This is where all the "conservative playcalling" from those big wins should come in.
I know people want to see Georgia hang 50 points on our opponents when we have the chance. I know Georgia fans are envious of Alabama and LSU and want to see our offense keep clicking against weak opponents in the fourth quarter. But, there is something more important in those possessions, and last night we found out that there is still work to do.
In the fourth quarter of a game dominated by Georgia, the opposing team knows what we're going to do - we're going to run it. We're likely going to run it between the tackles. The same can be said for the end of a close game led by Georgia. We're going to run it, and we're likely going to run it between the tackles. Now....at which point is it more important to have success? The answer: The close game. But, you know when you're going to get that kind of game-speed practice? In the blowouts. If the fourth quarters of blowouts consists mainly of air-mailing touchdowns against weak secondaries, and then bringing the 3rd and 4th stringers in to run-run-run-punt, your first teamers aren't getting the reps they will need in the close ones.
Don't get me wrong - Vandy shouldn't have been a close one. We had breakdowns in many more areas than simply our final drive offense. Six field-goal attempts against Vandy just shouldn't happen. We have to be good enough to finish drives against Vanderbilt. I know the 36,000 fans in attendance were screaming so loud that a baby could barely sleep, but still - we have to be able to concentrate better. I went back to check on our 3rd and short successes, imagining that with so many field goal attempts, we must have been failing on short third down attempts a lot - but we didn't. We converted all but one. Perhaps some of that "conservative play calling" was paying off in those situations. It's hard to say.
On thing can be said, though: even in a win as ugly as this, we can say this - we won a close one. When was the last time that happened? September 26, 2009. That's right - Joe Cox led the last close-game victory for UGA. Have the Dawgs turned a corner? Quite possibly. We won ugly yesterday, and sometimes, that's just what you have to do.
"We won a close game". . exactly what I thought. We needed to learn how to do that. I just wish it had been the offense that learned to win a close game. Another good thing. . Walsh hit his last three field goals. Maybe he'll get on a roll now.
Last year, we would have managed to lose this game. Just like the Colorado game. When the going gets tough we need to know that we can still play hard and get the win. A lot of games can come down to one play and we used to be on the right side of most of them. Last year we were on the wrong side of at least three. This year - Wrong side for USCarolina and right side thereafter.
I for one will take the win.
The Colorado game is what I thought about as well. The difference, to me, is 'passion'. Last year's team seemed lifeless a good bit. If AJ wasn't there or wasn't included in the gameplan that drive, the offense stalled. Since there was no AJ on the defensive side of the ball, the defense, as a whole, stalled.
For whatever reason, this team at the very least seems to give it their all more often than last year. Is it the 'swagger' that comes with the dream team recruits? Is it changes in S&C? Is it a renewed focus from CMR? Is it year two in Grantham's D? I don't know....but I like what I see...
You mentioned that the other team knew that we were going to run the ball "between the tackles"...oh how I wish that we did as Richard Samuel is a "between the tackles" type of runner. But that's NOT what we did...we run Samuel to the right side 2 or 3 straight times (or "weak" side from what I've read over the past few weeks). THAT'S what is stupid. If we want to run to the sidelines, run the scat back, Carlton Thomas...someone who might actually make it to the corner. But when Richard Samuel is in the game, run it between the tackles! THAT'S what doesn't make sense. We don't seem to know HOW to use the talent on hand.
I live in Greenville, SC so I am surrounded by Clemson fans. I watched their game vs. North Carolina yesterday. One glaring point was that late in the 3rd quarter and early in the 4th quarter the offense was still lighting it up. They were effectively mixing up the running and the passing game. There was NO way that NC could catch up. Would it be horrible to just keep the foot on the gas offensively???
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