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November 13, 2005

Random Thoughts from this Weekend

I'm still trying to formulate in my head an opinion on exactly how I should feel about this weekend. Here's sort of a rambling rant. Good, Bad and Ugly Style.

The Good:
-- Next Saturday Coach Richt can join Gene Stallings and Steve Spurrier as only the third coach in the modern SEC to make the league championship game 3 times or more in 4 years. Fulmer, Saban and Tuberville aren't in that club.

[Photo: As crazy as it sounds, we still have a very real shot to win this thing. Auburn is the best team we'll play this year.]

-- Congrats to Auburn. They played a great game. They deserved to win.

-- Pre-season if you had offered me a 9-2 regular season and a birth in the SEC Championship Game, I would have taken that offer in minute. When you look at what we lost last year, there's no question that I would've taken that offer. I even predicted that we wouldn't win the East. We still have 2 more big games to get to that point, but it's very doable.

-- We had some of the best blue chip athletes in the country on hand Saturday night. The early reports from and are glowing.

-- The Turducken was a smashing success. I was excited about it, but I was skeptical. Some pictures will be posted later this week. Wow.

-- No matter how blue you are, just remember we've got a better shot at winning the SEC than Auburn, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina and Alabama. If you're looking to take the edge off your misery via the misfortune of others, consider these tidbits:
    -- Ron Zook never lost to South Carolina. The Gators are livid. The Gators are likely headed to Shreveport for a matchup with a wretched Big 12 team like Nebraska (The Tommy Frazier is Still Running Bowl) or the Music City for a battle with Northwestern (The Spread Offense Tickle Pile Bowl).

    -- The ACC is going to have anywhere from one to three teams bowl eligible more than they have bowl tie-ins. If Central Florida wins their next two games (Rice and UTEP), they'll be in the Liberty Bowl. Interestingly, the Liberty has room for an At-Large Spot. GT vs. UCF in the "You Still Owe us $1.5 million Bowl." The mere thought makes some GT fans edgy.

    [Photo: When I look at that pic, I know how Robert Morris felt in Red Dawn. All that hate keeps me warm.]

    -- The Vols barely beat Memphis who was playing without their all-american running back. I like Vandy's chances next week. If Fulmer had a sense of humor, we could call this game, the "Planes, Trains and Automobiles Bowl" because its Steve Martin vs. John Candy. But Fulmer's not funny. Just fat.
-- DJ Shockley played his nuts off. He had a shot at SEC Offensive Player of the Year going into that game last night. Unfortunately, Kenny Irons or Sidney Rice will win it now. We should've let him take a shot on 3rd and 10 after the pass interference penalty. You have to trust your best player make a play in that situation.

-- Offensive Play Calling (except for the 1st and 25 sequence). I was really pleased. I like the attacking nature of the no huddle. I like that we took shots down field. I like that the Toss Sweep appears to be back for good. I like that we mixed it up. It was Richt's best called game (except for the 1st and 25 sequence) since Boise.

The Bad:
-- The Fumbles.

-- Sean Bailey's hands. Some guy near me compared him to Terrence Edwards. That's not fair. That's insulting to Edwards. TE had a great career at UGA. Sure, he made some key drops, but overall he was a major offensive weapon for us for 4 years. Bailey so far is about two catches ahead of having a LaBrone Mitchell type season.

-- Eternity. That's how long that ESPN Classic will keep showing that game. Every year for the rest of our lives.

The Ugly:
-- Willie Martinez defensive game plan and in game adjustments. Van Gorder's first season in the SEC was no picnic. In 2001, We had non-sensical blitz schemes, sieve pass defenses in big games like UF and times when we had the ball run down our throats like AU. Van Gorder got better in Year 2. All we can hope is that Willie comes around as well because these last two game plans leave me wondering if he even watched film to get ready for the game. Did we not think that Irons would run it? Do we not have a Plan B for defending the 10 yard out pattern? We aren't attacking on defense. And it's driving me crazy.

[Photo: We should spring for a VCR for his office.]

-- The Offensive Pass Interference Call. One of the few philosophical things that Jim Harrick and I strongly agreed about was that the worst call in hoops was an away from the ball offensive foul in the final moments of a game. That particular call was the one that would send Jim into a profanity laced tirade and get him booted in a milli-second. The call on Pope was the same type of call. A totally inappropriate call.

-- Lastly, and most importantly, the cluster on the 2 point conversion. Look, I'm pretty forgiving. People make mistakes. Players drop passes. Coaches call plays that don't work. But not being organized is unacceptable. That means your fundamental approach to executing in that scenario was busted. To get a delay of game there is just not acceptable. It was the biggest game management blunder since the Boston College punt fiasco. It really pissed me off.

Separately, I know a bunch of people are saying that Richt should have let Auburn score on the last possession. I understand the logic and in hindsight I agree with it. But it's awfully hard to tell players to lay down. If we had done it, and it had worked. Great. But I'll never criticize a coach for telling his players to stop someone. I just can't get overly mad about that.

BTW -- I know everyone's pissed. Just watch the F Bombs and the GDs. I'll nuke all of that.

We can still finish 11-2. There's no need for jumping off cliffs.


Anonymous said...

F bomb and GD - I'd jump off a cliff, but I can't find a high enough spot. Good analysis of the game. I agree that a 9-2 season is fine indeed, but why do the loses have to be FL and AU??? It's hard to take pride in beating a 4-loss TN team and sneeking into the SECC simply because no one else stepped up. I'll feel a lot better if/when we beat the SEC-W champion.

Jason said...

I just don't understand why UGA cannot put together a full or even a half of a game. We get a little bit of Offense here and a little bit of defense there. Heck, if it wasn't for the speacial teams, I don't know where we would be. I am glad we have a great kicking game but is it good that he is one of the top scorers in the nation? I agree with your analysis. Coaching mistakes in a game like this and this late in the season are bad. We have had 2 badly coached games in a row. With that said, we do have a chance at the SEC title. GO DAWGS!!

Anonymous said...

Ugggh! The play that got me was that 4th and 10. That defense was awful. It's 4th and 10 for Pete's sake. We play a 5-2 and at the snap of the ball drop back to the yellow line and play a short zone with only 2 deep. Thats all well and good if Auburn is actually stupid enough to run it or throw short, but seeing as how they are playing for the win of course they are throwing further than 10 yards.

C. Paul said...

Very well stated as always Mr. Westerdawg. While I agree about CWM not making adjustments, it seemed as if even when we were in the right spots - we missed tackles or fell victim to the cutback. The 4th and 10 play is a perfect example - Tra Battle not only blew the coverage (as CMR stated later) but he missed the tackle which would have stopped the gain at the 30-35 yard line.

Still - an SEC East title with this team and with a recruting year shaping up like it is. I'll take it. Go DAWGS!!

Doug said...

As someone who lives in Alabama, I may be subjected to a lot more of this than the rest of you, but if any Auburn fans try to talk s#@t about the game, the proper response is, "Yeah, great game, congratulations, guess we'll see you in the SEC championship game. Oops, no we won't. Well, we'll make sure to say hi to LSU for you."

Can't add anything to the WTF 4th-and-10 discussion that hasn't already been said. I will say this, though -- that squeaker win over South Carolina (which we all though was such an embarrassment at the time, don't even act like you didn't) is looking better and better with each passing week . . .

Tennvolchamp said...

That was about the most entertaining game I've seen in a long time. Both teams played about as well as they can when playing another outstanding team. Shockley's return worked well (too bad he wasn't there for UF) but that Auburn running back was tought too.

The 2-point play was a major screw-up. Richt pulls one of those a season (after pulling several in his 1st season).

I'm glad someone isn't taking pride in beating the Vols. How LSU must feel to have their potential undefeated season ruined by a Vols team that can't score (but somehow scored 31 points in one half AT LSU).

After the Vols were eliminated (several weeks ago btw), I was pulling for UGA to win it all and challenge for the Rose Bowl. Now that that's not a possibility - why not just turn the whole thing upside down and have UGA lose to Kentucky and let USC play in the SECCG.

Once again - enjoyable game to watch. Sorry the Dawgs lost to Auburn and Ears.

Anonymous said...

"We'll be in the Dome, you'll be at home!"

Anonymous said...

We have a great chance to go to the SEC Championship and show em what we got! No reason to be down. The one thing I cannot figure out is how twice Auburn supposedly called timeout before the play started... Who called timeout? Tuberville's wife?

dmo said...

I may need to check the rule book, but isn't it necessary for a pass to be thrown to the receiver that is called for offensive pass inference? Terrible, terrible call. Also, did the NCAA institute a new rule this year that if you don't like the result of your third down play you can call timeout and reset after the play is run? I'm just sulking though. We should have never lost the game. 4 and 10, you gotta make that stop. And whatever happened to our run defense?

Anonymous said...

Bottom line....You can't fumble the ball twice in the redzone against a team like AU. Had we not fumble the ball...we would have won!!

Anonymous said...

It would have been nice to get a replay of Southerland's fumble. Who was running the replay machine, Pat Dye?

Anonymous said...

It was out.

I was under the scoreboard on the other side of the stadium and you tell the ball was "flung" from his grip before he was down.

To bad, Southernland has been having a helluva year for a RSF too....

Nathan said...

"Clean Old Fashioned Hate" is going to feature two teams this year who have beaten a combined total of one good team. Ugh.

College football in the entire state of Georgia has been below average this year.

paulwesterdawg said...

I disagree Nathan. We've combined to beat 2 good teams.

Auburn - GT
South Carolina - UGA

The 3 fastest improving teams in the country right now are:

1. South Carolina
2. Auburn
3. Oklahoma

Anonymous said...

This is how bad the Pope Ofeensive pass interfernce call was: everyone of NTACS calling the game were perplexed at what the refs were thinking. Even Bob Davies thought it was bogus.

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