Observations from the end zone, victory on the Plains edition

Every time I sit in the visitor section at bee-you-tee-ful Jordan Hare Stadium, I’m surprised I can’t see the Atlanta skyline from there.  Also, I keep thinking one day I’ll need an oxygen tank to help me navigate the trek to my seats.

But I digress.  Georgia won!

The Dawgs did, but it was a little different that what we’ve been accustomed to over the past few weeks.  Not so much a matter of first quarter shock and awe — hell, they were even sporting enough to spot Auburn an early lead — as it was a case of the more talented team slowly and steadily grinding down its opponent.  In its own way, though, that was just as scarily impressive as what the Dawgs had done to the likes of Vanderbilt and Arkansas.

I’ve already said something similar, but the way this team goes about its business, even in its first truly hostile environment of the season, is a thing to behold.  Aside from Nolan Smith letting his emotions get the better of him one time (and he was penalized for it), these Dawgs just went out and coldly showed Auburn who was boss.  The Tigers and their fans were the college football equivalent of a balloon that slowly, but steadily, had all the air leak out from it.

Have some bullet points now:

  • I wish I could say the run blocking continues to show consistent improvement, but, alas, I think the consistency part of that is still missing.  At least it appeared that way to me for much of the first half and even in brief, if spottier, moments in the second when Georgia’s offense had clearly worn down Auburn’s defense.  Zamir White’s touchdown in the fourth quarter was a perfect example of that, as he was caught in the backfield by a run blitzer the o-line didn’t pick up, but escaped, squeezed through the o-line and scored.
  • The pass protection, on the other hand, continues to be stellar.  Bennett played almost the entire game without being touched, the one exception coming on a roll out when he didn’t throw the ball away and took a big sack instead.
  • That being said, the most pleasant surprise of the day had to be Broderick Jones’ performance at left tackle after Salyer left with an injury.  Jones held up well enough that I hope it encourages the coaches to leave him there and move Salyer to left guard.
  • If you couldn’t tell from my comment above about the running game, the three backs, White, Cook and Milton all played well.  As Smart said in his post-game comments, Zeus is 100% back from his injuries.  He may not have elite top end speed, but his vision, balance and toughness are all elite.  Cook shows more and more that he’s not just an athlete, but a complete back who can run up the middle.
  • Speaking of Cook, how come his catch on the five-yard line that wasn’t ruled a catch wasn’t reviewed?  Granted, it was on the opposite side of the field from me, but it looked like he was in bounds and not juggling the ball.
  • I cannot say enough what a huge role the three freshmen receivers have played in Georgia’s success.  McConkey has proven to be way more than I thought they’d get out of him this season.  Bowers, ditto.  And Mitchell is going to be a monster when all is said and done.  For a true freshman, his route running, as he showed on his touchdown catch, is already at a ridiculous level.
  • Welcome back, Mr. Washington.  I almost felt sorry for the Auburn defensive back trying to defend you on that sideline pass that resulted in DPI.
  • I’m not sure, but I think the offense played a tough road game without committing a penalty.  Pretty amazing, if true.
  • I don’t know about you, but my sense of déjà vu watching Auburn’s offense run Bobo’s lengthy, scripted first series that wound up only netting a field goal was palpable.  Good times!
  • It was pretty obvious that Lanning had drilled into the defense’s heads not to let Nix scramble for big gains and for the most part, they were successful in containing him.  He’s got to be as exhausting to defend as he is to watch.  And, man, does he complain to the officials.
  • Speaking of which, while there are gaps in Brini’s game, he is absolute money in end zone pass defense.  That fourth down pass break up at the end of the first half was huge.
  • I know every week there’s the usual excellent cast of characters to praise, but there’s usually somebody who steps up that I don’t ordinarily note.  This week, it’s Quay Walker, who had a monster game.  In fact, both Walkers did, as Travon did his best to make Nix miserable.
  • Another shout out has to go to Dan Jackson, who had to step in for most of the game when Smith went out with an injury, played without incident and led the team in tackles.
  • Dean showed great hands on the interception.  He’s everywhere, kind of like Georgia’s version of Roy Kent.
  • Special teams were relatively quiet, which in a game like this, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Podlesny clanked a field goal, but Jackson had a nice kickoff return and Camarda was his usual steady self.
  • Coaching?  C’mon.  I’ve already mentioned Monken’s ability to set up the play action stuff and I loved his latest goal line wrinkle, bringing in White at fullback in the I-formation.  Lanning, as always, had his defense out there doing what it does best, shutting down the run.  Bigsby had that one freakish touchdown, but otherwise he was a non-entity.  Cox never looked comfortable in the passing game.
  • As for Smart, his teams come out every week and play to a standard.  They’re well prepared.  Nor are we seeing much in the way of in game decision making that could be called into question.  Georgia’s been a well-oiled machine from week to week and that’s to Smart’s credit.

There’s no such thing as a bad Auburn win and this was no exception.  The bonus is that the team has now been tested in a loud, unfriendly environment and passed with flying colors.  On to Kentucky (in Athens)…

72 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

72 responses to “Observations from the end zone, victory on the Plains edition

  1. Trevon Walker played a great game, imo. He clearly annoyed the piss out of Nix.

    Liked by 2 people

    • 81Dog

      “If your enemy is of choleric temperment, seek to enrage him.” Sun Tzu.

      Bo Nix would be a lot better off figuring out how to play better than he is by lobbying/whining/crying about the referees. The idea that anyone from AU, much less the guy who got bailed out of an L v Arkansas last year is crying to the press about AU not getting any calls makes my heart sing with glee.

      Like

  2. JaxDawg

    Cooks catch- Watched the replay a few times and it looked to me like his right toe was down when he possessed the ball, and he clearly completed the catch. Good thing it didn’t matter. How nice is that?

    Big 0- watch for a version of that play in the end zone before too much longer. Border-line indefensible.

    Dean- never thought I’d getting to see anything like roquan in the red and black again, but Dean is doing a really good impression.

    Jackson- so lucky that a walk on ended up being a good player considering Kirby obviously can’t coach and develop (sarcasm). Ditto for Ladd.

    This is a hell of a team. I’m shaking off my inner-Munson and enjoying this ride. Can’t wait to see what the defense does to Kentucky Saturday.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. originaluglydawg

    An enjoyable read! Thanks!
    There has been a lot of head scratching as to why Cook’s catch wasn’t reviewed. I thought he scraped his right foot as he caught it, but they didn’t show but one brief replay.
    Bo Nix is Bay Huey. Wife says he’s a “whiny hiney”.
    As good as this Dawg team is, I suspect Kirby and Co. are still sandbagging the play book. The Kraken is still in it’s box.
    Both offense and defense can do even more than they’ve shown. Maybe saving it for the MFers.
    And as good as SB has been, I’m excited to see JT come back and pick apart some defenses, with the confidence that if he’s a little slow or awkward getting his grove back, we’ve got depth at QB.
    It’s looking like Kirby is putting all his eggs in the 2021 basket. He’s not playing a third QB..maybe because he wants to keep sharpening the one and two.
    Q. What are the odds that JT and SB4 both return next year?

    Liked by 1 person

    • theotherdoug

      I bet SB looks for a team where he can be the starter. The kid wants to play, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a P5 team that would love a guy with his experience for one year.

      JD depends on when he comes back. I think if he plays in JAX and then the rest of the season, he gone.

      Liked by 1 person

    • David K

      JT’s gone, the NFL is calling. It’s probably playing a role in how he’s managing himself this year. Can you imagine if Stetson returns to be the starter again next year and Vandergriff transfers out after the Spring? Holy crap, you think Kirby caught hell for managing Justin Fields…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. mg4life0331

    I’m not so sure its a matter of run blocking execution. I think there were some plays Auburn said no, we will commit everything to stop the run. Georgia responded by maybe audible to a different hole, but a run play nonetheless.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Texas Dawg

      Still see the guys on the outside whiffing on blocks that allows someone to shoot into the backfield or stop a run from breaking big. The DAWGS do miss the blocking of Pickens and Jackson. We have to remember that the WR are really really young and inexperienced. They were not asked to do that kind of thing in HS very often. On a brighter note, when Big O was in blocking, things cleared out. One play I recall when he was at TE and Jones was at LT, the runner was well passed the line before he was even touched. As he rounds back into game shape, it is only going to get worse for the poor fools that attempt to stop him.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. theotherdoug

    I’m glad I wasn’t the only one that watched Bobo’s play calling and had a deja vu moment! I respected what he tried to do, but Nix isn’t the QB for a Bobo offense. Bobo needs more of a pocket passer/game manager, and Nix needs an option based offense like UF runs.

    Monken set up that play action pass perfectly. I was even getting tired of the boring calls, and then BAM! Well done. I also loved when Stetson kept it and took off running. Again, set up perfectly.

    On the Washington pass that ended in DPI, I loved Stetson’s confidence in Washington being the only guy that could go up there and get a soft pass like that. I’m sure a lot of DCs know they don’t have an answer for that.

    Liked by 3 people

    • siskey

      If Bobo is there next year Nix will have a much better season. There were times against us where he looked like he was just a smidgen away from “getting it.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • RangerRuss

        That’s right, Siskey. The Auburn receivers brought to mind the 2019 Dawgs receivers. Hands of stone. Nix could be dangerous. I hope he is getting the same advice that led Fromm to leave early. Receivers dropping passes is where the resemblance between Fromm and Nix ends. Jake was never a whiny little bitch.

        Liked by 2 people

        • siskey

          Nix gets a double or triple dose of it though: 1) His Dad was a star at Auburn, 2) He has always been the best player on whatever team he was on and 3) He is at Auburn which is a cult without all the sex. See rituals involving trees, veneration of a bird, etc.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Seeing big number 0 Washington on the field was super cool…if this team could get to 90% healthy, watch out

    Liked by 3 people

  7. As far as the Bennett sack, I actually thought that was a step forward for him. Even tho he didn’t throw it away, he also didn’t try to force a throw. That was a classic pick-6 situation for him in the past. Again, I actually thought it was a step forward for him. Take the sack, let us punt, and let the D take care of it. An interception right there would have given AU a lot of momentum right at the end of the half (a pick 6, especially).

    And I agree with what you said about Cook. I was one of his biggest critics a couple of years ago. I mean, he still has never become the breakout, get him the ball anywhere on the field type of player that some people swore he had the potential to be. But he’s become a dang good running back.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Texas Dawg

    Cook was obviously out of bounds on that play….well he had to be because according to Bo (and Bo knows) UGA always gets the calls and Auburn always gets the short end of the stick ( his amnesia about the Ga State game not with standing).

    Bo did thread a couple of perfect passes in front of Brini. On the replay, it looked as if Brini’s fingers were 1/2 inch longer he would have knocked them down. If he had been a 1/2 step faster he would have stepped in front of the receiver and had a pick six. Those completions on him were to well covered receivers that got NOTHING after the catch. Sometimes you just have to take your hat off to the QB and receiver.

    When Salyer went out, my anxiety spiked. Jones quelled it. He looked great in the run and the pass.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Leggo5

    Always love the bullets! Thanks, Senator.

    I also liked the Cox reference toward the end. I’d say both Cox and Nix “never looked comfortable in the passing game” in ’06 and ’21.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Sweet D

    Ok I’ll be that guy. I think you meant Nix instead of Cox in the next to last bullet point. I guess this is my version of FIRST!!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I know I have harped on this before, but it is really hard to know what is going on when you are forced to listen to Howard on the radio. I had a 4 hour drive back from a funeral Saturday and my brother, who was a passenger, and I were getting frustrated. That pass to Washington that resulted in pass interference? Howard’s call was somthing along the lines of “Bennett gonna pass and……..OOOooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!” Then silence. Just awful. He has regressed.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Jack Klompus

    Great game and great analysis. Was thinking Oline looked a little better with Jones in there.

    I had the same question on Cook’s play. I think that’s on Kirby and whomever was in the booth. I think they could have gone a little slower on lining up for the FG and figured it out.

    One thing I’m not certain on is that secondary. How will they hold up against a team with strong pass protection and good receivers?

    Like

    • If there is a team on our schedule with strong enough pass protection against our front 7, an accurate QB, and good receivers not named “Georgia” then our hats off to them for keeping pace with our offense. I mean, they don’t get to have a great D too, do they? Seriously, Bama, the B10 champ and a miracle Clemson turn-around are the only players showing that kind of potential.

      I wish we could schedule the Jacksonville Jaguars and put a hurt on Corch and Goldilocks right now.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jack Klompus

      Maybe I should have started with the first post of the day as it appears you addressed my concern. I’m still not 100% convinced, yet but the datas are interesting.

      Like

    • It was a super short FG, I was even coaching at home telling Kirby to take the penalty for delay.

      Like

  13. Hogbody Spradlin

    I know it’s Auburn and all that, but I want a big screen TV like the one in Jordan Hare. What a man cave I’d have!

    Like

    • wfdawg

      Here are my takeaways from sitting apparently really close to where you did:
      1) The AU video board operator should be fired. They replayed only about 1/4 of the plays I wanted to see twice and opted instead for crowd shots. I’d say that was because there were plenty of plays AU fans didn’t want to see again, but it was true even for their successful ones. The one exception was Kearis’ knee being down on the punt return, which they showed 1,000 times.
      2) The fullback give to Zeus was reminiscent of that same play that Richt/Bobo ran with Chapas/Southerland/Munzenmaier. I appreciated the irony that Bobo’s team was on the receiving end of it.
      3) For all of the whining by Nix and the complaints of the CBS crew, Brini’s breakup in the EZ was not PI. Here I stand.
      4) Auburn fans were so subdued before, during, and after the game. We’d won 13 of 16 and they knew what they were in for, but still, it made for a weird, disappointing gameday atmosphere. We taunted them when they were leaving in the 3rd and 4th quarters, so they’d learn how to rivalry better.
      5) That was my first trip to Auburn, and I’ve gotta say, that place is Great Value Athens. Our downtown and campus are significantly better.

      Liked by 3 people

      • The one thing Auburn, AL has going for it is that it is the undisputed chicken tenders capital of the world.

        Liked by 2 people

      • originaluglydawg

        “We taunted them when they were leaving in the 3rd and 4th quarters, so they’d learn how to rivalry better.”
        LMAO! So you did it for their own good!
        Lot of sad faces in that crowd. Even the Nerds have more enthusiasm for a beat-down.

        Liked by 1 person

      • iusedtopostasmikecooley

        I haven’t been to a game over there in a really long time despite living really close. Are stands as close to being ninety degrees straight up in the upper sections as I remember? Because I remember it being like you almost needed a safety harness on while sitting up there.

        Liked by 1 person

      • 81Dog

        You are 100% right about the Brini non-call. He MIGHT have had his right hand on the guy, but the blocked pass with his left was clean. He didnt obstruct the WR. If that got called on an AU DB for the same play, you’d never hear the end of the whining.

        The AU PA operator should be banned for life. Besides playing the worst combo of rap and country imaginable, they played it right up to the snap every time we had the ball. The fake noise/fake juice at that place is terrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrible.

        The AU crowd tried to come out hard, and they were loud on the first drive, until Bo Nix started doing Bo Nix stuff and they had to settle for 3. Once they got down 10-3, they were done. A lot left at halftime, a lot more at the end of the 3rd, and the ones who stayed were pretty subdued until Kirby’s 4th and 3 end zone throw call with 30 seconds left. To those a-holes, I say: you want us to stop playing? You first. Why should we let let you call TOs while we kneel on the ball? So you can score a trash TD? Nope. You can let the clock run out, or you can play full on D, but down 21 under a minute to go, you cant expect us to stop trying if you insist on trying to pick up cheap scores.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Russ

          Man, how I wish the receiver had merely looked up. Bennett laid a dime on him in the end zone and it would have been the cherry on top.

          Like

      • 81Dog

        The Deep South’s Oldest Foregone Conclusion! I love how much they know it, and they hate it.

        Nothing lasts forever (probably), and some day they will have the upper hand again, but you better believe I am SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAVORING the unprecedented dominance we have shown the last 15 years. It makes living where I live soooooo much nicer when you dont have to listen to AU fans after the game.

        Liked by 2 people

    • originaluglydawg

      Speaking of Jordan Hare, I love the Senator’s image of it , A mostly empty stadium with a heavy sprinkling of red and black. About the only orange you see are the ugly seats.

      Liked by 1 person

    • tiredofidsearch

      You’d have to have a hell of a backyard for
      that !

      Like

  14. Texas Dawg

    After watching Tank Bigsby the last couple of year, he’s one that UGA missed on. The DAWGS were all in on Zack Evans and that turned into a circus. He has been an OK player for TCU but I suspect that if Kirby and staff had a do over they would have gone much harder at Bigsby. Now on the other hand, not really sure where we would have put either one of them. That RB room is stacked full of studs. All those chairs are full.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. mddawg

    Cook’s catch not being reviewed seemed weird to me too. What’s even weirder was it seemed like Kirby ran the kicking team out there real fast, to the point where the broadcast crew didn’t even have time to show a replay.

    Nix was working the refs, but it seemed justified to me on one or two of those no-calls.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. PTC DAWG

    Agree on the height of those seats, been there, done that.

    Like

  17. Faltering Memory

    Only William Shatner had a more distant view of Jordon Hare than your view (Wed morning of course).

    Liked by 1 person

  18. David Laushey

    Although I agree that Cook made the catch and it should have been reviewed, I think the call would have been upheld. My understanding is when the receiver is going backwards out of bounds the entire foot has to be on the ground and not just the toe. He did get the toe down but not the entire foot. jmho Go Dawgs! It’s been a great ride so far, let’s keep it up! Beat KY!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. wts1976

    Is it ok for me to not feel bad if we drop one game if it means we get to go back to the Rose Bowl?

    Like

  20. W Cobb Dawg

    Agree Jones did a fine job filling in for Salyer. Depth on the OL is just as ridiculous as all the other positions. Since we already have RB by committee, WR by committee, TE by committee, and QB by committee, we may as well add OL by committee and start substituting liberally. Of course, the entire D is by committee too.

    Anyone who hasn’t committed the roster to memory is at a distinct disadvantage when watching our games.

    Like

  21. uga97

    Unfriendly/loud stands…but scared/muted opponents

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I loved at the end of the half when Georgia jumped offsides for the field goal attempt resulting in Auburn going for six on 4th and Goal only to be stopped.

    Prevented 3 additional points against the scoring average!!!

    Like

  23. Damn I love Zeus! He always gets an extra yard or two and he absolutely tenderized Auburn’s D. This last few plays with Zeuz, Cook and Milton, on our last td drive, were amazing. Auburn wasn’t even trying to wrap up.

    Monken and staff really learned from all the batted passes last season. The offense really got going(running and passing) when they started running bootlegs and play action and letting Bennett use his decent mobility in a several ways.

    Wl

    Like

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