Saturday, August 30, 2008

Observations - GSU

If you asked Dawg fans what they hoped the team would accomplish against Georgia Southern, I think most of them would have said, A) Look sharp, and B) Stay healthy. I would say they were about 70% effective on the first one, but the second one is not looking very likely. Here is my take on the game:

  • The #1 offense looked sharp. When the #1 offense was on the field, they seemed to move the ball at will. Stafford was very accurate with the ball, made good decisions, and was generally the play maker/field general we need him to be. Knowshon was a man among boys...I don't think he was brought down by the first or possibly even second defender he encountered all day. The o-line was good enough...a lot of big holes, I don't remember a sack, and a lot of plays ended up with our o-lineman laying on top of GSU defenders. I remember particularly the screen play that Moreno took for about 40 yards, GSU defenders were being eliminated from the play all over the was a beautiful thing to see.
  • We played a LOT of guys. There were a lot of guys out there in the 4th quarter that I had never even heard of, especially along both lines of scrimmage. Logan Gray flashed the athleticism that will bring an added dimension to this offense once he is the guy at QB (which I think he will be sometime in the next two years). He was even out there once to return punts, but they kicked it out of bounds...obviously scared of the white quarterback returning punts. TONS of wide receivers played, too many to even keep track of. Good to get some guys some game experience, and it was nice to see some of the 5th-6th stringers get what is probably the only action they will see on the field all year.
  • The freshmen. We played a lot of freshmen, and many of them were very effective. AJ Green showed signs of the playmaking ability we get to witness for at least the next three years...the first catch he had was a pure mismatch where he just ran by his guy on a skinny post and then caught a PERFECT pass from Stafford. The TD catch was a very athletic play where he had to twist his body and leap to catch the ball...very nice. Both Caleb King and Richard Samuel got plenty of carries and they were both very effective when they got any blocking at all. Samuel is definitely more of a north-south guy, and when he sees the hole he hits it running downhill. As for Caleb, he made several right-analog stick type moves, and generally looked like the big-play tailback we were all hoping for. Marcus Dowtin made several plays, DeAngelo Tyson was able to get in a tackle or two, and Blair Walsh...well, he deserves his own bullet point.
  • Blair Walsh looks like the real deal. Yes, I know it was just GSU, and it's not like the game was on the line or anything, but he stepped out there for his first game-situation kick, from a LONG 52 yards out, and promptly blasted the ball right down the middle, into the stands. Perfect on PATs, and effective on kickoff...I just wish the coaching staff would let him blast the ball through the endzone every time like he did on the opening kick.

  • ELEVEN penalties. Absolutely unacceptable. We HAVE to play a lot smarter than that. It would be one thing if they were penalties of aggression, but it was stupid stuff. Offsides, false starts, lining up wrong...sloppy. I like what Zeier said on the post game. You may say it's "typical first game problems," but this team should not be striving to be typical...we are looking for this year to be SPECIAL.
  • The defense didn't dominate. Against a team like this, the defense should have overwhelmed them with speed, power, and numbers. That did not happen, even before we emptied our bench in the second half. The first team gave up two touchdowns, and needed an INT in the end zone and a missed field goal to keep it from being worse. The d-line, especially, disappointed against the run...they seemed to be out of position a lot, either because they over-pursued or because they got blocked out of the play. That should not have happened today, at least not against the first team.
  • Jeff Owens' injury. If I was doing the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, this would have been the only item in the Ugly. We haven't heard anything definitive yet, but all the quotes from the staff and players lead me to believe that this could be a long-term thing. This one will really hurt...the depth at DT is one of the things I really loved going into this season, and it looks now like a huge cog in that depth may be gone. I know that we can plug Weston in, probably next week, but it hampers our ability to continually rotate guys in and out, which was really going to help us make it through this brutal schedule by keeping guys fresh and healthy in the middle of the line. Dawgspeed, Jeff....Dawgspeed.
I know I'm forgetting some stuff, since this is all pretty top of mind. Overall, I was actually pretty pleased. I don't think you can really learn anything about your team for certain in these type games. I think it actually works out pretty was a dominant enough win while still giving our coaching staff plenty of ammo to keep the team from feeling too good about themselves.

OK, off to cheer on the Tide...SEC SPEEEEEEEEEEEED, BABY!

1 comment:

BulldogBry said...

Spot on analysis. I was a little disappointed not to see Walsh's kick in any of the national highlights since most of the "pundits" thought that might be a weak point. And kudos to Richt for not hesitating to put him out there on a 50+ yarder for his first kick.
I hope Owens can come to every single game and still be the vocal leader he is.