Georgia: Troubling Signs Despite Important Win Against Florida

Great win on Saturday, but plenty to discuss. Here is the good, the bad & the ugly.

The Good:

Georgia (6-2, 5-1 SEC) won another game it should have and remained tied atop the SEC East standings with South Carolina (7-1, 5-1 SEC). The feeling in the stands at EverBank Field was a feeling of UGA CAN beat the Gators, UGA SHOULD beat the Gators and defeat was unacceptable. A much different vibe then the last few years when most Dawg fans just KNEW Georgia was going to lose coming in.

Mark Richt’s decisions to go for three 4th down conversions, with two leading to TD’s was the kind of aggressive coaching UGA fans have been longing for. Losing 18 of the last 21 games should leave you with a “devil may care” attitude and it worked for UGA.  Thinking outside the box has never been a strength for Richt; maybe after the success at Tennessee earlier in the year and the success in Jax, he will loosen the reins on the Offense some.

Georgia’s’ defense played spirited football and came up big when it needed to. The Gators were held to a game total -19 yards rushing while they limited John Brantley and the speedsters Demps and Rainey to 32 total yards and just one first down in the 2nd half.

Most importantly UGA beat the Gators in the turnover and penalty phases. Getting flagged only 4 times to the Gators 14 and only turning the ball over once on a interception off the back of Isaiah Crowell’s helmet. Both Gator turnovers gave the Dawgs short fields and they capitalized with points each time.

The Bad:

The normally reliable Punter Drew Butler had an off night only averaging 34.2 yards per kick, well off his normal average of over 40yards. QB Aaron Murray definitely had an off-day only passing 15 for 34 and 169 yards. Several times it appeared he and the WR’s were on a different page of the playbook. He missed a wide open Orson Charles for a certain TD toss.

The Ugly:

Even though the Bulldogs won again, it always seems this team raises more questions than it answers week-to-week. The Dawgs latest win continues their conference win streak but it comes versus SEC teams with a combined record of 4-22. Such a streak is quite a relief after starting down 0-2, but it’s not exactly a proving ground to showcase how good this team might be.

PK Blair Walsh continues to baffle with his misses. Only making one of three FG’s this week was again troubling. Both misses were inside 40 yards, not exactly chip shots but ones you certainly expect a pre-season All-American to make. The Dawgs have been lucky so far that the only game he affected was the Carolina loss. The Dawgs have overcome his mistakes to win in spite of his lack of accuracy.

Special teams play continues to haunt Georgia fans. A 99 yard return for a TD, a 63 yard kick return to set up a FG is becoming the norm in Athens. Head Coach Mark Richt’s out-dated and totally ineffective practice of using walk-on’s and non-scholarship players on Special Teams is mind boggling.  Why he doesn’t put the 11 best players on the field every time is beyond me. I’ve not seen any other team in the league use this philosophy. Watch the makeup of the kick coverage teams and you MIGHT see one or two starters. Why wouldn’t you put your fastest, strongest, most experienced players on the field as many times as you can?

OC Mike “The Clown” Bobo and his 1970’s playbook were used again this week. Why does he run Carlton Thomas, a 5’8” 156 lbs scat-back type between the tackles? Why does he run Richard Samuel, who is much more suited to a straight ahead style, with sweeps? Doesn’t Bobo even know who is in the game? UGA has some of the finest TE’s in the country; throw to them more than 3 times a game.  UGA has a 6’4” 270lbs Fullback, is there a reason he has ZERO carries this year? What happened to the pre-season advertised Power-I formations? UGA wins in spite of Mike Bobo, not because of him. Mark my words: he will be Mark Richt’s Achilles heel.

OL Dallas Lee broke his right fibula and is expected to miss several weeks if not the rest of the season. That leaves a true freshman as the 6th man on a 5 man line. Basically the recruiting woes have come home to roost on UGA’s already paper-thin OL.

RB Richard Samuel sprained his ankle on the last play of the game and his status remains unclear for the upcoming week. X-rays were negative but a walking boot is never a good thing.

All-World RB Isaiah Crowell continues his weekly disappearing act. Even though he led the UGA rushers, he spent most of the night on the sideline. Several times after coming out for supposed injuries, the TV cameras show him laughing and smiling on the sideline. Highly talented, I severely question his work ethic and drive to be an every down back and major contributor to the offense. Keith Marshall, if you’re reading this, please come to UGA, we need a” real” running back.

Overall:

Georgia got a much needed dose of medicine Saturday night. The frustration level was in-the-air as fans tried to keep a positive attitude all night. The Dawgs fought through that “Here we go again” mentality and did what they needed to do to win. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win in Jacksonville.

The Dawgs need another loss by Carolina to break the 1st place tie. USC is at Arkansas this week and should prove quite a test for the excellent Gamecock Defense. No matter what happens to Carolina, UGA needs to keep its focus on the prize and continue to win games.

After going in the hole 0-2 to start the season, this Bulldog team could’ve folded up the tents and gone home, but they continue to fight. The shining light of this season is they haven’t put 4 good quarters together yet and if they do, this Dawg team could be a major force.

Hopefully the best is yet to come…..

COMMENTS

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  • LOVE the honest POV in this article!!! I’m a die-hard UGA fan but I’m glad to know that there are others, despite us winning, who are seeing the same red-flags as we do in our house! Saturday, I was freaking screaming at the TV wondering why they were sending Carlton Thomas up the middle…if anything, he needs to be used for sweeps, not to get pulverized for a <5 yard gain! Our offensive line needs some help (BOBO IS AN IDIOT) & I just don't know about our kicking game…Walsh & Butler are excellent…just they're not proving it this year for some reason, to which my husband made a good analogy. They're kind of in a "Tiger Woods type slump", where if their head isn't 100% in it, then it takes a LOOOOOOOOOONG time to get "it" back, like TW did back when he was going through his divorce/mistress dramas. As far as Crowell goes, I'm actually glad that he isn't on the field as much as fans expect a #1 recruited running back to be–simply because he was playing HS football a year ago…we don't want him injured like what's happened to Marcus Lattimore, but instead Richt is making use of his talents judiciously instead of letting him get beat up repeatedly. I say that's a smart move. But yeah, I think we saw something where Richt said that the reason why our special teams sucks is because we don't have a dedicated ST coach…I want to know why in the hell not??? There is no reason why we shouldn't, considering if we had a strong special teams, there'd be a lot of doubts eradicated on whether or not we can beat teams each week!

  • Dude, you are spot on in your assessments! We have Orson freakin’ Charles and he’s rarely thrown to. I have seen the same playcalling series soooo many times I have gotten past losing it and just resorted to shaking my head. He throws long on first down (Murray typically overthrows the receiver by ten yards), then runs between the tackles for a 2 yard gain and now he has buried Murray at 3rd and long…over and over and over. I did like the aggressive playcall on 2nd and 9 and needing a first down to run out the clock though.

    Troubling and kind of a blessing in disguise was Walsh’s performance forcing Bobo and Richt to forego the FG and go for it on 4th downs – each resulting in a TD. Typically, Richt conservatively opts for the FG and UGA ends up answering TDs with FGs and sinks. Walsh sucking has forced them to be aggressive.

    Luckily, this team doesn’t have to play the real SEC contenders, Alabama and LSU, in the regular season schedule this year. Auburn and GA Tech will enough of a remaining challenge for this team.

  • Great article and I agree as well. I love UGA but some of the plays that go out on that field are ridiculous. Blair Walsh needs to be benched. I dont care if he kicks another field goal all year long and Im very serious. He costed us the South Carolina game and if that comes back to bite us in the tail I will never let it go. I believe we could play them right now and demolish them but Im not gonna kick a dead horse.

    Im hoping Crowell grows up some. After his talking about his future in the NFL I kind of lost respect for him. He needs to play at his top to get a guaranteed NFL draft pick and I dont rightfully know if he understands that. Playing like a wimp isnt gonna get you anywhere. If you get knocked down, get back up and run at someone. I was very impressed with Samuel’s play this week. As mentioned by the commentators I think Crowell could learn from him in way of his aggressiveness.

    Its far enough in the season to see what this team excels at and what this team is lacking. I think we need to start playing to our strengths and like you. I really want us to go to the SECCG because I think if they can play 4 quarters, it would actually be decent to see them play LSU/Alabama.

  • Here’s the bottom line, to me: This is Florida’s worst team in several years, they committed 13 penalties…and we still had to really scramble to beat them by 4.

    It was nice to see Richard Samuel play well. He’s been a “damn good Dawg” since he got there, doing whatever the team needed him to do. Came in as a 5-star running back, and switched to linebacker when they decided he didn’t have the flat-out “burner” speed for a running back.

    Yet again, the team didn’t seem ready to play hard from the opening kickoff, and took a while to get going. We still make some very strange calls…especially on defense. (Why in the hell do you BLITZ on 4th and 19? Let ‘em complete a ten yard pass, and then stick ‘em…make ‘em punt.)

    And after the post-game remarks, Mark Richt ran down to the end zone and boogied and danced around with the players. Then…in the locker room…led ‘em in a couple of choruses of “Rocky Top”, since UT was playing South Carolina. Should a head coach really just be another “one of the guys”?

  • Observations from the uppr deck.

    I’ve been to 18 or 19 UGA/FL games now lost track back in the 90′s and throw in 9 or 10 oversea’s deployments and it gets sketchy. Besides The 90′s weren’t too kind to Georgia. One in 98 right?

    It’s funny how field goals aren’t so important anymore when your 2 1/2 million dollar a year salary is on the line. Not to mention your coaches salaries and their kids. Cause I promise you nobody is going to knock down Mike Bobo’s door trying to hire him.

    Granthem’s defense saved them AGAIN. The offense is terrible mostly , punctuated by exciting almost lucky big plays. Throw in some sometimes solid ground game just enough to loosen up the secondary for first down plays and we can beat the Ole Miss’s and Florida’s in 2011. Having seen all the games now. I just get the feeling we’re playing with “House Money”

    Crowell gets a C- for the season so far. Is he hurt? Is he tired? Is there discipline stuff? Does he even give a crap? WHO KNOWS??
    Samual B , Murray C , Charles B (when used), Defense A- (Jones included)