God Bless Hairy. Image: DawgPost.com
Thank heavens we didn't schedule Montana State. lol.
Some random thoughts:
-- It wasn't one thing. It wasn't just Stafford, or the drops, or the coming out flat, or the OLine, or Martinez getting his butt handed to him in the first half, or our slow and tentative linebacker play or the tackling. It was everything. And it took everything going wrong all at once to have an outcome like that.
-- We won: In years past, we lose that game. Just saying, we did gut out a win under tough circmustances, and that's a very good thing.
-- QBs: Joe Cox looked outstanding coming off the bench against CU, but don't forget that Stafford came off the bench and played well vs. SC. Zeier had the same kind of game in 1991 as a Freshman that Stafford had Sat. He was benched in favor of Talley who wasn't good enough to bring us back against Vandy. Having a guy like Cox on the pine to lead us in the 4th was a luxury that UGA teams of yore never had.
-- WRs: At some point, Georgia is going to have to recruit and coach a group of WRs that can catch consistently. Dropped passes have cost us more games since '01 than anything else. There were at least 4 very catchable dropped balls that were drive killers. Stafford did throw some bullets at short range behind WRs. But we have to make the easy catches.
-- More on QBs: It would be a shame to have a weapon like Stafford's arm riding the pine because he throws too hard for our inconsistent WRs to catch it. When have you ever heard of WRs getting a pass b/c of hard thrown balls that they drop? It's ridiculous. A coach complaining about a QB throwing too hard is like a man complaining that his girlfriend's boobs are too big.
-- Tackling: Our LBs looked tentative and our tackling was really poor across the board. The good news is that the big TE #87 only caught 2 passes after the first 20 minutes of game time, and we only allowed 3 points after the half. So we did adjust.
-- Bend but Don't Break: It actually is a good plan against a team like Colorado to force them to try and drive 80 yards in 10 plays to score. Why? Because they can't do it without screwing up via penalties, turnovers and/or incompletions. However, that strategy like ALL defensive strategies depends on tackling well at the point of impact.
-- This isn't new: Lots of big time programs struggle with games like this. We have a long history of walking into these 12:30 games asleep. See Vandy '03 when we were down 2-0 at the half or UAB '03 when we had to come from behind to win 16-13. Yet, we still won the SEC that year. It happens.
-- OLine Play: It's almost funny to watch the replay. Watch our Olinemen pull out on screens and fall down at the feet of defenders without blocking them. It's like something out of keystone cops. Nick Jones came to play. The others?
-- Martez Friggin Milner: Who woulda thunk it. Maybe this will be the confidence boost he needs to finally become the player his enormous physical tools would suggest he can become.
-- The Timeout on the extra point: I don't blame Martez as much as I blame the special teams coach in charge of the FG unit. I think that's Callaway. I thought we learned our lesson on stuff like this during the AU game last year. That sort of thing drives me hookie balookie.
We survived. I think it was Chuck Oliver who had a great line after the game on the local CBS station. Something like, "It's not everyday that your coaching staff gets a complete blueprint of everything wrong with your team AND it doesn't cost you a loss." BINGO! He nailed it. Now, what will UGA do with that plan? We've got a great coach and history says we'll do pretty well with that blueprint.
The only things that make me nervous long term are:
- 1) Who's the QB - obviously
2) LB play hasn't been the same since Odell and Coach Van Gorder left. Lots of speed seems to be sitting on the sideline in the form of Dewberry and Ellerbe. That said, Taylor stepped up HUGE at the end.
3) OL motivation and recruitment
4) WR improvment from game to game and year to year
5) How good UF looks at times vs. our weaknesses