Friday, September 3, 2010

Mason impresses in Debut.

I just wanted to get a head-start on the Lassiter newspaper's headline. Do I think Hutson Mason will play tomorrow? Yup. Do I think it will be in the first half? Yup. Do I think it will be because Aaron Murray is hurt? Nup.

Mark Richt isn't deaf to criticism. He's well aware that many around the nation have been questioning his decision to not play Aaron Murray for a single down in 2009. He also knows that his backup, who is a play away from being a starter, needs experience just as badly as his starter. Logan Gray is, for all intents and purposes (and much to the delight of this writer) out of the picture as QB at UGA. So, it's Murray, Mason, and a couple of walk-ons.

Now, people are quick to dismiss walk-ons...but I'll have folks remember that it was a one-time walk-on named Corey Philips who tossed the ball for over 400 yards and four touchdowns. Again, not saying either of these guys are stars...but to dismiss their ability simply because they didn't receive a scholarship is folly.

At any rate, it wouldn't surprise me to see three quarterbacks over the course of the game tomorrow. It also wouldn't surprise me in the least if Mason is getting snaps with the first team before half is out.

"Oh come on, Dukes. You're just saying this because Connor Shaw was playing last night for Spurrier." No, I'm not. I'm saying this because I believe Richt knows he needs to get kids experience, and this is the game to do it. Going into South Carolina, you don't want a situation where a kid gets his first meaningful snap - you really don't. South Carolina is a good team. First-snap jitters will be a factor. If you add to that the idea that it's a kid's first snap EVER, you're compounding the problem. Huton Mason does not provide a "change of pace" from Aaron Murray, so using them as a dual-quarterback system does not make sense. But, Richt sending Mason in to get some snaps with the ones - just in case - certainly does. I envision a game tomorrow where Georgia runs the ball early and often, and throws some early screen and swing passes to get Murray's confidence up.

Of course, Bobo is rather taken with the idea of the "big hitter" to open the game. So, don't be surprised if a call along the lines of "off-tackle x-go check-with-me" comes in. This isn't an actual name of a play in UGA's playbook - or if it is, then it was a lucky guess - but rather a concept. The coach calls in a run-pass option. If you read your big, tall, fast, star receiver is in man-man coverage, you go with the pass play, lay it up and let him go get it. If you read double or zone coverage, you make the run call, hand off to one of your solid runningbacks, and let him get five or six yards, opening your playbook WIDE for a second and medium-to-gain play.

Either way you slice it, we should have a good deal of success provided Murray keeps the ball out of the defense's hands. I don't know that I think Mason will see action in the first quarter, but I definitely believe we will have a comfortable enough lead for him to come in before the halftime whistle blows.

"DUKES! Are you not giving ULL credit? Are you letting them lull you to sleep? These guys beat Kansas State last year."


Look, I'll give ULL all the credit in the world. They're coming in as David trying to slay Goliath....but we're not really Goliath. Right now, we're Goliath's sickly little brother. We have much to prove to take the "Goliath" mantle. Still, we are grossly more talented and DEEPER than ULL. There will be less than 1,000 ULL fans in the stands. Our guys are bigger, faster, stronger. Every card in the deck, both jokers, and the poker rules are stacked against ULL, and this isn't a game when they're going to shock the world.

What then am I looking forward to? I'm looking forward to a GLIMPSE of what this year's squad is all about. I say a glimpse because I know Grantham ain't gonna tip his hand completely. He'll show a couple blitzes, he'll show a few different coverages...but we won't see anything close to what we'll see against, say, FLORIDA. Why? We won't need to. Bobo will be very similar. He may show a wrinkle or two, but not a great deal. The game will be fairly Vanilla, with the exception of a few possible trick plays. "Trick plays, Dukes? Come ON!" Yeah, I think there may be a trick play or two. Why? Because it's easier to pull them off against inferior competition, and if you show them, other teams have to prepare for them. End-arounds are going to work better against teams without great speed on defense. Flea-flickers are going to work better against DBs who won't be able to recover as well. I'm definitely not saying the UGA offense will be gimmicky...but I do think we'll see some kids get to do some out-of-the-ordinary things.

The last I saw, the betting line on this game was 28 points, with the over set at 41. I definitely say bet the over. Here's my best guess - King has two scores on the ground, add one by Munzenmeyer. Murray tosses 3 TDs - two to AJ Green and one to Orson Charles. I think Hutson Mason tosses a TD to Arthur Lynch late in the game, and Brandon Boykin returns either a kick or a pick for a TD. That puts UGA at 56 points. Is that crazy? Could be. I mean, I'm calling for some truly extraordinary circumstances. But hey, that's probably gonna be M.O. this season. Here's what I've learned - all the resarch and prognosticating and "trying to get it right" gets tiring and annoying. Besides, this is game 1. I have nothing to draw on. There are no "trends" for our defense. There are no "tendencies" on our offense. It's a blank slate. So, perhaps I'll just say what I want to see, and if it happens, AWESOME.

I want two things - 50 points on offense, and less than 10 surrendered on Defense, preferrably none (but I generally assume a garbage score of some sort).

Can tomorrow just get here already? Let's get it here, get it won, and move on to South Carolina....because THAT is gonna be a game!

Go Dawgs!

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