Well. That was far and away the biggest stomach punch game of my 28 years. My brain still hasn’t effectively processed what happened Saturday, but I will do my damnedest to get through this with the most emotional detachment I can muster. I can’t promise it will work, but I can promise I will try. All that said, I want to tip my cap to the Dawg Nation; these last few days reminded me of the good things that being a fan can bring as I have not heard the cries of lost season, but extolling of the greatness of those who stayed. Aaron Murray, a constant fixture in “The Good” section of this blog, got a great hat tip from the folks over at Dawg Sports, and if you find yourself lacking some perspective, head over there and give a read. It still hurts, but somewhat less now.
– If aliens have been reading sportswriting over the years, but not seen games, and landed in my
backyard concrete slab that is home to my grill, and asked me what putting a team on your back meant, you know what I would do? First, I would calmly explain colloquial language to them, and then I would run back the tape of the fourth quarter orchestrated by Aaron Murray. From the dart to Woot, to the improbable, impossible, will of the gods fourth down run, THAT is what a quarterback does. That is what a winner does. Damn good.
– Todd Gurley is hurt. He’s been banged up all year, but still does things like plant one Auburn defender through the other as he did on one of those aforementioned fourth quarter miracle drives. I propose that Hurt Todd Gurley still might be the best college running back on the planet, and I’m glad to get to watch him. Please note that Hurt Todd Gurley still amassed 156 yards on 25 touches. Todd Gurley might be an alien.
– This. All of this.
STOP THE EARTH MARK RICHT JUST GOT A PERSONAL FOUL
— Spencer Hall (@edsbs) November 16, 2013
– Fourth quarter fight out of all phases of the game. Down 20 with 12 minutes to play, this team had not one OUNCE of quit in them and bit, clawed and dragged themselves not only back into the game, but into the EFFING lead in front of the stunned and unwashed masses of Jordan-Hare. Things obviously took a turn for the worse, but I don’t think I’ve been prouder of a squad that I wasn’t personally on.
– I know we missed the Auburn podcast last week, but sometimes real life gets in the way. I can however point you to the podcasts previewing Clemson and South Carolina, and Mizzou and my well documented feelings about this defense and read-option offenses. OH AND IF YOU ARE IN MID-NOVEMBER, AND YOUR DEFENSE STILL CAN’T SCHEME TO STOP POWER, THAT’S NOT A GOOD THING, THAT’S A BAD THING. Ahem. For a defense that has shown the ability to take away the run (LSU game), they did a piss poor job against the multiple looks Auburn gave them, and now I’m worried about Tech and no one likes that.
– Pass rush (non-fourth quarter edition) was mostly non-existent, as obvious passing downs where you would think Georgia had an advantage, BUT NO. A lack of pressure and cushions that would let me get first downs led to a helluva passing day for the Tigers…and that’s before we get to the ugly. Speaking of…
– WARNING: The following video is not safe for life, death, children, pregnant women, women who may become pregnant, smokers, non smokers, sitting at your desk and not wanting to cut yourself, and other potentially affected groups. For those of you into disaster porn, join me.
I’m still like:
But life, she goes on. And next week, she goes on through Senior Day as we send off those who have been giants of the gridiron the past few years in Athens. Go Dawgs.
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Poll Dancing, Brice Ramsey, Laremy Tunsil Drops Hints and What You Won’t See In Murray’s Trick Shot Video
The Brice Ramsey poll from yesterday is now closed. Shout out to the 508 folks that voted and the 958 who didn’t think it was worth their time. I get it.
I’m kidding of course, but the results are no joke. Here’s what the readers of DudeYouCrazy think about Ramsey:
- Less than 1% expect him to play at all this season.
- 6.5% don’t think he’ll ever start (Faton Bauta got a number of shoutouts in the comment section, and many think the job will be his beginning in 2014.)
- 26.77% Expect him to beat out all of the competition (LeMay, Mason, Bauta et al.) in 2014.
- Almost 66% think he’ll back one of those guys up in 2014.
Laremy Tunsil Tweets
Tunsil was in Oxford, MS this weekend and he tweeted (and I quote), “Oxford” while he was there. He then tweeted, “Don’t worry Athens and Bama you still get love.”
He seems to be down to those three schools and his Tweets support that, but there was one Texas Longhorn reference yesterday. I’m sure that was a mistake.
More importantly, Laremy Tunsil asked his followers who the best player in the NBA is. I responded “Kyle Korver, duh,” and he retweeted to show his agreement. Simply put: Georgia can’t afford to miss out on such an elite offensive tackle who has a deep appreciation for the three-point marksmanship of Kyle Korver.
What you won’t see in the Aaron Murray trick shot video:
Murray and some of his bros (Watts Dantzler, Austin Long) were out and about filming a trick shot video yesterday. Here’s what you won’t see:
- Murray’s fake girlfriend Erin Murphy.
- A pass on third and long (those situations are used for the Draw Play Trickeration montage that Bobo is making).
- Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley batting down a pass at the end of the video.
Outside of that who knows what’s going to show up. But it better be good.
That’s all I got/
This is the third of 14 Post-Season Game Recaps.
On September 15th the Owls of Florida Atlantic came to beautiful Athens, GA for a game against the highly-favored Bulldogs. Aaron Murray had a career day and the owls kept things a little too close for comfort during the first half.
What We Saw:
- Murray threw for a then-career high 342 yards on just 19 attempts.
- Georgia gave up a 43-yard TD run early as FAU tied the game 7-7.
- Michael Bennett had a 100-yard day.
- The Dawgs allowed 20 points.
- Gurshall became a “thing” as both Todd Gurley and Keith Marshal accounted for over 100 yards on 10 carries each.
What We Learned:
This game cemented Georgia’s offense as a threat. The season as a whole was in many ways defined as “elite,” but this game exposed all of Georgia’s playmakers for the first time. Murray was efficient (save for 1 INT), the backs we explosive (both averaged over 10.4 yards per carry) and six different receivers (Bennett, Arthur Lynch, Tavarres King, Malcolm Mitchell, Marlon Brown Justin Scott-Wesley) accounted for more than 40 yards worth of catches.
What We Should Have Learned:
The defense was going to be spotty. After a lackluster opener against Buffalo was followed by a heroic effort by Jarvis Jones, the defense settled into complacency and allowed FAU to hang around. The Owls tied the game 7-7 on the first quarter, tied the game 14-14 in the second and also scored early in the fourth (although it was off of an interception return).
Christian LeMay was not entrenched as the backup. LeMay threw a 43 yard pass to Scott-Wesley on one of his two pass attempts and he ran for a touchdown. Unfortunately his other pass attempt was a 42-yard INT returned for a TD and his other six rushing attempts accounted for just eight yards.
Murray was going to continue to set records. And boy did he.
This out-of-conference win with a poor defensive showing may have played a part in the defense’s near-shutout against Vanderbilt the following week. Or that may have just been Todd Grantham hating James Franklin.
That’s all I got/
I might be crazy, but I’m rarely one to speak in absolutes. Speaking in concrete terms leaves me no room for error. I need room for error. There is very little black and white for me and a way more than 50 shades of gray. Within the frame of the 2012 Georgia Bulldogs I didn’t find the South Carolina loss to be season ending and I didn’t find the win over the Gators to be season-making. I’m just not that guy. But I’m about to make a very finite, and possibly extreme statement.
Aaron Murray’s decision to stay in Athens, Georgia is the single most important personnel announcement the Bulldogs have seen since Herschel Walker’s commitment to the University of Georgia.
I expressed that sentiment to my dad earlier over the phone and as the words left my mouth they seemed ridiculous. Thirty plus years of talent, coaching changes and even administrative turnover could surely dispute such a notion. But then as I pondered the magnitude of Murray for a little longer, it began to make sense again. Consider this context:
In 2012 the Georgia Bulldogs came painstakingly close to a National Championship Game appearance. How close? A few yards. How close? Closer than the Dawgs have been since the days of Herschel. How close? Close enough to bring a record-setting redshirt junior QB who had already graduated and was well on his way to a Master’s degree back to school, despite a Draft grade as high as the second round. That’s pretty daggum close.
Offensively the Georgia Bulldogs return practically everything from the most prolific offense (in scoring, yards, first downs, you name it) in the school’s storied history. With no disrespect to the lone departing contributors Tavarres King and Marlon Brown (who has been out since early November anyway), the offense should be even better next year. Michael Bennett, Murray’s go to third down/bailout receiver is back. Todd Gurley and (especially Keith Marshall) can only get better. The offensive line can only improve and depth will be added in the trenches.
But, if Murray had not come back, the questions would have been vast. First and foremost, who would have been under center? As of today it would have been Hutson Mason, a redshirt junior with questionable arm strength and little experience. Waiting in the wings would be a walk-on, Parker Welch who has beaten out Christian LeMay. And, enrolling soon is true freshman Brice Ramsey. Georgia has plenty of athletes to utilize and plenty of options at the QB position, but each potential candidate would offer some combination of the following:
- Lack of game experience
- Lack of playbook knowledge
- Lack of arm strength
Those qualities would limit the effectiveness of Gurley, Marshall, Malcolm Mitchell, Bennett, Arthur Lynch, etc. Murray’s return magnifies their skill sets and Mike Bobo’s offense as a whole. Instead of limited offensive sets, even more wrinkles will be added. The 2013 offense should surpass the 2012 edition, and will likely be the most explosive offense in the SEC and one of the most dynami in the nation.
The defense will have a lot of questions as boat loads of talent is departing for the NFL. But lost in all of those individual accolades and the despair of the departures of the past few days has been the fact that Todd Grantham’s defense drastically underperformed in 2012. This is not an article about this year’s defense but to hammer the point home here are a few tidbits of the letdown:
- Georgia allowed 20+ points to Buffalo, Florida Atlantic and Kentucky. In 2011 the team gave up an average of just 20.6 for the entire season.
- Georgia allowed 32 or more points on three occasions, allowing 44 to Tennessee, 35 to South Carolina and 32 to Alabama.
- The Dawgs allowed 351.2 total yards per game in 2012. In 2011 that number was just 268.5.
- The Dawgs allowed a few more passing yards per game this year, but most disturbing of all: Georgia allowed 177.8 rushing yards per game. That ranked 12th in the SEC ahead of only Tennessee and Auburn.
I am confident in the talent Todd Grantham and Mark Richt have recruited. I am confident in the new defensive line coach. I am confident in Aaron Murray’s ability to take a lot of the pressure off of young developing players. And ultimately, I’m confident that the 2013 Georgia defense will be more than adequate in performing at a high level. I think next year’s developing talent can actually surpass – at least statistically – this year’s underachieving class of superstars.
But, without Murray leading a high-powered offense, the early stretch of 2013 could have been rough for a settling-in defense.
Murray’s back though, and things are looking up. And when you’re coming off of a this-close-to-a-National-Championship season, and things are looking up, something special is bound to happen. Something, dare I say, Herschel-like.
Yeah. I said it.
That’s all I got/
Here’s a little gut reaction for you regarding Aaron Murray’s announcement to stay at the University of Georgia.
I was like this in the car when I found out.
Except instead of saying “Nintendo 64” I was saying, “The best offense in the world!” And, I was operating a motor vehicle (sorry WifeYouCrazy).
I knew he was staying as soon as he started bro-ing out with Archie Manning and when I heard that his old high school pal Orson Charles was heading back to school. Going back to school is the cool thing these days.
Murray is now a heavy favorite to set every single SEC Passing Record. Ever. Ever. Sorry, I’m not even making sense I’m so giddy right now.
Something tells me that “Blessed to be the QB for the Dawgs, not ready to leave just yet. Time to get back to work & help lead this team to a championship.” is the new emancipation proclamation. Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, our offense is (yet again) free at last.
That’s all I got/