Isaiah Crowell played well on Saturday, but please - don't annoint him. When I saw his statement after the game: "I couldn't have played any better," I began to question him a bit. I mean, I get it. He's 18, he's a bit arrogant, and he thinks the world is his. I understand that. I played with some guys like that. Of course, we didn't win championships at UGA back then, so I don't fly the "played with guys like that" banner proudly.
If Crowell honestly believes he couldn't have played any better, then he deserves to be ranked #2 in the pecking order, if for no other reason than to put it in his head that he in fact COULD have played better. I honestly don't know how many people read my blog, or bothered to check out the extensive work I did on the play-by-play recount of the game. So, if you didn't, let me give you a quick run-down - Crowell's vision was less than stellar. He did make some good reads, and some good hard runs. He also left some yards on the field. More than once he didn't see how blocks were setting up, and cut into the wrong hole, or cutback when bouncing outside was the better option. In the moment, it's hard to see everything, so I'm not knocking the kid too hard. Still, to say "I couldn't have played any better" is just plain stupid.
It sounds like he's saying with better blocking, he would have been vastly more successful. There are some instances where that is likely very true. There are also instances where the blocking was there, and he didn't follow it. Then there was that blitz on which he whiffed. I'm not certain that is was the same play...but it looked a whole hell of a lot like the Washaun Whiff versus Arkansas. There were other pass plays when he picked up his man quite well. He's definitely still learning and is an obvious talent, but there may be some attitude issues to work on.
So, Samuel will get the start. Maybe the gameplan versus South Carolina will be different. Maybe we're going to line up and try to play powerball. I still don't understand why we didn't do that against Boise. You're not going to sell me on "our RBs are unproven, so put it in Murray's hands." I'm sorry, I like Aaron Murray - I think he's got a ton of heart. But, he's 6-8 as a starter, and has won zero big games. He hasn't flourished against good teams, and he hasn't led the team to anything. He beat up on some bad teams, and had limited success against good ones.
Our line was a question mark coming into Boise....well, what is it now? Looks like an exclamation point, as in "Oh, Crap!"
Remember how excited we were a week ago at the prospect of the I-Formation combo of Samuel and Figgins running behind a mammoth line? Maybe we'll actually see some of that this week.
Or maybe we can line 4 DBs in the backfield and play "who wants to run the ball"?
PS - "Starting" really doesn't mean much when your backs are in a constant rotation.
Ben, I'd like to hear your thoughts on the "first and bomb" criticism a lot of fans make of Bobo. Speaking of incendiary rhetoric taking sheep off the cliff...
I'm not looking for rose-colored glasses in defense of Bobo. He seems to be letting us down in various ways. But the meme right now amongst a lot of fans is that he has somehow made us "too explosive," that it's hurting us in time of possession when we go 3 and out (it's too high risk, high reward), and that he predictably tries too many long passes on first down (the "first and bomb" criticism).
I crunched numbers a bit last night from cfbstats.com, and it looks to me like we're pretty freaking good on 1st down, especially last year. Anyway, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on the matter.
We as a fanbase have to point our criticisms at real, rather than perceived, problems.
Long time, no see. Glad I found this blog and LOVED the quarter by quarter analysis.
What is driving me crazy, still, about this game is that if you ask any national observer of college football about what type of offense a WAC or Mountain West or PAC team sees most often, and therefore has the most experience defending against, it is some version of a west-coast pass-heavy offense.
Our coaches know this, and still play right into Boise's strenth with our 4-wide shotgun mess. I am confident that a Power-I, two-tight end set would have won the game for multiple reasons.
1. Boise was pretty stout in the middle--power I two TE sets allow for great off-tackle running.
2. With our talent at TE, there would be not tipping of the hand as to which side the play would be going--leaving Boise to guess.
3. Can you imagine what the play action would look like with Both Orson and Aron running with LBs?
4. It would allow Lynch to FINALLY SEE THE FIELD. Holy cow, he's too big and too strong to NOT BE USED AT TE WHEN YOU NEED TO ESTABLISH THE RUN.
5. After a relentless dose of this offense, their Defense begins having the cramping and stamina issues--not ours.
6. This type of offense eats the clock--great for two reasons:
a) gives our defense a blow--which they proved when they were rested, did pretty well versus Boise
b) keeps a high-flying, great passer like Kellen Moore OFF THE FIELD.
I'm not a football expert, but I like to read a lot about the Dogs and learn what I can about the game. Your play-by-play breakdown was the most educational, readable X's and O's analysis I've encountered in a long time. Thanks for the effort.
XON - read your "1st and bomb" analysis this morning. Good job. Stats are a pain to work with, as you can make them say pretty much anything you want to. This cuts both ways, because opposition can spin them on a dime. I think it's a ridiculous argument for people to make against Bobo, because I know it doesn't happen nearly as often as folks try to make it seem. I can promise you he never says: "Aaron, go out there and no matter what you see, throw it deep." The main issue people have with the 1st and Bomb is that we haven't been extremely successful at actually pulling it off. But, everytime we do, the fans go nuts with how explosive and how amazing we are.
I mean.....we liked it when Malcolm Mitchell go that 51-yarder, right? Now, true, that didn't start a series, but it was the same concept. First down, hit 'em deep. People just didn't complain about it because 1) it wasn't a 40-in-the-air throw.
2) it was successful.
This comment is too long. I'm gonna have to write another blog. Damnit.
jferg - I don't understand the gameplan we had going in, I really don't. It seems to me that Bobo maybe outsmarted himself. He may have thought that Boise would be preparing for a power-running attack and so he came out in something different.
I disagree with those who think we abandoned the I or didn't go to it until too late. Go back through my breakdown and you'll see that we use it throughout the game. Still, what you're referring to is more a personnel issue than a formation issue. There are quite literally thousands of combinations of personnel and formations in every offense. Often, a coach uses personnel groupings not only to get his players on the field, but also to change who is on the field for the defense.
Arthur Lynch will have his time. I imagine, though, that if he isn't seeing the field at the moment, there is a good reason for it. Bobo used many different personnel groupings last night, which resulted in completed passes to a number of different receivers. 2-tight I formation sounds like a great idea to "power" someone over. However, it requires solid blocking in the line to get that done.
We didn't have that Saturday.
On any given play, you have 5 possible receivers. If 4 of them are backs and tightends, the defense doesn't need to have 5 or 6 DBs on the field. That means more beef. That means harder to run.
Did we really want to make it HARDER to run?
It only makes it harder to run inside the tackles. More beef actually makes it easier to run outside of the tackles--remember all of the toss sweeps Tennessee used during your days in Athens? We used it a good bit with Sanks and Musa as well. UT and UGA had beef and lined up in power formations...and used that beef inside to clog the middle and used speed at tailback to sweep around it for big yards. I'm saying that we could have used the same idea, especially with Crowell, against Boise. Once the defense keys on this, you slip the TE's out for nice gains a la Ben Watson.
Ah, that would be true...if our pulling line had good discipline and technique. However, upon watching the game multiple times, I noticed that we weren't good at identifying who to block when pulling. Now, fundamentally, it's always been my understanding that a pulling blocker blocks the first thing that shows in his face. However, either they're coaching them different in Athens, or the players don't fully grasp that concept. For what it's worth, some of the best run-blocking of the night came from Orson Charles. Still, those tosses are predicated on someone getting out to lay a block on the edge - either to kick-out and allow the back to cut up, or to seal the edge and allow the back to hit the corner.
We did neither with any success.
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