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Remember This On Saturday

A couple of very important things to remember this Saturday:

This senior class might be one of the most important ones we’ve had, and if it isn’t extra special to Coach Richt, it should be.

It gets a little muddled with redshirts and what not, but most of this senior class was signed in 2011, the self-proclaimed “Dream Team”.

This class came in on faith. UGA had just gone out and posted a turd of a 6-7 record. Coach Richt’s job security was at its shakiest.  They also came in with a bunch of hype.  Sure, they haven’t brought a National Championshipr or even a SEC Championship.  The Dream Team class did come in and has 2 SEC East Titles and have been 15 feet from playing for (and winning) a National Championship. We will see on Friday if this class gets its 3rd East Title. Had it not been for cataclysmic injuries in 2013, I feel 100% confident in saying this class would have another Eastern Division banner under its belt.

Most importantly, this class has restored national credibility back to the Bulldogs. After a very mediocre season in 2009 and that turd in 2010, this class has helped restored the Bulldog brand back in the national conversation. Coaches Richt, Bobo and others deserve credit for this, but success-and failure-ultimately is on the players.

These seniors were Damn Good Dawgs and their legacy will be that of a group of guys that came in and restored the program. This senior class is undefeated against Tennessee, 3-1 against Auburn, 3-1 against Florida, and as of now, undefeated against Tech.

On this week of Thanksgiving we should be proud and thankful for this Senior Class.

Go Dawgs!

*********

Tech is having a very good year, no doubt. But this is a rarity. Since 2002, the beginning of the Chan Gailey era, Tech has only had two seasons where they didn’t have at least 5 losses. That occurred in 2008 (4) and 2009 (3). Each year since 2002, Tech has had at least 4 losses except that 2009 team, which did lose to Georgia, by the way.

Matter of fact, in the last 12 seasons, Tech has two 7 loss seasons, four 6 loss seasons, and four 5 loss seasons. 10 out 12 seasons they have lost 5 or more!!!

Their loss totals since winning the ACC Championship in 2009-7,5,7,6. Keep in mind 2009 was the last of Chan Gailey’s recruits.

To keep this very important streak alive, Tech will need to lose to Georgia Saturday, lose the ACC Championship, and again lose a bowl game. A very likely scenario. Forget the state bragging rights or the stupid Governor’s Cup. Helping Tech get to at least 5 losses in 11/13 seasons is something we should all be focused on!

Corbindawg

Everything You Need to Know About Tech

This will be the only post I plan to do this week, so I am making it count. Here is something long to read while you await Turkey Day.

This year, I haven’t gotten to watch as much of Georgia Tech as it seems like I normally do, so I’m having to rely a lot on the stats on paper.

Don’t get me wrong…that isn’t a bad thing. I love watching other non-UGA teams play for just the pure enjoyment of the game. But the brand of football Tech plays is just not compelling to me. Maybe my grandparents, but not me.

That brand of football is going to run it, run it, and run it some more. I clearly don’t mind running the ball, but not like Tech does with that gimmick offense.  Much like Auburn, Tech is only going to throw the ball downfield as an element of surprise to get the big play. Not surprisingly, Georgia Tech has the fewest pass attempts of any team in the ACC…only 161. In Tech’s first two series of the game last year that resulted in touchdowns, Vad Lee completed passes of 68 and 43 yards to set up scores-both on 3rd down by the way.

Quarterback Justin Thomas has only completed 52% of his passes, but Tech as 2 passes for 70+ yards, 4 for 60+, 6 for 50+and 8 of 40+. They are going to take some shots, and they are going to hit a few.

What gets Tech in trouble is when Paul Johnson gets too cute and decides to throw it more than they should. Tech isn’t going to beat you exclusively throwing the ball, but they will hit a few shots downfield. It is going to happen.

One thing Tech and Justin Thomas have improved on this year is the TD/INT ratio. Last season, Vad Lee had 11 touchdowns and 10 picks. This year, Thomas has 15 TDs and only 4 passes thrown to the other team.

Defensively, Tech hasn’t improved much from a year ago, when they weren’t terrible but weren’t great, either. By Ted Roof standards, I’d say they are doing pretty damn good, actually.

Pass defense has improved slightly from last year, but Tech’s rushing defense has gotten worse from a year ago, 165 yards per game in 2014 compared to 115 last year.

Scoring defense is about the same.

Not only is Thomas showing improvement in the passing game, he is also the team’s leading rusher.

I think it is safe to say the play of Justin Thomas is the biggest reason that Georgia Tech has been having a better season.

Auburn runs a variation of the triple option, and does not like throwing the ball. Yet Auburn has thrown it more than 100 times more than Tech.

Unlike Auburn, who primarily will throw it on 2nd down, there is no rhyme or reason to when Tech throws it.

Of their 161 pass attempts, 55 have come on 1st down, 49 on 2nd down, 53 on 3rd down, and 4 on 4th down.

While previewing the Auburn game, I said the following:

Georgia needs to focus on Auburn’s running game and play disciplined, assignment football. Just like they do against Georgia Tech.

In the years Malzahn has been associated with Auburn-2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013-let’s take a look on how Georgia has also done against Tech.

2009-Auburn: 24 points; Tech: 24 points

2010-Auburn 49 points; Tech 34 points

2011: Auburn 7 points; Tech 17 points

2013: Auburn 43 points; Tech 34 points (2OT)

While different, the basic principles of what Auburn and Tech do are similar. The key is to play disciplined, assignment football. Georgia did so against Auburn, and held them to just 7 points this year. The same needs to hold true for Tech Saturday.

Two things that are a pause for concern:

  1. Stopping the dive play. That is going to be Tech’s bread and butter. Everything they do is predicated off that success. We can contain their outside attack, but we have got to stop the dive option. Georgia is weakest up the middle. Think the Florida game. Georgia has the speed and athleticism to contain the edge runs; they need to be strong up the middle to stop the dive.
  2. Jeremy Pruitt was familiar with Auburn from his time associated with Alabama and coaching against them in the National Championship game. Tech does present a unique scheme that isn’t seen often. When a coordinator goes against Tech the first time, there is some challenge, then improvement the following year. In 2008, Tech put up 45 points against Willie the first time; the next year they were held to 24. In 2010, Tech put up 34 against Grantham the first time, then were held to 17 the next game. FSU didn’t play Tech last year…what kind of challenge will Pruitt face in his first time against Tech?

The last three games, the margin of victory for Georgia was 17 points, 32 points and 7 points. However, after Tech got up 20 last year, Georgia outscored them 41-14 the rest of the way. A lot of last year can be attributed to gitters from Mason in his first start.

I thought before the season that Paul Johnson needed a good season to keep out of trouble with the Tech fans (sic).   After struggling early in the year to beat Georgia Southern and Virginia Tech, then losing two straight to Duke and UNC, they have rebounded to beat Pitt, Virginia, NC State and Clemson convincingly. Though they only play in the ACC, Tech and Paul Johnson deserve credit for a job well done this year. A nine or ten win season is something really good for Tech.   Georgia fans have bigger aspirations than just another 10-2 year.  I think GA Tech people would be estatic with that.

With that said, the only close games Georgia have been in were the loss to South Carolina and the win against Tennessee. All the other wins have been rather convincing, and even the Florida game was a convincing loss.

Georgia is just too good this year. Chubb, Michel, and efficient play by Mason will be too much for Tech to handle.

Georgia is 7-4 ATS this season. As a double digit favorite (counting Clemson -9.5 in this), Georgia is 4-2 ATS. That is exceptionally good for Georgia teams.

There is some concern that the outcome of Friday’s Missouri-Arkansas game might take the focus away from Tech. Mark Richt and the coaches know the importance of this game.

Two touchdown favorites rarely lose outright, and even less so at home. Georgia is going to win this game, and I think they are going to cover the -13.

Dawgs win and will win big. 45-17!

Corbindawg

Pruitt Changing My Mind On Indoor Practice Facility

One of the topics that gets beaten worse than a dead horse is Georgia’s lack of an indoor practice facility.  Vanderbilt has one.  It hasn’t helped them with wins and losses.

Florida has been pretty successful over the last decade without one.

Georgia hasn’t not won a national championship because of lacking an IPF.

The recruiting hasn’t suffered much because of the lack of one.

Everyone just needs to get over it.

But…if Jeremy Pruitt wants one, then by George, build the man one.  Build him two.

Corbindawg

The End Of The Muschamp Era

When some monumental event occurs in your life, you remember exactly where you were.

I remember where I was the day I heard that Will Muschamp was hired.

For several years after we got married, my wife and I got together with another married couple around Christmas.  We would go to their house and have a dinner and exhange small presents.  These friends lived in Athens, and we decided that we would take a trip to the Mall of Georgia and have dinner and do some Christmas shopping.  Having to fight the crowds was much more tolerable with friends than going it alone.

After a day of fighting the crowds, we decided to eat a nice dinner and forego the food court, though a good food court is hard to beat.  We were eating some Bang Bang Shrimp at Bonefish near the Mall of Georgia, and the 2010 Heisman Trophy Celebration was on the bar TV.  I was going to the bathroom and walked by the TV, and I saw the breaking news.  Then during dinner my phone started blowing up.

I thought, “Wow!  What a great hire by Florida.  This means trouble for UGA.”

My mindset at the time was Georgia was 6-6 with an embattled head coach.  Florida just hired probably the best assistant coach at the time.

I’m glad to be wrong.

I found out Muschamp was fired while driving home Sunday morning.  My wife as on Facebook and said, “Will Muschamp was fired this morning.”  My response?

“Oh, Ok.  What’s for lunch?”

Muschamp was a flop as a head coach, but was definitely the right hire at the time.  Like we say about our situation in Athens, the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.  Sometimes the next big thing isn’t what it is all cracked up to be. Muschamp will be a defensive coordinator at a high-profile job soon…and he will become a head coach again at another BCS Power 5 Conference school.

When that day comes, he needs to evaluate what went wrong at Florida.

First, what went right.  He is a phenomenal defensive mind, and clearly can bring in high level defensive talent.  Florida’s SEC rank in total defense while Muschamp was at Florida:

2011: 5th

2012: 2nd

2013: 2nd

2014: 4th

But what went wrong.  Florida was consistently the most (or near the bottom) penalized team in the SEC during Muschamp’s tenure.  That is a reflection of their head coach.  The man is a maniac on the sidelines.  You can’t expect your players to play with discipline if your coach doesn’t have any.  And the offense was, well, offensive.  Here are SEC rankings for penalty YPG and scoring offense:

2011: 12th(out of 12); 60 ypg……..8th; 26 ppg

2012: 14th; 69 ypg………….10th; 27 ppg

2013: 14th; 59 ypg…………14th; 18 ppg

2014:  12th; 58 ypg……….9th; 29 ppg

Hey, give Boom credit for something.  The Florida offense actually had improved this year.

It will be interesting to see where Muschamp lands.  Since he is going to be getting paid big bucks, he can afford to  be picky.

Corbindawg

 

Ending the Game Strong

Georgia got the ball on their own 2 yard line after Amarlo Herrera intercepted Nick Marshall’s pass on 4th down.

The clock said 11:25 in the 4th quarter as Georgia’s offense hit the field with a 20 point lead.

11 plays (10 runs) and 6:34 later, Nick Chubb walked in the end zone to ice the game and extend the lead to 34-7.

One thing this Georgia team can do, as it has shown the last couple of years, is end the game.

Think back to 2013…against South Carolina and Florida, Georgia got the ball back with about 8 minutes left in each of those games, and never gave it back.

The Auburn defense was tired.  It was a methodical drive. Gurley’s last great Georgia run was a 31 yard run on 3rd down that gave Georgia the ball near midfield.  Gurley got 5 carries on that drive;  Chubb got 5 carries as well.

Also, don’t forget about the Clemson game this season.  Georgia was holding on to a narrow 3 point lead going into the 4th quarter.  It scored 21 unanswered in the final frame.

This team knows how to close the deal.

Also, I want to get this out there, too.  For anyone who complains that Gurley shouldn’t have been in the ball game that late, you don’t know what you are talking about.  Sure, it is easy to second guess.  But Auburn has an explosive offense and a penchant for luck, so you didn’t want them to get momentum and score quickly.  Georgia did what they needed to do, and what we clamour for them to do more often: step on a team’s throat at the end of the game.  Don’t be ignorant, or stupid.

Corbindawg

Thoughts On Auburn

A few thoughts on a glorious gameday in Athens…

 

-Three of the biggest plays of the game didn’t count for anything, but got the crowd ramped up.  I said if Gurley takes his first kick off to the house, the place would come unglued.  I saw the hole open up and he was gone.  Unfortunately, the penalty negated it.  When I saw the flag, I stopped roaring and started cussing, but the electric play still got the fans excited.  The fake punt was the same way.  It was a ballsy play call that showed Georgia was playing to win the game.  Finally, the screen pass that Chubb stepped out-of-bounds on was an awesome run. He lowered his shoulder and delivered the boom.

-The crowd was awesome.  When our fans are committed to creating an electric environment, Sanford Stadium is a great sports venue.  Wish it happened more often.

-Evil Richt > Agressive Richt > Passive Richt.  When Richt coaches to win and not to lose, he is at his best.  I wish we saw this more often, too.

-Mason would have had a monster day if his receivers could have caught the ball.

-I knew Auburn was in trouble when, and I can’t remember exactly the time this happened without looking it up, but they threw the ball on three straight plays to go three and out.  It happened early in the game.  It showed they were taken out of their gameplan.

-Speaking of Auburn….I still think they are a very good team.  The grind of the SEC just caught up to them.  But Malzahn, and I’ve said this before, can’t seem to make good adjustments as the game goes on.  The first series they scored.  When he gets off the script, the in-game adjustments aren’t there.  It hasn’t been as bad as it was when he was the coordinator for Chizik, but we saw that again on Saturday.

-Our offensive line is playing as well as it has since probably 2005 or 2006.

-I’m sure I’ll go more into this later, but it just really, really sucks for Gurley.  Can’t say anything else about it.

-I’m going to say what you all are thinking, but because it hurts too bad, I am only going to say it once:  how in the hell did we lose to Florida?  WTF.

-The irony of Herrara getting an interception when he just should have dropped the ball was not lost on me.

A few more things to talk about later but Saturday was a complete day.  Great tailgating, saw some old friends who I haven’t seen in while, and the Dawgs capped off a great weekend with an awesome performance.

Go Dawgs!

Corbindawg

 

Stopping Auburn: Think Tech

A few parting thoughts on this brisk Friday morning.

Auburn’s offense reminds me a lot of Georgia Tech’s option offense.  A lot of misdirection with receivers going in motion and what not, and the threat of the pass.  Nick Marshall will give it to the sweep guy, to Cameron Artis-Payne, keep it, or throw it deep.

Very similar to the Paul Johnson’s triple option, just with better athletes and more competent coaching.

Auburn doesn’t throw it a lot-in fact, they are last in the SEC in pass attempts with 216.  Florida, Georgia and LSU only have fewer pass attempts, just to give you some context.  Auburn’s passing yards per game is 220; Georgia is 196.

Where Auburn gets teams in trouble is their passing game, though.  It is the opposite of Georgia.  Auburn will run the ball, run the ball, fake the sweep, run it some more, then BOOM!  hit a big pass over the top to Sammie Coates.   Auburn has 9 passing plays of 40+ yards.  That is 3rd most in the SEC, behind Kentucky, Texas AM and Alabama.  Coates does his damage on 2nd down, with half of his 20 receptions coming on 2nd down.  Of his 10 2nd down receptions, 4 have gone for 15+ yards, and 4 have gone for 25+ yards.

So Auburn isn’t going to throw the ball much.  But they can be dangerous in the passing game, with Marshall throwing it up, and are their most dangerous on 2nd down.  Auburn has 796 of their 1984 passing yards-40%- on 2nd down.  A good chunk of those yards are Coates’.

So the key for stopping Auburn and the explosive play will be for Georgia’s defense to win 1st down.  If Auburn has success running the ball on 1st down-and they average 6.23 ypc in that situation-then it opens up the play action deep pass.

If Auburn gets into a situation where they are having to throw it when they have to, not when they want to, their offense isn’t nearly as effective.

Georgia needs to focus on Auburn’s running game and play disciplined, assignment football.  Just like they do against Georgia Tech.

In the years Malzahn has been associated with Auburn-2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013-let’s take a look on how Georgia has also done against Tech.

2009-Auburn: 24 points; Tech: 24 points

2010-Auburn 49 points; Tech 34 points

2011:  Auburn 7 points; Tech 17 points

2013: Auburn 43 points; Tech 34 points (2OT)

Georgia has superior athletes to Tech, and probably about even to Auburn.  But the key to stopping Tech is being disciplined.  The times the Georgia defense has been successful against Tech, they have been successful against Auburn, too.

One thing that can help Georgia are penalties.  Auburn is dead last in the SEC in penalties, and it ain’t even close.  Auburn is flagged for 68 yards per game.  Seeing how this is a night game, the first time in 6 weeks the Dawgs have been at home, and the first time in 3 years Auburn has come here, the crowd should be raucous.  A rowdy crowd could cause Auburn to make some mistakes and get put in unfavorable down and distance situations.

If Auburn is having their way against us on the ground on 1st down, we are going to be in for a long night.

Corbindawg


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