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August 30, 2008

The Q Report

To lead off, I haven't seen anything official, but I fear Jeff Owens is out for the year with a knee injury.  We'll have to wait for an MRI for a definitive answer, but the rumors aren't optimistic.  Richt said he didn't expect him back "anytime soon" and there was mention of a medical redshirt.  If so, that is very bad news.  We have depth, but Owens was our best run stopper.  Someone needs to step up and fill Jeff's big, big shoes. (Image: georgiadogs.com)

What looked really good:
  1. Knowshon.  Take all of his red practice jerseys away and keep him in green.  He looked primed.  His first run was the best nine yard run you will ever see and he embarrassed a DB by crushing him on a screen pass.  The other backs looked good at times, but Samuel had a fumble and Caleb completely wiffed a protection that almost got Stafford blindsided.  All the backs ran well and I'd expect the battle for the No. 2 spot at running back will continue.
  2. The receivers.  Not a lot of obvious drops and I thought MoMass displayed excellent hands.  I can only remember a couple of balls that could have been caught that weren't.  A.J. and Durham each almost made great catches deep in traffic, but came up a tad short.  A.J. on fade routes is going to score a lot this season.  When Southerland comes back, we should be terrifying in goal line situations.  Demiko, Durham, and Mike Moore looked much more reliable than last year.
  3. Blair Walsh placekicking.  When you nail your first college field goal with room to spare, and from 52 no less, you've had a good day.  I hope it looks just as simple in Baton Rouge, down by two, with five seconds left.  Speaking of special teams, I thought Asher Allen looked real good on punt returns (even if he had a muff) and Reshad Jones can go if Asher's too overworked.
What looked like slop:
  1. Defensive line penalties.  I lost count of offsides penalties.  Jeremy Lomax was offsides twice on a single play, inducing the Willie Martinez furor gauge to redline, popping his eyes out of their sockets.  Got to do better than that boys.  I know you want a good jump, but after three yellow hankies, just start looking at the dang ball.
  2. Tackling.  It may be that we have grown accustomed to sure tacklers, but our DB tackling was completely substandard.  We wanted to nudge rather than wrap guys up.  On a single play in the first quarter, three of our guys missed a GSU receiver.  That has got to get better.  It's early and I'm confident that Willie will get that worked out.
  3. Blair Walsh kickoffs.  I don't know if Walsh will be our kickoff guy all year, but he had some very short kickoffs.  I understand that we prefer to kick the ball in the corner, cut off the field and force a short return, but I doubt we want the kickoff to be fielded at the twenty.  Walsh's first kick was great, driving the ball well into the end zone.  The short kick, though, is going to get us hurt.  Walsh himself had to make a tackle on a long GSU return. 
Everything else was average.  Considering the O line was playing together for the first time, they did fine, especially in pass protection.  But, they struggled at times to open holes against a D line they should have blown off the ball.  It was a good start, but nothing to get too excited about.  We'll get a better feel for the line when Boling returns.  

Some of you will no doubt bring up Stafford's career day.  I agree that for most of the game, he looked sharp, but he missed two wide open guys on a single play in the first quarter before Walsh's long field goal. He also floated a couple of other balls that went incomplete.  The completion percentage was good and he didn't turn it over.  He was solid, but nothing spectacular.  

One coaching decision I didn't get at all was inserting the second team backfield on our third possession.  Those guys looked confused and Samuel quickly turned it over.  I understood the Shockley, Greene rotation was to get D.J. some snaps and show the defense some different looks, but Stafford and Cox don't draw similar comparisons.  Let Stafford have it until the game is in control.  I hope that Cox is not a regular fixture on the third possession.  It's no knock on Joe, who I think did a good job, but Stafford is clearly our starter.  Don't bring in the back up just to bring him in.  

Overall, it wasn't anything special.  Even Uga VII slept through a good portion of the game.  I didn't think that it was appreciably different than other openers against Georgia Southern.  Get a big lead, get a bunch of penalties, get somebody important hurt, and then let the scrubs give up some TDs.  Keep it in perspective, though.  It's the first game and it's got to be hard to get excited about playing GSU.  We played a lot of young guys and some of them played like freshmen.  (Imagine that.)  We'll be fine.

So, was that the performance of a No. 1 ranked team?

Quinton

32 comments:

Ryan said...

One thing that I think you forgot to mention that definitely needs to be addressed (in a good way) is the improved stafford footwork. Several times I remember the crisp clean setting of the feet and smooth delivery and nearly perfect form. After so many negative comments about his game, I really think that props are due to him after fixing one of his most glaring problems.

On a slightly more negative note, I do however think that there was more than one occasion that he took a sack (and a fairly hard hit too) instead of either making a play or recognizing the busted protection/play and just tossed it out. That was something that I really felt like he made stride in recognizing not to force a play last year. All in all I was very impressed to see an improvement and really have virtually no doubts in him as a leader both on and off the field.

Great to see Uga out there chilling while we were slow cooking, but its great to be back.
Go Dawgs!

Anonymous said...

Did Reshad kill that guy? One thing I was looking for and was kind of disappointed is I didn't see king and moreno in the same backfield. Especially with Southerland out. Just someting to make the d coordinators wet themselves in future games. I liked King's ability to make good cuts, and Samuel looked good after the fumble. It was good to see him on some of those toss plays.

Anonymous said...

Heard it's an ACL on Owens. Sure hope my sources are wrong.

Quinton McDawg said...

Ryan, I agree on your points, especially the sacks. He didn't look all that pressured, but his guy wasn't open and he kind of folded it up and looked to run. He didn't look especially mobile either. I don't expect that to last. I bet we run a bunch of read draw against serious pass rushes. I've heard we want to get Stafford running more this year.

Man, USC is destroying UVa.

ugagirl24 said...

What's the word on Knowshon's hamstring? He seemed fine when he came back out, but you never know. Please tell me he's okay.

Anonymous said...

How serious was Kade Weston's injury last week? Does he start alongside Geno now?

baltimore dawg said...

hard to tell much from that game, i think. feels kind of like nfl pre-season foolishness, doesn't it, especially since jeff owens appears to be lost?

but ryan's right about stafford: less arm, more body.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure a lot of folks here won't have heard it, but stuck out here in flyover country, my only option was to listen to the radio broadcast online.

Guys, Larry sounds old. Really, really old. And I know he's always been kind of out of it as far as specifics go, but he wasn't close with some of them. Kept saying it was 1st-and-3 for some reason. Thought when we jumped on third down that it meant it was fourth down.

He also called Kris Durham "Wes," which was just kinda funny.

Kris said...

i think it was just a cramp with knowshon.. it didnt seem to bother him after he got his leg stretched out

i wouldnt worry about it, and guys stafford looked damn good!

brad said...

I think we didn't look like the number one team in the nation. Good Lord, the 1st quarter of the USC/UVA game showed what might be the best team in the nation. That being said, we can be the best team in the nation. I think we did the typical "don't show 'em much, play down to your competition level" thing that has plagued us for some time.

BUT...we got some quality PT for some young heads and that will prove extremely valuable down the road. Also, with Boling back next week (and 6 days of Searles' chewing) the OL will establish some dominance next week.

rjfitz said...

agree with most of quinton. helluva first drive. imagine that kind of focus and discipline for a full 4 qtrs vs uf or aub. if there is a place we can afford injury it's d-line or wr, not that you would ever want to lose a stud like owens. uga has never been one to come out and blow away a d-II opponent or run up the score. all in all I'm fairly pleased. samuel and king both gave me semis (barring the samuel fumble, but give a guy a break). we are a loaded team at the skill positions, however, true fans know it is the lines that win championships. we shall see.

a-phiz said...

I would like to have seen more split backfields as well. Throw Samuel in there as a bruising back and Moreno/King in there for the flash. A.J. Green looked great today. Granted it was GA Southern, but he got off the line great and blew by the DB on almost every play. I think that CMR didn't want to show em too much because with all the talent ( especially on offense) I think we can spread the ball around even more.

Anonymous said...

Losing Owens sucks, but how can anyone complain when we were up 38-0 less than one minute into the
3rd quarter?

We know how Richt is. He's not going to keep pouring it on. Contrast that with Pete Carroll, who tacks on another TD with about 3 minutes left at UVA to make it
52-7.

Anonymous said...

These weak sister opening games suck. You end up having 1.5 qtrs of intensity and 2.5 of 50% effort which leads to mistakes, sloppiness, and injuries - all due to a lack of intensity. Don't believe me - ask Vince Dooley. You begin the season with a real f'ing game and see what you got. Your entire pre-season is predicated on playing sharp the first game - not the THIRD!

carter said...

Would Owens be eligible for a medical redshirt?

Anonymous said...

Just remember, if the score was closer than we all thought, the first team was out after halftime, plus the movement from the trainers on Owens knee was,(side to side), it is never a good sign. Lets all hope for Owens and his family we're all wrong. But remember this team beat the upset team killer of the year. So a W is always good. REMEMBER IT IS STILL THE FIRST GAME OF THE YEAR. Richt did a good job of getting new freshman in the game. KUDOS FRESHMAN.

Anonymous said...

jeez..your post is much worse than anything I saw today. Granted I don't think it was lights out..but it was a better opening day than most, especially on the offensive side.

Your analysis comes across a bit snobbish to me and I usually love your posts.

Anyway, I am pumped and ready like you for the rest of the season.

Go Dawgs!

Ross said...

Quarterback Joe Cox came in on Georgia’s third possession because “that was the plan,” Richt said. “Joe Cox is a good football player. He has every right to play.” … AJC


I am not sure what that is about. I think you made a great pt. that with DJ Shockley and David Greene the change of pace and the comparable skill set and experience was there, but with Cox and Stafford it is not. This is not something that any really successful program, team or whatnot in college or the pros does or has effectively done in a championship season. I pray this isn't the long term plan.

airforceflyr said...

I agree- The Cox/Stafford combo doesn't bring anything new to the table. However, a Stafford/Gray combo adds a new dimension with Gray's speed and elusiveness.

** As I type this, during the Bama/Clemson halftime show, one of the crackhead ABC halftime announcers gleefully remarked about Knowshon and his "hamstring injury" Thought it was cramps.. WTF?!

Anonymous said...

Anyone know the name of the song they played righ after the team came out (replacing Baba O'Reilly for the "One Minute to Go" fire up the crowd time)?

So much for all the hub-bub about the new timing rules, things looked A-OK with #7 at the controls.

Anticipating the real USC supplanting us at #1 in the polls tomorrow, which is fine. I'll take 1 or 2 come early December.

Will said...

airforceflyr - last I heard it was cramps as well; he looked fine on the sideline while King and Samuel played in the second half.

I also noticed a little "Well, we know who the real #1 team is" during the USC/UVA game between Musburger and Keith Jackson on the phone. Herbstreit stayed pretty clear of it. He must have been extremely impressed with Stafford at the Elite 11 camp.

Ross said...

They were just cramps. Apparently a few guys (ellerbe, moreno, etc...) had JUST cramps. It was a warm day and they hadn't been practicing in a ton of heat lately, especially Knowshon who has been taking it easy in green jersey. This is a non-issue really.

As for Owens I hear Richt talking about next year for him. I'm pretty sure it's a torn ACL at best. That is really gonna hurt us and I hope beyond hope that we have someone step up. Im not totally sold on Corey Irvin, I think he is a solid backup, but not sure he can elevate to dominate. As for Kade Weston he is supposed to be out, at least missing next week.

Any thoughts on how and who to expect to step up and if this is a reasonable expectation? Owens was a leader and huge against the run.

Denny said...

the short kickoff by blair was on purpose...brandon coutu did it all the time

Muckbeast said...

I was kinda disappointed, but the thing is we know Georgia never tries to beat up on the 'easy' opponents. Richt keeps to the more basic plays, and he plays lots of backups.

The injury worries me a lot. We now have a major loss on both the offense and defensive line. I don't know how much more we can take in either department and hope to be a national champ or even SEC champ candidate.

Should I worry that Auburn, Florida, and many other top teams crushed their opponents?

-Cambios
Blogging about Online Gaming and Virtual Worlds:
http://www.muckbeast.com

Muckbeast said...

I should add one more thing:

If they do that Stafford/Cox crap all year, forget about it.

Even back when he did the Shockley/Greene thing, it rarely worked well. What happened most of the time is Greene would be rolling, and then Shockley would get a series, then Greene would come back cold. It was a terrible idea then, and its even worse with Cox.

I hate engaging in armchair coaching, but this is the ONE thing in the whole Richt era that I think is a legitimate gripe. Swapping QBs "just because" is a bad idea. There's a reason noobdy else successful does it.

-Cambios
Blogging about Online Gaming and Virtual Worlds:
http://www.muckbeast.com

baltimore dawg said...

i totally agree with all the criticism expressed here on stafford/cox exchange.

at the same time, i *really* don't think we're going to see that. richt had a lot more reason last year to work some kind of rotation like that, but he didn't.

i just have the feeling that he wanted to reward a guy that he clearly thinks a lot of with early playing time in a game whose outcome was never really in question.

but i hope to hell i ain't wrong about this b/c i can't see any benefit to *this season* in bringing in cox.

Anonymous said...

This directional kickoff sh** really bothers me.

Here are the stats on KOs from Georgia Dogs.com. After the first KO into the endzone we KO 7 times for return yardage of 217 which = 31 avg start for GSU. Also there were 0, ZERO times that we pinned them inside the 20 on these kicks. This was friggin GSU not some SEC opponent with more speed and better blocking.

Man I love CMR, but it doen't take a rocket scientist to figure out this strategy. You can't paint a picture after yesterday that directional kicking is the way to go. Geez, had you rather Florida start from the 20 or the 31 every time.

If you can kick it into the endzone then damn it, do it.

NYCDawg said...

No, we did not look like a #1 team. The #1 team in the country should dominate a I-AA team. Outside of a few individual performances, we did not play with intensity. My opinion is that intensity was the intangible of last season's run up to #2. It was nice to see CMR get fired up about the illegal substitution flag, but overall there was no fire in our team play.
#1 teams play like it regardless of their opponent. Would we have been more fired up to play a "better" team? Probably. But just getting back on the field should have been enough. We need the fire & intesity if we're going to play for an SEC title. If we don't find it now, I'm afraid we'll find it too late.

Whirl said...

Anonymous, the new song is called "Indestructible" by Disturbed.

Denny said...

nycdawg we were up 38-0 and then we coasted with lots of freshmen

just because we didnt score 70+ and they got 21 on our 3rd and 4th string we didnt dominate?

it was 12:30 and it was hot and it was ga southern you need to relax

Anonymous said...

It strikes me that having a kicker try to put the ball on the 10 rather than in the end zone, when he CAN put it in the end zone, is a bit like asking a power hitter to choke up and bloop a double to the opposite field. Sure, he can do it, and sure he WILL do it sometimes. But if he's adjusting his swing like that, more often than not he's gonna pop it up to the shortstop.

I guess the theory is that 10 drives that start at the 30 are better than 9 drives that start at the 20 and a kickoff that's returned for a touchdown. But I think if you start 9 drives at the 20, you'll score more than 7 fewer points than you will if you start 10 drives at the 30.

Hell, you start at the 30 (or the 35 ... or the 40 ... or the 45, if there's a personal foul), you're only a first down or two out of FG range.

If I were Richt, I'd ask Bobo what he'd prefer the other team give us: 10 at the 30 or 9 at the 20 with a freebie score. Whatever Bobo says, do the opposite.

Frank Franklin said...

Couple of quick questions/comments that maybe PWD and others might be able to answer--

1. Did we scrap The Who's "Baba O'Reily" (or, if you will, "Teenage Wasteland") as a pregame song? I thought the new montage with 1 minute before kickoff was weak sauce compared to Teenage Wasteland. This needs to be brought back.

2. Why did we go back to the old, traditional endzone lettering? I liked the plain look we established a couple of years ago. Also, why did we get rid of the red trim around the sidelines? Not a fan of this decision. I did like the call to shrink the size of our mid-field "G" logo.

Finally - is there any way we can get both Stafford and Moreno to stay for next season? Not to sound like a Negative Nancy but I'm thinking we are going to be better in '09 than this year, especially if we get those two back. Hate to say this, but I'd rather keep Stafford next year over Moreno, solely because of the position he plays and the players behind him.

Thoughts?

- FF

 
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