Monday, September 21, 2009

Recap - Arkansas

Good grief...this team is taking years off my life.

Sorry about the lateness of this post...combo of some weekend traveling and being a bit under the weather today. And also keeping an eye out the window to make sure my truck doesn't float away.

Let's get to it, shall we? This game really didn't have a lot of "in-between"...the good parts were really really good, and the bad parts were putri-riffic.

- Joe Freakin' Cox. If not for The Ginger Assassin, we would be looking at disaster right now. Yeah, he's for real. Just huge throw after huge throw. Every one of the touchdown throws were perfect, and they all called for something different...on the Aron White TD, he made the throw to the outside shoulder, a little behind him on purpose, so that only Aron could get the ball in one-on-one coverage. The throw to Tavarres King was a rainmaker, a high arching 50 yard bomb. The 2nd TD to AJ was a laser, thrown high enough to allow his playmaker to go up and make the play. Etc, etc...

I'm just really happy for the guy, you know? He has waited patiently for his turn, even risking the possibility of never playing a down at QB while at UGA, consistently talks about his love for Georgia, is by all accounts a fantastic teammate and leader. Then, after ONE game as the starter, so many fans were ready to throw him on the trash heap and move on to someone else. So to see him accomplish what he has the last couple of games (including being named the Walter Camp Player of the week and SEC Offensive Player of the Week), couldn't happen to a better guy, and it makes me proud to be a Dawg.

But besides all that sentimental stuff...we have ourselves a quarterback, Dawg fans.

- The WR/TE corps. I could give each of them their own bullet point, but AJ Green, Michael Moore, Tavarres King, Orson Charles, Aron White...we saw examples of every one of them being playmakers like we haven't had in this abundance since....well, ever, I guess. And that's BEFORE we work Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wootentheballcarrier into the mix.

AJ Green is a friggin beast...I'll take him over any other WR in the country right now, bar none. I love his aggression this year...he is playing with a bit of an attitude, but the right kind of attitude.

And Michael Moore is an extremely reliable #2 WR, the kind of guy you have to have on your roster to be consistently successful on 3rd and 7.

- Brandon Boykin on kick return. Better enjoy these plays while we can...I can't see opposing teams continuing to kick to him for very long. Even when it's not blocked well, he is consistently making guys miss and setting us off in great field position.

- Our kickers. Drew Butler bailed us out again with a huge kick with under 5 minutes to go, and Blair remains perfect. These guys are going to end up winning some games for us this year, if they haven't already.

- The running backs. Finally, we got to see what Richard Samuel can do when he breaks loose, and the results were no doubt impressive. However, outside of that big play, he wasn't all that productive, and the fumbled pitch was atrocious. On top of that, the fumble that he recovered could have been a game-changer.

It was great to see Caleb, and overall I think he was the more impressive back Saturday night. As he gets back into the groove, I get the feeling we are going to see why he was the number one back in camp before the hamstring injury held him back. If he can get back to that level, I think the offense is better off with him as the every-down guy and Samuel and Thomas as the change(s) of pace.

- The O-line. Good enough to roll up 50+ points and 500 yards of offense, but too many penalties to be considered "great".

Yeah, we skipped the bad...all of the bad in this game was UGLY.

- PENALTIES. FOURTEEN PENALTIES. FOUR. TEEN. PENALTIES. And I don't want to hear any more "penalties of aggression" crap. False starts, offsides, and holding calls are NOT penalties of aggression. They are penalties of laziness and poor focus, and they are not indicative of a championship team.

- TURNOVERS. We can't continue to be on the wrong end of the turnover margin in every single game and expect to keep gutting out wins. The Joe C interception didn't hurt too bad, as it was as good as a punt, and it was not as much a poor decision as it was a good play by the safety. But the Samuel fumble was inexcusable, and Boykin has to do a better job of knowing where he is on the field so as not to run into his own man trying to field a punt.

The Samuel fumble(s) are even more distressing, as they are a continuation of the problems he had last year. Maybe somebody needs to ask him how many feet are in a mile.

- The kickoff "coverage". Fine, Mssrs. Fabris and Richt. I give up. Kick it out of bounds. Refuse to field a unit that can consistently stop a returner before they reach the 40. Heck, even pooch kick to the 40 when the clock is our friend and we need the opponents to have to drive the length of the field. I just can't talk about it anymore.

- THE DEFENSE. Oh, Willie. Why do you despise me so? Why must you continue to destroy my heart a piece at a time?

OK, some credit first...I went back and watched it again, and honestly the first half performance by the defense was not that bad. They did get put in bad situations due to the aforementioned turnovers and piss-poor kick coverage. Two of the first three touchdowns (the first one and the third one) were actually covered very well...Mallett just made NFL-caliber throws, and his WR made a fantastic catch on the third one. We were even getting good pressure with a nice mix of blitzes and work from the D-line.

But that second half...that was an embarrassment. Opposing receivers running WIDE OPEN, over and over and over again...that can only be the result of either poor schemes or blown coverage. Just a pathetic display of pass "defense". (Just want to make mention of one exception...Reshad Jones is having a very good season, and really seems to have made an effort to improve his fundamentals and tackling).

Similar to what I said last week....regardless of any extenuating circumstances, 40+ points and over 400 yards of passing offense can not be considered anything but horrible.

But here's what REALLY makes it worse...nobody, not Coach Richt, not Coach Martinez, nobody...will come out and say, "This is NOT ACCEPTABLE. This WILL NOT STAND. We are EMBARRASSED by these performances and will not rest until the problems are FIXED." Instead we get excuses and condescension.

I do not call for people's jobs, at least not in a public forum, and I'm not gonna start now. But I can't believe that this poor level of play will be allowed to continue into next year. Something has to change.

So, to sum up...tremendous display by the offense, almost completely overshadowed by stupid penalties and turnovers, along with embarrassingly bad defensive play. For all the offseason talk about how last year's problems would not be this year's, that sure does seem a lot like 2008 to me.

That being said, it's still early in the season...we have a good opportunity to get better this week against ASU, and then we welcome an LSU team into Athens who we hung 50+ on last year. Hopefully, we won't need that many to pull out a win this year.


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