Brannon Southerland makes plays. Image: Jim Hipple
After watching the offense show fits and spurts vs. MSU, you can't help but wonder what would've happened if Richt had picked Stafford sooner. Like 5 minutes after the UT game was over for instance.
The three INTs are an unavoidable part of the growing process with a true freshman QB. Even the Gators with Super Hype All-World Tebow are bringing him along slowly. Did you know that Tebow has only thrown 14 passes this year, and nine of them were in garbage time vs. UCF. We don't have that luxury so what you get is what happened on Saturday. By comparison, Matthew Stafford has thrown 125 passes this season.
Regardless, what we got to see vs. Mississippi State was some of the prettiest deep balls that we've seen in Athens since the Boise game last year with Shockley. The 40 yard corner route to Harris on the second drive was particularly nice.
Richt went to the shotgun and 4 WRs most of the game. When we were in the I formation, we were mostly in a 3 WR set with no TEs. That makes sense given that Stafford is more comfortable in the gun, and Martrez Milner was out for the game.
It's hard to watch the offense we saw on Saturday and say that Joe Tereshinski works with a fatter playbook than Stafford does. What we saw was closer to the old FSU sling it around offense than anything we've seen under Richt in years (if ever). It was nothing like the 3 yards and a screen pass into the dust that we saw the past 3 games.
My only beef with play calling is the continued under utilization of Kregg Lumpkin. He had 15 carries for 80 yards. When you've got a back that consistently gets 5 yards per carry or better, why not give him the ball more?
One can't help but wonder if our third quarter offensive disappearing act the past three games has anything to do with Lumpkin not getting many carries in the 3rd period. Lumpkin carried the ball on UGA's first two plays of the second half, but he didn't get another carry until roughly the 9 minute mark of the 4th quarter. The result was a 16 yard run. FEED THE BEAST.
All three INTs were totally and completely on Stafford. He actually could've thrown another one. The flip side is we entered the redzone 4 times and we scored 4 TDs with him at QB. The fumbles are a lot less understandable given that it wasn't freshman doing the dropping.
Tripp Chandler's TD on 4th and 1. Click to enlarge. Image: Jim Hipple
Brannon Southerland, Tripp Chandler and Kenneth Harris had superb games, and Nick Jones is a walking pile of guts surrounded by awesomeness. Southerland's one arm grab of the pass thrown behind him (Photo at top) was as athletic as any play you can make in football. Harris went over 100 yards receiving, and he was money all day. Tripp Chandler's grab on 4th and 1 was just a case of him wanting it more than the MSU kid did.
Dan Inman continues to register offsides, holding and unsportsmanlike penalties at a staggering rate. This week he pulled the offsides hat trick resulting in Dawgnoxious' comment:
"On Senior Day when they call player names. Dan Inman will come out too early."That said, the pass blocking with a make shift OL was pretty solid. Stafford had some time to let plays develop downfield, and even his INTs weren't a result of being rushed. He just misfired.
We run block pretty well for Lumpkin. Not so much for anyone else. I did like the zone read keeper for Stafford from the gun. It makes the draw play MUCH more effective if there's at least a CHANCE that the QB keeps it.
Richt finally said what most of us have been thinking. He went for it on 4th and 1 inside the MSU 20 because "I just got tired of punting and kicking field goals." It's comforting to know we're on the same page. I'm tired of being Field Goal U as well. I loved the play call.
We should be further along than we are on offense. Frankly, we would be further along if the QB with all the upside had gotten more snaps at this point. But we are where we are, and it is what it is. We need Chester Adams and Nick Jones to be healthy for the Cocktail Party, or it's going to be an exceptionally long day.