Friday, September 17, 2010

Preview: UGA vs. Arkansas, & Sit-Rep

Rather than a straightforward preview of Saturday's game vs. the Arkansas Razorbacks, I thought I'd spend a bit more time to assessing the general state of Georgia's team as it is after two games.

Let me begin by stating that I am in no way absolving Georgia's coaching staff from the many lackluster performances over the past couple of years. It is the job of the coaches to prepare their team as well as possible to give the Dawgs the best chance to win each week that they possibly can. Whether you're talking about scheming, mental preparedness, fundamentals, or any other aspect that falls under the wide umbrella of coaching, a coach is ultimately responsible for what happens on a given Saturday.

Having said that, the players are the ones who must step on the field, apply what they've learned, and execute (as if that wasn't obvious). What I think we've seen, and what was thrown into sharp relief at Williams-Brice Stadium last weekend, was not so much about playcalling, defensive alignments, or even preparation as it was that Georgia's players simply didn't make plays.

A few examples....

Many fans were not particularly happy with offensive coordinator Mike Bobo's (and/or Mark Richt's) conservative play-calling. Hard to fault them for that, going on the road for the first time with a freshman QB, a defense that looked superb (against lesser talent, I grant you), and an offensive line that in everybody's eyes was pegged to be one of the nation's best. When the Bulldogs were in the midst of a burgeoning drive facing a third and two, Bobo called for a simple trap (I believe it was a trap; apologies, but I've not seen a replay of the game, but it's relatively immaterial). His thinking, I'm sure, was that "our guys can push your guys off the line, and our 215 lb. running back can drive for 2 yards." Obviously, it was unsuccessful, but I refuse to fault the play call. It was pure smash-mouth football, which I'll remind many Georgia fans that that's what they would love to see, and the line didn't move a soul, and RB Washaun Ealey was unable to drive the tackler back.

Another example...

The Dawgs did make "a play" when, behind just one score late, QB Aaron Murray connected w/ WR Kris Durham on a long pass play after he'd gotten behind a South Carolina CB. There wasn't much special about it, the guys just made the play. Then, what happens? 1st and goal from the 10, and Georgia rushes for a few yards, setting up 2nd and goal from the 6, but before they run the next play (keep in mind, they're going for it on 4th down if it comes to it), WR Israel Troupe commits a false start penalty. A WR should NEVER commit such a penalty. The Dawgs are backed up to the 11, and forced to get a few yards back to take a couple shots at the end zone, and Washaun Ealey fumbles. Both things (false start and fumble) are, I have zero doubt, drilled into these players' heads from the start of camp. They just flat out screwed up.


Again, apologies for not knowing the exact situation, but Georgia's defense had SC 2nd and 8 around mid field. They bring what equates to a run blitz, and hit RB Marcus Lattimore about 4 yds behind the line of scrimmage. No doubt, that kid is going to be a star, but the call was sound, and really, the form was fine (this was no hockey-style body check), but Lattimore slipped away, and picked up a first down. Georgia's players just didn't make the play. Plain and simple. If/when something like that happened in fall practice, I can promise you Georgia's coaches lit into that player and made sure he knew exactly what happened.

What's the point of all this? Hell if I know. But, it seems to me that, for whatever reason, very few players (Houston, and AJ Green if he is ever allowed to play again are exceptions) seem to have that "swag" or the "it" factor. At least, right now they haven't got it.

If the Dawgs are going to rebound and make this season a successful one, Georgia's coaches need to shore up a lot of things in a lot of areas, but they're gonna need some help from the guys who actually suit up for 10 of the next 11 (hopefully, 11 of the next 12) Saturdays.

Now, briefly on the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Great offense, pitiful defense.

Thanks for reading, and Go Dawgs!!!

1 comment:

  1. The 3rd and 2 was something that sticks in my head. Has Georgia ever ran the ball well against S.C.? The short pass was there all day. I will say this because I am not one of the ones that says Georgia has all this talent. The talent overall IS NOT THERE. Georgia has been missing on the real studs ( they are leaving for other programs) Cameron HEyward, Allen Bailey, Eric Berry, Juwan James, Greg Reid, *Jarvis Jones*, Mack Brown, Jeff Whitaker, wr Bowman @ Alabama, Kareem Jackson. Add these players to Georgia's roster the last few years and you will a completely different outcome.
    Wasted talent = Kiante Tripp, AJ Harmon, Richard Samuel, Abry Jones, Bean Anderson.

    Georgia can't even line up in the Wild Dawg without burning timeouts and getting a penalty.