
    UGA’s Defense >>>> LSU’s Defense
    Defense wins championships
    So I’ve been told
    The hypothesis gets tested December 7th
    A date that will live in infamy…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Zach J

    Senator, you have summed up perfectly how I (and many of my fellow alumni friends) feel. How there can be such flashes of brilliance á la that closing drive in the first half and the call to Wolf in the red zone coupled with such excruciating offensive possessions for the other 90% of the game is so deeply puzzling. A part of me believes that this is exactly how Kirby wants it and yet one thing we saw yesterday that wasn’t true against Florida was our inability to sustain drives (something I think will be especially key against LSU). “Manball” is fine, since that is what our program is committed to, and so are low scoring, run-first offenses, but yesterday showed an unwavering commitment to manball offense in the face of repeated failure and I keep looking for the adjustment to play calling that was so successful against the Gators. I love beating the Tigers, don’t get me wrong, it’s just I’m going to need a heart transplant before I hit 40.

    Like

  17. Debby Balcer

    I wonder if the hit on the photographer affected the team in the second half. They know her.

    Like

    • Russ

      I didn’t sense that. They came out in the second half and eventually drove the length of the field for the winning TD. I think it was just a matter of going conservative on both sides of the ball, allowing Auburn’s offense to heat up.

      Like

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        It also might be the time to point out Nix missing the wide open receiver was helped along by little men in red hats chasing him. Nix may be a great athlete but clearly he throws better standing still.

        Like

    • What’s the Report on that gal, incidentally?

      Like

  18. saildawg

    Its the same paradox as a Todd Grantham defense. How can a defense be so good on first and second downs to force a third and long, only to be beaten over and over again. If your good enough to win first and second down you should at least win your share of 3rd downs. These are mysteries that can only be explained by a higher being, and nothing we can control. My advice, start drinking heavily and enjoy the frightening ride. Go dawgs

    Like

  19. Russ

    I’ve decided to watch these Dawgs like I did back when Herschel was carrying it 40 times and Buck was throwing for 150 yards. It worked out okay back then, so maybe Kirby can make it work this time. He’s certainly going to try.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Gaskilldawg

    Other than Cager our wide receivers seem to struggle getting open against tight man to man coverage by good defensive backs. If that is the case it is a logical explanation for why Fromm is completing a lower percentage of his passes and the routes ar ed shorter. It also forces us to run more.
    Am I wrong about our receivers struggling to get open against tight man to man by good DBs?

    Liked by 1 person

  21. CB

    Idk about the other two, but the TD before the half was simply hurry up offense run to perfection. Tells me me can do that at any point if we choose to.

    As for the defense, they were on the field for the majority of the game thanks to all those three and outs. They were clearly gassed in the 4th, not only that but we reached pretty deep into the reserves on the frontline. Add that to the feeling that we were going to coast through the final quarter up 21-0, and it’s a recipe for continued bad offense and the aforementioned tiered defense.

    The irony here is that Smart’s offensive strategy to grind out drives and keep the defense fresh completely back fired and put them on the field for a lot longer than a few 2-3 minute scoring drives would have.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. PTC DAWG

    I like winning.

    Like

  23. more spinners

    They do not have a passing game.
    Watching Fromm this season it seems his passes come out slower and less zip on them in the past two season.
    But they put up 21 points against a very good defense on the road in one of the loudest stadiums in the SEC.
    Auburn had two weeks to get ready.
    When was the last game in which Hot Rod did not even attempt a FG?
    How do you explain Auburn not even getting close to scoring until the 4th.
    It is a “W”, whew that close.

    Like

  24. To whom it may concern:

    I’m no “surrender monkey”. Believe it or not it is possible to love our Dawgs but also wish our offense looked like LSU’s….

    And believe it actually could because we have players who are just as talented.

    And can you imagine our defense paired with an LSU offense? Sweet sassy mollassy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • D as in Dawg

      Don’t worry about that guy. He’s just a troll that doesn’t have anything to offer except insults. And now he’s rubbing off on me.

      Like

    • Athens Townie

      Pretty sure Georgia’s WR room is not as talented, deep, or experienced as LSU’s or Alabama’s.

      Like

      • Overall as a unit, maybe, but how do we know? It’s not like we’ve opened it up to find out in a game. FWIW our best (Cager) is just as good as their best, in my book.

        SEC catchers, overall catch% (as % of targets):

        of catches | catch %

        1) J Jefferson (LSU): 71 | 87%
        2) D Smith (Bama): 69 | 81%
        3) L Cager (UGA): 37 | 81%

        SEC catchers, on contested catches, catch %:

        of catches | catch %

        1) L Cager (UGA): 12 | 83%
        2) D Smith (Bama): 11 | 81%
        3) J Jefferson (LSU): 7 | 71%

        Like

  25. ApalachDawg

    I have too many scars from my 90-95 run at UGA. Those were dark days outside of 92.
    Which is why i don’t give a damn how we got there this year, but we are sec east champs with a chance to play for the sec champ. We beat UT, UF and AU (and we will curbstomp the Nerds in 2 wks). Life is good and after all don’t forget to be thankful – it is almost Turkey time.
    Go Dawgs, 2019 Sec East Fucking Champs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • D as in Dawg

      Don’t worry about that guy. He’s just a troll that doesn’t have anything to offer except insults. And now he’s rubbing off on me.

      Like

  26. Ldawg

    News flash, Kirby says we didn’t go conservative in Q4!

    ““They just got hot; they got in rhythm,” Smart said. “It wasn’t like we went conservative, we didn’t call different calls, we didn’t bend but don’t break. They hit some plays. They hit tempo, I thought Bo got a little more confident. We had a couple of busts, and when you combine those things, guys get hot.”

    I’m ecstatic that we beat AU, again. Onward and upward!

    Like

  27. Biggus Rickus

    This is speculation obviously, but I think there’s something wrong with Fromm. I don’t know if it’s physical (a dead arm or something) or mental/mechanical, but something’s up. He’s never had a huge arm, but he’s throwing a lot more floaters lately.

    Like

  28. The other Doug

    Kirby is playing the odds.

    In the 4th qtr up 21-0 it makes sense play prevent and force them drive the field because they need 3 TDs to tie the game. There isn’t enough time left in the game for them to score three TDs unless the offense goes 3 and out every time they have the ball.

    Like

    • Mayor

      Except if (1) the onside kick ruling goes against us; and (2) the tv replay ruling about the Auburn receiver goes against us; then there was plenty of time for Auburn to score enough. We won, at least in part, because we got the calls from the officials on those 2 plays.

      Like

      • MDDawg

        If by “we got the calls from the officials” you mean “the officials made the correct calls based on video review” then I agree with you. It’s not like there was some phantom holding call or non-call that went in our favor. The receiver double-clutched the ball as he was going out of bounds, meaning he didn’t have possession, and Auburn just barely screwed up the on-side kick.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Paul

          MDDawg we all know that 9 times out of 10 both those calls go against GA when the game is being played in Auburn. I believe you are correct to say they simply got the calls right. But getting the calls right in a game against Auburn being played in Auburn? That was a hugely pleasant surprise.

          Like