OK, I've been putting this off for three days now...
I still can't really talk about this game rationally. Every time I try to discuss it, the conversation dissolves into a rambling, incoherent ranting session that ends with me in a borderline state of depression.
So, I still don't have it in me to do an organized "Great-good-bad-ugly" post...this will be more of a stream of consciousness thing.
And, yes, I know that I am probably plagiarizing about 50 other bloggers at this point, as surely everything that can be said about this game has been said by now. I apologize in advance.
Maybe it will be cathartic...
- A.J. Green is one of the top 5 players we have ever had, at least in my 30 years of watching this team. Joe Cox would probably have at least 3-4 more interceptions, including the touchdown catch at the end, were it not for AJ bailing him out. Thank God we have him for another year.
- The celebration penalty...oof. That was just absurd. Actually, the whole idea of being penalized for "excessively celebrating" is pretty stupid, especially in a case like that, when you've just scored a touchdown in the last minute of the game to take the lead over the #4 team in the country.
What's happening with things like this and the idiotic rule changes we are seeing at both the college and NFL level (regarding how hard you can hit people, and you can only hit people when they are expecting it, and you can only be happy under certain circumstances, etc...) is that these Rules Committees get together every year and so they feel like they have to do something in order to justify their existence. So every year we get a new rule or a new point of emphasis, whatever. They can't very well get together for a week and then come out and say afterwards, "We couldn't come up with anything...we decided the game is pretty good as it is."
Trust me, from personal experience (and many of you can testify to this as well)...there are few better factories for stupid than "committees".
However...that penalty is not why we lost the game. We lost the game when we managed 49 yards in the first half. And one first down.
- Coach Fabris is a great defensive ends coach. I don't think that can be argued.
But, good grief, we can't seriously consider keeping him on kickoff coverage, can we? Check this out if you haven't, from David Hale's blog. Two years worth of putrid kickoff coverage that just sucked momentum out of the team, either at the beginning of a half or following a Dawgs score.
And yet...we KEEP DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
(By the way...it's usually at this point that my discussion of last week's game dissolves into bitter, spittle-flying rage. Just a warning)
Take another look at that David Hale article...how is this acceptable? Why is this OK? We are supposedly a top tier team, right? How is it that we have one aspect of our team that is consistently, disgustingly awful, and rather than trying to fix it or hold anybody accountable, we get excuses and condescension and more of the same old crap?
Then we get former players that say Coach Fabris likes to do it this way because he likes the challenge.
Dude, if you want a challenge, take up sudoku. Learn a second language. Run a triathlon. STOP SCREWING WITH MY FOOTBALL TEAM.
OH!!! And THEN!!! On the MOST CRUCIAL kickoff of the season so far, we decide to get cute and run that stupid bunch formation kickoff, and then we not only fail to cover the kickoff properly (of freaking COURSE), but then we also get a penalty that puts the Tigers in field goal range because we didn't line up properly.
I ask again....how is this OK? Is it me? Am I missing something?
- Joe Cox is not the problem, and even if he was there is nothing we can do about it right now.
- If you had told me two months ago that our offensive line would not be able to get guys off the line enough for us to have anything resembling a productive running game, I would have laughed at you.
I'm not laughing anymore.
- The difference in the defense now and the first three games is Justin Houston.
- Rennie Curran. There aren't enough words to talk about how much I love this guy.
- The missed tackles that led to Charles Scott's touchdown was probably a blessing in disguise. If we do stop him in the backfield, LSU probably runs the clock out and kicks a field goal to win and we don't even get the ball back. Not that it mattered, obviously.
- I am not counting the interception that Joe threw, since it was a desperation pass that he probably (hopefully) never would have thrown in a normal situation, so we basically had a turnover-free game. Progress.
- I know the reasons that Washaun is not playing more (pass blocking, lack of knowledge of the playbook)...but to me, he looked more like an SEC running back in his eight carries than anything we've seen all season.
Also, did you notice that Coach Richt called out the running backs a little after the game? I don't remember the exact quote, and I'm too lazy to go look it up, but he basically said that our running backs are only getting as far as the blocking and that our guys need to do a better job of doing like Charles Scott did, which is make somebody miss or break a tackle. Make a play, in other words.
Were it not for the broken jaw that Caleb King suffered last week, I would guess that quote would signify the possible end of the Richard Samuel era. As it is, we'll undoubtedly see more of Washaun this week.
And if somebody could put an APB out for Carlton Thomas, that would be nice, too.
- OK, I guess that's all for now. Bottom line is that we lost in the last minute to the #4 team in the country, and we should have a very good chance at being 5-2 going into the bye week before The Cocktail Party. Anybody remember what happened the last time we were in that situation?
I know that this is a totally different team...but I also remember how I felt after the disaster in Neyland in 2007. I'm not saying that the same thing is going to happen for this team, but at the same time I never could have foreseen what was to come the rest of that year...only the most enjoyable season of my lifetime.