Friday, September 30, 2011

"Must-Win", "Hot Seat", I used buzzwords, so read this blog.

Some of you (one person) have been asking me to be a bit more prolific in my writing. I do apologize that my posting rates have slowed a bit. However, I've been dealing with a few personal issues and as such haven't devoted myself to reading everyone else's blogs so that I can complain about what they say and offer a self-righteous and indulgent commentary on why they're wrong.

That being said...

I'm becoming increasingly annoyed with the overuse of phrases such as "Must-Win" and "Hot-Seat" and anything alluding to the one surefire way to championships being the firing of a head coach.

The University of Georgia plays in the Southeastern Conference, and has a fanbase that is unduly arrogant, prideful, and extremely die-hard. This is why I loved playing there, and why I continue to write about the football team eleven years after playing my finals downs in the Oahu Bowl. Still, playing in the SEC makes EVERY GAME a "Must-Win." Why? Here's Why:

The Fans Believe the following:

1) Out of conference games are automatic "W"s. If they don't play in the SEC, they aren't as good as Georgia, because the SEC is the best conference, and all teams outside of the SEC are set to a lower standard.

2) Vanderbilt is a team of slightly athletic nerds, and should never offer any competition to any team outside of Kentucky or the Mississippi schools. They were only brought into the SEC to increase our academic standings and none of their players would even make the 3-deep at Georiga.

3) Kentucky is only better than Vanderbilt. This is why they plant the ridiculous bluegrass in their stadium - they need any edge they can get because they'll never compete athletically with "real" SEC teams. They are in the conference to aid in Basketball standings.

4) The Mississippi Schools do not recruit quality athletes from out of state because the state is a poor one, and the Universities are massively underfunded. This means the out of state recruits end up filling the benches at LSU, AL, AU, and any 1 of the 700 texas schools. Also, all the good athletes in Mississippi want to go out of state to college because honestly, who would want to stay there?

5) South Carolina Sucks.

6) Tennessee is a lost program which showed glimpses of glory but has since returned to the dregs in which it was meant to toil. Besides, checkerboard endzones and burnt orange? You should NEVER lose to that. Ever.

7) Arkansas is full of hicks and rednecks, and produces politicians like Bill Clinton. In short, nothing good ever came out of Arkansas.

8) Auburn Sucks.

9) Florida, Alabama and LSU are the upper-echelon of college football and as such, we have to beat them in order to be considered Championship Caliber. They recruit at or above Georgia's level. No title will ever come to Georgia without first going through at least 1 of these schools. (1980 - beat FL in season) (1981 - beat FL in season) (1982 - beat FL in season) (2002-beat AL in season) (2005-beat LSU in SECCG).

10) Championship Games and Bowl Games are always must-wins.

So, since this is what the fans believe, EVERY game is a must-win. We're supposed to go undefeated every season and we're supposed to win the national title every season. Every season that we don't (which has been the VAST MAJORITY of the 100+ seasons of Georgia Football) is a slap in the face to all the die-hard fans who pour their lifeblood into Georgia Football.

It's ridiculous. Also - What's the repercussion of losing a must-win? Does losing a "must win" automatically result in the firing of the coach? I'm gonna go with "no" on this one. Why? Well, Richt is still coaching at UGA. But, he's lost a few "must wins" over the years. So, I guess they weren't really "must wins." Unless of course, what we're saying is -

"You MUST WIN this game, or...well...we're gonna be mighty upset... and we're gonna call radio shows and complain... and we're gonna blog about it... and...and...and you're gonna hear from us gosh darnit! So you better win it. You better."

And the same goes for "Hot Seat." Shut up about "Hot Seat" already. There's no such thing as a "Hot Seat." A coach has a job, or he doesn't. "Lame duck coaches" (working in the last season of their contract, without any hope of extension) are not on the hotseat....they know they're done. A head coach's job is packed with pressure on a daily basis. I hate to tell you guys (read: I love to tell you guys) but your opinions on how well he's doing his job really don't factor that much into his life. Simply put - he has bigger things to worry about. The Hotseat is a buzzword created by the media in order to entice people to read articles, watch sportscenter segments, etc. It's not a real thing. But, like moths to a flame, the masses will be drawn to these articles and reports about which coaches are or are not on the hotseat. And then, a couple of wins later, the coach suddenly ISN'T on the hotseat anymore...until the quarterback fumbles the ball in the fourth quarter, and they lose a game they wanted to win. Then, OF COURSE, the coach should again be fired.

The fact is - if a coach fields a competitive team, one capable of winning games and competing for titles, he's going to have a job.

Readers - do yourselves a favor. When you see an article or an upcoming segment regarding this week's "must win" game or how Richt's seat is really "Heating Up"...instead of reading that article or watching that segment, go hug your wife - or play catch with your kids - or cook a really good steak. All of these will do your life a greater amount of good than losing the fifteen minutes forever over some bull that doesn't exist.

Go Dawgs.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Oh, no - we went conservative!!

I've already tired of the blog-based idiots who are angry about Bobo's decision to go more conservative in the 2nd half. The team we were playing was one we obviously overmatched. They weren't going to pull trick plays all day with success, and they certainly weren't going to come out with a sustained gameplan that would beat our defense. So, we played the following game:


And yeah, many of you think that's a weak way to play. And yeah, many of you think it lacks "Killer Instinct." But be honest with yourselves - haven't we seen enough mistakes by Georgia Teams in recent years to think that protecting a lead is just as important as extending it? Just two games ago, we killed ourselves with turnovers. In this one, we limited that possibility. Yes, we scored less points than we would have liked - but we won the game plenty convincingly.

We could tell it wasn't gonna be the day when Walsh would kick a game winner. And, if you get cute or play too risky, and turn it over, you give them a chance. By playing run-and-kick, we controlled the field, the clock, and won the game. The W is far more important than Fan excitement, just ask Paul Johnson.

Also...for those of you who say "That kind of playcalling wouldn't beat Bama or LSU"....

That's not the kind of playcalling you'll see against those teams if we're fortunate enough to get to Atlanta. We don't overmatch them at every position like we do Ole Miss. Ole Miss simply isn't potent enough to mount a come back. Those teams can score 14 points in 40 seconds. Don't expect to see Coach Bobo back off if we get a lead on a quality team.

Go Dawgs.

About a QB Competition

I've already read one post today vehemently denying the need of a QB competition in Athens. The author cites statistics praising Aaron Murray and discounting the work that Hutson Mason has done. I have a problem with this. I have a problem with it only due to the fact that Richt has high praise for Mason, and says he has earned more playing time.

So why didn't he receive it against Ole Miss?

I understand the coaching ideal of keeping players in the game to get more practice, build up game stamina, etc. I understand the thought that you don't really play reserves until you have a "Comfortable" lead, and a 2-touchdown lead doesn't always qualify. Still, here's something I don't understand - why are you running your star TB with 2 minutes remaining in a 2-score game? Why do you need to have your starting QB handing him the ball?

Now, these snaps do not always mean a hell of a lot in terms of experience. But, it's another GP for Mason if he gets in there. It's another team's defense to which he's had exposure. It's another bit of confidence for a kid who, by all public accounts, is simply doing everything expected of him. The fact is, Richt, Bobo, and Murray all say the kid could run the offense in the event of Murray going down with injury. So, why not put him in, at least in the tail-end of a game we've dominated?

Here's the argument against - any mistake: a fumbled snap, handoff, audible into a pass becomes an interception,etc...any mistake like that could result in Ole Miss having a chance to win.

We played "preserve the win" football late in the fourth. I understand that, the team needs wins - both in the SEC and out. I'd like to think, though, that a Mason-Thomas or a Mason-Harton handoff would be just as effective at killing clock as a Murray-Crowell handoff. In fact, it may be even more so, as Crowell quite obviously was not trying to do much at the end of the game. Maybe he was told, "Just don't fumble." If so, he did that job admirably.

I don't know that Hutson Mason is actually in position to compete with Aaron Murray. If he were, I'd like to think Richt would give him opportunities. Why? Because Richt wants to win games - which means fielding your best 11. So, Murray must be a better option. We don't see practice - we only see Saturdays and read clippings. This is where for many people, being a fan is maddening. You have zero control over anything, and always glorify the unknown. The potential of a kid on the bench is, in the mind of the fanship, nearly always better than the performance of a starter who isn't wowing us. It's a dumb point of view, but it's one that many share.

Still, Gary Danielson said something during the Alabama-Arkansas game that stood out to me. It was a statement that very simply put in perspective just why Alabama is seemingly always in the mix for a title. He said, paraphrasing - 'There is a lot of competition all over the field for Alabama. If you don't play with intensity, you might not be there long, because there are kids on the bench who want your job just as much as you do.' Does this attitude exist at Georgia? Does it exist at the QB position? Competition can be healthy.

I'm not suggesting an open QB competition. But, putting Hutson in for a possession or two in the game, I think that could be good for Murray - if for no other reason than just to help him understand that he needs to stay on-point. We had what, 5 or 6 drives which resulted in no points? Surely one of those could have been a Hutson Mason drive and we wouldn't have suffered much worse of a fate. Just Sayin.

Go Dawgs.

Game Film Missing - UGA v Ole Miss

For readers of my blog who were looking forward to this week's breakdown, I apologize. Here in LA, the game was carried on an unusual channel, and a DVR issue caused me to not save the Dawgs' victory. I will do my best to rectify the issue next week against Mississippi State. As much work as it is, I do enjoy breaking down the game film...I always love an excuse to watch more Georgia Football.

Quick Thoughts:

1) Good to see the pass rush finally get home. With the exception of Kellen Moore, the Dawgs had made every quarterback they've played against uncomfortable. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough for many Dawg fans who believe the only stat indicative of effective pass rushing is SACKS. Well, we got 4.

2) These DBs are becoming very very good. Part of the reason our Pass Rush could hit home was that the receivers were very well covered. The QB couldn't find open men, had to hold the ball, and the result was drive-killing stops. Rambo continues to be a ball-hawk, and there may not be a player who has improved so much in his understanding of the coverages in this defense since a year ago. Now, that may be because he had the farthest to come, but he's really looking good these days. Also important, did you notice how many passes were well-defended in this game? Our corners did a great job of playing the ball in the air and knocking passes away. Up until this game, I hadn't been sold on Boykin as a "Shut down" corner. It seemed that passes didn't come his way often, but when they did, they were often caught and then he'd make the tackle. He also has a tendency to drop INTs. But, if he plays the ball for the remainder of the season as he did on Saturday, his draft stock and our defense will continue to improve.

3) Some Teamers are what we've been Dreaming of - Herrerra doesn't look like a freshman. He just doesn't look like one. His size, speed, and pursuit are above that of most recent HS grads. Malcolm Mitchel is the next in a line of great Freshman Receivers. We all remember the first seasons of Terrance Edwards, Fred Gibson, Mohamed Massaqoui, AJ just seems like every time we lose one of these guys, the next one is right there to wow us. I don't need to say anything about Crowell. No disrespect to Caleb King or Washaun Ealey, but THIS is an SEC tailback. Ray Drew? Jury's still out on him. The shoulder injury no doubt slowed his progress, but I'd like to be getting more reps out of such a big recruit. It appears the gap between him and Jadaveon Clowney was quite significant indeed. This could, of course, be attributable to the difference in defensive systems in which they play. A 4-3 DE has much less to learn than a 3-4 OLB. Still, I'd like to see 47 really step up in the next quarter-season. (Then again, 83 [C. Washington] had a much improved performance)

4) Murray is a workable QB - but he definitely lacks the WOW factor. We fell in love with him as a freshman, not because he won big games or led comebacks or destroyed his competition. We loved Murray as a Freshman because he was a freshman and didn't kill our team. He was a decent protector of the football, and we all loved his potential to grow. Thus far in 2011, he hasn't appeared to grow as much as we'd like. Sure, the kid's only a Sophomore. But in that, you have to compare him to David Greene in '02 and Matt Stafford in '07. The bar is high. He can't throw a swing pass that becomes an 11 yard fumble, he can't overthrow Figgins (a MONTSTER fullback) by five yards when no one is around him. He can't look to run so quickly - especially when the pocket is holding. Murray appears to be a little "antsy" this season.

5) Blair Walsh - What the hell, man?

6) Rugby Punts - I hate them. They've been creeping into more and more college football games, and they take away the chance for some really exciting plays. Of course, this bothers me as a UGA fan because Branden Smith is a particularly exciting returner, and the Ruby Punt is taking him out of the game. I do like that one way to defend this has been to add Boykin as a second returner. The strategy here is that they each cover 1/2 the field. As a result, one guy doesn't have to be ready to run to either side...we get a man to the ball more quickly. Still, I'd like to see them catch these low-line-drives on the run, and have the other man ready to throw a big block. It's time to turn this offensive strategy against them!

7) Gameplan - it was effective. After a few weeks of a much more spread-out attack, Bobo was much more content to dominate the Rebels on the ground, and I was glad to see it. We were a little beat-up on the OL, and didn't want to subject Murray to more risky plays if not necessary. Now, there are those who will say UGA should have won this game by 40 points - and maybe we should have. We left 13 points on the field when Walsh missed 3 FGs (9pts), and both Mitchell and Bennett dropped TD passes on our opening drive (7pts-3for Good FG=4pts). Still, we were able to use all of our RBs effectively (even RS) and relied more on tight-ends than we have in recent weeks. I'm sure that made all the "REAL GEORGIA FOOTBALL" blowhards happy. As for the defensive gameplan - excellent. They scored once on offense, on a trick play. I worried about that play, because with as many reverse-action plays as they had been running, I thought surely they were setting something up. Sadly, one part of having an aggressive defense is that it leaves you susceptible to some trick plays. But, there's a risk-reward to it. No offense can score all day on trick plays. I'll take our defense being dominant all day and giving up a trick score over playing soft and letting the other offense drive up and down the field all day, with more good opportunities to score.

That's about all I have for now. Good Win. Go Dawgs.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Game Film Missing - UGA v Coastal Carolina

Sorry folks, I'm not doing a breakdown of this one. There's a few reasons for this:

1) I did not DVR the game.

2) The game was on ppv, so I went to watch it at Barney's Beanery where I could drink beer and hang out with friends instead of paying to watch it at home.

3) The Chanticleers are nowhere near the talent level of the Georgia Bulldogs, so, breaking down the successes would give us no clear picture of why we dominated.

4) The breakdowns I saw were rather easy to diagnose -
A) Murray still misses too many easy passes.
B) Rambo made a great play, then a boneheaded mistake
C) Penalties cost us points (Branden Smith and Brandon Harton had TDs called back)

I sent a text to a friend a few hours before the game this morning. It read simply: UGA by 60. I'm a little upset that we didn't hit that mark - especially since we had every opportunity to do so. But, Richt is a "classy" coach - he does not tack on late field goals for three extra points, when there's no need. Instead, he's content to run on 3rd and very long, just to see if a kid can break a big one and keep the ball. I'm not against that. If we do kick the field goal, we then have to kick the ball off - and kickoffs are known to be dangerous plays in terms of injury probability. There's really no reason to kick that field goal - unless you want me to be right about the 60 point margin of victory (and in 11 years, that has never seemed to be a concern).

This game was what we thought it would be. We blew out a team who had no reason to be on the field with us, and then ratcheted down the offense. I was glad to see that our backup defense still didn't allow a score, or even a bunch of big gains. We slammed the door shut on a bad team, which is what good teams should do.

I would have liked to have seen a few more big runs...just seems like we can't quite get that one to go very often. Against a lesser team, you should have a few big burners.

It's nice to get the W, but have to keep it in perspective. It gives the kids confidence, gives them something to feel good about...but now they have to prepare again for an SEC foe in 7 days. After the way Ole Miss lost to Vandy today, they'll be out to prove they're still a decent program. Time for Georgia to stand up and prove that they may be that, but we're just plain better.

Go Dawgs.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Just where does UGA Rank during "The Slide"?

My "friend" BuLLDawg likes to post the total number of victories for the teams in D-I football frequently, so that he can show us the fall of the Georgia program. As a comment to one of my recent blogs, he posted his findings, listing Georgia as ranking #29 in FBS for wins from 2006-week 2 of 2011. However, I submit that there are some teams that get by a little easier than others. So, I did my own quick tracking of these wins.

What I decided to do, was count wins against BCS Teams. That's wins against teams in BCS conferences (at the time of competition) and Notre Dame, which is the only independent BCS school.

(I will note that I did this in two ways - for teams IN BCS conferences, I went through the schedules and reduced the number of victories from BuLLDawg's work by the number of victories over non-bcs schools. For teams NOT in BCS conferences, I went through the schedules and counted wins and losses against BCS schools.

Here are my results:

Yes, Georgia has only 44 wins in the last 5 years + 2 games. That is not an incredibly encouraging statistic, when you compare it to total wins by many of the nation's programs. HOWEVER, when you look PURELY at BCS conference schools, Georgia ranks #10 in wins over that time period. Also important to note, is that UGA has the 3rd lowest number of wins deducted from its schedule. USC (3) and Oregon (9) are the only teams with fewer "inflating" wins.

Of the schools vying to become AQs, Boise State definitely looks to be at the Head of the Class, boasting a 7-1 record against BCS schools over the past 6 years. Of course, that means that in the past 6 seasons, they haven't played one season's worth of BCS schools. Well, I guess they've played a conference schedule's worth...and they're 7-1. Not too bad. TCU's 9-3 record is pretty good as well. Of course, TCU becomes a BCS school next season.

Anyway, I did all of that to say what some people are considering the end of the world, the destruction of the program, the worst time imaginable for Georgia Football, we're the 10th winningest program against BCS competition. (PS...that's higher than our All-Time Wins ranking of 13th)


**** I will admit that I was surprised NOT to see Alabama on BuLLDawg's list. I do not know why he left them off. After completing my work, I went back to check on Bama....they have 37 wins since 2006, and therefore should be listed above UGA, pushing us to #11. I now wonder if BuLLDawg was selective in his research, or if it was on oversight when publishing his findings.

Leather Helmet Blog: Challenging Your Fanship

A friend texted me this morning, "Leather Helmet Blog is calling you out."

My response: "I Don't Care."

And in actuality, that's true. I don't. I don't care, because I generally respect the opinion of ecdawg, and I don't know him to be a malicious sort. So, I was certain that whatever challenge was being tossed out was benign, and meant purely for conversation. So, I checked out the blog. He seems to suggest that I don't believe in critical opinions of coaching.

This is not true. If you are a reader of my blog, you know that I go to extreme lengths to examine the performance of our team and its coaches. I've done statistical analysis of YEARS worth of coaching, I've done play-by-play analysis of player performance and playcalls. I am a big fan of true critical discussion.

What I am NOT a fan of is the ridiculous and asinine nature of the growing Anti-Richt population which is, naturally, the most vocal of the fans on these boards and blogs. I keep reading things like "Bobo Draw, Bobo Screen, Bobo Draw, Punt." I implore people who write that kind of sensationalist garbage to go back through my breakdown of the last two games, and show me where anything resembling that playcalling series exists on a consistent basis. It doesn't.

And THAT is what this blog fights against. I don't just sit and say "Coach Richt doesn't win, but I don't care, I think he has a great haircut and a nice tan, and he should be our coach." That's idiotic. I'm not here to be the Champion of the "Save Richt's Job" cause. However, when I see that so many people are piling on a movement against him, and that it can cause a negative air to exist around our team, I have to speak out against that. My biggest issue with this is that it's GAME FRIKKING TWO, and the crowd isn't into the game in the first half....and then, they're leaving with four minutes to go, and us getting the ball down only by ten. That is NOT fan support. It's childish. It's "I'm not getting my way, so I'm taking my ball and going home."

That's what I can't stand. I remember fans leaving my last game in Sanford Stadium early. Yeah, we got our asses handed to us by Georgia Tech, and the fans bolted on us. It was a cold, rainy day, and they didn't want to watch it. The last time I left that field as a player, it was to a 2/3 empty stadium. I don't want any of the players on the team to experience that garbage, and when Richt came in and started winning titles, I never thought I'd see it again. But fans have a short memory, are a fickle bunch, and believe they are somehow "entitled" to more than a good day's entertainment.

So, no, I don't mind contrary opinions to my own. I don't mind people being critical of Bobo, or Grantham, or Richt or anyone. But I do ask that you at least educate yourself on the facts before you run around attacking them loudly and crying out for peoples' jobs.

We're 0-2, and that's not the way any of us want to start a football season. But, here's what we know:

We came out with the wrong game-plan against Boise. We looked a bit timid to pressure Kellen Moore, and when an injury forced us to play a less-experienced and less-talented player at a key position, this compounded the ease at which Moore would be able to slice us up in the air.

Our Rushing D came out better than most people thought they would. In the fourth quarter against USC, there were holes which didn't exist earlier in the game. People jumped on this saying conditioning was poor. This is a fallacy. Our line wasn't suddenly getting run over - but we did miss a couple of key assignments allowing for big holes.

Against USC in 2010, we scored 6 points. In 2011, 42 points. I'd say that's a healthy amount of improvement.

See, what bothers me isn't that people are upset with losing. I hate losing. There is honestly nothing on this planet that I hate more than losing. Show me someone who is ok with losing, and I'll show you someone who's done far too much of it. What bothers me is the outcry of "the sky is falling" over a loss in which we show 1) Significant improvement over a year prior and 2) Significant improvement over a week prior.

You want to be critical of the staff? Fine. Be Critical....but before you go crying for a retooling of the staff, see what these coaches do with this season. Why? Because no coach is going to come in and make this year better than Richt will make this year. You won't find an interim coach who is going to come in and suddenly turn this season on its ear. You won't find an interim coach who is going to come in and suddenly make us 2-0. We're 0-2. You have to deal with that, and move on. Be a FAN. Go out and be FANATICALLY SUPPORTIVE of your team. Give them a REASON to play for YOU. Right now, they're playing for themselves, and their coach. Those players love these coaches. That's why they devote themselves to the coaches for their careers. They trust them. They believe in them. And many of them, right now, don't care too much for alot of you.

Now, this is NOT to say that players don't care about fans. And this is not to say that ALL FANS are bad fans. I know that some people will read this and think "F&*! this guy. I cheer hard! I love this team. I stay till the last second of the game." Well, genius, I'm not talking to you. I'm talking to those who show up late, leave early, bitch about Bobo the whole game (while he's busy putting 42 points on Carolina) and then call the post-game show saying Richt should be fired. Players appreciate the true's the fair-weather know-nothings they get tired of. The problem is, again, those fans are the most vocal.

I don't ask people to blindly support everything our coaches say and do. Hell, I don't do that. Why would I expect you to? What I do ask, is that you actually support your team. Show them that you are with them, and their coaches. Some people believe that the following is supportive:

"I love Coach Richt, and I want him to do well, but (insert one or more of the following): we've lost too many games for me to believe he can do it anymore. We just don't seem to recruit the right athletes. Our program has fallen apart in the past four years. Everyone else wins titles, we beat Vandy. Elite players go to Bama, thugs and "projects" come to Georgia. He's just doesn't have it any more. He cares more about mission work than winning football games."

That's not supportive. Just because you say "Honey, I love you" doesn't mean "but your butt is the size of a houseboat" is supportive.

And some fans will say, "But Dukes, we've just been through so much, we've lost too many close games, we haven't won a title, it's been so hard to be a fan...I just don't know how much I have left in me." You're not a player, you're a fan. Your job is to be as LOUD as possible IN SUPPORT of YOUR TEAM at ALL TIMES. That's your job. You want the players and the coaches to do their jobs? Do yours.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hey, Idiots..the Defense didn't give up 45 points.

Interception for TD - 7 points

Fumble return for TD - 7 Points.

Fake punt for TD - 7 points.

45 - 21 = 24.

The defense gave up 24 points. That still ain't great, but it was good enough to win with an offense that scored 42 points itself.

Some will say, "they also had to defend the goal-line from the 5 when the offense fumbled, and you can't expect them to do that!" Yes, I can. I can expect them to force a fieldgoal, or a turnover. If the defense had forced a fieldgoal, that puts the defense's surrender at 20 points. That's definitely easier to swallow.

But, they didn't.

Still, 24 is NOT EQUAL to 45. Stop trying to hang this one on the defense.

GO Dawgs.

Fans cost the Dawgs a recruit.

Way to go, "fans" of UGA football. All of your whining and clamoring and posturing against Richt and Co have cost the Dawgs a stud DT recruit.....maybe.

Jordan Watkins said that he has a great relationship with Georgia's coaches, and couldn't imagine attending UGA if they weren't there. All of the fan fervor against the coaching staff caused him to pick Stanford over the Home school. Now, if UGA goes on a 10-game run, shuts all the petulant fans up, and finishes with an SEC crown...maybe that will give Watkins a good reason to change his mind.

But, as it stands, the fans are beginning to hurt the program more than Richt could. Richt's Dawgs lost 12 games in 2 seasons, and he signed one of the best classes in program history. Apparently, those KIDS believe in Richt and his ability to rebuild this program.

Maybe our fans could learn a thing or two from these kids.

Go Dawgs.

Oversigning is great if....

Much reading about oversigning today. I'll put it very simply: Oversigning is great if the important thing is winning titles, and not the welfare of the athlete. As long as these kids are just cogs in a wheel for winning games and somehow satisfying some internal need of the fan to be able to talk trash to everyone wearing another school's colors, then yes...oversign away! But, if we want to take care of student athletes. If we actually care for those who come into the program and want to see them succeed, then oversigning is a practice that should come to an end.

Sorry, I'm not cynical enough to support it. Sure, scholarships are one-year renewables...but when you sign a kid, you are expecting him to give to your program for a series of years, not be ready to get rid of him if years one and two aren't what you expect.

If we had cut at DJ Shockley at any point during his injury-plagued career, UGA would not have 2 SEC titles in the 00's.

Go Dawgs.

2nd half play-by-play recap....

I don't know why these two blogs didn't post to TheDawgbone...maybe his servers don't download feeds between the hours of midnight and 5am. I really don't know.

Still, the film-study blogs are up. Click on the links to the right to see them!

Go Dawgs!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

UGA - USC Film Study: Quarter Four

Final Quarter. I know what happens. I know how we lose. I can't envision it. We've been too damn good. Gonna be interesting to see what happens.

1st and 10 UGA at UGA 47. Shogun Ace (Boykin) Fake sweep to Boykin, quick screen out to Mitchell. Decent cut-block by King but their DB gets off the ground quick and makes the tackle at 8 yards. 2nd and 2. Shotgun Ace (Boykin) They show blitz, it comes, Murray hits a quick slant inside to Marlon Brown at the 38, and he fights down to the 31.

1st and 10 UGA at USC 31. Shotgun Ace (Boykin) They only rush four, we hit Malcom Mitchell on a 5-yard curl (or hook or stop or know, in that area where our playbook holds no routes). Gain of 8. 2nd and 2. Ace Formation (Crowell) basic HB slash to the left. Line gets good hat-on-hat movement. Gain of 4.

1st and 10 UGA at USC 19. Shotgun Ace (Crowell) They rush 6, Murray fires a quick slant to Bennett who weaves his way into the endzone. Touchdown Georgia!!!! We line up for the 2pt conversion. Shotgun Ace (Samuel) They rush four, Murray looks off the safety and fires to Tavarres King in the back of the endzone for the 2pt conversion!

UGA 28 - USC 28.

Kickoff. 8 yards deep - touchback.

1st and 10 USC at USC 20. 3-3-5 look - We stone them in the center, Jarvis Jones gets reached by the Tackle, and Jordan Love jumps too far inside, doesn't keep containment. Jones and Love combine for the stop, 9 yards downfield. 2nd and 1. 3-3-5 again. We call a corner blitz. Now, I don't know if Washington is supposed to rush outside the LT when the blitz call is on or not, but I'd say he probably is. It looks like John Jenkins has the A gap, Robinson the B, and Washington has outside contain, with Love coming on the blitz. The problem is, Washington rushes so hard upfield, he makes the tackle's block for him. This opens the B gap too wide, and though Robinson hits it, the FB can take him on and allow Lattimore to bounce it. Had Washington stayed at home, this play would have been a short gain, maybe even stuffed. Instead, Lattimore quickly gets to the second level and the result is a 24 yard gain.

1st and 10 USC at UGA 47. 3-3-5 Lattimore makes a great play. Initially, I thought Robinson made a bad read, but he didn't. He read the pulling guard, which should have taken him to Lattimore. But, John Jenkins exploded the Center so much, that Lattimore had to make a quick decision, and bounced the ball out, against his blocking. Motion before the play had taken Love to the other side of the field, and the secondary was in Man coverage, meaning our outside Corner had his back to the ball. Jenkins gets a hand on Lattimore, but doesn't slow him. Rambo makes the stop after a gain of 7. 2nd and 3. 3-4 look. We run a LB stunt with Jones and Tyson. Geathers gets great push. We plug the hole. Lattimore pushes forward for a yard. 3rd and 2. 3-4 look Timeout USC Now we come back in what looks like a 2-5-4. We stone their hole line. Lattimore finds no room whatsoever. Loss of 1. 4th and 3. (Crowd isn't nearly as loud as it should be). Timeout USC. 3-4 They run the short drop quick slant to Jeffrey who makes a great catch. Looks like Boykin outthought himself. Coverage looks to be zone...maybe man-zone, not sure. Boykin takes his eyes off Garcia just long enough to not be in position to intercept the ball. I'm not sure if his responsibility would have enabled to make that play, I'm just stating that if he hadn't looked out to Jeffrey, but instead remained focused on Garcia, we probably come away with that ball....or at least a tip.

1st and 10 USC at UGA 32. 3-4. They try to run off-tackle, but we crush it. Sean Williams flies up to make the tackle. 2nd and 9. 3-4 We run a blitz up the middle with Jarvis, who gets to Garcia just as he throws incomplete toward Ace Sanders. 3rd and 9. 3-4 We blitz Sulek and Commings, drop Abry Jones into short-zone coverage. Garcia throws an errant pass toward Jeffrey - knocked away by Rambo....nearly picked. 4th and 9. Field Goal Unit comes out - 49 yarder good.

USC 31-UGA 28

Kickoff. Boykin takes it at the 6, hurdles a man at the 25, gets across midfield down to the 37. Holy crap this kid is amazing. He made one bad cut, and it prevented him from scoring.

1st and 10 UGA at USC 37. Shotgun Ace (Crowell) Sweep right, 9 yard gain. 2nd and 1. Shotgun Ace (Crowell) They rush 6, Murray gets that same 4-yard hook pass (you know, the one we don't have) off, but Mitchell drops it. 3rd and 1. Shotgun Ace (Crowell) They rush four, Murray throws a slant low-and-ahead of Bennett - complete for a 3 yard gain and a first down. Just a great throw and catch - great ball placement, great concentration by Bennett.

1st and 10 UGA at USC 25. I Formation - Play-action flare to the Fullback, Figgins. 9 yard gain.
2nd and 1. I Formation. Looks like a HB Cutback play. This isn't exactly a counter, but it's the same philosophy, you get the whole defense moving in one direction, and allow the HB to cutback against the grain. The difference between this and a counter, is that a counter is generally drawn up with pulling blockers. The HB Cutback requires full run-action to one side, and then a backside seal which creates the hole. It is then completely up to the HB to make a move against an unblocked defender who has the responsibility of filling that hole. Crowell puts an arm out against the only guy close enough to make a play, then outruns everyone to the endzone. 16 yards, TOUCHDOWN GEORGIA!!!!!

UGA 35-USC 31

Kickoff 5 yards deep, brought out to the 25.

1st and 10 USC at USC 25. 3-3-5 Jones gets a good outside rush, but gets washed. Garcia throws a swing pass out to Lattimore, who picks up 6. We had no one in the flats. This looks to have been by design, as Commings had depth instead. 2nd and 4. 3-4. We blitz all four linebackers, and Robinson takes Lattimore down in the backfield. 3rd and 4. 3-4 very wide. Looks like we're playing pass rush all the way. Incomplete pass towards Ace Sanders. Pass Interference called immediately on Jordan Love. In replay, there's really no argument.

1st and 10 USC at USC 32. 3-4 They go Max-Protect, 7 guys to block 4. We can't get there. Garcia extends the play by rolling right, Ace Sanders comes open running through and behind the zone of Sean Williams.

1st and 10 USC at UGA 38. 3-3-5 This next one hurts - it hurts because our guys played responsibility well, but just got out positioned. The pulling guard on this play served his purpose well. Washington doesn't crash in from his end position, which is good assignment football. The problem is, he's now on an island with the backside OT - useless. Kwame drives the center back, but the center gets good position. Abry Jones gets swallowed up by a doubleteam, and the pulling guard puts a hat on Christian Robinson, who was filling the hole. This means there's no one there to tackle Lattimore. Lattimore squirts through, out into the secondary. Somehow, no one sees Alshon Jeffrey shove Boykin down from behind at the 15. This gives Lattimore the edge. Commings is able to track him down at the 3.

1st and Goal USC at the UGA 3. Timeout USC. 3-4 Geathers at NT, Jenkins at DE. Jenkins crashes through, stuffs Lattimore behind the line. 2nd and Goal. 3-4 They shift to unbalanced line right, we do not get into position on the flank quickly enough. They snap the ball and make the blocks on the edge. Lattimore drives in. How could we have prevented this one? A better angle by Amarlo Herrera might have gotten him to the point of attack. Boykin could have charged up into the line. Really, we were just out positioned on this one. They made every block they had to make. Touchdown USC.

USC 38 - UGA 35

Kickoff. Boykin takes it at goalline, returns it to 29.

1st and 10 UGA at UGA 29. Shotgun Ace (Crowell) This play was going to be a screen to Crowell. Clowney jumps inside, and nobody tries to put a hand on him. Cordy Glenn doesn't even seem to notice. Murray sees Clowney too late and doesn't tuck the ball away. Clowney spins him like a top, the ball pops out, and Ingram takes it in for his second score of the day.

USC 45 - UGA 35

Kickoff. Boykin takes it at 22, returns to UGA 38.

1st and 10 UGA at UGA 38. Shotgun Ace (Crowell) Murray reads man coverage, takes off on a run of 17.

1st and 10 UGA at USC 45. Shotgun Ace (Crowell) Pocket holds, Murray throws to Crowell on a drag, but he drops it. [FANS ARE LEAVING THE STADIUM?!?!?!?! Dear God, you guys SUCK! I can't believe that with a ten point game, us on their side of the 50, we've already proven we can field an onside kick, we've already proven we can score on them at any time...AND YOU GUYS ARE LEAVING?!?!?!?! I swear before all that is Holy, this team owes NOTHING to YOU. You want them to play their asses off because for some reason they OWE you something and you won't even stay in the stadium for the final three minutes of a close rivalry game? It's a wonder recruits want to come and play ball for you good-for-nothing sorry sacks of $#&*. Did I sum up my feelings on this issue? Good. I'll move on.] 2nd and 10. Shotgun Ace - They send four, and spy Murray. pocket holds. Murray hits Malcolm Mitchell on a short curl. The play gains 12.

1st and 10 UGA at USC 33. Shotgun Ace - Murray unleashes one deep to Tavarres King, who outjumps the USC Corner. TOUCHDOWN GEORGIA!!!

Yeah, and all you jackholes who left the stadium are probably trying to race back in now. Idiots.

USC 45 - UGA 42.

Kickoff - Onside Attempt - Fielded by Ingram. Kid's a great athlete.

1st and 10 USC at UGA 40. 3-4. They bunch us up, and use the pulling blocker to give Lattimore room. Gain of 7. 2nd and 3. 3-4. We crush them at the line and allow pursuit to get there. 3rd and 3. 3-4 They line up in the same unbalanced Ace formation they did on the goal-line. We have to know what's coming. Not surprisingly, Lattimore gets the edge when we run a twist and can't get to him.

1st and 10 USC at UGA 24. Kneel.


Formation Count:

Shotgun - 11

Under Center - 3 (2 I-Form, 1 Ace)

22 points scored in quarter. In the end, we did better in this game when we were consistently in Shotgun. Sorry, Anti-Bobos...but he seems to know what he's doing.

I'm glad to have watched that game. I will defend this team to anyone who attempts to say a bad word about them. Any no-good fan who decided to leave his/her seat and head for the gates, go ahead and turn in your season ticket packet. You're a Grade-A DB, and don't deserve to wear Red and Black. This kids are playing their hearts out, pushing themselves to the limit, and you repay them by walking out early. RIDICULOUS.

As for the "Fire Richt" camp - anybody who watched that game, and thinks this coaching staff can't coach a team to another Title should have his head examined. This team is going to do some big, big things. Watching them play, they're the best unit we've fielded since 2007...maybe since 2005. I believe Crowell is better than Moreno. I believe our receiving corps (as a whole) tops any that we've had at UGA in a long time. Our Defense has some serious playmakers, and the explosiveness of Boykin and Smith is unrivaled in recent history.

Do not be surprised if this team finishes at 10-2. Stranger things have happened.

Go Dawgs.

UGA - USC Film Study: Quarter Three

I'm so glad to finally be seeing this. I've been looking forward to it since Saturday. Let's get to it!

Kickoff. High kick taken by Boykin at the 20, returned out to UGA 38.

1st and 10 at UGA 38. I Formation - Murray fumbles snap, falls on ball for 2 yard loss. The play would have been a straight drop-back pass, no play-action. 2nd and 12. Ace Bunch. Jet Sweep to Tavarres King. King makes a move, picks up about 3. 3rd and 9. Shotgun Ace - 5 man rush (double LB blitz, DE drop to mid-zone) picked up. Murray hits Mitchell on a deep curl for a gain of 11.

1st and 10 at midfield. Shotgun Ace - Murray floats a high one towards Crowell downfield, nearly intercepted. Good play by Gilmore not biting inside on the curl. Bobo wanted him to bite since we'd just hit that play for a first down. On the previous play, Samuel had been in the backfield, and stayed in to block. On this one, Crowell was in and released. Gilmore saw it, and made a play on it. 2nd and 10 - I Formation off-tackle right. Blocking is decent in the line, good double teams, but the edge is sealed. Samuel cuts back, completely reversing field and runs away from a gang of tacklers. 18 yard run. Block in the back is called on "#10" (we don't have one on offense, but Wagers is referring to Orson Charles, who definitely shoved a guy in the back when he didn't need to). 10 yard penalty. 2nd and 19 - Shotgun Ace (Boykin at HB) - quick screen to Bennett. Bennett fumbles, but he's ruled down - and upheld on review somehow. 3rd and 18. Shotgun Ace (Boykin) - Sweep to Boykin - gains 10. He could have picked up more, but Dallas Lee dove at the feet of Linebacker #54. Boykin saw the missed block, and had to cut outside. Then, Ben Jones did the same thing at the feet of the same backer. Jones' effort is more effective, but because Boykin has to cut outside, he's cut off just past the original line of scrimmage. 4th and 9 Punt by Butler - 36 yards, out of bounds at 13.

1st down USC at USC 13. We appear to be in a Nickel 3-3-5. Our line get good push...but again, it appears Washington is taking his man on with the wrong shoulder, allowing Lattimore to bounce outside. Jarvis Jones has great backside pursuit though, and slams Lattimore to the turf after a 3 yard gain. 2nd and 7. Now back to the straight 3-4. High snap, looks like a designed QB run to the right but Garcia feigns a simple rollout until both Robinson and Herrera commit. Jones has outside contain, and sets his edge. Looks like it was a blitz call all the way, and Garcia just did what he needed. He cut it up inside of Jones, and past Herrera and Robinson. Basically, it was a poor angle by Herrera that hurt the most. Gain of 22. Flag on the play. Holding? At any rate, 2nd and 11. 3-4 Look again. We blitz all LBs. Either Tyson or Robinson busts here. It's a draw play to Lattimore, but looking at the scheme, Washington is rushing outside, Tyson is on the G, and Robinson takes on the Center. This wouldn't be an issue if Tyson played to the outside shoulder of the G, but he tries to rush inside...most likely it's because he read "pass" and was attempting to simply beat his man. This is why Draws are effective. You get the DL to make a move they shouldn't, and put themselves out of position...then you hand it off and hit them when they're off-balance. Robinson makes the tackle, but Lattimore picks up about 15.

1st and 10 at USC 25. regular 3-4 Abry Jones gets a great jump off the snap, but gets stoned. Still, their line gets no movement on us. Tackle by Chase Vasser and Robinson (Jones and Geathers join in). This play is actually a great representation of what run defense should look like in this alignment. Vasser seals the TE, Tyson and Geathers fit in on either side of the LT, Robinson steps up into the gap between LG and C, Abry Jones fills the gap between C and RG. Herrera has the gap between RG and RT completely shut down, and Jarvis Jones stands the TE up, and has the edge on his own side. This is a single-gap responsibility run defense. They get nothing. 2nd and 10. Regular 3-4 again. Basically a carbon-copy of the previous play by our Defense. They squeeze three yards out. 3rd and 7. Spurrier plays some substitution games, including a kid with no helmet jumping onto the field momentarily. Garcia is out of the game, "wildcat quarterback" in. Nickel 2-4-5 Defense. We give absolutely no respect to the thought of a pass out of this alignment. Robinson blows straight through the line at the snap, is taken on by two blockers, leaving Sean Williams free on the edge. He sets the edge hard against a pulling blocker, forcing the runner inside, directly into Abry Jones. No gain. 4th and 7. Smith takes it at the 25, makes some great moves, but needed one more. 47 yard punt, 32 on the return.

1st and 10 UGA at USC 43. Shotgun Ace - They run a CB blitz, we run a screen to Crowell...great playcall. 23 on the play.

1st and 10 at USC 20. Shotgun Ace - We run a sweep to the left. Crowell starts to outrun his blockers, but cuts it back up inside them. He may have gotten a little more if he had cut up sooner, but he didn't see it. He'll learn to be more patient. (funny enough, the commentator mentions him being a very patient runner moments after I type that last line - and he was patient...just not at the outset) Gain of 3. 2nd and 7. Shotgun Ace - They rush 7, we have 5 in protection. Murray gets this one off cleanly (thank God we didn't call a PA on that one). Pretty good pass out to Wooten across the FDL on a ten-yard in (maybe a dig..I wasn't a receiver) but he drops it. 3rd and 7. Shotgun Ace - Screen again - They rush 5 (DE stunt inside...death when the call is an outside screen), but we block it well (Dallas Lee - BIG BLOCK, son!!). Crowell dives to the pylon, touchdown Georgia!!!

UGA 20 - USC 14

Kickoff. Walsh gets it about 4 yards deep, but they bring it out. Gain out to the 20.

1st and 10 at USC 20. Call it a 3-3-5 (because Washington has his hand in the dirt) We get good push upfield...but the big play comes from Sanders Commings on the CB blitz! SACK! Commings took a great angle, the FB didn't see him til too late, and he brought the WOOD! We benefit from the play-action, where Garcia never gets a backside read. He has to trust his FB to pick up any pressure. Oops. 2nd and 17. Flags fly. False Start. 2nd and 22. (Crowd is finally making some noise. Welcome to the game, kiddies. Glad to have you.) 3-3-5 look again. We get great pressure off both edges, and bring a delayed rush by Robinson. Garcia scrambles and tosses one underhanded towards Lattimore. Incomplete. 3rd and 22. 3-3-5 look. Great pressure from Jarvis Jones, rocks Garcia in the mouth. Garcia gets the pass away to Ace Sanders, but Sanders is out behind the 20. 4th and 12. Punt downed at the UGA 43.

1st and 10 UGA at UGA 43. Shotgun Ace - Crowell takes handoff - looks like some kind of Read play. I'm confused, because I see Dallas Lee pull and kick out to the right, but the rest of the blocking doesn't look like any kind of power-right or sweep. Anyway, decently blocked..just not enough space to really get anything going. 2nd and 7. Shotgun Ace - They blitz 2 LBs, Murray gets the throw off - incomplete to Michael Bennett, and the refs call PI.

1st and 10 UGA at USC 42. I Form - Fumble on the handoff to Crowell, ball gets kicked forward, and rolls straight into Gilmore's arms (you've got to be kidding me) Huge return all the way to the UGA 5. Great tackle by Bennett to give his D a chance.

1st and Goal USC at UGA 5. 3-4 look - Robinson is either assigned to spy Garcia, or just makes a fantastic read, as he knifes into the backfield off the edge and wraps him up at the 8. 2nd and Goal - 3-3-5 look. Jones jumps offsides, flags come out. Garcia takes off and makes it into the endzone. The offside killed us. It put Jones far out of position, and opened a huge hole for Garcia. Wow. I'm not certain we would have stopped the play had Jones not jumped, but he would have been in better position to take on a blocker and make it more difficult for Garcia to get through. As it played out, there was one man between Garcia and the endzone, and that man was blocked by Lattimore. (Rambo got a nice shot on Garcia at the goalline...but that's totally moot).

USC 21 - UGA 20

Kickoff. Boykin takes it at the 2, bottled up at the 25.

1st and 10 UGA at UGA 21. I-Formation PlayAction - protection "broke down" quick...but it didn't look like the wild scramble by Murray was necessary. We get 2, then lose 10 because of a hold on Chris Burnette. 1st and 20. I Formation - Play Action Max Protect (we have 7 blockers) they bring 6 pass rushers. Pocket holds. Murray throws a wobbly pass toward Orson Charles and Antonio Allen undercuts it, picks it off, and takes it home. The worst part about this play? Israel Troupe was wide open on a 15-yard out route. He fooled Gilmore with a move inside, then cut out. By that time, Murray had already decided on his throw, and wouldn't have seen it. Instead, he tried to squeeze a pass through tight man-coverage, and didn't throw a good enough ball to get it done. The ball was wobbly, and behind Orson, allowing the pick. If Murray had put the ball about three feet more to the left, Allen would not have been able to get to it, and we either would have had a big play, or a second-and-long. Instead, touchdown South Carolina.

USC 28-UGA 20

Kickoff. Taken by Boykin at the 2, returned to the 12.

1st and 10 UGA at UGA 12. Shotgun Ace. Short pass over to Tavarres King on what looks like a short hook route of some sort. It's a little interesting...he runs the route, then just does a few little crow-hops inside as their DB moves to the flats. (By the way - this is the kind of pass many Bobo-haters say doesn't exist in the UGA playbook) Gain of 7. 2nd and 3. Shotgun Ace - Simple post to Malcom Mitchell. 12 yard gain.

1st and 10 at UGA 31. Shotgun Ace - they rush 5, Murray floats it out quick to Marlon Brown in the flats. 3-yard pass, Brown turns it into an 8 yard gain. 2nd and 2. Shotgun Ace - quick pass out to Samuel in the flats. 7 yard gain for a 1st down.

1st and 10 UGA at UGA 46

End of 3rd Quarter, USC 28-UGA 20.

Ok, I've now watched three quarters of this game, and I have absolutely no idea how anyone can say that South Carolina is more talented or has outplayed us on either offense or defense. On Special Teams they had a huge play, and we had a great play nullified, so give them the edge there on execution, fine. But our offense is beating up their defense, and our defense has surrendered 2 scores - one on a 5-yard drive. So...yeah, I'm not buying it.

This is terrible - it's like the Kentucky game two years ago. I know the outcome, and I still can't believe it. Watching this game, I simply can not believe we don't end up winning it.

Formation Count -

Under Center - 6 (5 I-formation, 1 Ace)
Shotgun - 13

The only score we have in quarter 3 comes on an all-shotgun drive. Out of I-Formation, we give up a fumble that goes back to the 5, and a pick-6. For all you Bobo-and-Richt haters out there, I don't think that's "REAL GEORGIA FOOTBALL."

On Defense, we're doing a great job of mixing in blitzes and confusing the hell out of Garcia. The offense is asking alot of the the D in this game by giving the ball up. The score of this game could easily be 27-14 at this point, in favor of UGA. Unbelievable. Moving into the 4th quarter...

For those interested in Dan Mullen...

I submit this: For 59:30, the MSU gamplan had been to run a shotgun-based read-option game. They had racked up enough points using that offense to be only one score back of Auburn in the waning moments. They had picked up first down after first down, and scored touchdown after touchdown out of that offense.

With the ball on the two yard line, and a time out remaining, Mullen goes to the I-Formation and attempts a power run which is stuffed and MSU is forced to call their final timeout with 10 seconds remaining. They're on the 2 yardline. They have 10 seconds. Conventional wisdom says, you can get two plays in if the first is a pass. I mean, if you want to bang it in, fine...but you could try something else FIRST and then resort to the run after...because if you run the ball, the game is or lose. If you throw it, you can bail yourself out.

Mullen calls an I-Formation Option play which is stuffed at the goal-line, and time runs out.

This is the coach that people think could do a better job running the Georgia Football Program.

I mean, so many folks hate Bobo for not adhering to what works...but at least he does his experimentation throughout the game. You're not gonna find him "trying something out" on the 2 yard line, down by 7, with 10 seconds to go. Mullen tried to "Man Up" and "Get Tough" against Auburn....a team whose D-Line is much more accustomed to that style of play than MSU's is.

Playcalls like that definitely don't win you titles. I'll keep Mark Richt, thanks.

Go Dawgs.

2nd Half Film Study still to follow

Hey Dawgfans! Sorry for the delay in getting the film study of the 2nd half up. I still haven't seen it...and even though I know the sour results, I'm really looking forward to the avalanche of points we put on the board. If you haven't had a chance to view the Film study of the first and second quarters, click on the links to the right and check 'em out.

It's funny how many comments I've read after this game talking about Bobo's abandonment of the I-Formation. The Under-Center to Shotgun ratio was about 50/50 in the first half. Now, like I said, I haven't seen the second half yet....but I don't get the point-of-view given what I've seen.

It is odd that we were heavily in the I in the first quarter, and then heavily in shotgun in the second....but you can also say that we scored a touchdown out of shotgun in the second, and that was the only TD we scored in the half.

Anyway, I'll post the third and fourth quarters this evening. You East Coast folk will probably have to wait til tomorrow morning to read 'em since I'm in Los Angeles.

'Til then (or until I see something else that fires me up and inspires another post today),


Sunday, September 11, 2011

UGA - USC Film Study: Quarter Two

So, we didn't get all we wanted out of the first quarter, but we do have a six-point lead, the ball in their territory, we haven't turned it over, and we've bottled up their offense. I'd say most Georgia fans right now feel pretty good about progress made in week 2. We've seen some explosive plays, more "REAL GEORGIA FOOTBALL" playcalling (in quotes because it's a dumb term, in caps because I've heard and read this dumb term too many times to count) and much improved run-blocking from the O-line. Most probably believe that we're on the verge of flipping the lights on and really running away with it.

SO WHY IS THE STADIUM SO QUIET??!?! Seriously, on USC's third downs, I've hardly heard anything out of the fans. I can't believe Sanford isn't rocking. So many fans are ready to call out the manhood of the players, and they themselves aren't willing to get up and make any noise? That is the saddest commentary on the state of the football program at the moment - the fanship is lackluster. There, I said it.

Now, on to quarter 2.

3rd and 3 UGA at the USC 31. Shotgun bunch formation with Crowell taking the snap. Crowell runs it right, leaps for the 1st down across the 25.

1st and 10 UGA - I-Formation - Figgins motions to make it Weak-I right. Crowell takes handoff makes the read inside and gets 3. 2nd and 7. Shotgun Ace. Handoff to Boykin. He gets 8, but it looks like while Lee and Jones are pulling, Jones doesn't get his head around fast enough to see a man he could block on the inside. I don't know the exact assignments, but it appears that Jones should have blocked the LB coming from the inside, to allow a cutback lane. 3rd and 2 at USC 16. Shotgun Ace, Boykin in at HB. USC rushes 4, pocket holds. Murray throws into double-coverage and behind Marlon Brown. He locked in on Brown the whole time. Ball is tipped and nearly picked. Boykin was open on a swing-pass dump off for the first. Send out the FG team. Walsh shanks it. 33-yd FG no good.

1st and 10 USC at USC 20 (by rule, after a missed FG from inside the 20, ball gets placed at the 20) Toss-sweep shut down by Mike Gilliard for a gain of only 2. 2nd and 8. Penalty USC, 2nd and 13. They try a screen, Jarvis Jones blows it up. Gain of 1. 3rd and 11. Garcia escapes pressure, picks up 10. 4th and 1. Teams swap timeouts. USC calls another. Jesus. Punt team comes on. Huge kick. Fair Catch at 12. 60 yard punt.

1st and 10 UGA at UGA 12. Shotgun Ace - Sweep Left, Crowell gets strung out to sideline, gain of 1. What happened here is that Charles picked up a hard inside rush by the DE, and did it well...but in the wash, Jones couldn't get out and onto the linebacker. If he had, Crowell would have been able to cut upfield. Instead, LB #45 strung the play out. 2nd and 9. Shotgun Ace - Playaction-sweep Bootleg screen call. 7-man rush by USC. Glenn gets beat bad inside by Jadaveon Clowney, but this play never had a chance. In actuality, it's the blitz by #21 that kiss the play. Had he not blitzed, Murray had room on his boot, and no one was watching Crowell on the screen. Still, five guys to block seven on a slow-developing play, not a chance. Good playcall by USC, as they had not blitzed often. Murray gets leveled by Clowney at the 5. 3rd and 16. Shotgun Ace - handoff to Crowell for a gain of 5. Crowd boos the playcall. Shame on all of you. 4th and 11. 46-yard punt, Sanders is bottled up after a 3 yard return.

1st and 10 USC at USC 47. We blow up their line, but Commings misses a tackle in the backfield. He trips Lattimore, who gets 6. 2nd and 4 at UGA 47. Center snaps it without Garcia being ready. 3rd and 3 at UGA 46. We crash inside, again it's Cornelius Washington giving up the outside containment when the LB is already filling the gap. As a result, Lattimore has a free run outside. He gains about 9.

1st down USC at UGA 38. We stuff the middle, Lattimore bounces it outside for about 3 yards. Again, Washington appears too quick to jump inside. 2nd and 7. Four man rush. Washington beats his man, but can't get to Garcia who rolls right. He throws a high one up for Jeffrey, and Brandon Smith falls as he defends. Touchdown South Carolina.

USC 7 - UGA 6

Kickoff. Boykin takes it a yard deep and breaks a few tackles on a 36 yard return.

1st and 10 UGA at UGA 36. Shotgun ace. Mitchell in motion. Jet Sweep to Mitchell. Strung out to sideline. Richard Samuel leaves his feet on an attempted block and falls to the ground. This trips Bean, preventing him from getting to his block. All in all, our linemen couldn't get out and get on the blocks that would have opened this play up. No gain. 2nd and 10. Shotgun Ace - Bean leans back before the snap, 5 yard penalty. 2nd and 14 - I Formation Play-Action, pocket breaks down immediately because of hard speed rush by both DE. Murray tucks it and runs for 23 yards.

1st and 10 at USC 45. I Formation. Looks like a Power off-tackle to Samuel. Linebacker follows pulling guard to the ball and cuts him down after gain of 3. 2nd and 7. I Formation - ISO play right. Samuel rumbles for a ten-yard gain.

1st and 10 at USC 35. I Formation. Handoff to Samuel. Blitzing LB misses him 3 yards deep. Decent blocking at the onset, but Samuel runs into Dallas Lee, then gains 2. 2nd and 8. I Formation. Ogletree Motions into Weak-I. Handoff to Crowell. This play fails because of Anderson and Burnette. It appears that Bean and Burnette don't get their call together, and both try to block the same DE. As a result, Zander is forced to pick up the OLB, and no one blocks Gilmore. This forces Crowell to cut up, and Taylor, the DE, is able to make the play. 3rd and 6. Shotgun Ace with Boykin at HB. Four-man rush, pocket holds. Murray goes deep for a wide-open Wooten, 26 yards for the TD!

UGA 13 - USC 7.

Kickoff. ONSIDE KICK RECOVERED BY UGA!!!!! It's called offside. I've run this play back about 12 times, and it does not look like he was offsides. If anything, too close to throw the flag. Penn Wagers can lick my *(#* %Y*(# and then U%() my *%(Y(% and of course, he should also &Y*(% my (*)&*()% and stick his %&()$ up a horse's %*((&()$ and &Y(*)%()#&*)($*(&^finger &%*()&()# until he's too tired to continue.

Kickoff. Returned to USC 29.

1st and 10 USC at USC 29. Garcia tries the quick-out again, dropped. 2nd and 10. Corner blitz by Boykin. Garcia is able to get it away, but gets dragged down. 3rd and 10. We blitz heavy - Sulek and Williams off the left side. Williams just misses getting there. Garcia gets a short completion off to Ace Sanders. 4th and 7. They run a fake punt. There has been much rabble about this. "How could we give one up after the Sugar Bowl against WVU?" Well...let's see, 4th and 7 at their own 33, and we know there's no way they can stop us from that close. No one would have seen it coming. It was a great play call. That being said, we were in position to make the play, and didn't. Derrick Owens made a terrible play at the ballcarrier. He dove straight at the big man's feet instead of taking him, or a blocker on. He took himself out of the play, and effectively cut off two Dawgs who were in pursuit. This happened BEHIND THE LOS. If he even slows #6 down at all, the play fails. He didn't, it succeeded - big time. Then, down the field, Boykin does the same thing. TD South Carolina.

USC 14 - UGA 13.

Kickoff. Fair catch at UGA 32.

1st down UGA at UGA 32. Shotgun Ace - Screen is set up very well, but Murray floats the ball too high for Crowell, it falls incomplete. 2nd and 10. Shotgun Ace. Murray tucks and runs, gains 2. Didn't look like a designed draw, but he had green. 3rd and 8. Shotgun Ace. Timeout UGA. 3rd and 8. Shotgun Ace. Checkdown to Samuel dropped. 4th and 8. Punt. Fair Catch at USC 24.

1st and 10 USC at USC 24. Delayed handoff to Lattimore. Jarvis on a twist, runs right past Lattimore. Gain of 16.

1st and 10 USC at USC 40. Fake the delay, attempt a screen. Cornelius Washington knocks the pass down. 2nd and 10. We run a double-twist with a QB spy up front. Sack by Christian Robinson. 3rd and 13. Three-man rush, zone coverage. Sulek can't match up with Alshon Jeffrey.

1st and 10 USC at UGA 43. Clock play. 2nd and 10. Garcia under duress, throws a bomb. It's tipped around at the line, intercepted by Brandon Boykin who immediately kneels it at the one. It's probably a smart play, and probably too much to ask that Boykin try to run it back...but darn it, that woulda been cool to see.

Halftime Score: USC 14- UGA 13.

Formation Selection:

Under Center - 6

Shotgun - 13.

So, we scored an actual touchdown in this quarter, and it came out of a shotgun formation...after five straight I-Formation plays in a row (two of which had resulted in first down, but the last two of which had been stuffed). So, what we have here is an OC who changed from what wasn't working to something else, and a touchdown was the result. We also had a missed fieldgoal from a guy who should be "automatic" inside of 40 yards. Is Blair Walsh suffering from the ol' "Senior Slump"? There was also a big special teams breakdown, and a big special teams success nullified by an offsides call which was very marginal. (In all fairness, you could really argue that call either way. It certainly looked like Walsh's foot struck the ball before Rambo's foot touched the grass, but I can't know for sure.) Such is life...and unfortunately for the Dawgs of recent, such is repetitive.

Back with 2nd half film study later. For now, I'm gonna eat!

Go Dawgs!

UGA - USC Film Study: Quarter One

Opening Kickoff: We win the toss (hey, we're 2-0 on that this year) and elect to kick (always my against Boise State?) Touchback.

USC 1st and ten at the 20. Inside run to Lattimore - Our D-Line gets good movement, stop Lattimore for 3 yard gain. Geathers with the stop. 2nd and 7. We bring safety blitz, force Garcia to dump ball off. (Lucky he did, as Vance and Herrera both get sucked in on Play Action and leave a man open over the middle. 3rd and 1. Bad camera angle to start play... Tyson gets good penetration, but Washington gets stoned by tackle. Lattimore starts right, but Tyson cuts that off. Lattimore is able to squeeze the play back to the left and get the first.

1st and 10 at USC 32. Four man rush. We run a twist on the line, but it's too slow to develop. Washington is the last man off the ball - not something we want to see out of a speed-rusher on the edge. Garcia has time, misses Ace Sanders on the out. 2nd and 10. Four man rush again. Washington makes an inside move and gets washed. Garcia rolls out right, throws on the run and misses - looks like a throw-away. 3rd and 10 - Georgia runs a blitz, bringing Commings from the corner, and sending Sulek around his outside. Sulek is redirected by RB, can't get to Garcia in time, but Garcia misses badly. Incomplete. 4th and 10. Punt - Smith attempts to field the rolling ball, bobbles and falls on it.

1st and 10 UGA at Georgia 18. I Formation - Our line fires off, crushes their D-line. Huge hole. Samuel rushes for 12 yards.

1st and 10 at Georgia 30. I Formation - Weak-side toss to Samuel. Dallas Lee pulls, doesn't make a great block on the DE. Looks as if he was off-balance. Samuel has to redirect, backside pursuit is able to catch him. The rest of the OL is on the other side of the LOS. 2nd and 11. I-Form playaction. Max protect fake - meaning it's a 3-man route to start. All 3 are covered, as USC has 7 in coverage. HB and FB escape late, Murray looks to run, pulls up and throws a check-down to Figgins. Gain of 2. 3rd and 9. Shotgun, single back. Bean gets beat on an outside rush at the snap, Murray is lucky not to get sacked. He scrambles for one yard. The basic problem for Bean on this one is that he doesn't really move at the snap - he takes a small step with his outside foot, but doesn't get any depth, or any lateral movement. This allows the DE to blow past him. Easily could have been a holding call. 4th and 8. Punt. Butler knocks it 53 yards - fair catch. Butler is run into, but it looks like the guy was blocked into him. No call.

(Russ looks sleepy)

1st and ten USC at USC 15 - Deep handoff to Lattimore - we beat them at the point of attack, but Washington gets turned inside. The issue here is that in Grantham's 3-4, each man has 1 gap to take care of. At the snap of the ball, Christian Robinson makes a read and flies into the gap between G and T. That means Washington is responsible for outside contain. He gets forced inside, Lattimore is able to make the read and the cut outside. Lattimore gets 12.

1st and 10 at USC 27. Our D stands them up at the LOS, Lattimore is able to get about 3. 2nd and 7. Play-action. Four-man rush with another twist at the Nose. Garcia hits Jeffrey over the middle. Looks like we were in a man-under cover 2 - both ILBs stepped up to defend runningbacks, Commings turns his back to the line and runs deep with the wideout, Boykin stays with Ace Sanders. Williams and Rambo are playing deep 1/2s. If that's the case, I don't understand why Smith didn't go with Jeffrey when Jeffrey made his cut. Watched it 10 times. Definitely a bust by Smith. Still, Rambo makes a sure tackle.

1st and 10 at USC 44 - Fake HB sweep left, toss R to WR (nice playcall). Commings makes great play on the block of Jeffrey, blows the play up at LOS. He saw it all the way. 2nd and 10. Shotgun - quick pass. Their whole O-line cut-blocks our Dline. Garcia's pass is too high for Jeffrey. 3rd and 10. Shotgun. Washington almost jumps offside, but stalls, then blows past their OT to force another bad throw by Garcia. 4th and 10. Punt - fair catch at 15. Antonia Allen runs into him, 15 yard penalty. Penn Wagers has to call the penalty, and you can see a little piece of him die inside.

(That litter of bulldog puppies is too cute!)

1st and 10 UGA at UGA 30. Ace formation - We blow them off the ball, Crowell makes a couple good cuts, gets 15 yards.

1st and 10 at UGA 45. Ace Formation - Same play, Crowell breaks a tackle, cuts it back, picks up close to 30.

1st and 10 at USC 26. I-Formation - We run a lead play to the weak side. The hole is there, but the LB cuts Figgins' legs out from under him - Figgins didn't get low enough, they pile up in the hole and Samuel is unable to hurdle them successfully. He sommersaults to the ground after a gain of 3. 2nd and 7. I-Formation. We snap it before they're ready and drive the whole line backwards. Pickup of 4. 3rd and 3. Shotgun-single back (?) Bean gets beat, this time on an inside move and Murray throws a poor pass as he his hit. Murray double-clutched this one. If he had thrown it when he initially wanted to, it's most likely a first-down to Wooten. Instead, he's hit, it's incomplete, it's 4th down. We send out the fieldgoal unit. 37 yard FG good.

Kickoff. Touchback. Love it.

1st and 10 USC at USC 20. - Zone-read fake, quick pass out to Alshon Jeffrey. We had a Corner blitz on. They get 8. 2nd and 2. Garcia rolls out right, Tries to hit Jeffrey on the come-back, but Bacarri Rambo picks it off!

1st and 10 UGA at USC 42. - Ace Formation - Ben Jones gets destroyed at the snap, driven back 3 yards. Crowell has nowhere to go. Makes his first move 3 yards in backfield, carries a few men across the 40. 2nd and 8 - Shotgun Ace - sweep to Crowell, gain of 13.

1st and 10 at USC 27. - Shotgun Ace - Murray throws over the head of TK. Slight pressure by DE, but Samuel blocked him pretty well. 2nd and 10. I-Formation - Right side of line doesn't get much movement. Samuel gains 1.5, but runs into the LBs there. He may have had a little crease to the left, but didn't see it. Call it 3rd and 9. Shotgun Ace - Draw to Crowell. Backside LB comes on blitz, is able to track Crowell down and trip him. Nothing but green in front of him. Frustrating gain of 5. 4th and 4. Send out Walsh. 39-yd FG good.

Kickoff. Touchback. Can't get much better.

1st and 10 USC at USC 20. Our D-Line stones them, stuffs Lattimore at LOS. 2nd and 10. Garcia throws high, Boykin drops a pick-6. 3rd and 10. Cornelius Washington misses a tackle in the backfield, but Robinson and Smith bring Lattimore down before he can reach the 1st. 4th and 2. Snapper rolls the ball to the punter, fair catch called.

1st and 10 UGA at UGA37. I-Formation play-action to Figgins, gain of 29.

1st and 10 UGA at USC 38. I-Form, Iso Handoff to Samuel, Nose-tackle gets into the A-gap, either Jones doesn't chip him, or Chris Burnette doesn't cut him off. Otherwise, play was there. 2nd and 10. I Form - run the Iso to the right. Samuel loses his balance when he tries to avoid an oncoming defender. Down at 31. 3rd and 3.

End of First Quarter. UGA 6 - USC 0. Russ looks ready to nap.

Formation selection -

13 snaps under center, 9 from I-Formation.

4 Shotgun plays

Someone said to me that Richt is too conservative, that we should have gone for the 4th down plays instead of kicking field goals. I disagree. Neither of those 4th down-and-distance calls were close to a "lock" as a first-down, and neither time would failure have given the opposing team terrible field position. If it's 4th and 3 at the 5, maybe you go for it....but at the 25, you don't. At the 31, you don't - especially if you got the ball on a turnover. You ALWAYS want points after a turnover. 30-40 yard kicks should be gimmies. The shorter kicks can actually be harder depending on the angle. This is why you see coaches less likely to go for it on 4th from between their 20 and 30 yardlines if the distance to gain is 3 yards or more.

UGA-USC Film Study...Opening Thoughts

Ok, let me go ahead and put this out there - I have not yet seen one second of the UGA-USC game. I was at work while the game was played, and I have not watched any sportscenter. If it weren't for the fact that I received zero texts complaining about our uniforms, I wouldn't even know that we'd gone with the classic red hats and red-on-silver. All I know is that once again, we failed to get it done.

However, I can say that our team definitely played better this week than last. Our defense gave up 24 points, and while that is not the mark of an elite group, that's eleven points better than last week. And, in actuality, it's markedly less than our offense achieved, 42 points. Still, the job of the defense is to prevent the other offense from getting into the endzone, and three times they failed at that job....and the "most costly" of those came in the fourth quarter. I put that term in quotes because in actuality, a first quarter td hurts just as much as a fourth quarter touchdown, though the perception is always different.

For whatever reason, Georgia just isn't a team that gets the job done right now. That pains me as a former player, and it pains me as a fan.

But, it will not prevent me from saying we'll go 10-2 this year. Glad we went ahead and got those losses out of the way.

Go Dawgs.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I'm not going to predict a USC victory.

I'm not going to. I know that right now, that's the "in" thing for the UGA bloggers to do. Right now, it's hip and cool to hate on Mark Richt and this team. Right now it's very "trendy" to pick against the Dawgs because at the end of the day, what matters isn't whether the team wins or loses, but how much face you can save as a prognosticator, right?




I won't do it. I'm not going to pick South Carolina. And, I'm not going to "not" pick South Carolina just to not pick them, I'm not going to pick them because I think Georgia is going to win. What's more - I'm going to think Georgia is going to win every game from now until the end of the season. I can promise you, if we are 0-8, I'm gonna pick us to win the 9th...and if we lose the 9th, I'm gonna pick us to win #10. Why? Because I understand one very simple, very fundamental thing that too many bloggers today are forgetting.

We don't know $#!t about the future. I can line up all kinds of reasons why South Carolina should bowl over us, and I can hammer out in-depth analysis on games in the series, games by Georgia after a loss, Mark Richt's record when there's a light rain on Friday evening, and his left shoelace is untied. (Ok, maybe I don't do THAT much research) I could also spout off numbers about how successful this defense has been against the run, and how terrible the USC secondary has appeared. I could use every tool at my disposal, and be just as wrong as if I threw a dart at a wall painted in Garnet and White on one side, and Red and Black on the other.

So, I'm gonna side with Georgia. I'm a Georgia fan. I'm a Georgia man. I'm not going to let one stupid loss to Boise, or a terribly played bowl game, or successive years of backsliding pull me from that. And I am DAMN SURE not going to root for us to lose just so we can fire Mark Richt.
At this point, it has nothing to do with faith or belief or any of that. The Georgia Bulldogs are not a supernatural being who will forgive my Sins. They are not a dust-sprinkling fairy who needs me to clap. The Georgia Bulldogs are a football team, and I for one hope they win every game from here on out. I hope they smash AL or AU or LSU or MSU in the SECCG, and then win whatever bowl. And then, I hope that the first words out of Mark Richt's mouth at the podium afterwards are:

"I told you I knew what the hell I was doing!"

Go Dawgs.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Did Mark Richt lose his hairbrush in 2005?

Ok, I know many of you are very puzzled as to the subject line of this one. But, I had a very strange thought earlier....

2005 - The last of the "Great" seasons under Richt (I've explained previously why 2007 is not included...and if you haven't been a longtime reader of my blog, hit the navigation bar over on the right and do some research!). The team drops a close Florida game (due to DJ's injury) en-route to an SEC Title game appearance against LSU.
We beat Lester Miles and Company, and earn a berth to the Sugar Bowl. Is it possible that this simple fact was the undoing of Mark Richt as the Head Coach at UGA?

I offer you this: At some point during the week leading up to the Sugar Bowl, an operative in the team hotel (and an LSU fan to boot) absconded with Mark Richt's hairbrush, or perhaps just a few locks from its bristles. The hair was then air-freighted to Baton Rouge, fashioned into a voodoo doll of some sort and a curse was levied against Mark Richt for the remainder of his tenure in Athens.

You may recall, the Sugar Bowl was displaced due to damage at the Superdome sustained during Hurricane Katrina, and was played at the Georgia Dome instead. This means that the Dawgs had to return to the scene of their victory over LSU - and the place where the cosmic spirits would be most surely aligned against them - "Returning to the scene of the crime", as it were. During the first half, the Dawgs came out and laid a fat egg on the field at the Georgia Dome, but against all Creole odds, fought back to within striking distance. Then, the curse took hold, and the Dawgs somehow allowed a fake punt to beat them when everyone who'd ever heard of the sport of football could tell you the fake was coming.

2006 - The team plays like a group of kids lost in the wilderness. After enough damage is done, they storm through the end of their schedule, giving the UGA faithful hope for a renewed glory.

2007 - Georgia uncharacteristically loses to South Carolina and follows that up with a complete dismantling at the hands of a not-very-great Tennessee team who uses a cunning deployment of play-action rollouts (sneaky sneaky) to dominate. Again, Georgia storms back at the end of the season, but is looked over in favor of ...wait for it....LSU when the BCS ballots are counted. Still, with Richt in charge and the strong finish, Fans believe 2008 will be a year they've all waited for.

2008 - The Dawgs begin the season at #1, yet after winning 4 straight games, slide in the polls before being crushed by Alabama at home. Surprisingly, the Dawgs are able to beat the Death Valley curse, and whip the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge. Some would go on to say that this was purely because Jarret Lee himself is the most cursed player in college football, after he bookends the game with Pick-Sixes to Darryl Gamble. The difference in the game? 14 points. Early damage lasted, though, as the Dawgs drop two more games in the second half of the season (including Richt's only loss to Georgia Tech), and suffer through the kind of losses to injury usually reserved for undermanned batallions on the battlefield.

2009 - Newly annointed "Team Player" Joe Cox tosses the ball to the defense almost as often as the endzone, and the Dawgs are unable to muster any kind of true challenge in the SEC east. Notably awful is a loss to Kentucky whose 2nd half comeback is likely considered "miraculous" in Lexington...but looks awfully more like "accursed" in Athens. Even worse is a penalty levied against AJ Green for "excessive celebration. This penalty occurs during a game against...LSU...and defines what will become a forgettable season of mistakes.

2010 - The bad gets worse as Georgia loses its best offensive playmaker for four games at the start of the season to possibly the weakest NCAA investigation of all time. A spell appears to have been cast over the defense which makes receivers running wheel-routes completely invisible. A young quarterback looks amazing against low-level talent, but consistently falters against winning teams - call it a "big game" curse, if you'd like. Still, the young talent on both sides of the ball gives hope of a better future.

2011 - Well, it sure ain't started well.

I'm just saying...if there's some bad ju-ju floating around, we might want to find out who was working at the team hotel in Atlanta back in 2005.

Go Dawgs!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Give Sulek his due.

Much attention has been paid to the fact that Jeremy Sulek, a walk-on, was called on to play in place of injured Alec Ogletree this week.

Let me explain something to you - first off, just because a kid is a walk-on doesn't mean he's not talented. The kid finished with 7 tackles on the day, and that's nothing to sneeze at. In fact, over in South Carolina, they're applauding the 7-tackle debut of Jadeveon Clowney. Also, throughout the entirety of Coach Richt's tenure in Athens, there have been walk-ons who have made good.

JT Wall, walk-on.
Verron Haynes, walk-on.
Tra Battle, walk-on.
Reuben Faloughi, walk-on.

There have been others, naturally...but these are four who have done much more than simply been "every now and again" guys. Sometimes a kid just slides under the radar. Coaches aren't known for just tossing in walk-ons for no reason.

Case in point...2000 - I was the fifth Defensive End on the team. Charles Grant, Josh Mallard, Bruce Adrine and Demetric Evans all played in front of me. Nic Clemons was a true freshman, as were Will Thompson and Arnold Harrison. Clemons, Thompson and Harrison were redshirting. I can promise you, without a hint of doubt, that if all four of the players in front of me had gone down with injuries, I would still have been on the sideline. I can promise you that. Redshirts would have been burned, or positions changes would have happened. Why? Because our team would have been better off with four defensive tackles, or with one of the highly-talented freshmen in the position than with me. The guys on the other side of the ball were simply far bigger, and though I played with a lot of passion and a lot of intelligence, I wasn't going to hold my own for 60 minutes against guys who outweighed me by 100 lbs.

I say all of that to say this - If Sulek is the guy who gives us the best chance to win, then what does it matter that the kid is a walk-on? "Sulek did not hold any scholarship offers..." who cares? Perhaps he didn't grow into his body until he was 20 years old. I have no idea. Now, is he as naturally gifted as Amarlo Herrera? Probably not. But, if Amarlo Herrera isn't running the defense we're calling, will his talent matter?

Counter Point: There were a few plays on Saturday when Sulek was a bit confused about his coverages. Now, is it possible that if Herrera had been the one making the mistakes, he could have made a better recovery? Sure, that's possible. But, I'll take the less naturally-gifted kid who's in the right place 85% of the time over the highly-talented kid who is only in the right place 50% of the time.

Of course, this will cause the fanbase to argue: "But Dukes! We're GEORGIA! We should never be in a position where an injury to a safety-turned-linebacker leaves us without another high-quality athlete ready to step in. Our talent-base, history, and resources should always produce enough high-level recruits to never deal with that kind of dropoff." To this, I have to agree. And, in an ideal world, America doesn't suffer 10% unemployment, a tank of gas doesn't cost me a month's rent, and ice cream is a perfectly acceptable diet food. The fact remains that we are in the position we're in. We lost two linebackers (Dowtin, Samuel) as a result of off-season moves, and we apparently don't do nearly as much cross-training as I thought we did in the linebacking corps. Still, we are in the position we're in. As such, it is the coaching staff's responsibility to find the answer. And believe it or not, they do know a hell of a lot more about this game and this team than any of us do.

So, I'll defer to them. Coach Grantham has said he is in the practice of fielding the 11 players who give us the best chance to win. If one of those 11 is Jeremy Sulek, then damnit, support the kid and cheer him loudly. Another walk-on making good - proud to see it.

Go Dawgs!