Georgia vs. South Carolina: A Few Misconceptions


Who remembers the Clemson game last year?  I’m not talking about the score, I’m talking about the game itself.

Against Clemson last year, Georgia went on the road and showed a lot of promise.  Unfortunately, penalties on offense, struggles in the defensive secondary and a botched short field cost Georgia a close game on the road against a good football team.  The home team was better that day.  Does that sound familiar at all?

We could spend all day dwelling on the rashes that flared up against South Carolina on Saturday, or we could move on.  Last year, Georgia took notable steps forward after the loss to Clemson.  And though the loss to South Carolina may hurt more because it’s a divisional rival and Steve Spurrier is on the opposite sideline, it’s still likely that the Bulldogs take steps forward.

So, who remembers what last season could have been if ACLs hadn’t exploded left and right?  Things were looking pretty darn good four games into the year, despite a loss to Clemson.  We could be feeling pretty good about this Georgia team in a few weeks as well, but remember who this team is.

 

Todd Gurley is Still Todd Gurley and You Can’t Reasonably Convince Me Otherwise

South Carolina fans—who spent the better part of three seasons washing the feet of Jadeveon Clowney, defending him to an extent that no man of his stature could ever physically need and otherwise being fanatical (which is what fans do) about the stud defensive end—took great offense to Georgia fans being proud of Todd Gurley.  When I said comparing Mike Davis to Gurley was insulting to the Georgia running back, they didn’t like it.  That’s OK.  They’re not supposed to like it.  If they did, they wouldn’t be fans.  I pick no bones there.

 

  But I do think it’s a bit narrow-minded to pretend Gurley was anything less than Gurley last night.  How many tackles did he break?  He ran for 131 yards and 150 of them were after contact.  He had a 54-yard touchdown called back by a ghost hold that no one really saw.  He got away with a headbutt, and nobody’s proud of that.  But the refs kept seven points off the board and robbed him of 54 yards.  Even without that, it’s interesting that Gurley’s final statistical line (20 carries for 131 yards and a touchdown) is so easily dismissed by the fans who thought Davis (who finished with 17 carries for 66 yards and no scores) was just as capable.  

South Carolina won the game despite a good game from Gurley, not because he had a bad showing.  South Carolina didn’t shut him down.

 

Georgia’s Defense is Still Georgia’s Defense

As I feared heading into the season, Dylan Thompson was able to pick apart Georgia’s secondary and that was the difference in this football game.  My fear of Thompson subsided after two relatively pedestrian performances against Texas A&M and ECU, but he’s a big QB with a big arm.  He did work when Georgia’s defense struggled.

I’m going to touch on this later, but the defense—not special teams or offensive play-calling—cost Georgia the game.

Let’s remember some things again.  Remember how bad the defense was last year?  Well, that defensive coaching staff was replaced in its entirety.  It’s OK to feel good about those changes, but they still take time to yield consistent results.  This was only Jeremy Pruitt’s second game.  Also, remember how bad the secondary was last year?  Well, you should also remember that four multi-game starters from a year ago don’t play in that secondary any more.  This is still a work in progress.  That showed up big time against the Gamecocks.

But all is not lost.

For the second game of the year, the defense was noticeably better in the second half, but you may not have noticed.  To be clear, South Carolina went into conservative clock mode, but a few notes on the passing game (that obliterated Georgia in the first half):

  • Thompson threw for 240 yards in the first half and just 31 in the second half.
  • On five pass attempts in the second half, Thompson completed two, threw one interception and was sacked once.

So that was better.  But again, Wilds hurt Georgia’s defense late.

 

Special Teams

This.

All.  Of.  This.

 

 

The Lunacy of #FireBobo

No one agrees with Bobo’s play-call on first-and-goal.  No one.

With that out of the way, Bobo didn’t lose this game for Georgia.  If you take that much offense to the play-call which resulted in a (questionable) intentional grounding call and put the Dawgs behind the chains, you should remember a few more game-changing mishaps:

  • Georgia allowed 10 plays of 15+ yards in the first half.  That wasn’t on Bobo.
  • Brandon Wilds, South Carolina’s no. 2 running back, torched Georgia for 93 yards—the bulk of which came in obvious running situations.  Bobo wasn’t doing that.
  • Bobo didn’t miss that field goal.  Or the one before.

Did feeding Gurley make sense there?  Hell yes it did.  Did thinking South Carolina might stack the bock and lay in wait seem reasonable?  Yeah, it kind of did.  Would the air have gone out of the stadium if a Thompson INT led to a passing TD from Mason?  You bet.

 

 

 

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

About dudeyoucrazy

College Football Writer

Posted on September 14, 2014, in Blog, Georgia Bulldogs, SEC, South Carolina Gamecocks, The UGA Vault. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. No, I’m not ready to can CMB. He’s a good coach and a DGD. But we were outcoached on both sides of the ball. On third and 3, SC is just waiting for Gurley. So what do we do, dive play over center. Results, no gain. Either Bobo got complacent, or completely arrogant, vis -a-vis Gurley. Spurrier successfully executed his gameplan, make Hutson Mason beat them. He didn’t stop Gurley, but he slowed him down enough to make a passing effort necessary. On defense, once again, Spurrier whips out his always reliable bubble screen against UGA. We couldn’t defend it when he was at FL and we couldn’t defend it now. Also, no pass rush. I think we got pressure on the QB once maybe twice in the 2nd half and not at all that I recall in the 1st. That I would lay at Pruitt’s feet. We needed to be blitzing our asses off. Once again, coaching, coaching, coaching…

  2. Good recap and analysis. Think that the bye week this early hurt. Would have preferred to have a “cupcake” to get more reps in for players in new positions before a big game… too much history of UGA “laying an egg” after an off week… that goes all the way back to Dooley years.

    Special Teams?? Your field goal kicker is part of Special Teams. You just have to make 28 yarders!

    Bobo? The 1st down call wasn’t that bad, IF you remind your QB to either throw the ball out the back of the end zone or take the sack if the play isn’t there… don’t force it. Remind him that he should have a FG in his back pocket. But one could question Bobo’s 2nd down call after the grounding… a sweep to Gurley? That’s outguessing the defense twice. Throw the ball to the end zone & don’t take a sack. Their secondary was suspect. If you don’t get the TD, on 3rd down, set up the FG with a run to the middle.

    Defense? If you had told me we’d be +2 in turnovers, I’d have said we win. Pruitt appears to make better adjustments as the game goes on. He did the same in the NCS last year. Sure would like to see us get to where we trust our secondary to cover one-on-one. But you’re right, barring injuries, this team could still go a long way.

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