Friday, October 7, 2011

Tennessee Prediction

The question for the Georgia Bulldogs this week is do they continue to climb the mountain back towards national prominence or do they fall all the way down Rocky Top back to mediocrity. Predictions have been across the board and with the Vegas line at only a 1.5 point Georgia favorite, it appears this game is a toss up.

I think Georgia has come a long way from the sad looking team we saw in the Dome to start the season. The defense has played at a such high level that I cannot see a Volunteer team that is so one dimensional putting up a lot of points. That being said, this will be a night game on the road in Neyland. I think the Dawgs come out with a win here, but it will be close until the end.

Georgia 27, Tennessee 17

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rocky Top Tumble

Last week, I wrote about the importance of the Mississippi State game and how it could be the key to a successful season for Georgia. Following the Dawgs two touchdown victory over the West Bulldogs, Georgia will travel to Knoxville to take on Derek Dooley's Tennessee Volunteers. Thanks to losses by Florida and South Carolina on Saturday, Georgia is now tied for first place in the SEC East. But in recent years, the trip to Knoxville has not been a kind one for Georgia.

2009 was an absolute disaster. Once erratic Jonathan Crompton looked like a Heisman Trophy winner and the only Georgia offense came from Brandon Boykin. But that was not a good Georgia team. Two years earlier, Georgia lost 35-14 to Tennessee in a game that was no where near that close. The game ended up being the deciding factor in keeping the Dawgs out of the SEC Championship and ultimately out of the national championship game.

The last victory for Georgia in Knoxville came in 2005, when DJ Shockley and Thomas Flowers played key roles. Georgia totally dominated Tennessee last year, but that was before Tyler Bray became the quarterback. And maybe we are to blame for eventually taking the job. Late in the game last year, Bray took over for Matt Simms and promptly went 8 of 12 for 81 yards. He gradually saw more playing time and eventually took over the starting job.

And while Bray is off to a fast start this year, don't forget that Tennessee has played arguably the easiest schedule in the SEC so far. They lost their only meaningful game so far to Florida and lost their best player (Justin Hunter) to a season ending injury. They are incredibly thin on both lines and running back Tauren Poole only averages 4.5 yards a carry despite the poor competition they have faced.

The key for Georgia this weekend is to continue to play the way that has brought them success the last three weeks. Solid defense and ball control offense should limit the time that Bray has to throw to Da'Rick. If the Dawgs can stay grounded, they will find themselves at 4-2 with Vandy and a bye week coming before Florida. Otherwise, it is going to be one hell of a rough fall down the mountain to 3-3.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Thoughts on Mississippi State

DE-FENSE (stomp, stomp) DE-FENSE (stomp, stomp)!

Wow. For all the issues Georgia may have on offense and special teams, the defense has surely made up for them. For three straight weeks, the Georgia defense has been absolutely dominant to the point where the offense knows it doesn't need to continue scoring points to win. At no point in the game after Georgia held state to a field goal to make the score 7-3 did I feel Georgia was in trouble. Todd Grantham's system is finally paying off and it makes me excited to see how the rest of the year goes. Here are my thoughts on the game from Saturday and what's coming next.

- Pressure was coming from the linebackers all day long. Jarvis Jones notched a pair of sacks and has clearly proven why he was a 5 star recruit out of high school. Cornelius Washington had the best game of his career, but of course he had to go out and do something stupid and get suspended. Hopefully this opens the door for the Pastor of Disaster to finally make his impact.

- What a difference having a true nose tackle makes. Having Geathers and Jenkins in the middle makes Abry Jones and Deangelo Tyson awesome. Speaking of Jenkins, he finally made his first big play at Georgia. I loved seeing him sling Perkins around like he was nothing.

- Amarlo Herrera has done an admirable job filling in but I was very glad to see Christian Robinson back in the lineup. He had a nice pass break up on a key third down that most players would not have made.

- The secondary coverage has been great. Now, if we just learn to actually catch those interceptions before we run for the TD, we'd be awesome. I counted three for sure pick sixes we dropped.

- Blair Walsh...ugh. I know a lot of these misses are from almost 50, but that last miss was BAD.

- Aaron Murray was up and down again. He had some nice throws but all three picks were bad. The passing game plan sucked in my opinion.

- Speaking of the play calling, why the hell was Murray throwing with the Dawgs up 21 on a first down inside MSU territory with 8 minutes on the clock. I know it was first and 18, but three more runs would have ran another two minutes off the clock. You pin them back deep and make them go the length of the field three times in 6 minutes instead of risking them getting the free touchdown. The other part of the offensive game plan I did not like is the complete lack of throws downfield. We went deep once (the incompletion to Bennett) and that was it.

- Orson Charles is in full beast mode. No linebacker in the SEC can cover him one on one (well, no linebacker currently on Georgia's schedule anyway).

- Crowell looked great in the first, not so much in the second. But the blocking was also much worse in the second half as MSU definitely made adjustments to clamp down Georgia's running attack outside the tackles. FWIW, I thought Crowell stayed in bounds from what I saw on the replay.

- Malcom Mitchell is only a freshman. I repeat, only a freshman. This kid is good.

Overall, another solid win over an SEC opponent. I said this to some friends the other night, but this season is starting to feel a lot like the 2003 team. A solid defense that keeps the team winning despite inconsistency on offense. Don't forget that Georgia's leading rushed in 2003 was Michael Cooper and David Greene only had 13 touchdowns to go with 11 interceptions. But that team found its way to the SEC Championship game and finished #7 in the country. The Dawgs are set up for similar results. A win over Rocky Top would continue to build this strong momentum as we get closer to the game that will most likely decide the SEC East, the Cocktail Party in Jacksonville.