Georgia Football Knee Jerk Reactions: Clemson Edition

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Man, it feels good to be back. Sitting here, re-watching a Georgia win more times than I’d care to admit, blank screen in front of me. Win, lose, or draw, this was the blog I was simultaneously looking forward to and dreading. Looking forward to, because this would be the culmination of all the words of the off-season, all the hope and promise come to a head on one Saturday when the ball was kicked off between the hedges.

Dreading for largely the same reasons.

But, this team came out and delivered over and over again on Saturday. Hutson Mason showed enough in the passing game, the running game dominated, both lines played well, and DAT DEFENSE DOE. Hell, even the special teams went above and beyond the “don’t screw up” level of the past few years, and made plays all afternoon. I always look forward to writing these, but after a win? Yeah, I could be here all day.

The Good:

– Toss a dart, find something to be happy about. Let’s start with the place we were all counting on being happy with: the running game. Sure, we knew Gurley would be good (not THAT good), and we hoped the freshman would be good (nowhere NEAR that good), but no one knew that we’d see the whole running game plan look so dominant so fast. While Gurley will rightfully get the most press this week, a HUGE tip of the cap in the ground game needs to go to the offensive line, who singlehandedly ended any Vic Beasley as Jadeveon Clowney 2.0 talk. From the opening snap, the blockers chipped him, cracked him, and by the end of the game, he wanted no part of the big guys up front.

– Next good note has to go to the guy directing that offensive masterpiece in Mike Bobo. He came out knowing that he could run on Clemson, but was flexible enough to adjust on the fly exactly how he was going to do it. Clemson opened up loading the box against the run game, and Bobo’s willingness to use the three-step game to open up the box for those backs led to all those rushing yards Georgia ended with.

– OH MY GOD, A CONFIDENT SECONDARY! Unlike some people, I don’t think Todd Grantham is the worst defensive coordinator in the history of football. I know, hot take, right? But one thing I didn’t like about him is his lack of adjustment to his play calling based on the talent in his secondary. Too often, he stuck to his man blitz schemes, and too often the guys left on islands got beat, and the mistakes compounded on themselves. Coach Pruitt used a mix of coverages behind an attacking front seven, and the defensive backfield played fast and aggressively all day.

– We knew the strength of this defense would be the returning talent on the front seven, but I bet no one counted on holding Clemson to a 15 yard second half. Seeing Amarlo Herrera and Leonard Floyd collect back to back sacks will be my mental screensaver today as I pretend to work.

The Bad:

– Time to grow up freshmen. Truth be told, I’m not a recruiting junkie, and I don’t get excited about freshmen until they produce, but once you’re a part of the game plan, I need to see the young guys be complete football players. Good example: Blazevich did a great job on blitz pick up, in the run game dominating the edge as per game plan, and releasing as a safety valve. Bad example: the freshman backs not being trusted in pass protection and Michel not getting his head around on a sight adjust against blitz. You wanna be a big part of the offense? You can’t look at yourselves as freshmen.

– Was Pruitt’s defense that good or was this unproven Clemson offense that underprepared? The main difference between the first half and the second half was the execution, but I hope that was a construct of established defensive confidence over the opposition’s ineptitude. Either way, that was this defense 1.0. Time to upgrade in the off week.

– I’m legitimately worried about how this team is going to respond to this dominant win. Todd Gurley was great on the sideline as a vocal leader on offense, and the biggest fan of the defense but how will this translate to team wide handling of success. As has been noted EVERYWHERE, this is a young football team, and it’s important that the discipline come from within the ranks, not just the coaching staff.

The Ugly:

– Welcome to the space usually occupied by our abysmal special teams. I don’t know what happened, I don’t know how it happened, but I’m not going to question it. The special teams LOOKED like they had a coach. I’m taking a ‘don’t ask questions, just be thankful,’ approach to what happened with this Saturday.

Great performance this weekend. Offense, defense, special teams – Georgia delivered in every phase of the game. These are always more fun to write after a win (and the girlfriend being out of town means I’ve watched this more times than I’d like to admit), and as a fandom, let’s ride this big win for a while. It’s important that the team use this as a building block for the rest of the year, and not a marker of growth so far. Between Pruitt, Bobo, and Richt , this team will keep a level head through the early success, spend a week plugging the obvious holes, and then get ready for Spurrier and South Carolina. Oh, and going for that last touchdown prior to it getting called back? I see you Evil Mark Richt. And I like it.

Go Dawgs.

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Posted on September 2, 2014, in ACC, Blog, Clemson, Daily Dose of Dawg, Georgia Bulldogs, Podcast, SEC, The UGA Vault. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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