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Post Taking it all in – thoughts from the weekend

Monday October 11, 2010
  • When Phil Steele and Vegas tell you top expect a big win, listen up. Steele predicted a big afternoon for Murray and the Georgia defense as well as a 21-point win. His computer predicted “just 17 pts and 240 yds for the Volunteers.” The final numbers? 14 points and 269 yards.
  • If there was any doubt, this is Aaron Murray’s team now. That’s not to take anything away from what A.J. Green means to Murray and the offense, but Murray is coming along at a pace that’s ahead of even Greene and Stafford. We’ve come full-circle from the preseason expectation of running a fleet of tailbacks behind a veteran line, and we’re watching Murray make plays with his arm, his legs, and his head.

    Late in the third quarter, Murray completed a 20-yard pass to Tavarres King which set up Georgia’s final score. You’re not going to get a better-looking pass this year. It was placed in stride perfectly beyond the cornerback and in front of the safety and along the sideline. Finding that spot in the coverage 25 yards downfield is a skill many seniors don’t have. One of his best passes was an incompletion – the across-the-body improvisation into the end zone that King couldn’t control.

  • Green’s first touchdown at Colorado deserved to be all over the highlight reels. But I’ll go on record that his first quarter catch to set up Georgia’s second touchdown was better. He was hit by two defenders as he was catching the ball – one high and one low. The impact of the second defender twisted his body and snapped his head forward. If you see the replay, you’ll notice that the ball was knocked loose. Green’s direction was changing, and he was shaken up enough by the force of the hit to have to come out of the game. Yet he still had the presence and the athletic ability to regain control of the loose ball and secure the catch. I wore out ESPN’s slow replay of the play…it happened so quickly that it looked like a tough but fairly routine catch. Slow-motion showed it to be about as incredible as Pollack’s split-second strip-and-catch in 2002.
  • If there’s a difference in Green this year, it’s his noticeable increase in strength. Murray’s first touchdown scamper was set up after Green took a short pass and stiff-armed the defender on the way to the sideline and a first down. Green’s touchdown reception came on a play where he had a Tennessee defender hanging off of him for the final five yards. It’s concerning that A.J. has had to come out of both games in which he’s played, but he’s also showed the ability to
  • A year after Tennessee shredded the Georgia defense with bootleg after bootleg, it was enjoyable to see Georgia give some of it back. Georgia’s use of play action was effective, and Murray often found himself rolling out with several passing options as well as enough green in front of him to make running a possibility.
  • I’d still like to know what the coaches were thinking by lining up for the field goal so quickly after Murray’s early third quarter stab at the pylon. It was a call that was likely to be reviewed, and the outcome of the review was a possible touchdown. Even if the play clock became an issue, you’re talking about a field goal attempt from the 6 rather than the 1 if a delay penalty occurred while waiting for the review. Georgia instead came out and got the field goal attempt off with enough speed to make Les Miles’ head spin. Fortunately the officials stopped the play in time. The review spared us from talking about another questionable decision – a field goal attempt on 4th and goal from the 1? Really?
  • With plays like the acrobatic interception, Bacarri Rambo shows why he belongs on the field. But with his role in some big coverage blunders, Rambo also shows why the coaches might not have been so stupid with their handling of the safety position a year ago. He’s not alone – Georgia still has issues defending the pass. Talented Tennessee freshman receiver Justin Hunter had his first 100-yard game against Georgia. Matt Simms actually had his highest passer rating of the season on Saturday. Georgia’s job against Tauren Poole though made a big difference. Colorado was able to gash Georgia with some big running plays while hitting some big passes through the air. Tennessee’s ground game never got a chance to get going thanks to Georgia’s big lead and some nice tackling up front.
  • Georgia’s biggest defensive breakdowns came in areas we talked about following the Colorado game. Tennessee’s first touchdown came on a coverage breakdown following a missed opportunity at a sack – the same kind of improvisation with which Colorado hurt Georgia time and again. The Dawgs did a better job at getting results from their pressure for most of the rest of the Tennessee game. The Vols set up their second score with the wheel route – as we saw against Arkansas and Colorado, a player was able to get loose from the backfield and get wide open for a big pass play down the sideline. Whether coverage on those routes is ultimately the job of the OLB or the safety, it’s proving to be a consistent hole in Grantham’s scheme.
  • Speaking of Colorado, they were shut out by Missouri on Saturday. Against quality teams like Cal and Missouri, the Buffalo offense has been absent. Even Hawaii managed to shut them out for the first half. Georgia should feel good about bouncing back against the Vols, but giving up over 20 points and four touchdowns to Colorado could go down as the low point for the new defense.
  • South Carolina’s magical Saturday got even better with the result of the Florida game. Florida can still win the East with a head-to-head win over the Gamecocks, but they can’t afford to drop another along the way. Except for that showdown in Gainesville, South Carolina’s only remaining high-profile game is a visit from Arkansas.
  • At this point, you can take about five or six teams and pick any of them to win the SEC. Auburn is the only team to beat South Carolina, but the Tigers were just a field goal better than Mississippi State and Kentucky. LSU needs a miracle to beat hapless Tennessee in Death Valley but gets the job done in the Swamp. I think I’d still have to take the Tide in a rematch with the Gamecocks for the SEC Championship.

One Response to 'Taking it all in – thoughts from the weekend'

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  • Tennessee is worse than I thought. But I think next season the Dawgs will face a much different looking UT team [and to think I almost ended up at UT rather than UGA]. Now we know why LSU players had their team meeting.

    King has to go. Second issues with him. Part of the legacy from Stafford and Moreno. He sits there for 3 months with all the other player problems, lets this thing fester, converts a traffic violation into a willful act by not paying the fine, leads to a warrant, and how does he expect to get his license renewed with an outstanding traffic violation. The guy is la-la land on and off the field. Cut him and have a good scholarship available into 2010-11. Dawgs need more D linemen and secondary players. Can always move D linemen to O line [look back at Miami and others]. If King is not street smart, then he is not field smart. There are plenty of kids who need and want a scholarship to play…King does not value his or his team.