“What might have been?”
What if? Sitting here thinking about the LSU game I think about all the different plays, the different situations, the different coaching decesions that could have been made to make this game turn out differently for the Dawgs. What if the defense does not miss those tackles on the last drive? What if the offense would have gotten going in the first half? What if “the penalty” was never called?
As much that went wrong for the Dawgs on Saturday a good deal went right. First, there were virtually no turnovers. Georgia had only one; it came on the last play. Penalties were cut drastically – minus “the penalty.” The defense that we all love to question had six sacks – one more than the total for the season. Did the defense still play poorly at times? Yes. But for a defense that everyone had been criticizing for a lack of pressure, they did a great job. The start of the second half could have been a game changer. 3 strait sacks and a punt just to lead to another punt from the offense, no points. Drew Butler continued to shine at punter. A 49 yard average in the first half, very key to changing field position. A new star might have been born; a new #24 (look for more about this to come). AJ Green continued to dazzle and put his team in a position to win. This TEAM never quit; every play was as exciting as the last.
What went wrong? The offense looked to be clueless at times. I believe it has a lot to do with the play calling. In the first half there was never a rhythm. Drives were wasted as the offense failed to move the ball down the field. Where was the running game? LSU had struggled with the run all year, why couldn’t we take advantage of that? [We might have found our answer with Washaun Ealey. The way he hit the hole, wow!] Blair Walsh missed his first filed goal of the season. It could have been very beneficial towards the end of the game when we were down. While the penalties were drastically cut, the two unsportsmanlike penalties were killers. While the defense did play well the majority of the game, there were times when they failed to play proper coverage and wrap up on tackles. This was never more apparent than the last LSU drive when Charles Scott broke three Georgia tackles and scampered 33 yards into the end zone for the game winning score.
What this game means for the season? It puts Georgia in a very tough spot. Despite the fact we only have one loss in the SEC now, we still have a tough stretch coming up in the next few weeks with little room for error. A win today meant that we might be able to slip up against Florida and still have a shot at the SEC East Title. Now, for this to happen, Georgia will have to be perfect the rest of the season. This game might serve as an eye opener for a lot of people. It is obvious that there must be a change on the offensive side of the ball. The coaching staff, at times, shows strokes of brilliance, and at other times looks elementary. Today, we could see that the defense can play. But at the same time we could see the defense couldn’t play. There were times when the defense looked lost but for most of the time they stayed with the “bend but don’t break” mentality. There has to be more consistency on both sides of the ball.
Next week will bring a new test for the Dawgs. The Vols are coming off a tough loss to the plainsmen and would love nothing more than to right the ship against Georgia. Georgia needs to take this week to regroup and come out next week with a fire to work hard and be the best. They fixed the turnover problem. They fixed the penalty problem – for the most part. Now we just need to put together that complete game effort where offense, defense and special teams all click together. The team we have will continue to grow and develop and once everyone gets on the same page, it will be fun – in fact it already has been. I don’t know about y’all, but I still love the Dawgs and am excited about the rest of the season.
Until next time, “You stay classy Classic City.”
—-edit by Herschel Blogger—-
My friend put it perfectly there at the end. It certainly has been fun. With an exception out in Stillwater, where everything just seemed to go wrong, each of these games has just been amazing to watch. I don’t care who you are; when you’re standing in Sanford on an emotional rollercoaster like we have been with all of these games, there is nothing better. You laugh with 92,746 of your friends, you celebrate with 92,746 of your friends, and tonight, you cried with 92,746 of your friends. Now, a few thoughts:
As I write this, there are 5 LSU guys passed out in my room, 30-40 in my house. This is their last night in town. Tomorrow, they’ll board the LSU-filled shuttle buses and return to the airport or load up in their LSU-colored party wagons (no lie, there’s one in my parkinglot.) and trek 10 hours down to Baton Rouge. Honestly, I’ll be sad to see them go. This has been the only group of guys from a visiting school that I have actually enjoyed getting to know and hanging out with. I’m already facebook friends with a few of them, and that’s how you know it’s legit. So LSU, here’s to you for not being a sore winner. I’m glad that y’all came in town and appreciated our hospitality. It showed and we appreciate that fact.
Now, onto the game. Fratt did a good job of the general wrap-up, but I just had a few thoughts to add:
The defense did exceedingly better than in past matchups. By NO means were they perfect, though. For one, our secondary is in a scary habit of allowing receivers too large of a cushion. Now, this cushion is not always a bad thing. It allows our player to get set and hit the receiver as he catches and hopefully knock it free (see: Reshad Jones.) But, when we give that cushion, we have to be certain that we DO make that hit. Boykin, B.Smith, B.Evans, and Princess Miller had a few plays that simply made me die a little bit on the inside. We need to play tighter in the secondary. If our men are getting beat while playing tight, then perhaps replace them with some younger and hungrier players. (see: Baccari Rambo)
The offense…. OHHHH the offense. What a love affair I have with you. Please stop leading me on. If you’re going to be good, be good. If you’re going to be bad, just be bad and get it over with so that we can start training our players for next year (see: backup quarterback situation.) i needn’t rehash on specifics about this offense, but I’m just simply tired of having to rely on Mean Green to clean things up. Now do not get me wrong, I enjoy watching every single play that AJ makes as much as the next guy. I just wish we had more options so that our entire production does not fall upon his amazing shoulders.
And that leads me to my next topic. Washaun Ealey.
I’ve been waiting to see this kid play since I first heard his name and noticed it was close to Knowshon. I was even more excited when he ended up with the #24. In my head I thought, “come now, this could be too good to be true. Could it be that nobody would have to buy a new jersey? Could everybody wear the #24 proudly still? There is no way…” I was proven wrong today. Okay, so he didn’t carry our offense in his hand and make everybody faint from his sheer skills, but what’s necessary to remember is that this kid is a TRUE FRESHMAN. Remember someone else’s humble beginnings? Somebody else entered the scene his second year as a redshirt freshman and simply tore up. Do you remember CMR’s words when he proclaimed that perhaps redshirting this certain player was a bad idea and that he could have done damage as a true freshman? Well perhaps this truly is the second coming of the ‘shon. I don’t want to get my hopes up from only 8 carries for 33 yards, but this was his first time between the hedges. I can cut him a break. Watching him scamper through the holes and pop up right after getting hit really did bring chillbumps to my arms (my date will verify.) It truly was like watching a reincarnation. I can only hope for a couple dives and leaps as the season goes on. ‘shaun better have a cool thing to do for each touchdown though. If ‘shon stood up with his hands behind his back, ‘shaun should stand up with his hands behind his head or something. I don’t know, but I’m simply giddy as I think about the production this kid may have.
Okay that’s about it. I apologize for this being a bit scatterbrained. It is 2:43am after a very long, exciting, and emotional weekend. Peace, Love, and Georgia Football. -Herschel