Archive for October, 2011

Why Rush The Field?

I don’t have a problem with a team rushing the field or court in college athletics.  It illustrates the passion of college sports that is lacking in every other sport except European soccer.  But like with anything, if you over do it, it loses its luster. 

UGA rushed the field against Tennessee in 2000.  It caused damage to the Hedges and was premature, but UGA hadn’t beaten Tennessee in 9 years.  It was ok.  But now, UGA shouldn’t ever rush the field.  We have “been there” before, and no need to stoop to that level.  As a program, UGA is above that now.

Georgia Tech rushed the field against Clemson Saturday night.  Georgia Tech has beat the Country Gentlmen 5/6 times they have played, including 4 in a row from 2007-2009.  Clemson was only a 3 point favorite, and just two weeks ago, Tech had gotten as high as 12th in the polls. 

It was not like Clemson has had a long run of dominance over Tech, and it is not like Tech is a bad team.  I even thought Georgia Tech would go 10-2 this season.  There is a time and place for it, sure, but that was not the time this past Saturday night.

Stay classy, Georgia  Tech.   I guess no amount of wins, ACC Championships or accolades will ever change things.  If Georiga Tech fans think of themselves as a second tier program, why should anyone else think otherwise?



A Closer Look At The UGA Defense

Georgia’s defense has played outstanding so far this season.   Its scoring defense is at around 20 ppg, and if that holds, it would be the lowest since 2007.

The scoring defense is calculated like this:

(35+45+0+14+10+12+28+20)/8= exactly 20.5 ppg. 

But that calculation takes into account 28 points against South Carolina,  7 against Ole Miss,  7 against Mississippi State, 7 against Vanderbilt and 7 against Florida that the Defense was not even on the field. 

A more accurate calculation to find scoring defense would be:

(35+17+0+7+3+12+21+13)/8=  exactly 13.5 ppg. 

If the defense continues to give up around 13 points a game, Georgia is going to have a great season.  13 ppg is lower than any ppg average during the Van Gorder era. 

UGA’s defense has only given up 6 defensive touchdowns in its last 5 games.  One came on a trick play and another came with two and a half minutes left in the Tennessee game.  Another came from a trick play versus Vandy.  Another came from blown coverage on 4th and 19 against Florida (thier only offensive TD).  This may not have been the top teams in the SEC,  but we have a been shutting down teams and they have been unable to move the ball on the UGA defense.   What was so astoninshing is the 2nd half play of the defense. 

The UGA defense has playmakers all over the field.  The talent on that side of the ball is the best its been in 7 years.  Jarvis Jones is awesome.

What Georgia’s defense did to the Gators is comparable to what Alabama and LSU did. 

And this has been without Alec Ogletree most of the time and Christian Robinson a significant amount of time.  The second half of the Florida game, the UGA Defense had its full contingent for truly the first time all season.  The result for Florida?  32 yards, 3 points and one first down. 

I have been saying it for weeks here every Monday folks.  The UGA defense is elite.


TGT Friday Locks

A little late today…TGT had a good week last week, with each of us having a winning week, the first of the year.  Overall for the season, TGT is a cool 60% correct total on our picks.  

Corbindawg (2-1 last week, 18-6 overall)

Arizona at Washington (-4.5)

Arkansas (-10) at Vanderbilt

United States Naval Academy (+21) at Notre Dame-I know Navy runs the triple option.  I know Paul Johnson, who we are supposed to hate, used to coach there.  But I just love Navy.  Navy might be my favorite team now after UGA.   They are a lot better than their 2-5 record indicates. 

Kensingtondawg ( 3-0 last week, 14-7 overall)

USC +8.5

Missouri +11.5

Ohio State +7.5

Granite (2-1 last week, 15-9 overall)

Clemson -3.5

Mississippi State -10

Oklahoma State -14

Ucheedawg (3-0 last week, 12-11-1 overall)

Ok State -14

Clemson -3.5

Navy +21

Barndawg (2-1 last week, 7-11 overall)

NC State +19 at Florida State
Michigan state +4 at Nebraska
Iowa -16
at Minnesota
Mizzou at Texas A&M -10.5
Baylor at Oklahoma State -14

Way To Beat Muschamp’s Defense

Mark Richt/Mike Bobo have faced will Muschamp while serving as defensive coordinator 5 times since 2003, and are 3-2.  Three times at LSU, twice at Auburn. The first two contests, UGA couldn’t do anything, scoring 10 points in Death Valley and 13 against LSU in the 2003 SEC Championship Game.  

In 2004, defending champs LSU got throttled by UGA 45-16.  In 2006, UGA beat 5th ranked Auburn 37-15 and in 2007, UGA made Muschamp’s D “black out” and the Dawgs rolled past Auburn 45-17.  In the 5 games, UGA has scored 30 ppg vs Muchamps’ defense, and in the last 3 contests (the 3 victories) averaged 40.6 ppg.

Stout defense played a major part in those victories, but watch these highlights and relive some glorious moments.  You’ll notice one trend (aside from the awesome play of the UGA secondary, which has as much talent now as it has since 2004 or 2005):  UGA moved the ball by running the ball effectively and taking advantage of the aggressive, man coverage on the deep ball. It also doesn’t hurt to use a mobile quarterback:

2006 vs Auburn

2007 vs Auburn

Going back to the 2004 LSU game, David Greene was only 10/19 for 172 yards but had 5 TDs. The Dawgs had 190 yards on the ground on 35 carries from Danny Ware and Thomas Brown.

2006 against Auburn, Stafford was 14/20 for 219 and 1 TD.  Kregg Lumpkin and Stafford rushed for 188 yards on 28 carries between them.

2007 against Auburn, Stafford was only 11/19 for 237 and 2 TDs, but Knowshon and Brown rushed for 182 on 36 carries.

Run the ball effectively, don’t throw it a bunch.  Use the run to set up the deep pass.  This game plan works every time, has worked majority of time against Muschamp’s defense every time the Dawgs have faced him, and should work on Saturday.  If it does, we will see similar results.


UPDATE:  That might be easier said than done. Hopefully, the week off has rested Crowell.  He has rushed only 20+ twice, 30 against Ole Miss and 22 against Mississippi State.  To open up the passing game, Georgia needs a tailback-um, hum, Crowell-to tote the rock 20+ times and do it effectively.

A Couple of Notes on The Florida Game: The Jacksonville “Curse” and What UGA Needs To Do To Win

What was going to be a short post about one point turned into a long one about two points.  Here I look at the “curse” of playing the Gators in Jacksonville and the key for a Bulldog’s victory Saturday. 

The Curse is Overblown:  Forget about 3-18 versus Florida. It is terribly skewed.  For many of those years you had UGA sending Ray Goff out there against Steve Spurrier.  Like sending a blind, over weight turkey in a room with a hungry lion.

Let’s look at the Richt era.  2-8. Now in fairness, Florida has been pretty darn good in some of those years, but instead of focusing on 3-18, let’s focus on the 2-8.

In 2001, UGA was going up against Spurrier in Richt’s first year.  Florida had a good team that year and UGA lost.  2002 and 2003, Georgia should have run Florida off the field.  In 2002 that was Zook’s first year, and in 2003 the Gators were breaking in a freshman QB named Chris Leak.  It shouldn’t have been close.  The Dawgs finally did beat a lame duck Zook in 2004.  So far, 3 games the Dawgs should have won, one game it shouldn’t have. 

Now enter the Urban Meyer era.  2005 was a year when not having the bye week really hurt us. I’ll call 2005 a push because, yes, Georgia was the better team but losing Shockley sure did hurt.  JT3 filled in admirably, but his TD catch just wasn’t enough.  3-1-1. In 2006, we lost 21-14 to the eventual National Champs, and they had a really good team.  That is 3-2-1.   In 2007 we should have won and did.  4-2-1. 2008 both teams were in the top 10.  It shouldn’t have been a blow out, but both teams were good teams.  But Florida was the better team and eventual National Champion.  Even Alabama couldn’t stop the Gators. 4-3-1.  2009 they were clearly the better team.  4-4-1. In 2010 both teams were about the same, so let’s call last year a push also.

So in the last decade, there have been 4 times when Georgia had the better team, 4 times when definitely Florida had the better team, and twice when both teams were about even.  Due to a variety of miscues and not being able to take advantage of situations, Georgia is 2-8 this decade instead of a more respectable 4-6 or 5-5. 

But the two most crushing losses were those 2002 and 2003 games.  For all the talk about Florida being in our head, those are the two definitive years you could say that the Dawgs were far and away the superior team losing to a far and away inferior teams.  Most times since then, the Gators have been the superior team or it has been equal. 

Aaron Murray was 12 years old when UGA lost to Florida in 2002.  Isaiah Crowell would be, 9 or 10?  The two years where UGA was truly a head case, and a case could be made for a “curse”, these guys were playing pee wee ball on Saturday morning.  

Add the curse to my earlier “99 problems” post.  There are a lot of reasons why Georgia could lose.  I think special teams miscues are at the top of the list. Add to the list the questionable status of Malcolm Mitchell.  And maybe Georgia comes out flat and unprepared just like Boise, UCF, and Tennessee (2007 and 2009).  Perhaps the Dogs lose because the turn it over a lot like they did against South Carolina this year.  Perhaps two equally mediocre teams play a close game, like the Cocktail Party a year ago.   But the supposed curse has just about as much to do with the players going to the pool last week in the outcome of the game.

But I don’t think the ‘curse’ of Jacksonville has any bearing on the current game. the fact that D.J. Shockley threw a pick 6 and Terrence Edwards dropped a wide open pass in 2002 or the offense’s inability to score points in 2003 will have anything to do with the outcome of the 2011.   When Aaron Murray drops back to pass on 3rd and 7 (hopefully we are throwing on 3rd and 7), he isn’t thinking “Gosh, I hope I don’t throw a Pick 6 just like D.J. Shockley did 9  years ago.” 

Will this be the return of low scoring games? The last three years are the ones that really sting.  From 2001-2006, the UGA defense did quite well against the Gators.  In those years (2001-2006), Florida scored 24, 20, 16, 24, 14, and 21 points respectively (some off special teams and offensive miscues).  To save you getting out the calculator, that is 119 points in six games for 19.8 ppg. 

From 2007-2010, the games have been more of a shoot-out.  Florida has scored 30, 49, 41 and 34 in those games.  In those 4 games, that is 154 points scored by the Gators, for scoring average of 38.5 ppg.  The Gators have won by an average of 22  points per game from 2008-2010. 

In Georgia’s two victories under Mark Richt, UGA has had to score 30+ points.  Every year since 2007 the winner has scored 30+ points. 

People may look at the recent history that I outlined above and think the defense is the key to turning around the woes in Jacksonville.  To some extent, yes, but the offense has to not screw up when it gets opportunities. 

To be overly simplistic (this is a duh! statement), the Dawgs have got to score points and keep Florida from scoring.  The defense can do its job, I think.  But what got UGA in trouble in 2006 was a Kregg Lumpkin fumble recovery for a TD.  The Dawgs would have beaten the Gators 42-23 in 2007 had Stafford not thrown a pick 6.  The close game at the half in 2008 turned into a blowout loss because of turnovers.  Last year Aaron Murray was a turnover machine. 

Even against Meyer and when we had Martinez, the Georgia defense has done its job in Jacksonville by and large. At the the bloodletting in 2008, most folks will tell you that game was not on the defense.  If the offense can show up, and not even score a heap of points but just don’t make any mistakes, it will be a good day Saturday.

What killed Georgia in its three most damning losses-2002-2003 and 2008-was the inability to find the end zone and having to settle for field goals.  Blair Walsh has shown he is no longer dependable as a kicker. 

The defense is good enough now, like it was from 2001-2006, to keep the Gators’ offense in check. The recipe for Bulldogs’ success on Saturday-just like every other game-is really simple:  don’t make any mistakes on offense, and when you get to the red zone, come away with 7 and not 3.  Bad news is Georgia has sturggled in that area this season, only scoring TDs 57% of the time it gets in the red zone, which ranks 8th in the SEC.  Good news is Florida ranks next to last  only scoring TDs 45% of  time they are  in the red zone.  If UGA can scome away with 6 instead of 3,  like it did in 2007 (6 TD, no FG), Dawgs win.


With All This Expansion Talk, One Reason Not To Bring Georgia Tech In The SEC

The SEC rebuked West Virginia’s desire to join the SEC based on the academics of the instituion. 

Forget about having another school from the same state, the SEC wouldn’t want to include Georgia Tech becuase the inclusion of Tech would hurt the SEC academically. 



Re-evaluating the Temprature of Richt’s Hot Seat

I never put much stock in the “hot seat” talk prior to the season becuase I thought that we’d rebound good enough from a losing season in 2010 to put the matter to bed.

Well, after a pitiful performance in the Georgia Dome (I mean awful!) and yet another close loss, this one against South Carolina, the worst case scenario that this UGA fan thought was near a 0% possibility was reality. 

The way the team played on September 3rd, I was afraid that Rodney Garner would be leading the team on the field at Jacksonville.  But give Coach Richt and his staff credit, no one panicked.  The team has benefitted from its easy schedule and has rattled off 5 straight wins, its longest streak since winning 11 in a row from 2007-2008. 

Sure Ole Miss and Mississppi State are not Alabama and LSU, but the Dawgs have gotten better passing the eyeball test and have taken advantage of their opportunity.  If you had told me prior to the season that the Dawgs would be 5-2 heading into Jacksonville with a chance to all but clinch the SEC East with a win, I would have taken it in a heart beat.  You would also, don’t lie to yourself. 

But if the Dawgs do what they have done 3/21 years Saturday and  lose, then the hot seat talk heats back up again.  After the Tennessee game, and the 100th victory, Coach Richt turned the burner down to simmer.  It will get cranked up full blast again with a loss.

But I don’t think a loss to Florida sends Richt packing after this sesaon.  Sure, it would SUCK BIG TIME if we lose Saturday, but if Georgia finishes 9-3 and plays on a January 2nd Bowl and has a chance for 10 wins, there is no reason that Richt should be fired.  We have 3 losable games, 5 winable ones left.  If we go 9-3 and go 2-1 against Florida, Auburn and Tech, I just can’t see Richt getting fired, no matter how bad it would feel to lose to one of those teams.   I even think Richt would be in more trouble with a loss to Tech than a loss to Florida.

Now going 8-4 is tricky.  I am chalking up New Mexico State and Kentucky as wins.  Going 8-4 would require going 1-2 against Tech, Auburn and Florida.  Those are your 3 biggest rivals, and in a rebound year you don’t go 8-4 and you don’t have a losing record against your 3 most important rivalry games.   I think 8-4 Greg McGarity has a decision he has to make, and it will be a hard decision.  On one hand, you have shown progress in Year 2 of the defense and have a lot of youth on the team, and 2012 shapes up to be a good season with another favorable schedule and nearly all the talent returning.  On the other hand, you still suck.  I think 8-4 will have to be McGarity’s decision, and I have complete faith and trust in Greg McGarity making the right call.   I would lean towards a new coach in 2012 if 8-4 is the case, but it depends.

If we get swept by Auburn, Tech and Florida to finish 7-5, that would be a complete impolosion and Richt and company should not be back in 2o12. 

As I said before the season started, I didn’t need a win number to satisfy me, or a mandate of “you have to beat teams X, Y, and Z”, but I wanted to see progress and have a feeling of optimism heading into 2012.  9-3 with a chance for 10 wins would satsify that.  Nothing else would.   I really don’t think this hot seat mess is all that complicated.  Go out and take care of business, we are all good.  Go out and wet the bed down the stretch, we are not good.   The pundits can try to make it a big story, but I think it is pretty simple.