Observations from the 35, goal line stand edition

I doubt I’m the first to notice it, but we’ve seen two trends emerge over the last four games:  quiet beginnings and last gasp attempts by Georgia’s opponents to put up a meaningless score in garbage time.  Ultimately, none of it’s meant much — the aggregate score over those games is 141-36 — but it’s an indication that a lot of thought and effort has been going into closing down Georgia’s offense early.  (It’s also probably an indication that head coaches are more into moral victories than they like to admit.)

Anyway, Mizzou came out with a good plan.  It also helped the Tigers that this was the first nooner when it felt like Georgia wasn’t quite all there mentally and emotionally at the start.  By the end of the first quarter, though, Mike Tyson’s adage about plans and getting hit in the mouth came into play.  The Dawgs went on to score forty unanswered points en route to an easy victory.

How ’bout some bullet points?

  • The only real downer of the day came from the offensive line.  Yes, they were missing Salyer.  Yes, Mizzou threw the kitchen sink at Georgia’s offense selling out to stop the run.  But this was the worst rushing defense in the country coming into the game and the Dawgs managed to put up the weakest ground game showing of any team the Tigers have faced.  Georgia simply couldn’t rush the ball up the middle consistently.  (And some of that came on plays when Missouri wasn’t selling out.)  Monken got creative with some outside run plays and used the jumbo package and a direct snap play to Cook down near the goal line to produce a couple of touchdowns, but it wasn’t an encouraging day in all.
  • In their defense, pass pro was much better, which has been the case all season.  There weren’t any sacks and I can only remember one egregious bust, on a Daniels roll out where the safety came through unblocked and mucked up the throw.
  • If the o-line was the downer, the biggest plus on the day was the receiving corps.  Georgia is getting bodies back and it showed.  Arian Smith was perhaps the most notable example, proving once again that he is almost un-coverable deep, but healthy versions of Burton, Jackson and Rosemy-Jacksaint all made big differences.  And not just in catching passes — although it’s worth noting that they bailed out Stetson on several passes that could have been picks (and might have been against a better secondary) — but also in downfield blocking.  Burton’s touchdown catch, in particular, was sprung by a great block from Jackson and another from Mitchell.
  • I think at this point I’m gonna have to concede that, yes, Georgia does indeed throw to its tight ends.  For all the talk about how Bowers is one of those new age type TEs, that soul crushing stiff arm he threw on his first reception was classic.
  • It was pretty much a forgettable (which is not the same thing as downright bad) day from the backs, with the notable exception of Daijun Edwards, who made his first reception of the season count and showed better speed on it than I expected.
  • I said it yesterday, but selling out to stop the run in the hope that you can make Stetson Bennett pay ain’t working.  He’s making a career out of that deep throw to the left side of the end zone.  He’s more than happy to find man coverage (even better, single coverage).  When you’re averaging over 10 yards an attempt, you’re dealing.  His mobility came into play a few times, both running and keeping things alive on pass plays.  That being said, he had a bit of luck on his side in that he was bailed out on some questionable throws by his receivers.  I still don’t know how Rosemy-Jacksaint pulled off that side line catch.  He’s still not as efficient on third down as he needs to be.  Still, that shouldn’t take away from what was overall a good day — he made some excellent throws and did a much better job with his reads than he did against Florida.  It may be better to be lucky than good, but being lucky and good tops that.
  • We saw the return of JT Daniels, who, with one exception, I thought looked pretty crisp for a guy who hadn’t seen any action in a while.  He wasn’t asked to throw the ball deep and he played with a mix of first and second teamers (some thirds, too).  But his intermediate passes came out quickly and he read the coverages the way you’d expect.  It’s a shame he threw his pick slightly behind Burton, because if he’d have hit him in stride, it would have been another touchdown.
  • The defense definitely started out the game looking like they’d just gotten out of bed.  It’s a tribute to how talented and well coached they are that it really didn’t cost them much, other than an early field goal lead that was wiped out on the next series.  After the field goal, Mizzou went safety, turnover on downs, punt and end of half.  Second half was much the same, with the exception of a made field goal.  The game ending goal line stand was satisfying, to say the least.  That was probably the loudest I’ve ever heard a fourth quarter Sanford Stadium crowd sound with a 37-point lead.
  • From an individual standpoint, it was a pretty quiet game, too.  If I had to pick standouts, I’d go with three:  Cine, who really had a solid game and never seems to be out of position; Trevon Walker, who is a tackling machine and had a sack; and Quay Walker.  Nolan Smith chipped in with a TFL and Dumas-Johnson really flashed on Georgia’s other sack of the day.
  • Special teams were calming, for the most part, although far from perfect.  Podlesny didn’t miss on any of his attempts, which was a welcome development.  The Tigers didn’t return a single kickoff.  Jackson was solid in the return game.  Nolan Smith delivered a punt block. (And what was the deal with how Mizzou lined up on that punt?  It was basically an open invitation to go after the punter and Smith definitely took advantage.)  But punt coverage on Camarda’s one kick busted, allowing for a big gain.  Then there was the onside kick Missouri pulled to start the second half that clearly surprised Georgia and would have worked if not for an early block penalty.
  • I love Monken’s patience.  Everyone in the stadium knows Georgia wants to establish the run and he certainly started out trying that, but he wasn’t stubborn about it and once again took what he was being offered with that gutsy fourth-and-five call that resulted in Georgia’s first TD of the day.  Any time the dust settles and your offense notches over 500 yards of offense, you’ve done your job.
  • Lanning called another great game, even missing Adam Anderson, whose skill package can’t be replaced.  Which is not to say there’s nothing to clean up.  Mizzou’s quarterbacks did sting Georgia with the run on several occasions, although it was apparent that adjustments were made to clean some of that up.
  • They may have been a little sleepy at the start, but the focus came and they took care of business as they have in every game this season.  That’s on Kirby.

Bottom line, they turned in their B game against a weaker conference opponent and still almost covered a 39-point spread.  That ain’t chopped liver.  Now they turn their attention to a Tennessee that’s starting to feel it, at least on offense.  They’re going on the road in what should be a hostile environment (after Auburn, they should be used to that).

The most encouraging takeaway from Saturday was the improving health at the skill positions.  That receiving corps will only get harder to deal with.  I encourage the Vols to sell out on defense to stop Georgia’s running game.  If that’s the course of action UT chooses, we’ll see if Willie Martinez’ guys can handle Stetson any better than anybody else has so far.

34 Comments

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34 responses to “Observations from the 35, goal line stand edition

  1. moe pritchett

    “ If that’s the course of action UT chooses, we’ll see if Willie Martinez’ guys can handle Stetson any better than anybody else has so far.”

    Why does this resonate with such a calming affect in my soul?

    Liked by 11 people

  2. Biggen

    After we nearly got the first punt block, I mentioned to a friend we will get one of their next ones. If a Joe Blow sitting at home saw that, how in the hell does their coaching staff miss it??

    The only real definitive catch I can think that saved Bennett was the sideline throw to Rosemy-Jacksaint. That is probably a pick against a better corner. Maybe… Jacksaint may have stronger hands than any corner too. The one handed catch by McIntosh would have been incomplete if it wasn’t caught. There was a third catch by a TE over the middle that could have been tipped instead and picked off if I recall. Maybe. Hard to tell if the safety behind was in position.

    I noticed we had put a spy on the Mizzou QB by the second or third series to stop the QB runs. But then they changed QBs and keep doing that the rest of the game. I didn’t get that at all. I though the first guy was getting it done.

    How about Dan Jackson? That dude wraps up and pops you!

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  3. practicaldawg

    I think this was a key game to demonstrate that Stetson is more than capable of burning defenses that sell out to stop the run. Other teams will likely be more cautious about that, and it should loosen the run game more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bcdawg97

      I’m not sure we’ll be able to 100% project what SBIV did against Mizzou’s D to what is required against a D like Bama’s or the other more talented teams we’ll face in the playoffs. But for sure, he is a very capable QB against who we’ve played so far.

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  4. W Cobb Dawg

    I’d like to see Zeus and Edwards get more carries. That is all.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. RangerRuss

    If I had a heart I would’ve felt sorry for Mizzou’s left guard. That one series where Davis threw him aside to make the tackle was immediately followed by Trevon Walker pancake trucking his ass to make the sack made me laugh. Brutal and I love it.

    Liked by 8 people

    • Texas Dawg

      I guess he can take solace in the fact that he was not the first nor will he be the last that looks like a total incompetent when they try to block this front 7. He will have a whole to of company by years end to commiserate with.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Texas Dawg

    I think the thing that amazes me most with Bowers is his acceleration. Lots of people can run fast, but to reach max speed that fast especially at that size is truly something to marvel at.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Tennessee is going to shoot every gap and sell out to stop the run. Georgia better be ready to pass on early downs.

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  8. Corch Irvin Meyers, Former Jags Corch (2021)

    The defense definitely came out flat. So did us fans, unfortunately. We didn’t give them much juice to feed off of during the game. I cannot believe we’ve played this many noon games this season, especially after becoming No. 1. It’s straight disrespect. That shit doesn’t happen to Bama or Clemson.

    It was nice to see Burton and Smith back out there, even if that meant that there was less for Bowers and Washington. Still can’t believe Monken isn’t scheming to get Washington the ball more. As awesome as Bowers has been, you can’t teach the kind of height and strength advantage that Big Number Zero has on EVERYONE.

    Stetson didn’t see about 4 or 5 wide open receivers over the middle of the field in the first half, and I stopped counting after that. He also should’ve been intercepted twice, and he badly under-threw Burton and McIntosh for what should have been easy TDs. He also holds onto the ball way too long, missing open receivers either because he can’t see them behind the line or he’s just not a good anticipatory thrower or both. I’m gonna go with both. That’s not getting it done against better defenses. It’s just not, and that’s the hard truth. Kirby screaming at him to, “THROW THE FUCKING BALL!” when they were down on the goal line is hopefully Kirby waking up to the fact that he’s got to get Daniels into the game more and sooner so he’s ready for Bama or TAMU in the SEC Title Game.

    Our special teams, outside of Pod’s semi-yips this season, have been truly special, even better than last year when they were really good. All credit to Boom. He has these guys playing out of their minds (as long as they’re lined-up correctly). He also probably has a lot to do with us playing more zone in the secondary this year to give the line a little more time to get to the quarterback, improving our defense all the way around. Seriously, Muschamp has likely been the catalyst for a lot of what we’re enjoying on every Saturday, and we’re damn lucky to have him. If Lanning does take a head coaching job, Boom is gonna make a great Erk to Kirby’s Dooley, where there’s no way he leaves.. maybe ever. It would have to happen this year though, because there’s no way Pete Golding survives this Bama season and Saban would bring Boom back in a heartbeat to be his DC as Pruitt is likely soon to have a multi-year show-cause attached to his potato head.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Ole Dokes

    I know Scott Cochran has been back for a few weeks, but Saturday was the first time I’ve seen his crazy, cyborg ass on the sideline yucking it up. Hope he’s getting better.

    Liked by 3 people