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Georgia Football Knee Jerk Reactions: Missouri Edition


28 is more than 27.

As I had my (really, the number is unimportant)th vodka drink and the clock in Columbia, Missouri hit triple zeroes, the audio recording of my reaction would make one think we lost by 30. In a vacuum, any night where the defense forces 5 turnovers, we start a true freshman at quarterback on the road against a very good defense, and that freshman also throws a BEAUTIFUL touchdown on a 4th down to win the game should be a good night.

It. Was. Not.

Offensively, the problems of the last three weeks years still dominated the conversation, as this was about as uneven a performance you have ever seen out of a Georgia team. But, they stayed the course, they kept their collective heads about them, and they pulled out a win in hostile territory. For the first time this season, I have to go to the coaching cliche well and remind us all: Winning hides the problems, losing magnifies the problems, but there are always problems.

This was never truer Saturday night.

The Good:

– That last drive was a thing of beauty. Sure, there were some errant balls and ill advised forced throws, but it’s amazing what a blitz beating toss against the best corner Mizzou had on 4th down can do for the spirits. Eason showed steel in his spine and ice water in his veins during that last march, and there isn’t more you can ask for out of a kid on the road for the first time.

– Offensive line is better at pass blocking than run blocking; I know that sounds like I’m damning them with faint praise, but I actually mean this one! Mizzou ALWAYS has monsters on the defensive line even amidst recent changes, and the 2016 edition looks to be no different. Great job by the big fellas up front buying the kid time, and good job by Eason to use that time to carve up the secondary.

– Isaiah McKenzie is going to keep me from drowning myself in whiskey this season. Maybe.

– We forced 5 turnovers. FIVE. The defense hit hard all day, and made plays where they were able. I was especially happy with holding the Tigers to fewer than 100 yards on the ground all day.

The Bad:

– The aforementioned five turnovers? Yeah, we turned those into zero points. None. Zilch. Nada. Goose egg. No way you win football games, particularly in conference, without exploiting the mistakes you force your opponent into. Quick scores after sudden change are a great way to engender confidence in your team, and make the opposing sideline hurry to change their scheme to reply. But hey, 28 is more than 27.

– 55 passes. I know Chubb and Michel are coming off of injury and the offensive line isn’t exactly the best unit in the world (I said this with considerably more expletives this weekend), but we need to establish a running game, if only not to overload Eason 4 games into his career. Teams always load the box against our power attack, but it’s time to integrate more edge rushing to loosen up the inside, since we don’t want to be passing 55 times. But, again, 28 is more than 27.

– Giving up almost 400 yards through the air is NOT a good day, I don’t care how many turnovers you force.

The Ugly:

– Stupid, stupid penalty on the punt coverage late that could have been costly to the team. We joke about UGA Special Teams, but we finally got a coach, so can our Special Teams please be less…special?

– COLLEGE KICKERS.

Look, I’ve been accused (here and elsewhere) of a tendency to lose the trees for the forest, that I get so preoccupied with the bigger picture that I have trouble enjoying victories. Informal poll UGA fans: when that game ended, did it feel like a win? Or were you lost in the euphoria of the last drive and final takeaway by our defense? Because I went back, rewatched, and tried to be as objective as possible, and I still have no idea how we left with a W. And I just don’t think that’s a sustainable way to play football.

Go Dawgs.

Love this? Hate it? Think I’m an idiot? Don’t just curse at me under your breath, head to the Movie Trailer Reviews to catch the latest episode of Unanimous Decision and hear about all my sports takes. Follow me at @dpalm66.

HOOO BOY WEEK 3 IS LEGIT


Let’s start with this: I hope Penn State loses to Temple, thus rendering the PedoBears 3rd best in Pennsylvania. That game starts at noon, and so do the following:

#2 Florida State at #10 Louisville: Have you heard of Lamar Jackson? Lamar Jackson scored 13 touchdowns in his first 60 minutes of play this year. Lamar Jackson is a sophomore. Lamar Jackson did this:

And that’s just the Louisville side. Can’t think I remember GameDay being a nooner before, but hey. Early season scheduling, man.

#25 Miami at App State: This….is a game that is happening. No words, man.

There’s other football on at noon, but that pair (plus Penn State losing to Temple) should be the CRUNKEST noon slate ever.

#1 Alabama  at #19 Ole Miss: The best of the mid-afternoon bunch, but…

#22 Oregon at Nebraska: The classic “Oregon is garbage against the run, and Nebraska can’t run the ball”; and

Colorado at #6 Michigan: Jim Harbaugh, certified obnoxious sociopath, refuses to publish weekly depth charts. Then he got pissed about Colorado’s for this week:

And hey, if you can get it, Syracuse at South Florida and Pitt at Oklahoma State both stand to be really fun.

The evening features two games between SEC West coaches that need wins to stay off the hotseat, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you don’t have Xfinity’s 8-channel “previous” option, you need to establish a favorites list.

The aforementioned SEC West Anxiety Bowls: Mississippi State at #20 LSU (MSU’s Dan Mullen is the safest of these four coaches but wants out of Starkville) and Texas A&M at Auburn.

Buuuuutttttt….you’re an SEC homer if you jump on those.

(Georgia plays at Mizzou on SEC Network, they start at 7:30)

#3 Ohio State at #14 Oklahoma: I think Ohio State has 13-0 laid out for them if they win at OU. Even if not, they are in good position to win the B1G because the B1G is awful. The Big XII is also awful, and Oklahoma could lose this and become the first two-loss playoff team.

#12 Michigan State at #18 Notre Dame: I guess its interesting.

USC at #7 Stanford: Watch USC win this game just to troll us all.


Do your chores, skip GameDay, and saddle up. Don’t start drinking til around 5 if you want to make it through the marquees and the Dawgs.

IMPORTANT SITE NOTE


Hold on a second. 

Life comes at you fast sometimes. The Georgia rush defense takes advantage of pathetic ‘box reads’ (giggity) by UNC’s QB, and thus doesn’t have to defend the run…then they have to play Nicholls.

We all needed to take a breath.

No worries, I promise content tomorrow.

I mean…when things are gross, there’s only one thing to do:

Georgia Football Knee Jerk Reactions: Nicholls State Edition


After moving back to the great city of Atlanta a year and a half ago, it’s been interesting to find how I fit back in my city and my state after two years away. Atlanta has changed dramatically from the city I grew up in, but there are some constants. The Dungeon Family will remain a galvanizing force in the city, evidenced by the amazing performance this Saturday night at Lakewood (it’ll always be Lakewood, renamings be damned). The Falcons will always find a way to go full Falcon, either in week 1 or later in a season, usually causing the maximum amount of pain to the Falcon fans. And finally, Georgia will follow-up a big win that engenders actual, real, tangible hope, and then squander it by laying an egg at the least opportune time.

In a lot of ways, I had a very Atlanta weekend.

The Good:

– Go ahead. Lie to yourself. Squint at those numbers on your smart phone or your laptop and tell me what a growing experience it was to let the true freshman get the first home start, that this was the right move by a first year head coach, that he in no way jeopardized the future of Jacob Eason by throwing him out there with a deplorable offensive line against a team hungry to get famous off this game.

The Bad:

– Offensively, this team has a big undeniable problem that doesn’t start with who is taking snaps under center. I am a firm believer in “if your line can’t block it,  you can’t run it,” and right now, there isn’t much this offense can run consistently. Against North Carolina, the running success was more a factor of the talent in the backfield than solid blocking up front, and it showed against Nicholls this weekend. Linemen getting pushed back, straight up missing blocks, and all in all looking slow off the ball. Could this be getting used to a new cadence? Sure, but they weren’t exactly world beaters with Lambert under center.

“We can’t change the guys out, we have no free agency, we can’t make cuts so we have to take what we got and we have to make those guys better,” – Coach Smart

– The quarterback play was poor, at best. Eason’s numbers ended up fine, I guess, going 11/20 for 204 yards and a touchdown, but film doesn’t lie.  A good number of passes were thrown in bad locations for the receiver to make a play, or just flat-out thrown too hard for the distance traveled. Arm talent is one thing, but all that ability needs to be tempered with experience that he just doesn’t have yet.

– Defense wasn’t TERRIBLE, but there is a tacit understanding that with a young quarterback you will occasionally find yourselves in bad position, and need to fight out of it. This is a defense that gave up no runs or passes over 20 yards, and still found themselves in a dog fight. Gotta be more secure as a unit while the offense finds itself.

The Ugly:

– Turnover bug is back. Sure, we HAVE a special teams coach now on paper, but do we? REALLY? Shouldn’t be depending on the returner to provide a spark against Nicholls State anyway.

– Not only did the Freshman throw a bad pick, Chubb fumbled because this weekend went full Atlanta.

Survive and advance.

That has become the mantra of college football these days, stolen from the inferior product that is college basketball. And, to be fair, this is a team that survived a scare from an over matched opponent. Also being fair, this was not the only notable team that had to hold on to the bitter end to put away a team who showed up for a check. But, we can’t look outside of ourselves for a gauge on our program. We can only look within, and games like this are why rookie head coaches and freshmen quarterbacks exemplify the phrase “growing pains”. Let’s aim for a little more growth and a lot less pain this weekend.

Go Dawgs.

Love this? Hate it? Think I’m an idiot? Don’t just curse at me under your breath, head to the Movie Trailer Reviews to catch the latest episode of Unanimous Decision and hear about all my sports takes. Follow me at @dpalm66.

The Kirby Smart Hater’s North Carolina Game Recap


How’s that fancy-ass special teams coach workin out for you, Kirby? What a glorious $300,000 mistake that was. Great call Kirby. You were so set on being the anti-Richt that you felt hiring an incompetent son-of-a-coach would check the vacancy at special teams coach and yield results. It yielded results alright. For the other team. North Carolina scored 24 points. Half of them came on Special Teams. That’s not good seeing as Special Teams is just one-third of the game. Hell of a hire, Kirbs.

But Kirby really figured out that passing game, didn’t he? What a mervelous job he did there. He added the most talented freshman in the country and said, “Hey you know what, you can’t be our starter.” Instead he started a dude who was only man enough to attempt eight passes. Greyson Lambert literally looked like a bug on his back for most of the game, but even bugs are able to move through the air sometimes. What was that? It wasn’t coaching. Oh, and Kirby is sticking to his guns (water guns, apparently) for week two against Nicholls State. Great call coach. Go with the who completed 62.5% of his passes instead of the guy who hit on 66.7%. Go with the guy who averaged 6.8 yards per attempt instead of the guy that average 10.9. Go with the guy that threw for zero touchdowns instead of the guy that threw one. Go with the guy with a 119.2 rating instead of the guy with a 185.9 rating. Go with the guy that was sacked three times instead of the guy that was sacked once. Go with the loser.

Where do we go next? It’s almost hard to know where to start so let’s just hit some high points:

  • Georgia did not convert a single fourth down attempt.
  • Georgia was out-rushed 5.6 yards per attempt to 8.4 yards per attempt.
  • Nine penalties for 70 yards? Good grief. Mark Richt called. He wants his “lost control” back.
  • Georgia lost the turnover battle and committed infinitely more turnovers.
  • Georgia only completed 13 total passes with two QBs. That’s 6.5 completions per passer. One North Carolina passer completed 24 passes.
  • Georgia’s best running back (Brian Herrian averaging 8.4 yards per attempt) only got seven carries. Meanwhile Nick Chubb got 32. Hmm…

 

Can’t wait till we start playing real teams. Those Kirb-stompings are gonna feel real great. Miss Richt yet?

 

-The Kirby Smart Hater

 

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