Wednesday, September 15, 2010

And then there was the offense.

Six points.

Six Points.


All summer long, the team walked around saying "7-5" "7-5" That was supposedly their motivation coming into this season. That was what pushed them through the grueling mat drills. That's what had the receivers running routes and the linebackers doing tackling drills on their own. "7-5" became the mantra of this team.

Well, I hope they've been repeating "6 FRIKKING POINTS" all week. There's no excuse for that.

13 Points. That's what Southern Miss scored on South Carolina. Now, true that Southern Miss only scored 6 points until the final quarter when USC's deep reserves were in, and SM tossed a pass up to a 6'6" receiver, still the fact remains. UGA was outscored against USC's defense by Southern Miss.

That ain't Bulldog football.

People around the bulldog nation have already begun the talk. "Bobo is a Richt Disciple. Richt is too soft. Bobo is too soft. Bobo doesn't know what he's doing." These people are idiots. I know Mike Bobo. Mike Bobo was a graduate assistant when I was in my Junior year on the team. Even THEN Bobo knew more about football than 99% of the college football fanship. Now, we're a full decade removed from that. If you think Bobo didn't call a good game, raise your hand.

Now...if your hand is in the air, grab a nearby blunt object, and bring it down quickly onto the back of your head.


Ok, now that the sensible people among us are still conscious, let's move on. UGA had limited possessions in the UGA-USC game. Normally, you can count on about 6 possessions a half, twelve possessions total. In an SEC game, you'll be lucky to come away with points on half of your possessions.

UGA had 4 possessions in the first half, only scoring on 1. We can be happy with neither the fact that our offense picked up only three points, nor that we scored on only one out of four posessions. Still, you can't fault the play calling. The first drive, in fact, looked fantastic. The first five plays were runs by Ealy, who gained 30 yards on those runs. We had moved from our own 30 to their 40. Then Murray made his first SEC road-game pass attempt, and hit Marlon Brown for a first down. Murray would end up 3/5 on the drive, but it was his last two attempts that would prevent the TD for UGA. On first at ten at the SC 16, Murray threw just a bit behind Orson Charles, and Charles couldn't pull the ball in. Had he done so, Murray's first "unfriendly confines" drive would have ended in a touchdown, the game would have been tied, and Georgia fans would feel a good bit different than we did. But, that didn't happen. Two plays later, Charles mishandled a short dump-off from Murray, and because he failed to bring it in cleanly, the USC defense converged on him before he could pick up the first down.

We settled for 3. Georgia wouldn't touch the ball again until 4 minutes into the 2nd quarter. On first down, Murray threw the ball just a bit too far for Isreal Troupe, but Washaun picked up 8 solid yards on second down. So, it's third and two. This is when people get picky on Bobo. Bobo called a pass play. Murray rolled to the right, and had a man, but a spectacular play by USC Defensive End Devin Taylor threw off his timing, and forced him to scramble a bit. Then Taylor was able to catch Murray from behind. We punt.

We force a punt and get the ball back. Then came the decision to put Ealy in to take direct snaps, and fail to gain a first down. Ealy did gain 6 yards on first down, but the two subsequent plays netted only 3 more yards. I don't know how that's going to be a successful look, unless he actually chooses to hand it to Smith on one of those plays. At any rate, we punt again.

They score another TD.

Our next drive ended after three plays when Aron White missed a catchable pass that would have been a first down. Another punt. We shut them down, and get to the half. Ok. Halftime. Regroup.

UGA came out like GANGBUSTERS in the second half. A combination of completed passes and steady runs took the Dawgs fifty seven yards down the field in a little over five minutes. It was a solid drive. The Ealy ran for only one yard. Then Murray threw incomplete. Then came a call that baffles Joe Everyman any time it comes. Bobo called a QB draw on third and 9 from the USC 14. Why make that call? Why put Murray in the position to have to pick up 9 yards with his feet? Well, because it's unexpected. That's the ONLY reason to call a QB draw on a 3rd and long. Sometimes you'll call it throughout the course of a game to slow down a pass rush. But, USC had not been getting to Murray. No, this call came purely because Murray is a playmaker (possibly the best one on the offense at the moment), and he was being given a chance to make a play. He just came up short. So, three points...but a solid drive.

On USC's next drive, the inevitable finally happened. A flustered Steven Garcia coughed up the ball. I knew it would happen at some point, even said as much in my pre-game blog, and I was happy to see the prediction come true. When it happened, I saw this as the moment the game would turn. I had watched Murray leading our team against their Defense, and had a feeling he was about to really turn it on and leave them in his wake.

Three plays, three complete passes and 73 yards later, UGA was staring at second and goal at the USC 3. The play came in, the Dawgs lined up, and I could feel the call. It was going to be Ealy into the endzone. Then, came the wiggle. I don't know if it was a twitch, an itch, or just a son of a b&%*h, but Isreal Troupe moved in his stance, and the Dawgs were penalized five yards. On the next play, Ealy fumbled the ball away, and the game turned on a dime.

UGA forced a punt, but the Gamecocks changed the field position well. UGA started from its own ten, and couldn't get going. Three and out. Dawgs forced another punt, but then suffered another three and out. When USC stole the ball from UGA in the third quarter, I believe they may have stolen our belief as well. I just don't know if the offense was Man Enough to rise to the challenge in that situation. They'd been playing from behind all night. Everytime they'd put together a good drive, something had happened to prevent highest success. It just didn't seem to be their night.

Did they give in to doubt? It's possible. I don't know.

What I know is, they had much to be happy about, and much to learn from. I also know Bobo called a good game. For one reason or another, the boys just didn't quite execute like they needed to. But they'll improve. They'll get better. Hey, if nothing else, Murray didn't throw an interception, didn't make any crazy decisions, and didn't put his team in a position to lose the game. Now he's faced it. He's stared down the barrel of an opposing SEC crowd, and he looked good doing it. That's going to give him confidence. He's only going to get better, and as he does, so will this offense. Watch for great things, you're going to see them.

Go Dawgs.


Anonymous said...

This is an excellent write up and I found it very insightful. Looking forward to following the season with your blog.

Anonymous said...

Dude you should take a gun and blow your brains out for being a Mike Bozo groupie!