Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Possibility of Dawgs being overconfident? Good.

Sure, a 5-2 record and being ranked in the 20's in the polls is not the end game of Georgia's aspirations, either this season or any other. Even though it marks a return of sorts to normalcy compared to the past couple of years, most will acknowledge that there's still a long way to go before being considered among the elite in the SEC or college football as a whole.

So, it may sound strange to consider that the Bulldogs should be feeling supremely confident heading into the WLOCP this Saturday against a team that has dominated the Dawgs for the better part of the last two decades. By the way, I've taken to saying the word "decade" like Kennedy did when he said "we choose to go to the moon in this d'cade..." I just like the way it sounds.

Anyway, this confidence could stem from the fact that the Bulldogs have reeled off 5 straight victories, albeit against lesser competition, while the Gators are scuffling, and have lost 3 straight. Add to that the fact that the only viable QB for the Gators should be hobbled and rusty, if indeed he does take the majority of the snaps.

It's needed, this confidence. The Bulldogs need a real sense of superiority for a change, and not one that's conjured by some nifty motivation, new uniforms, or celebrations. Those ugly uniforms and goofy gator head on those helmets seem to bring out ineptitude, and even fear in the Bulldogs almost every year.

Let's face it. Georgia has a better team than Florida. Despite several missteps, the Dawgs are finding ways to win the close games instead of finding ways to lose them. The only thing that can stand in their way of beating the hated Gators this time around, barring injuries and such, is that deer in headlights look that seems to grip the team 'round Halloween each season.

If Georgia is carrying around a feeling of confidence, even arrogance this time around, then that is a welcome change, and it could help keep the Dawgs riding high.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Actually like Georgia Football? Enjoy this week.

Nobody with any objectivity in his makeup is suggesting that beating Coastal Carolina, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State means that the Dawgs are "back." They may not be back to being an SEC title contender, or even a candidate to win 9 games this year. However, they are back in the SEC East race for now.

Losses by Florida and South Carolina mean that the Dawgs have no more SEC losses than any other team in the East after 3 games. No matter what happens, this week the Bulldogs are in the thick of things. This week, the game has division title implications for both teams. This week, Georgia can make a statement that they're in this thing to the end, or they can meekly bow out, leaving only the faintest of hopes for a good season.

The point is, this week, Georgia's game at Tennessee means more to the standings and SEC East title aspirations than any game in quite some time. The Dawgs can move to 3-1 in the conference for the first time since 2008, and only their second time since 2005 (when they started 5-0 in the conference).

I have no idea what will happen Saturday. I hope that the defense has truly rounded into form, that Crowell will continue to impress, and that Murray is ready to get over the turnover bug. But, I don't know, and neither do you.

I can tell you this: It's been a rough couple of years, and I am excited to have a meaningful game in October again.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Richt is 100% dead on about Crowell, but...

As we watched Georgia jump out to a 21-3 halftime lead, only to see the offense sputter to 3 lousy points in the second half, many noticed the absence of Isaiah Crowell in the backfield for much of the second half.

Head coach Mark Richt was forced to address this afterward, given the fact that, without the dynamic freshman in the game, the Bulldogs lacked rhythm and cohesiveness for much of the time. In doing so, Richt makes perfect sense. He's "not interested" in getting Crowell 30+ carries a game. This is completely understandable. It's a long season, and Crowell is still getting into SEC condition. The tolls of running the ball that many times takes on the body, particularly a freshman, cannot be overstated, and despite limping across the finish line, the Dawgs were never really in any danger of losing the game.

Having said all that, I wonder if it might be a bit more advantageous to the Georgia offense if Crowell's carries and general workload was spread out a bit more. If you're going to put a general limit, almost like a pitch count, on his carries/touches, then why not pull him out for a play or two during multiple series rather than "use up" half his touches on one drive? Hell, if he's capped at, say, 35 total snaps for the game, and you have him in on 12 snaps of a 15 play drive to start the game, then he's already 1/3 done for the day. (that's obviously a bit simplistic, but the point remains)

This much is clear: The offense just "goes" when he's in the game, and it has a tendency to sputter when he's not. I understand the idea of getting running backs into the proverbial rhythm, but I think the Dawgs might be better off in the second half if he's not sitting on the shelf for 15 minutes at a time, having reached 20 carries halfway through the 3rd quarter.