Sunday, October 2, 2011

Instant reaction - Mississippi State

First of all if LSU's defense is one of the best in the nation what does it mean that Georgia held State to roughly the same number of yards and fewer points than LSU? It was not until the final drive of the game that State surpassed the total yardage they had against LSU. Right now I still don't think that Georgia's defense is on the level of LSU's but I do think they are starting to head in that direction. The fact that I can say that with a straight face brings me great joy. LSU's defense also has the advantage of not constantly having their offense and special teams put them in bad situations. It was great to see Robinson back out there even if it was in limited action. I can't wait to get Ogletree back as well. The MLB group is going to go from one the thinnest positions on the team to one of the deepest over the next few weeks. I just had visions of Grantham using a 1-6 defense on (rare) occasions just to mess with other coaches heads.
Jenkins/Geathers as a down lineman and Washington, Jones, Herrera, Robinson, Ogletree, and Gilliard all on the field together.

Murray just seems off. He is taking sacks that it didn't seem he took last year, throwing bad balls much more often and simply does not appear to be as calm and cool as he was his freshman season. The three picks he threw didn't appear to be bad decisions so much as just poorly thrown balls but that doesn't change the fact that he had three picks in a game. At the same time he is on a pace that no player at UGA has ever been for producing points. Right now Murray is on pace to be responsible for 36 TD's, not counting a bowl game. That would be eight more than the record he tied of DJ Shockley's last year. While it is great to be putting up more touchdowns it is also important that he quit giving the other team points.

That leads me to another thought. Georgia has given up 103 points so far this season. Special teams have given up two and been responsible for another. The offense has given up three and been responsible for at least two more by giving up super short fields. That is 56 points. That would leave the defense responsible for 47; 21 against Boise, 17 against Carolina, 0 against Coastal, 6 against Mississippi and 3 against State. I want the offense (and special teams) to stay aggressive and keep putting pressure on other teams by scoring points. They however have to quit putting pressure on their own defense by giving up points.

The special teams, outside of the FG unit, made big strides today with a few subtle but effective changes. First it appeared they asked Butler to take a bit off the distance of punts to allow the coverage to be closer to the return man when he caught the ball. Second the punt coverage team took much wider splits. The affect of those was that Butler had a lower gross but higher net on the punts by not giving up any big returns. The third was Boykin returning punts. All three adjustments worked well. Hopefully Richt and company will continue to tweak the special teams to get even more production out of that phase.

The near but not quite dominant performances the last two weeks give me both hope and an ulcer. The hope is that by cleaning up a few areas Georgia should beat any team left on the schedule. The ulcer is for the fact that missed chances(fg's, dropped passes/interceptions, thrown interceptions) could get us beat by anyone except New Mexico State, well and possibly UK, left on the schedule.

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