The first game has come and gone, and there were many things to be excited about. Aaron Murray looks everything the part. He'll grow into a very good quarterback. He's a playmaker to be sure. Do I expect him to play lights-out all season? Nope. I saw a few tosses yesterday that may have been going the other way if he threw them against a decent defense. Also, much like I said about Garcia's scamper to the endzone against Southern Miss, I don't think Aaron Murray makes it to paydirt on that run if the defense is an SEC defense. He's quick and evasive, but I have a strong feeling that an SEC linebacker or Safety would have closed on him and knocked him off into the hedges on that one. Our defense played very solid, very sound. There were a few missed assignments, which will happen - especially in game one, but when you hold ANY opponent to just over 100 yards total production, that's pretty good.
The game went very much like I predicted. Some of my details were off, but all in all we scored like I said we would, we shut them down like I said we would, and we gave up a garbage score - like I said we would.
More imporatantly, we accomplished something that has been far removed from Georgia football for a while. We stomped a lesser opponent into the dirt. There was no doubt about who was winning this game - but in recent years, our teams have been less than dominant against these cupcakes. We haven't been able to get the younger, less experienced players on thef field nearly as much as we'd like to. In this one, our second and third teams were making plays in the third quarter.
Now, let's not pretend our team is a National Title winner just yet. We did what we were supposed to. Now, on to the next test.
I've read articles this morning that said we need to be running the ball better. Well, we averaged nearly yards per carry - without the benefit of a huge 60 or 70 yarder to pad the average. Was our running game as dominant as many expected it would be? Possibly not. But, it definitely served our team to get the passing game going as well. This game was nothing more than a tune-up. It was a glorified scrimmage against an opposing force - against guys we don't see in the locker room on a daily basis. It was a chance to let Murray get his feet wet in front of 94,000 people.
Grantham called only a few basic blitzes - nothing even as interesting as what I saw from him at G-Day. The offense was very basic, and by the fourth quarter we had ratcheted completely down. Now, this is something that bothers me a bit. Don't get me wrong. I'm not of the opinion that we need to run the score up on a lesser opponent to improve season stats or impress voters. Scoring 72 against ULL won't get you any more credit with the voters than scoring 55 will. They'll think, "Well, Georgia whooped a team they should whoop. No big whoop." But, I don't understand the logic in putting Munzenmeier in at tailback and handing to him three times, then punting. The kid's a senior and has been a contributing player for quite some time. He's not getting new experience that will help him as the year goes along. Mason had what, five pass attempts? I'm not saying he needed to light people up...but I'd have prefered more than five pass attempts in a quarter and a half of work. I just think that when you get the 2's and 3's into the game, you let them run the offense. That's how they're going to learn. Let them run real plays, something they might have to run if the guy in front of them gets hurt next week. But no, we err on the side of class.
I'll never understand the concept that "scoring is classless." What are doing, protecting the ego of a team that can't stop us? That's senseless. I'm not saying that we put Aaron Murray back in the game at the tail end, but I'm saying let that Van Dyk kid run the ball on a toss or something. Send Arthur Lynch down the field on a seam route and let Mason try to fit one in there. If their defense can't stop our two's or three's, then that's on them. These kids likely won't get much game-time experience once we get into the meat of the season (6 days), so why not give them functional snaps in the opener?
At any rate, what's done is done and we look forward to South Carolina. This one's going to be fun to watch. Spurrier's offense finally looks like Spurrier's offense, and the SC defense is REAL. Then again, so is Grantham's D, and Murray looks to have a good handle on the limited playbook he's been developing. It'll be intersting to see how the depth charts shape up this week as players on both teams return from suspensions and injuries. UGA - USC has become quite the little rivalry in recent years, with a loss to USC costing UGA the SEC East crown, and a shot at a national title in 2007. It's going to be quite the step-up in competition for both teams...can't wait to see it!
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Hey Ben, this is James, the big, tall UGA grad that you met in line for the Thurs. afternoon Craig Ferguson taping. Thanks for telling me about your blog -- great stuff. I'm adding it to my stable on Google Reader. I was thrilled with the game on Sat. We looked hungry. We looked crisp. We looked like we cared. I ate it up. Keep up the good work on the blog, and GO DAWGS!
Glad to have you aboard, James! Hope you had fun at the show.
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