Archive for the 'Strategy' Category

Not giving up on Mason…yet

When Rick Pitino was head coach of the Boston Celtics, he once famously exclaimed the the likes of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish are ‘not walking through that door.”

That, to me, is the realization that is more real than ever for Georgia football when it comes to Hutson Mason.

Mason is the best option under center for this team right now. He won’t be Aaron Murray, no one else will be, and Mason is in the unenviable position of replacing one of the top signal-callers in Georgia history.

Fortunately for Mason, he has a healthy Todd Gurley in the backfield. This team has gone from being carried by Aaron Murray a year ago with patchwork running backs at times to Gurley carrying this team’s offense with a limitation at quarterback.

The good news for Mason is that I’m not sure we’ve seen all that he can do. Not even going back to last season against Georgia Tech and Nebraska, Hutson Mason did not have the full arsenal of receivers to throw to.

As frustrating as it may be to not see Mason stretch the field, he can only take those shots if the chances are there. This team has had one true deep threat the past four games in Chris Conley. So when defenses key on him, it’s easy to stack 10 in the box.

But if you get even a somewhat healthy Justin Scott-Wesley and Malcolm Mitchell on the field, it gives defense something to at least think about – and more receivers that can stand a better chance of getting open.

It’s an adjustment not having a QB who can chuck it deep. And not an easy one to get used to. But having more to work with will at least give Hutson Mason a fighting chance.

As odd as it sounds, the Vanderbilt game will be highly important for this team. It’ll show if it has any chance to have any sort of passing attack or if its hopes will hinge on Todd Gurley staying healthy.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Post USC-East takes

Maybe it was the emotional exhaustion of another grindfest in SEC play…or maybe it had something to do with an eight-week old girl in the house, but I somehow drifted into an unexpected nap on Sunday afternoon.

So after all that, and some time to let everything from Saturday sink in, here are a few takes.

- Was the decision to not run Todd Gurley four times at the four-yard line a knuckleheaded call by Mike Bobo? Probably (Of course, it didn’t help that officials botched the intentional grounding call…more on that later). But I’m more than willing to give Bobo some slack. This offense has averaged more than 40 points or so the past three years. If you would have told me we’d roll up around 40 points the first two games this year with a hovering above average QB and ZERO deep threats at receiver, I’d gladly take it. This team has some shortcomings right now. Mike Bobo is not one of them.

- The defense showed how far of a hole it has to dig out of. When you have inexperience, you can have the greatest coaching in the world, but it cannot compensate with lack of experience. There is talent on defense, but that talent has to grow up in a hurry. A few players that did not want to do it ‘The Georgia Way,” who are not worth mentioning, may help this team long-term, but they put it in a tough spot short-term. This defense will get on the right track. Hopefully, it will be before it is too late. Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins were non-factors against South Carolina…but the Chickens going max-protect had a lot to do with that.

- Did the referees cost Georgia the game? Yes and no. It baffles me that as much revenue as the SEC pulls in that it has no problem that its officials continue to embarrass the conference. And this is not only a Georgia gripe. Ask Kentucky’s fans, as well. An awful holding penalty call cost Georgia a touchdown and Heisman-highlight clip from Todd Gurley, and the intentional grounding call was an awful miss too.  For whatever reason, the SEC does not think its important to have quality officials. It is laughing all the way to the bank. The league, its teams and fans deserve way better. At the end of the day, though, you have to assume in every game you are not going to get certain breaks and have to play well enough to over come them. Georgia did not do that. Which brings us to…

- Football is a funny and illogical game sometimes. How Marshall Morgan’s field goal streak ends with two misses in the second half baffles me. If he makes one of them, it’s a tie game. If he makes both, Georgia wins. On the road in this conference, you have to make your own breaks and take advantage. Georgia did not do that.

- Despite many comment section and Facebook postings after the game, this season is not over. It’s a tough pill to swallow to lose to the HBC, but this team still controls its own fate. USCe will lose at least once more this season. More often than not, you won’t run the table in this conference, it just won’t happen as much as you want it to.

- I’m avoiding the call-in shows on Monday.

- You can’t pin this loss on one facet. It was a team loss. There were breakdowns on offense, defense and special teams that contributed to the loss. This team has a week to get better and heal up against Troy and take on what will be a pesky Tennessee team.

- Can we replace Uncle Verne?

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Why a Playoff is a Good Thing

Last night solidified why a college football playoff is inevitable. The sport has gotten so big that we virtually have to enter into this unchartered territory. I had been on the fence about this topic, but last night my mind was made up.

We were one sleazy coach and a tattoo parlor away from having witnessed The Ohio State University and Notre Dame play an incredible football game for the 2013 MNC. No doubt, that game would have been epic. It also would have been akin to watching Ole Miss and Vanderbilt play for all the marbles. Alabama proved, once again, that the SEC is the elite college football conference in America. So, to sum up that thought, a playoff will bring us year-in year-out what almost didn’t happen this year.

There is zero doubt in my mind that if we had a 4 team playoff this year, Notre Dame would not have been playing for the MNC. There is zero doubt in my mind that if we had an 8 team playoff that Notre Dame would have made it out of the first round. You can bicker about how many teams and who those are, but I guarantee you Alabama would have made it into the title bout. Had Ohio State not been on probation, the best team would not have won the National Championship, and that’s a shame. In a world of transparency, we need a clearly defined winner. A playoff is the only system that allows that.

Stumbling slightly off the beaten path, I’m fairly certain that if we had a 16 team playoff that allowed multiple schools from the SEC to play, you would wind up with at least 3 in the final 4 if scheduling allowed such an event to take place. Point is, and I’m not trying to be SEC homer guy, but the SEC is the home of the best football in the nation. To have any type of scenario where an SEC school doesn’t have a fair shot at playing for the MNC at the current day in age is a travesty. I know how that sounds, but it’s the truth. Notre Dame can’t play with SEC schools, but had a place in the big game when more deserving teams did not. It’s not just Notre Dame. I don’t think Oregon, Stanford, Ohio State, Kansas State, or others are in the same class as the big boys of the SEC. I believe the two best teams in the nation played on December 1 in the Georgia Dome. I believe the best team in the nation won that game and walked to a much-too-easy win against a team that shouldn’t have been in Miami.

Lots of rambling thoughts, but bottom line is I do believe last night proved the need for a playoff system, and I’m glad we’re moving in that direction. We’ll argue about that format for years to come, but the good thing is we won’t be stuck with 4 teams for very long. It will get to 8 and then 16 within a decade, and to me, that’s a good thing. 

Go Dawgs!

Ucheedawg

Three reason why Georgia wins, and three why it won’t

Honestly, I think Saturday goes either way. My contention all week has been that if it’s a blowout, Georgia loses. But if its close, Georgia wins.

Why Georgia Might Win

1. Airing it out

If there’s a weakness in Alabama’s defense, it’s its defensive secondary. If Murray gets protection, he could exploit that.

2. This team smells destiny

Since January, the goal for this team is being in Miami for the title. When a team of destiny is that close to a goal, it’s tough to stop it.

3. Gamechangers

Georgia has a more talented defense, and it starts with playmakers, Bacarri Rambo, Alec Ogletree and Jarvis Jones. Alabama has a talented defense, but it doesn’t have the playmakers who can turn a game on a play and take it over all by themselves.

Why Georgia Might Not Win

1. Aaron Murray

It’s funny. Murray is why Georgia may or may not win. If Murray presses too much and makes early mistakes (see Florida last year), Georgia is fighting uphill right away and will be in a hole that’ll be tough to dig out of. Georgia’s hopes of winning hinge on what Aaron Murray shows up.

2. Getting Personal 

If there’s been a blight on Georgia’s defense the past month, it’s been the amount of senseless personal fouls. Georgia CANNOT afford these against Alabama. If Georgia comes out wanting to carry its pre-game trash talk onto the field, it will lose, because it’ll result in either personal fouls or players trying to make too big of plays early with the result being busted players on defense.

3. The Line

Georgia’s offensive line has looked good recently. It helps a lot that it hasn’t faced a good offensive line in that stretch. It’s easy to break big plays against Ole Miss, Tech and Auburn. It’s harder against great defenses, and Bama has a darn good defensive line.

How much is the recent offensive success due to lack of competition? We’ll find out Saturday afternoon.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Dawgs vs. Clubber Lang

I’m one of those people who, whenever they are on TV, I can’t turn away from watching a handful of movies.

One being The Karate Kid (the original, not the Jaden Smith travesty) and pretty high up on the list as well are the first four Rocky movies.

Personally, I’m hoping that Saturday we’ll see the rematch of Rocky vs. Clubber play out in the Georgia Dome.

The more I think about it, this team has a lot of similarities to Rocky. This program, around 2007, was on top. It may as well have been untouchable. Then, through various reasons, it lots its way, it lost sight of the big picture and got caught up in things that’ll throw any championship contender off-balance, and it paid a high price, with the 2008 Blackout game being this team’s version of the first Rocky vs. Clubber fight. Georgia lost its ‘eye of the tiger.’

Now, here we are in 2012. If you listen to the experts and Bammers who ‘grew up a Bama fan’ but never admitted it until late 2008, Georgia may as well not show up Saturday. The Dawgs are just wasting everyone ‘s time – this is a coronation for King Nick, we’re all just spectators.

If you ask that crowd, Georgia has no chance.

But here’s why Georgia has a chance. I’ve seen it with the post-game celebration at Auburn and again after beating Tech. This bunch is focused. While in the past you have seen players leap into the stands and dance among fans, you have not seen that this year. The post-game celebrations have been very business like. Enjoy it, but there are much bigger things ahead.

That’s what sets this team apart from others. It knows what it has to do, and seems intent on not letting any outside, fringe noise distracting.

Win or lose, I actually feel somewhat good about Saturday. Not enough to guarantee a win, but enough to think we have a shot at this deal.

And as Munson/Dooley raised pessimist, that’s a bit intriguing.

Go Dawgs

Lugnut Dawg

Five Keys Against The Cowbell

1. Pound it, pound it and pound it

State likes to run a no-huddle and wear defenses down. Georgia needs to do what it did last week at Ole Miss – control the game by running the ball like there is no tomorrow. It may not yield style points, but it’ll keep Chris Relf and company on the sidelines.

2. Linebacker play is key

When you play a team like State which likes to rely on misdirection plays within its spread option scheme, you are up against a team counting on you to miss a defensive assignment or open-field tackle. That’s where the linebacker play take credence, namely Jarvis Jones and Cornelius Washington from the outside spots.

3. Be special

If Georgia’s special teams play doesn’t improve, we may be pining for the return of the Father of the Directional Kickoffs – Jon Fabris. Not only is Blair Walsh in a slump, but this team has been caught asleep by two trick plays in the past three games. In both of those instances, the plays turned the game’s momentum, and that can not be afforded against Mississippi State.

4. Consistent Murray

At times, it seems as if there are two Aaron Murrays – the first half version against Florida and South Carolina and the one who plays lights out like he did against USC. Murray needs to be consistently good and not make mistakes that’ll throw Georgia behind.

5. Hit ‘Em Early

For a team which entered the season with high hopes, this has been a disappointing start for Mississippi State. If Georgia can lead early, it could impact MSU’s demeanor, possibly inducing some foolish penalties similar to the first half of the Auburn game.

Go Dawgs!

Lugnut Dawg

Well Played

Sometimes you just get had. Such was the case with Jameer Nelson, guard for Orlando Magic, after getting bounced by our Atlanta Hawks in the 1st round of the NBA Playoffs. Well played, Arthur Triche.

ucheedawg



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