Monday, November 1, 2010

This was not a "hurry up" post

Florida's win over Georgia was huge for the program in the short term. With a loss, it becomes a distinct possibility that the Gators go 6-6 and are in a crappy bowl game. It would be an open question whether guys would be motivated to work hard the rest of the way knowing any hope of a conference championship was already gone. It was terrific to see Chas Henry get the satisfaction of making a winning field goal after all the grief he's put himself through over the past couple of weeks while struggling as the substitute kicker, particularly considering the classless "choke" gesture TV cameras caught UGA's defensive coordinator making prior to the winning kick. To conclude Florida has turned things around at this point would be a grave mistake though. Having watched every game both they and South Carolina have played this year, there's no question in my mind the Gamecocks are a better football team right now. That doesn't mean they're going to win in two weeks, but UF has got to be a lot sharper by then or they're not going back to Atlanta. A few other thoughts....

1. Will Hill's performance this year continues to be hard to understand. His two interception returns were both impressive, but neither of them came as result of him actually making a play on the ball himself. He certainly appeared to be at least in part responsible for the first UGA touchdown by not providing deep support for Jeremy Brown. No play all game was more annoying than the one where Hill delivered a big hit on Kris Durham and got up dancing and flexing - after allowing a 17 yard completion for a first down. Hill has too much talent to have played the way he has this season. We'll see if he's able to get some momentum coming out of this game.

2. Florida's offensive line's inability to pass block reliably is inexplicable given the overall level of experience in the group. Blitzes will work sometimes against any line, but Georgia got some major heat on Brantley out of a basic four man rush. The Gamecocks are among the national leaders in sacks, and they're not blitzing much to get them. If this isn't shored up in two weeks, John Brantley will find himself on the turf a lot.

3. Playing "hurry up" sounds good in theory, but UF wasn't able to get their "banzai" package to work last season with Tim Tebow running the offense. I find it very hard to believe that they're going to be able to do it on any reliable basis while mix and matching three different guys taking snaps, plus some wildcat stuff with at least one other guy that they haven't showed yet but have worked on. Against Georgia, they had the benefit of surprise. Now that teams know to anticipate it and prepare accordingly, it's even less likely to work. Imagine facing either Auburn (who sees their offense every day) or Alabama (who will have just got done facing Auburn's offense) in the SEC title game. Is a hurry up to run a dive play really going to throw them for a loop or wear their stamina out?

4. When there's 6:36 to go and you have a chance to put your opponent in 2nd and 20 from their 47 versus 3rd and 10 from your 43, you take the holding penalty. Because Florida won, Urban Meyer's decision won't be discussed much today. It still is worth noting. Down 7, that was an obvious four down situation for Georgia. Under those circumstances, the yards are worth more than the down.

5. Aaron Murray's really going to be a nice QB for Georgia by the time his career's done. I was skeptical of how good he could be this season, but in a year with a lot of chaos for the Bulldogs he's performed very well considering his lack of experience. The throw he made for their final TD was absolutely perfect. Not sure how well Georgia will do without Green or Durham at WR next season, though. Tavares King's the only WR they'll have coming back who's shown much, although Orson Charles should be a good weapon too. Meanwhile, UGA now has to beat either Auburn (not likely) or Georgia Tech (doable) or they're not going bowling. That would be a major problem for them, because it would mean missing out on all the bowl practices that give coaches a chance to work with younger players without the pressure of an imminent game.

Other college football stuff...

1. Baylor beat Texas in Austin for the first time since 1991. The Longhorns have lost back to back games to them and Iowa State, and three straight at home overall for the first time since 1938. Somehow, the only game they've won in their last five is over Nebraska in Lincoln. If the incredibly awful Kansas beating Georgia Tech is the weirdest result of the season so far, that Longhorns win isn't too far behind.

2. Another mystifying result from the weekend was Boston College beating Clemson 16-10, giving them a win for the first time since September 11th. Clemson didn't score an offensive touchdown against a bad BC squad, and lost their best running back Andre Ellington to a knee injury. At 4-4 with NC State and at FSU as their next two games, they're in serious danger of not bowling.

3. Ron Zook has probably saved his job at Illinois with his new coordinator hires on both side of the ball. Win one of his last four (and with Purdue on the schedule, he will) and his Illini are going bowling. This week they get Michigan. Rich Rodriguez has lost three in a row and still has a disaster on the defensive side of the ball after three years. Lose to Zook with Wisconsin and Ohio State still on the schedule and the Wolverines are probably looking at no better than a .500 record. Not what they had in mind in Ann Arbor, which could cost Rodriguez his job.


Patrick Swayze said...

And let's hear it for LeGarrette Blount!

Matt said...

That was a huge win for the program, it really felt like a make or break kinda game as far as this season goes. It was nice to get to actually watch one of the "classic" games in this series having seen so many stories and highlights from those in years past.

Gotta give credit to a lot our playmakers. Rainey looked much sharper than he did at the beginning of the season, and it's nice to know his life wasn't ruined by a mistake (or as some would call it "an attempted murder and egregious example of the most vicious domestic abuse"). Hopefully he's grown up and will keep out of trouble. Burton also deserves a lot of credit, I really don't have any idea how he gains any yardage (much less a 51 yard scamper) when the whole stadium knows he's running the ball.

The playcalling was somewhat improved, with the usual shake your head kinda plays (Burton's run on 4th and 12?!). There still seems to be a glaring inability to adjust and read a defense (both from coaches and players). I honestly don't know how we move the ball when we basically tell the defense when we're running or passing the ball based on what QB is in the game. Richt even said as much in his halftime interview (another slap in the face to our staff in my opinion). Hell, we even tell them which direction we're going when we put Brantley out wide.

The last minute switch with Burton and Brantley was cute at first, but by the 4th and 5th time it was obvious that it didn't really phase the defense. I didn't keep track, but I'd be willing to bet the plays we ran whenever that happened were very similar, if not identical.

We were able to come out in this one because our talent was on par with Georgia's, but when we play against a talented and well-coached USC this team is going to look just as inept as ever.

Still, enjoying the heck out of that win, I'll be watching that one on DVR for quite a while.