Saturday, September 18, 2010

Georgia 24-31 Arkansas. Instant Reaction.

- Congratulations to Arkansas. There is little doubt that over the full 60 minutes the better team won today.

- Irony alert: the thousands of fans who left as early as the third quarter are the same people who will complain about the team and question the team's effort.  Weak sauce from these fans today- your quitting on the team so early when the game was not at all out of reach was lame and shameful. From the sounds of it this was the weakest performance by our fans since the infamous Auburn home game in 1999.  Great for recruiting for potential Dawgs to see so many alleged fans quit on the team. Full credit to the team for erasing a 14 point deficit in the 4th quarter without them, and credit also to the remaining true fans who were as loud as less than a full house can be.

- Why do we even recruit tight ends, let alone great and talented tight ends, when we continually fail to utilize them? Why do we even have Orson Charles? This continues to remind me of how well Donnan utilized them; utilized them right into the NFL like an assembly line.

-For all the flack our receivers have received in recent years for dropping passes, today they made a bunch of  tough catches on balls that were thrown to them in difficult spots. Durham, White, and T. King all played great today and whereas they used to drop balls today they made difficult catches in key situations that sparked the comeback. Well played to them.

- For all the other things that are wrong and/or disappointingly bad for people to be frustrated about, there are reasonable and rational explanations for almost all of them, with one glaring exception: the offensive line is so terrible that it is truly inexplicable. This unit wasn't supposed to be good, they were supposed to be great. How great? The smartest college football analyst in history, Phil Steele, ranked Georgia's O-line as the #1 O-line in the nation. They haven't just failed to be great, they have failed to be even good or average. They are somewhere between totally average and truly terrible both in pass blocking and run blocking. They have single-handedly turned Washaun Ealey into Richard Samuel, and against 2 average pass rushes they regularly have young Aaron Murray running & scrambling for his life. This is a unit with a collective 155 starts between them coming into the season. Not inexplicable that they aren't as great as expected, but inexplicable that they are so horribly bad.

- Also, someone please work hard with Ealey on blocking. He is not helping his cause by missing key blocks that result in sacks/losses and kill drives. This is something that Caleb King is better at, and at this point he cannot return soon enough.

- Most of the talk has been about AJ Green making the difference on the field by making plays, which is of course obvious, and additionally both a fool's errand and moot. More interesting to me is not the plays on the field but how his absence has affected the morale and psyche of the team, who are clearly playing with absolutely no confidence and even seem to be sleepwalking through large portions of games. Unfortunately this happens with 18-22 year old athletes, and it seems obvious that their confidence in themselves as a collective is clearly absent. Hopefully the return of AJ for the Colorado game will be a positive jolt to the team, both on the field (obviously) and also mentally there will be a massive shift in confidence & self-belief, which as anyone who has ever played team sports will tell you, is no insignificant thing.

- Not that the coaching staff does not have questions to answer or accountability, but remember this: it is not Richt's fault that AJ Green stupidly sold his jersey for $1000 and is missing 1/3 of the season. AJ ultimately failed his responsibility to the team, and although it is not the entire reason for the poor start and each of the two losses, it has played a pretty significant part (not just the catches but opening up running game & less pressure on young QB). The Georgia fan base has thusfar looked at AJ Green as the victim of an unfair & evil NCAA, but the cold truth his that he failed in his responsibility to the team and the team is suffering because of him. He should not be vilified for it, but as a massively frustrated & disgruntled fan base runs around assigning blame to various people, he should certainly be given his fair share rather than given a free pass as an innocent victim. As absurd as the ruling is, it was put into place by the NCAA in response to University of Georgia players selling their 2002 SEC Championship rings, so there can be no way that UGA players are not aware of this rule (and if they are not then that is an inexcusable fail by the coaching staff when the rule was created because of their own players/program).

- The Dawg Nation is divided, and the Richt Must Go side certainly gained traction and new followers today. It is harder now for us in the patience & perspective camp to maintain, but I still believe that this team can be very good, and I still believe that Richt did what was what asked of him in the offseason and should not be judged on the 2010 season until December 1st. But after today it admittedly got alot harder to talk members of the other side down from the ledge.

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