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September 26, 2005

Recap: Georgia Bulldogs vs. Mississippi State

Tell me if you've heard this one before. We looked great on defense, but penalities and redzone woes slowed us to a crawl on offense. It's a familiar refrain over the past 4 years. Once again, I feel better after watching the replay because most of our problems are mental. Not talent.

We're undefeated and scoring enough points to win. Nothing wrong with this team is terminal. Everything right should be enjoyed and cherished. This is a fun season. With a little luck and some improvement we're going to have a huge season.

The Positive:
-- Few injuries -- Anderson will probably be fine in time for UT.

-- Defensive Line Play -- Our DL dominated the line of scrimmage. I think MSU crossed the 50 yardline 3 times all night. And the last 2 drives were well after the game was decided. If Charles Johnson or Gant were a half step quicker, we would've busted up 3-4 more amazing scramble plays from Omar Conner. I'm not complaining. In reality, Conner is a former QB turned WR turned QB. No other QB that our DL will chase this year is that fast. We put their running game up on blocks. Speaking of a half a step quicker, is it just me or is CJ sporting a bit of a tire around the middle? Don't get me wrong....he's a beast. I'm just making an observation.

-- Defensive Play Calling -- We blitzed more. We seemed to stunt more up front. We just attacked them more. In the seats during the game, it seemed as if Conner had all day late in the 4th quarter. I was complaining about being more aggressive in the stands, but after watching it again...it wasn't that big a deal.

-- Emphasis on Creating Turnovers -- We now have 8 interceptions for the year on defense. We have also recovered 6 fumbles. This is the biggest change in the Martinez era. Emphasis on this area is paying HUGE dividends.

-- Passing and Catching -- DJ and the QBs are developing nicely. Sure, they dropped a few. Sure, DJ made some bad throws and missed some guys. All of that is normal. We will NEVER have a QB that makes every throw. We will never have WRs or TEs that catch every pass. All we can ask for is improvement. They are improving. DJ currently has 8 passing TDs and only 2 INTs. There isn't a Dawg fan alive who wouldn't have taken those numbers through Game 4 if you were offering them pre-season.

-- Paul Oliver -- Continues to improve. Very encouraging.


Areas for Improvement:
-- Offensive Line Play -- Mississippi State's DTs were pushing our centers 3-7 yards back all night. This was primarily the problem out of the Shotgun sets. It was much less common out of the I formation sets. From the gun, our centers stand straight up and the low leverage (apparently stronger) DTs just push them straight back to bust up the play. It is common with both of them. Mahalona will eat them alive.

In today's AJC, Richt addressed this saying:
"On the offensive side, the focus will be on holding blocks a little longer, getting lower and better leverage, and making the right decisions.
Well thank heavens. The centers need an extra helping of this class because this was also a problem versus SC. It would also help if our OL played smarter, and blocked the right guy man.

For pete's sake every single starting Offensive lineman has at least 25 starts under his belt. Some have almost 30 starts. With 125 total starts under their belt we shouldn't still be whiffing on assignments.

It's one thing when the Defense sends 7+ guys at a time. 5 can't block 7. It's another when 4 whip 5. And it isn't talent at 4 of the 5 positions. When all of them had a hat on a man, we looked pretty good.

-- Penalties -- I offered my suggestion of fining the coaches $100 for every holding or offsides. Dave Johnson, TE coach, would've been out $300 for this game. Pope tackled a guy for his first hold. His second one was pretty ticky tacky. Penalties are 1/2 of our redzone and 3rd down conversion problems. Penalties don't just add yards and complexity to a drive. They wipe out plays. We had about 40 yards of rushing wiped out by penalties and another 20+ yards of receiving wiped out. These mental mistakes make fluid play calling and execution so much harder. It's maddening.

-- WR Downfield Blocking -- The young guys (Harris, Mo Mass and even Bailey still need a ton of work in this area). In theory, they are young and will improve like Reggie Brown did in his time here. In reality, Eason's guys not named Reggie or McClendon haven't blocked well over the past 4+ years period. I miss Darryl Drake.

-- Play Calling -- It isn't just that we need to call more runs. We need to call more power runs out of the I formation when we need 2 yards. The finesse running out of the gun is really inconsistent right now because of the center blowback issue.

It was nice to see Richt bringing the RB screen back. Although Ware and Lumpkin seem to run it in slow motion. Brown and Browning appear to be much better at executing it. It BADLY blew up twice when the other 2 ran it. It worked like a champ when Thomas ran it. Also nice to see us take some shots downfield. We hit one with Gartrell, but we missed on two along the sidelines.

-- Fade route in the endzone -- for the love of all that is decent and holy please don't let DJ throw this route anymore. His attempt at this throw vs. MSU was worse than the debacle vs. SC before the half.


OVERALL -- I saw almost nothing that can't be fixed with practice. My only concerns going into the UT game are:
1. How will our interior OL handle Mahalona. We're going to have to double him. That will limit what we do offensively.

2. Will we beat the penalty bug. Or will it beat us.

3. Will we stay healthy the next 2 weeks in practice.



All Photos are from Georgiadogs.com.

3 comments:

Norm Peterson Dawg said...

We only had five penalties. That's five too many, and they always seem to come at the wrong time, but in reality five penalties is not bad at all.

Anonymous said...

I'm tired of the criticism re: play calling. Our players have to begin executing......consistently. I am hopeful our coaching staff will eventually hold players (not playmakers) accountable!!

82 said...

I actually think our play calling/game management is VERY bad.

Since when did we start giving the ball to a freshman full back inside the 5 when we have Brown, Ware, and Lumpkin who are all basically power runners? Hind sight may be 20/20 and I LOVE playing Monday morning QB but still, not a good play and it surprised me and obviously Sutherland too.

Why are we even in the shotgun running the ball? Why not line it up and run out of the I while at the same time mixing up play-actions and bootlegs? More bootlegs please, did you see the fake Shock had last week?

What's up with all the sprint draws?

If we are going to run a draw on 3ard and short at least get our guys to block.

Why are we kicking a 53 yarder into the wind of a hurricane? I could have told CMR that was a VERY bad choice and was going to basically be a turnover before it was snapped.

Why are we seemingly trying to score on the 2 minute drill at the same time not hustling to get the plays in? If there is one thing CMR can call is the 2 min drill, USE IT!

Stop settling for FG's once we get inside the 30! Please! It won't work against a ranked team.

We may have only had 5 penalties but we still lead the conference. This is not excusable. This comes from coaching and lack of concentration which imo comes back to coaching. Our 5 penalties cost us a lot coming at the worst times on Sat.

While the execution wasn't all there, it never will be ALL there, the game management cost us a little too. But this seems to be par for the course with CMR...and 82's out.

 
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