Monday, October 13, 2008

Two Quick Post-Lunch Thoughts

1. Blutarsky is dead right in mocking Tony Barnhart's assertion that Georgia is lagging in the polls because of their penalties. Georgia is lagging in the polls because it isn't running up big scores on its opponents. While penalties may have a little to do with that, the Dawgs' issues in the red zone are the major reason. Georgia's dominance in yardage over Tennessee didn't translate to the scoreboard because the Dawgs kicked four field goals. 42-14 would have looked a lot better than 26-14. Conversely, imagine that USC would have beaten Ohio State 19-3 or Arizona State 16-0. The Trojans convert yards into touchdowns; the Dawgs convert yards into field goals. The question becomes this: are the red zone issues an endemic flaw of Mark Richt's offenses (I have no stats to prove this, but it does seem like Georgia consistently kicks a lot of field goals) or they are simply a function of an inexperienced offensive line?

2. I'll be interested to see if Tommy Bowden's sacking sets off a chain reaction of coach firings. If I'm making a decision on Phil Fulmer, I don't want to give Clemson a two-month head-start on finding a new coach. That said, Tennessee and Clemson should be looking in different directions. Tennessee's first call should be to Butch Davis, who might take the Tennessee job, but will not take the Clemson job. The ideal hire for Clemson would be Will Muschamp, unless there is something about Muschamp that I'm missing.


peacedog said...

UGA was the best it has ever been in the Richt era - also, I'll note, the first year of the Bobo as OC era - last year in terms of not just redzone scoring, but getting TDs. They've fallen off this year somewhat, and I think the OL is a big factor. UGA had great difficulty running between the tackles; something that was essential to it's redzone offense last year. Further, we lack TEs (with our top fullbacks seeing plays at TE). Looks like Figgins will be back playing (as opposed to surgery to repair a torn labrum; I've got mixed feelings here) and Aaron White is improving (if still somewhat undersized). UGA actually hasn't gone to the TE alot in goal line situations historically. But the TE is a big part of ensuring they get to goal line situations. That was another thing about Saturday; despite the redzone penetration we weren't in first & goal as much as you'd like to see.

I've gotten it on pretty good authority that in two of UGA's early failed attempts to get TDs, good fade passes were thrown but the WRs ran poor routes. One int was just unfortunate, the other was a misthrow by Stafford. And of course AJ dropped a TD.

I'd also note that I don't think it's just blowouts, or lack thereof, that are affecting the pollsters' views. If USC had won a grinder over a Wells-less OSU, I think they'd still have gotten a lot of credit, perhaps too much. People like to make up their minds, and USC was supposed to be NFL caliber. It takes actual losses to change that most of the time (a string of narrow victories over poor competition can help shift a position).

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