Observations from the armchair, Rocky Top’d edition

You guys know the basic format to my Observations posts — some broad brushstrokes, followed by bullet points and on to a conclusion.

I think I’m gonna skip the bullet points this week.  For one thing, I don’t think you need me telling you that James Cook obviously wasn’t suffering from the flu, or that as gifted as we know Brock Bowers is, it’s still startling to see him turn on the jets the way he did on that end around.  Also, given the flu bug that hit several players, I don’t really want to pick at a kid’s performance if he was sick and trying to gut it out for the team.

But the main reason for the omission is that I don’t want to detract from what I think are the two bigger takeaways from the Tennessee game.  More than any other game Georgia has played this season, I think the story of what transpired in Knoxville Saturday is best told as a big picture one.

The first story comes from not the play of the game, but the series of the game and maybe the series of the season, Georgia’s 11-play, 90-yard scoring drive that upped the score to 24-10 before the end of the first half.  At that point, the message was sent that UT’s day was over, garbage time notwithstanding.  If you want to watch a detailed breakdown of the drive, look no further than here:

Monken was masterful with his play selection, even if it didn’t seem all that profound at the time.  The drive opened with three straight James Cook running plays, all for positive yards and a first down.  The message was sent that Monken didn’t respect the way UT was defending the run.  So, from there Georgia doesn’t run another running play for the rest of the drive.  Eight straight pass attempts, five completions, four to Mitchell and the dagger to James Cook.

(By the way, even you Danielson haters out there have to admit Gary nailed the way the touchdown pass play went down.  That almost made up for the strained Stetson Bennett/Baker Mayfield comparison he kept making throughout the game.  Talk about your early favorite for the SECCG Drinking Game…)

I’m not giving you my impression after a few days to ruminate on it, either.  Here’s what I tweeted immediately after Cook scored:

He really was.  The overarching message I took from that drive is simply I don’t know how you scheme against Georgia’s offense to shut it down for all four quarters.  That’s what you get when you’ve got an offensive coordinator willing to take what he’s offered, who has the weapons he needs to do so.  It may not be flashy at times, but it’s consistent and it’s definitely effective.  Georgia hasn’t scored less than 30 points in a game since the opener (averaging almost 42 points per game), and barring some unexpectedly weird shit happening, I don’t see that streak ending, even in the CFP.  Monken is just that good.

The reason I put so much emphasis on that scoring drive is that it leads into my second, even bigger point about Saturday’s game.  It may very well have been Georgia’s most impressive win of the season.  Not because Tennessee was that team, that challenge everyone and his brother kept referring to for Georgia.  After all, the game turned into another garbage time struggle, as most of Georgia’s games have gone this year, en route to the Dawgs covering another spread against a conference opponent.

No, the reason I think the game was a big deal was because it violated Mike Tyson’s famous adage about having a plan until getting punched in the mouth.  Consider that they were on the road in a hostile SEC environment, with a 70-man roster and several players fighting off (or in cases like Jalen Carter’s, succumbing to) the effects of the flu.  Tennessee came out and did a couple of things no other team had accomplished against Georgia’s defense this season:  score a touchdown in the first quarter and score again to hold a lead at the end of the first quarter.

I wouldn’t have expected panic at that point, because that’s not something Georgia’s shown at any point this season.  What I did see, instead, was a team that maintained its composure and made adjustments on both sides of the ball that choked Tennessee down completely when it counted in the second and third quarters.  On offense, Ericson went out and was replaced by Truss, who was a little shaky on his first series but then settled down for the rest of the game, which was pretty much the story of the offensive line.  Once the situation on the line jelled, Georgia made Tennessee pay for its scheme choice and ran the ball effectively.

On defense, two things — first, the coaches pulled Brini, moved Smith to star and played Dan Jackson at safety, which tightened the coverage on the short stuff that had been giving Georgia fits on UT’s first few drives and also slowed the Vols’ running game.  Second, they deployed all three of their boss ILBs, Dean, Walker and Tindall, on the field together.  It was an effective way to make up for Anderson’s absence at the EDGE position and it absolutely wrecked Tennessee’s offense.

Georgia’s won a lot of games this season just on sheer talent and physical presence (see, for example, the last three minutes of the first half against Florida).  Saturday was something different.  Georgia took UT’s best shot early, analyzed the lay of the land, adjusted accordingly and cold-bloodlessly kicked ass.  That’s what superior in game coaching really is all about, despite what your dumbass cousin who’s a Gator fan might otherwise insist.  When you can do that and choke a team riding a bunch of momentum and energy to a slow and steady death, you’re really good.

Georgia is really good.

74 Comments

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74 responses to “Observations from the armchair, Rocky Top’d edition

  1. Remember the Quincy

    That last line. It’s what I have finally come to believe after ten games of trying like hell to avoid believing, because Munson.

    Five more games, guys. You’re almost home.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Texas Dawg

    As much praise as we heel on Brock Bowers (and he deserves it) Adonai Mitchell should be right there with him. Those two freshmen are a HUGE part of making this offense go.

    Liked by 19 people

    • jsteph1967

      Do not forget the mad lad. The three of them have saved our bacon this year with the injuries.

      Liked by 7 people

    • gastr1

      Seriously, this. We can all recall what happened in 2019 when Cager went down. It was like there was nothing left. (There was, but they weren’t ready yet.) This group has been amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Texas Dawg

        Yes we have missed Blaylock and Pickens the whole year and others (insert name here) for extended periods but have hardly missed a beat. Looking at the way this offense is rolling, it has to be terrifying for other DC’s to think about what they would have been up against if they were all healthy. Top that off with knowing that you can not give up ANYTHING. If you do, there’sno guarantee that your offense can score ANY points, let alone enough to overcome any of the defense’s mistakes. No pressure there.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Eric Trowbridge

    Over many seasons of UGA football, where I’ve lost years of my life fretting through nail biter after nail biter, I’ve wondered what it would be like to be a Bama fan. Do all the lopsided wins get boring? Is it easy to lose interest? I’ve been pleased to find out that the answer to both of those questions is no. This has been an eminently enjoyable season.

    Liked by 11 people

  4. Great post, Senator. I’ll admit I’m glad I watched those first couple of drives by Tennessee after already knowing the game’s outcome. I would have been pulling out the little hair I still have on my head. This team epitomizes complementary football. Each side plays to its strength, and that strength plays into their leader’s vision … tough, hard-nosed, physical football. Frankly, something the school to the west of us has lost in their chase for offense above all.

    Like

    • Russ

      I get what you’re saying about the first couple of drives, but this team doesn’t give me those vibes anymore. I expected Tennessee to move the ball on us early and when they did, I didn’t stress too much. And you can tell the team doesn’t panic. I felt the same way at the Florida game. I watch this team with an air of expectancy, waiting for them to squeeze the life out of the other team. And then waiting for the final, soul-crushing, all-run drive that puts the final nail in the coffin.

      This is a fun team to watch and I’m really enjoying this season.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. originaluglydawg

    That’s just excellent!
    Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The Truth

    Bluto, that last paragraph may be some of your finest analysis ever. Bravo.

    That last line is good, too.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. iusedtopostasmikecooley

    My favorite observations post of the season, Senator. What bing that second half was pure football joy. There was no doubt about what was going to happen. Heupel had to be standing on the sideline thinking, “This just damn isn’t fair. There are too many of defense to deal with.” Good catch on the move with Smith and Jackson. Tennessee’s offense was done when that happened. This has been such a great ride. Offensively Michell is the unsung hero of the season to me. Every week, with all the injuries on offense, he has quietly gone out there and gotten it done. He reminds me of Mohamed Massaquoi. And good luck to defenses shutting the offense down. Whatever they try to take away, Monken will just spot where they’ve left themselves open and attack there. Man this is great.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. back9k9

    Excellent post! Thanks, Senator – as always.
    Amazing the depth and versatility of this defense. Definitely a year just to sit back and enjoy the ride.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. bulldogbry

    I’ve noticed that this year, I don’t panic when watching the games (Ok, maybe the Clemson game). The adjustments being made in the second half – hell the second quarter! – are stellar. As Kirby says, I have a tremendous respect for the adjustments this coaching staff makes. But I really mean it.
    Also, just as gratifying is watching the looks on the opposing players’ faces throughout the game as they start to realize they haven’t been shot at point blank range, someone’s been slowly poisoning them.

    Liked by 8 people

    • Nil Butron is a Pud

      Same here. In the past I would think: “don’t worry, Kirby’s gonna adjust at halftime and we’ll pull away late.” Now, it’s “don’t worry, Kirby’s gonna adjust during the first TV timeout and we’ll run away with it while the band’s warming up.”

      Liked by 4 people

  10. Texas Dawg

    We lose a lot off this team after this year, but the young pups that will be taking over have been impressive on both sides of the ball. Will they be as good as this bunch? That will be a tall order. With what I’ve seen from all the underclassmen that have played (and hopefully a smattering of the older guys yearning for another magical season) I feel really good about next year as well.

    Like

    • W

      Yea, kinda fun to project future cfb rosters.

      Got a couple really highly regarded Fr at each level on D. Hope to see em next two Saturdays. Tykee, Ringo, Dan Jackson steady the back end. 88, 90, 96 back I believe.

      OL and WR at full strength should be filthy, and likely have either JT or SB back. Might have to lean on the O for a bit and I don’t think it’ll be a problem.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. stoopnagle

    TIL a new word: “cold-bloodlessly”

    I like it.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Ran A

    Thank you for this. The mental toughness of this game just shined through. Georgia just ruthlessly kicked UT’S A$$… Looks like their coach is still butt-hurt from this. Not use to that brutality – guessing…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ran A

      Like minds Blackledge is my favorite analyst – period. I’m fine with Daniel’s – he sometimes seeks tight that are not there – like holding that wasn’t holding, etc. – but he’s fine. The fact that he pisses off all fan bases tells you a lot. I like Todd for two reasons. (1). He really does know his stuff. (2) He has great respect of the SEC and he loves the Georgia fan base. Even if he did beat us for a Natty… I would suspect that he is rooting for Georgia to get that monkey off their back.

      Liked by 5 people

      • originaluglydawg

        Agree. Tod Blackledge, like UGA, is in a class of his own.
        Danielson is the College announcer equivalent of Howard Cosell.
        He knows football but he’s even better at pissing everyone off.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. bcdawg97

    For all the grief (and deserved) Kirby has gotten about in-game coaching, this was an A+ job. It was a bit nerve wracking to see UT carve us up a little to start the game, and mobile QBs still seem to generally be Kirby’s kryptonite, but definitely think the idea was to play soft, prevent any big plays and to see what UT wanted to try and do and then as astutely noted, make adjustments in the 2nd/3rd Q to ultimately run away with the game. Hated to see someone break 14 on us, but that was some damn fine coaching on Saturday. And it gives me a sense of relief that while Bama probably will move the ball on us early, but that over the course of the game, we’ll adjust and finally be able to solve the puzzle against them. HBTMFD!

    Liked by 6 people

  14. Whiskey Dawg

    I love watching Monken scheme off the Dawgs traditional “man ball” run game. Looks like the same waltz – oops-:DISCO!

    Liked by 5 people

  15. artistformerlyknownasbman

    Good post, Senator. The coaching staff has been so great at making in-game adjustments, rather that previous years of seeing adjustments only come at halftime. This staff sees what is happening and says, “I’ve got a tool for that” and it happens seamlessly.
    I’m really grateful that Hooker missed that first wide open pass downfield, because it was a sure TD and the staff might not have learned as much as they did over the course of the Vols’ drive, and the adjustments might have been a little later coming.

    Liked by 9 people

  16. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    Monken is that good. And, as the season waxes on and he gets more and more familiar with various players’ capabilities he gets even better.

    And Danielson does nail it with his analysis. Yes, he can be annoying, but what football talking head would you prefer? Herbie? McElroy? Beth Mowins? Stinchcomb is good, but like a lot former UGA guys he has to go out of his way to be ‘impartial’. To me, the only thing wrong with Danielson is that he works for a national network that expects certain tropes (which lead to drinking games) out of him, just like they would anyone else.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Todd Blackledge would be my choice. Danielson does not like Georgia and it gets old listening to him root for the other team. He isn’t as obvious as Mussberger (who had money riding on games) was, but the bias is there IMO. Plus he never shuts up.

      Liked by 5 people

      • iusedtopostasmikecooley

        Blacklege and Nessler would be great. Danielson is just way too smug and far too strident for my taste. And while I normally ignore accusations that fans have against announcers about bias his against Georgia is just impossible to brush aside. The show with Chizick and Chris Doering talked to him after the game and he looked and sounded like he would have rather been getting a prostate exam than have to say something good about Georgia. I can not stand that guy. His negatives cancel out his positives. I wish he would just retire.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Nessler and Blackledge were great together at ESPN. If Nessler went back over after Disney takes the SEC contract, I wouldn’t mind. I think he’s staying at CBS either to be the 2nd guy on the NFL, March Madness and possibly The Masters.

          Like

      • One of the posters known as Mark

        I also think Blackledge is the best.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Got Cowdog

        I re-watched the game and since I already knew the outcome didn’t mute the commenters. It’s not that Danielson seems biased with his comments, it’s more like “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” with regards to Georgia. Almost all of his color (and there was PLENTY of it) was vowel related. That gives the vibe that he’s rooting for the other team even if he isn’t. Around mid third when ut had foundered and there wasn’t much ut to talk about? His commenting was much more abrupt. He also seemed a bit dejected and repeated a lot of what Nessler said. I figured there has to be something lurking in the background Georgia wise that impacts his attitude, so I did the wiki thing. He was QB for Purdue. Georgia is 2-0 versus Perdue, but not while GD was there. Gary never played an SEC team.
        But I did find this nugget: “Danielson had succeeded Mike Phipps as the Boilermakers’ starting quarterback in 1970 and had 14 touchdown passes and 30 interceptions with a 45.6 percent completion rate in three seasons as a starter.[1]”
        Pudue’s record with Gary as starting QB? 13-18.
        Maybe he just hates a winner.

        Liked by 2 people

        • “Maybe he just hates a winner”

          GC, Danielson has his head so far up Saban’s @$$ that he can see PAWWWWWL in there.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Gary’s job is to keep people involved with the game. The way to do that when a team is being overmatched, is to do all you can to sell the comeback story until it’s far too late… then, if there’s a “maybe they can score” angle, you give it.. but you also heap praise on the superior team at the end of the game, letting everyone know that their time was well spent watching this amazing unit destroy the other side all day.

          “Thanks for sticking around kids… now buy some of these fabulous products during the break!”

          Liked by 3 people

    • stoopnagle

      Announcers: if I could have Nessler/Blackledge back together, I’d take that. But I’ve gotten to like Sean McDonough, too. I think he’s fair but also isn’t afraid to say something that needs to be said. But then, unlike probably everyone, I like Fowler/Herbstreit on a game. I especially like the “nite caps” they do on Fowler’s instagram. That said, sometimes Kirk is a bit too “old guy yells at cloud” on some things; it’s unusual he brings it into the game broadcast though.

      I guess I’ve mellowed because outside of Tim Brando and Joel Klatt (really, most of the Fox announcers) I like most of the on-air talent. Rod Gilmore is pretty bad, too. But even then, he’s at least a persona you can get a good drinking game going with.

      Liked by 1 person

      • iusedtopostasmikecooley

        Fowler is good. I don’t hate Herbstreit as a color guy. He’s a tool and I will never watch “Game Day” but he’s not bad calling a game. Danielson is the only one that I fell like truly has an axe to grind. The others are just good or bad at their job to varrying degrees.

        Like

      • Russ

        Herbstreit never shuts up. He talks constantly, even compared to other announcers. Just non-stop. Fowler is too smug for me.

        Tessatore has just enough of the “doesn’t give a shit” that I like him.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. A friend texted me during the game with this nugget.

    You know you’ve got a really good defense when you make a tempo team slow down.

    I thought that was accurate and profound.

    Liked by 8 people

  18. I see a lot of NFL in Monken’s offense…complex alignments and use of motion, but pretty basic plays. He’s making the D adjust and tell his QB exactly what’s going on. Bama will have the discipline to control this, but doesn’t have enough of their usual talent to stop it. I do think it will require Daniel’s skill set more, but Stetson’s running will be key too. Kirby and Monken are probably now able to start focusing on this and have some interesting decisions to make. I suspect Stetson earns the start, and Monken is going to dial up some play formations that aren’t on tape. But in the end, this DEFENSE! They hold everybody to under 24 and it shouldn’t really matter who is under center.

    Liked by 1 person

    • iusedtopostasmikecooley

      Great point that Kirby and Monken can start doing some work on Alabama now with the two remaining games being who they are. Alabama on the other hand has two very physical games left that they could lose if they aren’t focused. This is just our year. It just is.

      Liked by 2 people

  19. We’re all upset about the officiating but what about how many times Bennett was hit late or Zeus was taken to the ground after the whistle or Bennett was piled on? That game 100% contradicted the safety movement. The only thing SEC officiating is consistent at is being inconsistent and trash.

    Liked by 4 people

  20. D as in Dawg

    Heck yes they’re good. Watching the highlights, i think UT is going to be a good team under Heupel. We were fortunate the QB made a couple of awful throws but that may have been defensive scheme induced for all I know.

    Stetson is getting it done and he’s not turning the ball over. From the duh department, Bama will be this teams biggest test. We are good enough to handle it if we don’t have any ghosts show up and it sure would be nice to jump on top fast in that game instead of the way the last few have started.

    I hope to see a lot of work for JT and others this week to both rest the starters and give the backups some reps.

    Gator fans just keep saying Roll Tide every time I see them. Pathetic! Damn, I want the Noles to beat them down in 2 weeks but I’m afraid Mullen will be gone. Dilemmas.

    Go Dawgs!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Just dropping in to say I love Gary Danielson…

    But even I found Stetson/Baker comparison strained….

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Great post, Senator! Dean Woermer called, said your GPA is back up to 4.0.

    Liked by 2 people