Sunday, October 08, 2006


Well... what can you say?

Yesterday's Tennessee-Georgia game was a mess of confusion. Lots of things went the opposite of how they normally had.

  • Georgia's offense in the first half was very good. Receivers caught balls and converted third downs. The Dawgs ran out of the I-Formation and picked up big yards, pleasing many fans.
  • Georgia's defense, normally ridiculously good after the half, couldn't stop Tennessee at all and really couldn't get off the field. Now, a few of those second half drives weren't necessarily the D's fault (short field after turnovers), but in the past Georgia has been able to buckle down. Not last night.
  • Special teams, normally Georgia's strongest positive, was, well, mixed. Sure, we can give credit where due for the two returns. But did the Brown kickoff return make up for the three other times his failure to let the ball go into the endzone with UT defenders already downfield resulted in drives starting within the 10? And Georgia's kickoff coverage was as bad as it's been in 3 years, leaving UT in great starting position, most painfully in the kickoff right after Brown's return. As for another blocked punt, that's just inexcusable. Strange how when Joe T was a backup, and he'd call out the blocking schemes on punts, we rarely had them blocked. Can we get him back out there on punts?
  • Turnovers, as mentioned before, really hurt Georgia in the second half. And the Dawgs' D couldn't come up with anything, really. UT had been net negative this year, UGA had been net positive in turnover margin.
  • This game, aside from the high scoring, just wasn't a typical UGA-UT-UF game. Normally both teams of those three come in with the same gameplan: run the ball, control the clock, win the battle of field position, and make as few mistakes as possible. In some ways, I think Georgia may have had that plan in mind (especially since they actually ran the ball out of running formations), but UT was significantly more vertical on offense, and both teams played softer on D than I've seen out of SEC teams in a long while. It was just kind of weird to watch - I don't think many fans are used to seeing a game like that.
So what did we learn about Georgia? Well, I think the Dawgs can move the ball if they want to. The receivers aren't as terrible as we've been seeing. The running backs will get yards and the OL will open holes when the formations actually commit to the run (and those I-formation packages also helped receivers get open on playaction. We also learned that we should just expect some mistakes from the QB position this year (though I wouldn't say any of the INTs or the fumble were all that terrible from Joe T - one good play from UT, one tipped ball, and one thousandth of a second too slow getting the ball away). On D, I think we learned that we'll go through some growing pains in the defensive secondary. Allen and Miller both made some key mistakes. The DBs have been good so far, but they had a rough night last night - lots of tentativeness when they were playing zone on third and longs.

What's ahead for Georgia? Well, I'm not ready to give up on the season and say we're rebuilding. I think the next two weeks should be fine for Georgia. The Florida game should be a really tough one, but I'm not foolish enough to put that game in the loss column just yet (last time we lost to UT, we beat UF; and ask how many people thought Arkansas had a chance yesterday). Speaking of that, Auburn should be really tough as well, and (as I've pointed out before) Tuberville and his staff have outcoached Richt and his staff in nearly every head-to-head matchup, and they should have a talent advantage this year. Georgia Tech seems to be having its best year since Gailey became coach, but they'll be susceptible to losses against lesser talented teams (and I'm not sure Georgia is lesser talented). 1-2 against those three teams and a win in the bowl game still means 10 wins, unless Georgia loses against a team it should be a double digit favorite against (and that's never happened under Richt). 9 wins wouldn't be so bad either, considering the youth that's seeing the field.

Yesterday was a tough loss, but there were positives in there. Let's hope the special teams fixes their problems, the offense notices how great they looked in the I-formation, and the D figures out how to get off the field on third down. There's a blueprint we can take from this game and use against the rest of the schedule. Let's hope we do it.