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Post Georgia 48 – Southern 6: A somber win

Tuesday September 29, 2015

Georgia 48 – Southern 6

Most importantly, our prayers are with Devon Gales, his family, and the Southern community. There was some encouraging news on Sunday, but it’s telling that reports are mentioning movement only in the upper body. He has a long fight ahead, but we know that the treatment and rehabilitation of spinal cord injuries has come a long way. The Georgia program has gone the extra mile in this situation, and we’d expect nothing less.

Not much to take from the game itself. Georgia got pushed around on the line of scrimmage in the first half, woke up for the third quarter, and emptied the bench for the last 15 minutes. The Dawgs got off to a quick start thanks in large part to field position, but there was a bit of fool’s gold there. Georgia wasn’t effective running the ball at any point in the half, racking up just 35 yards on the ground in the first half.

The message delivered at halftime had its desired effect as Chubb equaled Georgia’s first half rushing total on the first three plays of the second half. The Dawgs rebounded with 226 second half rushing yards and scored 28 points in the third quarter. Greyson Lambert, meanwhile, had another extremely efficient day with 9-for-10 passing and 14.6 yards per attempt.

Just a few more points before we move on to Alabama.

  • Kickoffs: You can tell there was some work done during the week. There were a fair number of touchbacks and some nice tackles early in the return. Even when a very capable return man got into space, Georgia usually had it contained. Still some things to work on but an improvement from South Carolina.
  • McKenzie took a few more risks – maybe it was a casual attitude towards the opponent, maybe just a bad day. His first return was a dangerous Family Circus-style jog around the field for an eventual four-yard return. His last return turned out even worse. There was some interference as the ball landed near Briscoe engaged with a defender, and no one seemed quite sure what to do. Maybe this is the trade-off for the “human joystick” plays, but in some situations there’s no shame in a fair catch.
  • It wasn’t just the offensive line that looked sluggish. Georgia recorded only one sack, and that came in the fourth quarter. The Dawgs tried a few blitzes, and pressure was a big part of ending an early Southern drive that ended with a missed field goal. It was a fairly quiet day for the outside linebackers – with Bellamy injured, Carter and Jenkins combined for only four tackles, two QB hits, and no sacks or tackles for loss.
  • There were only two Georgia penalties, but they were costly. Jenkins lined up offsides, giving him a head start on the hit that led to an interception. Houston was too deep in the backfield on a beautiful touchdown pass to Mitchell, but Malcolm scored two plays later anyway.
  • Mitchell is looking like his 2011 and 2012 self not just in terms of health and explosiveness but also dependability. He was one of the top receivers in the SEC as a true freshman in terms of catch rate, and he was a nice security blanket for a young quarterback to have. Lambert and Mitchell are really starting to click.
  • Again, the coaches gave Lambert some quick passes to get comfortable, but he was as sharp as he was a week ago. Georgia was able to lean on the passing game before the run blocking kicked into gear.
  • We were trying to think of the last time we saw Georgia go five-wide with no one in the backfield. It’s not a common thing for sure. The interesting thing about that look: Georgia can show that spread look with five receivers split out and without changing personnel come back on the next play with a tighter ace formation as Blazevich moves back next to the tackle and Michel returns to the backfield. That’s a difficult defensive adjustment if Georgia’s pushing the tempo.
  • Sony seems to have at least one of these physical get-off-me runs every game lately, doesn’t he?
  • The downside of the shortened ULM game was the missed opportunity to play even more freshman than Georgia managed to play in three quarters. They got their chance against Southern. Jayson Stanley cracked the box score with a couple of catches. Faton Bauta is no freshman, but we were glad to see him get his first snaps of the season. (Would have been nice to have seen Bauta run the ball himself.) The defensive reserves had a nice moment late in the game forcing a turnover on downs after McKenzie’s fumble. Trenton Thompson and D’Andre Walker punctuated the defense’s stand with a fourth down sack.
  • It seemed unfair to put Trenton Thompson in. “Hey, tired and beaten opponent…we’ll empty our bench now. That guy? Just a 5-star prospect with incredible speed for his size and position.” Thompson’s emphatic tackle was the cherry on top of the South Carolina game, but we got to see a lot more from him on Saturday. He’ll have a more significant debut on a bigger stage soon, but this was our first good look at a bright future.
  • Brice Ramsey actually ended up attempting more passes than Lambert and finished 11-for-14. Two of those incompletions were nearly interceptions – an overthrown pass that went through the safety’s hands and then an underthrown deep ball that fell short of a sliding defender. He did a good job though of running the second team offense and getting the ball to a diverse set of receivers that included Keith Marshall, Glenn Welch, Jayson Stanley, and Kenneth Towns.

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