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Post Never in doubt…

Monday September 25, 2006

I’m sure my reaction to the unfolding Colorado game went as most people’s: concern, bewilderment, annoyance, stomping mad, nausea, hope, dread, triumph, worry, and finally….relief. That’s it – not happiness or satisfaction – just relief.

This game is already getting overanalyzed trying to figure out what went wrong, so we’ll skip that and hope we can write it off. Great job by Cox and everyone else turning this nightmare into a win. Some other observations:

  • Senior leadership pays. Milner, Taylor, Battle, and Dixson all came up big.
  • Milner especially came up huge. The jokes about the drops and everything won’t be easy to shake, but he came up with a bigger game than any other UGA receiver this year.
  • Though several fans left early and there was plenty of booing, I’m really happy with the crowd at the end of the game. They made a difference and helped to turn the tide. Had Charles Johnson gotten the QB when he went airborne on third down, the place would have fallen down.
  • There isn’t much excuse for the lack of a running game. Lumpkin needs to play more.
  • It’s amazing how much better playcalling looks when you have a QB delivering the ball on target. Drops seem to miraculously disappear too. I wonder what happened to all of the awful playcalling and poor WR coaching fans like to talk about.
  • Tell me no one else had any of these nightmares after the final touchdown: 1) celebration penalty resulting in missed/blocked XP, 2) good kickoff return, 3) flashbacks to the 2005 Auburn game, 4) Colorado getting a chance to kick about a 70-yard FG for the last play of the game.
  • Colorado had to burn its timeouts to keep its defense fresh. That turned out to make a huge difference on the final series. Almost as big was the sack on first down. The clock continued to run, and Colorado’s plans were forced to desperation. Had they been able to hit a 15+ yard pass on first down and stop the clock, the last few seconds really change.
  • Speaking of the clock, as vocal as we and Coach Richt have been in criticism of the rule changes, they sure worked to Georgia’s advantage. It still doesn’t change my mind that the rules must go. It helped us this time; next time it might cost us. The impact of the changes were obvious as we saw nearly 20 seconds elapse between the kickoff and the first Colorado play.
  • Some wonder why Richt didn’t make the QB change sooner, but it’s a really tough call. On one hand you have a true freshman who is struggling, and you can’t pull him too early and completely destroy his confidence. But something had to be done. Stafford’s indecision and the third down play where he went over the line of scrimmage made it the right time for that change.
  • Another decision where Richt got criticism – going for it on 4th down in the red zone. I really think those calls were right. Given the performance of the offense to that point, there was no guarantee they would even get within FG range again, much less get back in the red zone.
  • People are talking about Stafford’s velocity being a problem, but accuracy is a much bigger issue than touch to me. Several passes either behind or high or low. Some of his passes might have needed a little more touch on them, but I can recall only one drop (by MoMass) where the ball was on the money.
  • Massaquoi overcame those drops. It wasn’t so dramatic as Milner’s redemption, but he had two big fourth quarter catches. The play he made on an inside screen on the gamewinning drive to reverse direction and get out of bounds was huge. He also made a big play to break up an interception in the end zone on a poor Cox throw. He still needs to become a bigger playmaker, but at least he didn’t fold after the early drops.

More tonight. I’d like to take a little closer look at the offense’s drives.

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