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September 26, 2011

Ole Miss Review

A conference road win, one that was much, much more dominant than the score indicated.  An overwhelming defensive performance.  Coach Richt going old school.  Didn't it feel like 2003 or so?  A relatively close game that never felt like it was close at all?

The Good:
  • The Defense. Second straight game allowing less than 200 yards offense.
  • Pressure on the QB.  Are we finally comfortable running the 3-4?  We brought pressure from multiple spots with multiple players.  We dropped Abry Jones into underneath coverage more than once (he almost got a pick on a tipped pass).  We played stifling pass defense, with two very notable exceptions.  We got stronger as the game wore on.  Very happy with the defense.
  • Coaching.  Going to Mitchell right after he got a hold that negated a long run was genius.  The game plan was well thought out and we deviated from it to keep doing what worked.  The only gripe I have is that we didn't try to put another TD on the board when we were in the red zone early in the 4th quarter, instead opting for merely running the ball and the clock.
  • Richard Samuel catching passes.  For all his flaws as a ball carrier, he is that good as a receiver. 
  • Carlton Thomas' pass blocking.  If Crowell learns to block like Thomas, he'll be as complete a running back as Moreno.  Thomas pass blocks like a much bigger guy.
  • Run blocking.  Crowell and Thomas both made plenty of second effort yardage, but they were doing so after rushing 5 yards untouched.  The 29 yard Crowell run on 3rd and 9 from the Georgia 2 yard line was the best blocked run play we've had all season.
  • Guys getting into the game due to injuries and ballin'.  Gilliard, Vasser, Bennett, and Lee come to mind immediately.
The Bad:
  • Edge contain. Yes, Ole Miss only gained 34 yards rushing (the running backs had more like 60 on 16 attempts), but the edge players were bailed out time and again by Williams and Rambo.  Washington and Vasser had a couple of nice stops, but both sucked inside too often. Oh, and before anyone comments about the long swing pass that the holding penalty negated, I say without the hold, that is a two yard gain, at most.
  • This is a corollary to the previous statement, but the defense's ability to read where the ball is has to improve.  Weis will eat us alive with Demps and Rainey.  Johnson will do so with all of his offensive players.
  • Droppsies.  Some were on Murray due to poor throws.  More were on the receivers.  Troupe and King both dropped balls that were just about as easy catches as you would expect.  Charles and Bennett both missed balls that hit them in the hands, as well.
The Ugly:
  • Special teams.  I'm not talking about Walsh's misses (although, since I brought it up...), I'm talking about punt coverage and onside kicks.  On the season, we have given up a TD to Rerun on a fake punt.  We have given up a TD on a punt return reverse that I heard people in the stands yelling about before the ball was fielded.  Don't get me started with the onside kick stuff.  Also, we don't set up punt returns or rush the punter well.
Overall, this is the kind of game that in the last couple of years would have likely been an utter nail biter.  Ole Miss is about as good as last year's Colorado team, but they are certainly better than 2009 Arizona State team that we had to beg, steal and borrow to beat on a last second field goal.   

I'd also like to make a note about Crowell and how his running changed later in the game.  Of course, it changed.  He ran the ball double the number of times he ran in any one game this season.  It is easy for me to judge that, but the fact of the matter is he is an 18 year old that has to do many, many things for his game to be where we, his coaches, and he want it to be.  Learning what it feels like to get 25+ carries is important for him to know what he has to improve. Judging from Boise State to now, any reason to think he won't?



Ginny said...

Looks like the defense is finally coming into its own. Very impressive performance. I'm sure you've read the Senator's post on this but we rank very highly in several defensive categories. And Bacarri Rambo leads the nation in INTs. Who would have thought that a month ago? Crowell can only get better because the o-line can only get better. Props to Kenarious Gates for pushing through his pain and coming through for well as those o-linemen that played 82+ snaps. Way to be team players. It appears we're trending upward. I hope it continues.

Tony Waller said...


When PWD and I talked about the game Saturday afternoon, the first thing I said was this looked like a game from 2003. We have plenty of way to go before we are even close to being as good as LSU and Alabama. We are a lot closer to those two than we were on January 1.

todd said...

I definitely want to give credit to the defense since I'm usually very critical of them. Regardless of the quality of competition, anytime you hold someone to 7 points (on a trick play) and less than 200 yards of offense that's a great job. If I had to be critical, its frustrating to see yet another trick play work on us. Trick plays are gambits and should be successful only rarely. But whether its defense or special teams trick plays get us just about every time.....makes no sense to me.

A few years ago I would've been glad to hear Richt talking about putting the boot to an opponent that we have down. But we still don't do it. The first time I got excited by his thoughts on the subject was 2004 when before the South Carolina game that year he talked about getting on top of an opponent and going for the throat. We still don't do that. We coach scared even while up and as a result sometimes it looks like we play scared. I'm sure there are guys that have played for Richt or are playing for Richt right now that are sick and tired of this. We will not improve as a program until there's a major attitude adjustment in Richt's "philosophy."

Mr. Sanchez said...

Agreed in full on the sucking in of Vasser, I noticed that as well at least twice when they tried to come back around, he was in way too far. Once we got burned, another he got bailed out. But that will be a major issue if not corrected, against Miss St, against Florida with Rainey/Demps shooting out the backside, with Johnson's offense that exploits exactly those type of mistakes regularly, and with Malzahn/Auburn who also targets similar things with some of his play calling.

It's an issue that must be corrected before it costs us a game or 3. I hope TJ Stripling can get healthy and in form, or Ray Drew can take more snaps, because I've lost hope for Washington and never had it for Vasser.

Anonymous said...

I was at the game and I can tell you the prevailing thought in the stands was that Ole Miss was a bad team and UGA should have put them away; and didn't. Clearly UGA dominated the game but a team better than Ole Miss would have come back and made it a lot closer. This team needs to get the killer instinct because letting a decent team hang around can get you beat.

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