Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rev's UGA-AU Game Thoughts

Wow, I had fun watching the game at home yesterday and live blogging during the game, but I REALLY wish I had been in Sanford Stadium.  LC touched on it, the crowd was vibrant, you could even tell that on TV.  The stadium sounded like it was rocking the loudest it's been.....well, since the Auburn blackout game.  We've all been wanting to see the team finally play a complete game, and boy did they deliver.  Interesting fact of the day, as tweeted by Radi Nabulsi:

The #Geoirgia defense has only given up 12 rushing yards to Florida, Tennessee and Auburn combined.
Nov 13 via TweetDeckFavoriteRetweetReply

Wow, are you kidding me?  Now I realize those teams are not the superpowers they have been in the past, but we're still talking about talented runners like Poole, Rainey, Demps, Dyer, and McCalebb.  That stat is somewhat misleading due to sack yardage being taken off of running totals, but that is impressive no matter how you slice it.  Todd Grantham's salary has turned out to be a bargain, after what we suffered through in the Martinez years.

I said it during the live blog, but how nice is it to enjoy to watching our games again?  Last night was a team that was well prepared in all phases of the game, and executed the plan perfectly.  Ted Roof is a horrible defensive coordinator, but that doesn't take away from the fact that Bobo called a beautiful game last night, and Murray's execution was just as good.  I know New Mexico State was a weak team, but Murray seems to be really hitting his stride the past couple of weeks.  His stats have been good all year, but there has been a disconnect between the stats and the on-field performance, where some of his throws would just leave you scratching your head.  But the past two weeks he has been on the mark.  There may have been more, but the only miss I can think of last night was when he missed Conley deep early in the game, but it was fairly well covered and I think Murray was just trying to lay it out there far enough that no defender had a shot at it.  From there on, he was on the money.  The touchdown to Bennett was as pretty a throw and catch as you'll see at the college level.

On top of that, Crowell really impressed me in the second half.  I'll admit it, I was getting down on him again at halftime, after he basically disappeared again in the first half after taking a big hit.  But then he came back out in the 2nd half and gave his best performance of the season as far as grinding out tough yards.  The OL did a great job blocking, and he & Thomas were great at hitting the hole at just the right time to squirt through and pick up good yardage.  Crowell has to watch the fumbles, of course, but that was an anomaly for him.  I was just glad to see the toughness and grit he showed in the 2nd half.  Gary Danielson made the comment that it looked like maybe a light was switching on in Crowell's head of what it takes to be a star back in the SEC, and I think he was right.  I think making the switch from AAA high school football to the SEC was a lot harder than Crowell had imagined, and he's had to go through a maturation process.  But if Crowell can continue to show the growth that he showed last night, big things are in store for him.

Here are some of my other thoughts:
- Wow, Alec Ogletree!  Grantham is doing a great job of moving him around.  Auburn never knew if Ogletree was going to be coming from the middle, the edge, or wherever.  Grantham has to be having fun getting to mix and match two guys like Ogletree and Jones.
- Remember when we used to blitz, yet nobody would get within 5 arm lengths of the QB?  Contrast that with the 3rd down play right smack in the middle of the 2nd quarter where we blitzed Ogletree, Jones, and Robinson - and all 3 LB's got to the QB at the same time for the sack.  That nearly brought a tear to my eye.
- I gave Crowell props above, but Carlton Thomas also played a GREAT game.  He is playing far beyond his stature.  Whether running, blocking, or whatever else is asked of him, Thomas is invaluable to the team right now that Samuel is out.
- Malcolm Mitchell definitely adds another element to the offense.  Having him back was a big lift for our big-play potential.  I've totally fallen in love with this receiving corp.  Nobody is going to be confused with AJ Green, but I can't remember us having so many guys who have the ability to step up at any given time and make a huge play.
- Grantham continues to show a great ability to make adjustments.  Auburn's first drive, and the first few plays of their second drive, looked like they were going to move the ball at will against us.  Then, all of a sudden, our defense figured them out, and it was all over.
-  I love Richt's new mentality.  He is playing to win now.  You look at the 4th down calls against FL, the timeouts before halftime that we've seen the past few weeks to give the offense another chance to score instead of just running out the clock, and just his demeanor on the sideline, and you can tell that he has adopted much more of a "take no prisoners" mentality.  And that is feeding into the team.  There is no more "crisis of faith" on this team, like there had been the past few years.  The coaches believe in the players, the players believe in the coaches, and the players believe in each other.  I said early in the year that I wanted Richt to be the guy who got us turned back around, but I didn't believe he had it in him.  Well, I was wrong.  There's still a lot of football to be played this year, but Richt HAS turned this team around, and the future looks very bright right now.  McGarity needs to come out soon and make it clear that Richt will be back next year so we can get along in putting together another top recruiting class.

As LC said earlier this morning, it truly is great to be a Georgia Bulldog.  Let's take care of business the next two weeks, then see how the chips fall in Atlanta.  GO DAWGS!


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