Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Season Not Lost, but a LOOOONG way from over.

Calm down, dawgfans. Show a little poise. Our team lost a game by performing just about as poorly as they possibly could, and they lost by 14. I don't know any of you who believed this team was going to go 14-0, so I don't understand all of the ire at the loss. If we had to lose a game, wouldn't you rather it be THAT one? Wouldn't you rather the loss be to a team that has absolutely no impact on the SEC race? Let's assume for a moment that Georgia makes some huge turnaround and finishes off the rest of the season with 11 straight wins....won't we still win the SEC? Wouldn't a 12-1 SEC Champion still be damned attractive heading into the BCS? I think it would.

Now....I know what you're thinking...."Dukes! I watched the team Saturday, there is NO WAY we can win games like THAT!"

And you're right. We can't win games playing them like that on offense. We absolutely can not.

"Dukes, face it, we lost...the season is over!" I wonder if people in Norman are saying the same thing. Somehow I doubt it. Why? Because they know that a single loss doesn't remove you from contention. But, Georgia fans have become increasingly negative and pessimistic. People calling for the jobs of Mark Richt and Mike Bobo? Well....those people should visit their proctologists, because driving around with your head up your tukkus is quite dangerous.

Now, this is not to say that I'm at all excited about what I saw from Saturday's offense. I'm still trying to assess what happened. The opening drive was fantastic. 80 yards. Five minutes. Cox was 2/3. 7 points. BOOM. Then, the defense came out and shut down OSU's first us the ball back, and the anticipation was high. But Bobo apparently picked up another week's gameplan or something, because the playcalling changed drastically. Instead of coming out and flexing our power, we tried to finesse our way against the Cowboys, and fell flat. The defense held strong again, but when we got the ball back, it was more of the same flat offense.

I didn't understand it at all.

I'm not going to sit here and praise the coaches. I won't. I'm not going to call for their jobs, but I can't explain why the offensive gameplan should have changed when the initial gameplan was successful. I don't know why Tony Ball decided to play only three of his six available wideouts. I don't know why Logan Gray only came in for two plays.

If you ask me, this game was supposed to be enormous for OSU, but it was Georgia's staff dealing with puckered butt cheeks. Samuel looked good at times, breaking 6-9 yard runs consistently...but never could pop the huge one. Cox couldn't get much going...every time they showed his stat line he seemed to be one or two completions over 50%....and his final stats had him directly at fifty. Ok, he had the flu...and that can explain a lot. BUT, I can't allow "the flu" to explain away the problems our offense faced. If Cox wasn't in his best playing shape to get the job done, coaches should have pulled him. I think if Cox leaves that game, and Gray or Murray doesn't get it done, the fans aren't nearly as upset.


I also think people are missing something very important in Joe's performance. He didn't toss up passes that put us in bad situations. He did have the fumble. But, his lone interception was a three-time batted pass that was first DROPPED by a Georgia Receiver. Aron White inexplicably dropped a pass when he was wide open behind the coverage in the fourth quarter. Some will say Cox overthrew him..if he did, it was by an INCH. White could have made that play, and didn't. Orson Charles dropped what would have been a huge first down. There were many opportunities left on that field Saturday, and while it's not what we like to see, it will serve a better purpose.

Whatever blind confidence the coaches had about our offense going into Saturday is GONE. Tony Ball said he didn't realize he only played 3 receivers. Bobo said he doesn't know why he changed things up so much. Richt said "That offense sure looked good for a second, didn't it?" Well, they've all been smacked in the face by reality, and it's time to see how they react. Ball has said the freshmen receivers will be playing. So, it looks like one coach has learned from a mistake. Let's see what Bobo does. Will he stick with a gameplan and return his offense to the type of numbers he delivered last season? If not, there will be big problems in Athens.


The Dawgs lost, the Cowboys scored 24 points, and no one seems angry at Willie Martinez. That's because the defense we saw is more like what we want to see out of the Dawgs. Yes, the three touchdowns were not what we wanted to see. But, two were results of horrendous calls on the parts of the officials. I'm not saying anything like "the refs cost us the game." That's just plain stupid. But, it is rather unfortunate that the refs had "tricky vision" on a 4th down when the runner didn't make it to the line, and when Rashad Jones delivered a powerful and 100% LEGAL hit. Both of those plays gave life to the Cowboys when the Defense had stopped them. Awful.

Still, the Cowboys actually mustered less pass offense than the Bulldogs did, if you can possibly believe it.

We didn't have a strong enough pass rush, that's for will be interesting to see how that changes next week, when we face a team who DOESN'T spend the majority of the day in a 4 or 5 wide set.

The measure of a champion is often determined by how the face adversity. Well, adversity has struck in week one. It's time to see how we respond. Personally, I'm excited. I want to see what the coaches come up with. Cox himself said that he felt like he was timid, trying not to make a "Bad play" and that others on the team were doing the same.

I guess SMITH is the one guy who wasn't hampered by that. Should he have tried a return from 7 yards deep in the endzone or leapt up in an attempt to secure a punt, thus knocking it into the endzone? No. HE shouldn't. BUT, he was playing fearlessly...and I'll take that. When I was at Georgia, our coaches used to say, "If you're gonna make a mistake, make it going 100 mph."

So, how will the Dawgs handle the adversity? Only time will tell...but with Steve Spurrier comin' a knockin', they better get it figured out in a hurry. I can accept a week one loss to an out-of-conference top-10 team. A week two loss to South Carolina, though....unacceptable.


btw...I hate, hate, hate, HATE day games.

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