Monday, October 01, 2012

More Iraq in 2003 than Germany in 1945

As you might expect from a football fan who was emotionally scarred by Michigan teams repeatedly shelving the scoring offense, I focused my column this morning on the dreadful end-of-game decisions made by Georgia's offensive brain trust and then all involved in the Falcons-Panthers game yesterday.  Unless Mark Richt and Mike Bobo were totally confident that their defense could force the appearance of Bad Bray instead of Good Bray or they were engaged in some sort of ten-moves-ahead chess strategy where they are keeping Derek Dooley in Knoxville by not hanging 65 on his Vols, their approach in the fourth quarter was really bad.  When you go into the fourth quarter with a two touchdown lead and an offense that had already piled up over 500 yards of offense, you shouldn't have to rely on forcing three late turnovers to hold onto the lead.

However, compared to Ron Rivera, Richt and Bobo are Bill Walsh and Mike Holmgren.  Rivera's decision to punt the ball away when a yard would have ended the game was stupid when he made it.  Bill Barnwell piles dirt on the grave of a very bad order with some mind-blowing stats, namely that Carolina would have been smart to go for the first down if they had a 35% chance of converting and the Panthers have actually converted on 21 of 24 fourth and ones since drafting Newton.  I had a good chuckle imagining things being thrown at TVs all over bars in New Orleans when Rivera made his decision and then Ryan and White made him pay.  The Saints continue to pay the karma gods for leaving Drew Brees in at the end of the week 15 blowout last year to get a record that he could have secured at home in the following week.  My cup of schadenfreude continues to run over.

Back to the Georgia-Tennessee, a few more thoughts:

  • Maybe it's because Tennessee fans have been beaten down by life, but I did not see a single angry word exchanged between Dawg and Vol fans in Athens on Saturday.  It was really the best that the SEC can be in terms of a passionate crowd that does not spill over into being Philadelphian assholes.
  • Jarvis Jones was very quiet.  I started watching him later in the game and it was not a case where Tennessee was doubling him.  He was just getting handled by the two tackles.
  • Color me very surprised that Tennessee had so much success running between the tackles.  Needless to say, that bodes poorly for stopping Marcus Lattimore on Saturday.  I made a joke about the Tennessee running game being a non-diverse sequence of inside zone plays and then they broke out Tyler Bray on the option.  Georgia will see a fuller complement of running plays on Saturday, although they won't see a QB who can throw a forty-yard laser while back-pedaling.
  • Cordarelle Patterson is very fast, his hands are suspect, and his ponytail looks like Max Rebo's nose.
  • It's hard to say whether Derek Dooley deserves a lot of blame for how Tennessee looks this year.  You can make the case that his inability to hold onto Justin Wilcox forced the Vols into the position of having to break in a new scheme, but fundamentally, this just does not look like a very talented defense.  The safety play, in particular, is terrible.  If Dooley were recruiting well, then holding onto him would make sense, but eighth in the SEC and behind Vandy isn't going to cut it.  (Let's see if Vandy holds onto their class now that the "we're turning things around" bubble is losing air.)
  • Do we like Alec Ogletree's game because he repeatedly got into passing lanes or do we not like his game because the Vols had success running up the middle?
  • In the realm of time healing all wounds, the last Georgia game I attended was the 2011 opener against Boise State, where the Dawgs looked like a disorganized team in search of coaching.  Needless to say, the impression was different on Saturday as UGA went right down the field on the opening possession without huddling.      


Anonymous said...

Hey, speaking of bad calls...

Missouri revolutionizing the SEC? Eh, no.

Michael said...

Please tell me that this is my anonymous Saints commenter.

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