Monday, October 11, 2010

Struggle Bowl 2010: Thoughts on Tennessee

Coming into the game on Saturday, Tennessee and Georgia looked to be two teams with bad records who had major issues with their teams. After the Dawgs 41-14 victory, it is clear as bad as the Georgie Bulldogs may be this season, they have no where near the issues that Tennessee has right now. Tennessee is a bad football team, plain and simple, but let's not discount the performance that the Georgia Bulldogs put up on Saturday.

A common complaint of Georgia football over the last few years has been that despite its overall success in the won-loss department, the Dawgs rarely beat bad teams as badly as they should. Games against school like UAB, Marshall, and Georgia Southern immediately come to mind when I think about Georgia underachieving against an inferior opponent. And while Georgia was playing Tennessee, a conference rival who destroyed the Dawgs in Knoxville last year, they did exactly what you are supposed to do to a bad team: get out to an early lead and never look back.

I've already written a lot this season about Aaron Murray. The kid is an amazing talent and he definitely seems to have "it". The 35 yard touchdown run was great for two reasons:
1. All of receivers were covered. Instead of trying to squeeze a pass into coverage, he made the logical choice to tuck the ball and run
2. It really showed his athleticism. He blew right past a couple of defenders and found his was into the end zone. Stafford could run a little bit, but he had no where near the quickness that Murray has.
I can honestly say, Murray really only made one bad throw all day (when he missed an open Orson Charles over the middle of the field). the pass that was almost picked off was tipped by AJ and Tavarres King dropped an easy touchdown in the end zone. If there wasn't a kid named Lattimore over at South Carolina, we would be talking about the leader for SEC freshman of the year.

We all have criticized Bobo's playcalling in recent weeks, but this was an excellently called game. Recievers over the middle, 3 and 4 wide sets, and running the ball outside of the tackles. Because of the Tennessee turnovers, Georgia had a short field for much of the first half, or the offensive numbers may have been a lot higher than they ended up.

Grantham's defense also showed that they can definitely stop teams from running it down our throats. Even if you took out the -20 yards on the bad snap, the Vols would only have around 30 yards rushing. The thing I like most was the tackling. We did not see the plague of missed tackles we had seen in recent weeks.

While there were a lot of positives, Georgia still needs a lot of work if we hope to get bowl eligible this year. When Justin Houston missed a sack on Matt Simms, a receiver was left wide open for one of the two Tennessee touchdowns. We still can't cover the wheel route and for some reason, there still seems to be way too many wide open targets. On offense, the running game struggled to get going again. King looked good, but his arrest for failing to appear in court puts his status in question for next week. Ealey once again fumbled the ball inside the 5 yards line (luckily, it went out of bounds this time).

This game was about redemption for Georgia. They got a little revenge for the beating in Knoxville last year and finally beat a team that clearly has less talent. While this doesn't heal all wounds, it certainly helps. I would expect the same intesity this Saturday with Vandy coming to town, but unfortunately with this team, you never know.

1 comment:

MT said...

the biggest adjustment I saw was that Bobo extensively went to the shotgun to give Murray more time in reading the D w/in pass plays.

Esp w/ Aaron's running ability as shown, teams are going to need to start leaving a spy in even on shotgun pass plays, further opening up the passing lanes.

I don't think we'll be seeing as heavy of a reliance on the PA pass to gain passing yardage (altho there was that one PA, which was Green-esque on Saturday...)