Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Words of wisdom from Norman Dale

Tuesday October 3, 2006

Nearly halfway into the season, it’s time to borrow some words from that great basketball coach Norman Dale.

"This is your team."

That’s not to suggest complacency or even resignation. It’s just time to recognize and deal with what the Dawgs do and don’t have, and it’s time to put notions built on preseason daydreams aside. The defense is solid if not dominant, but there are questions of speed and tackling. The offense has some promise but seems to have emerged from this early season cocoon as a moth rather than a butterfly. I suppose some kind of major transformation is possible, but it’s more likely that improvements from here on out will be in small pieces and adjustments. So with that in mind, our outlook has to be how this team – this team – can win and have a successful season.

Yes, after all of the hand-wringing, it’s still possible for this team to have a very successful season. They’re already 5-0. Winning ugly but still winning. It’s much too soon to cash in the chips on the season, and it’s absurd to start talking as if this team were already out of the SEC race.

Along those lines, I have to take issue with the usually-solid analysis of David Ching. He suggests that it might be best to have Tereshinski in place for the Tennessee game in order to insulate the freshmen from a potentially bad experience. "If the offense continued to play this weekend the way it has for the last three weeks, the beating Georgia would likely take against Tennessee would be a big shot for the freshmen’s confidence." Ignoring the impact on the freshmen’s confidence of yanking them around and relegating them back to the bench, I can’t imagine that the quarterback for the Tennessee game would be anyone other than the guy with the best shot to win the Tennessee game.

If there is one area of concern for me, it’s this lack of direction. The offense in particular seems to be frozen over decisions that seem much more appropriate for August than October. Kregg Lumpkin, on limited carries, has the first 100-yard game since early 2005, and we still can’t commit to him without the hemming and hawing. The quarterback situation is no less settled than it was six weeks ago. Name the top two receiving targets. If it were Tennessee, that would be simple: Meachem and Swain. Florida – Caldwell and Baker. Georgia? Goodman and Milner? Or Bryant? Harris might be in there one week. Massaquoi was supposed to be the main threat, how about him? Durham?

Ideally, the Dawgs would have taken the last three games after surviving South Carolina to build an identity and go into the Tennessee game with a head of steam. That opportunity has been lost now. This is not an instance where a multitude of options is a good thing – so many options actually mean that you have no options when it comes to a dependable set of performers. With what we’ve seen so far, we know that all of the pieces have been there in some form. The OL played well at South Carolina. Lumpkin played well at Ole Miss. Stafford, Cox, JT3, and most of the receivers have had their moments. Very little of it has come close to happening in the same game – I think South Carolina might be the best effort from the offense.

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