Look Back to Kentucky and Ahead to Florida

Georgia runs its record to 6-1 with a 29-24 win over the Kentucky Wildcats last night in Lexington.  The Georgia passing offense was a juggernaut on the bluegrass and refused to let us lose a game last night that could have changed the entire season.  This team has some flaws that I’m afraid aren’t going to get fixed at least during the regular season.  After last night, it’s clear we’re going to have to outscore people to win.  Let’s get to the breakdown.

What Went Well

Passing Game - The Georgia passing game looked like the 1980′s San Diego Chargers with receivers running open all night and Aaron Murray hitting guys right in stride.  Murray throws for over 400 yards for the first time in a game.  Unfortunately, we needed every one of those yards to win last night.  Tavarres King played a great game last night with close to 200 yards receiving and 2 TDs.  Without a couple of drops, Murray would have likely gone over 500 yards with probably 6 TD passes.  UK decided to take away the running game, and Murray made them pay dearly for it.

Jordan Jenkins - Filling in for the injured Jarvis Jones, the freshman Jenkins came in and filled in well for the All-American.  He was one of the few bright spots for a defense that struggled mightily last night.  When he stayed with his assignment on the reverse, he probably made the play of the game without getting credit for the tackle.

Conner Norman - While his main contribution (and the reason he shows up here) won’t be be reflected in the box score, he made the hustle play of the night on Kentucky’s perfectly executed onside kick.  He flew in and dived on the ball as the kicker waited for it to roll 10 yards.  If he doesn’t cover the ball, who knows what happens with 2 minutes to go and the defense back on the field.

What Didn’t

This game was much closer than it ever should have been with a quarterback that was no threat to throw the ball and a defense that had been gashed consistently all season long.  It seems like the problems with this team are going to be there all year long.

The Defense - Kentucky had no business scoring 24 points against us without the assistance of turnovers from the offense or special teams.  Our front 7 was blown off the ball pretty much most of the night, especially when the Cats converted some 3rd and long with simple draw plays.  I was particularly disappointed with the way Kentucky drove the length of the field on their first possession with little to no resistance from the defense.

Boneheaded Penalties - Multiple false start penalties in a stadium that was 70% full showed a lack of focus.  We had multiple personal foul penalties including a late face mask by Shawn Williams that gave Kentucky life on their last TD possession and Bacarri Rambo’s hit out of bounds out of pure frustration.  Pure and simple, we lost our collective composure last night.

Offensive Line - We gave up 3 sacks and generated no consistent rushing offense against a defense that is dreadful.  We have trouble blocking teams that sell out against the run as Kentucky did last night.  Defenses are attacking our young offensive linemen especially Andrews and Theus.  We seemed to get better when Beard came in at left tackle to allow Gates to slide inside to help in the interior.

Overall Assessment

Offense - B.  The offense moved the ball pretty much any time they wanted through the air but had trouble establishing any threat in the running game.  If the defense could have gotten the Cats off the field more often especially early in possessions, the offense would have hit 40+ easily last night.  Aaron Murray has taken some heat from the fan base over the last couple of weeks, but he deserves a pat on the back for the way he put the team on his back last night.

Defense – F That performance last night frankly was terrible.  Yes, we won the game and played better in spurts in the 2nd half.  This defense is soft and doesn’t run to the ball consistently like they did last year.  To say that the defense has underperformed and disappointed would be the understatement of the year.  The offense made Kentucky drive the length of the field all night, and the defense couldn’t stop them.

Coaching – C.  Similar to the Tennessee game, once Bobo figured out that UK had no answer for the passing game, he threw out balance, went with what was working, and let Murray make plays.  I thought Bobo was going to go into “turtle mode” after the onside kick and be content to kick the ball back to Kentucky.  Instead, he let Murray convert one first down with a beautiful throw and let him throw on 4th down with the chance to run out the clock.  Grantham appeared to make some adjustments in the 2nd half which seemed to work until late in the 4th quarter.  The defensive staff has struggled to find any consistency with their players.

OverallC-.  We won, but that’s pretty much the only reason the grade is as high as it is.  We are becoming a Big 12 team before our eyes.  When given reasonably good blocking, this team has one of the best sets of skilled people in the country to hurt defenses.  The problem is that we can’t stop anybody with consistency.

Look Ahead to Florida

With Florida’s big win over South Carolina on Saturday afternoon, the Cocktail Party becomes the de facto SEC East championship.  A Gator win assures Florida’s return to Atlanta.  A Dawg win puts Georgia firmly in the driver’s seat with wins over Ole Miss and Auburn.  At the beginning of the season, I was convinced that this year’s Cocktail Party was going to be the one to turn the series back in our favor.  Now, I don’t think we have much of a chance without a lot of help from the Gators.  Just remember why many of us consider this Hate Week.

Those are my thoughts.  I would like to read yours in the comments.

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8 Responses to Look Back to Kentucky and Ahead to Florida

  1. John Barnett says:

    You nailed it. I’ve never seen people with as much talent as Ga’s defense play so poorly. Never.

  2. danny acord says:

    As you implied, I think our defensive problems are more player than coaching. I think Jarvis got reminded how the NFL contracts go away with injury. I will be very surprised to see the 100% Jones again. I have never been a Bacari Rambo fan. He never has seemed understand his assignments. I know, he led the SEC in interceeptions but i feel this a result of him playing for Bacari instead of Georgia. There talent is not an issue, but there leadership is definitely a problem. As for Gratham, like i remind my managers, it may not be your job, but it is your responsibility and he has four days before we i have to listen a bunch of orange and blue lizards for a year. This defense has been a huge disappointment for me.

    • John Barnett says:

      All I need to know about Rambo is how he avoided contact the entire second half against LSU’s RBs in the Championship game last year. Against SC, if the football had been a pot brownie, I bet the SC WR wouldn’t have taken it away from him. Those coaches get paid to motivate those players and paid well. They aren’t getting it done. I know it’s not easy, but I had to motivate high school players who had a heck of a lot less talent, got paid a lot less, had to teach a full load of classes, coordinate Luther Welsh’s defense, deal with equipment, and wash most of the clothes (game and practice) and neither Coach Welsh or our fans would have put up with the slip-shod defense that Ga has shown every game, but Vanderbilt. My ass would have been on the road. Glad to be retired now. Ga’s defensive players do a piss poor job of getting off blocks!

      • eethomaswfnc says:

        High school football coaching can be an adventure since you play the role of coach, father, lawyer (sometimes), counselor, and friend. It takes a special talent and passion. Were you at Thomson or Dougherty with Coach Welsh? I’m from Sylvester originally and remember the teams he had at Thomson back in the day.

      • John Barnett says:

        I was his Defensive Coordinator during all 19 years he was in Thomson; 1984-90 and 99-2010. We beat Worth in the 1984 Semi-final on the way to our first state title. We lost to Worth and Robert Toomer in the semis in 1989. We won 183 games together in 19 seasons; We won 12 Region and 3 state championships in those 19 years. I think about him every day. One of the hardest things I ever did was speak at his funeral.

      • eethomaswfnc says:

        I remember both of those games. I was a 10th grader at Worth in 1984 and was the PA announcer for the game that night in Sylvester. Jerry Mays was spectacular and you guys wore us out that night. I was at the game in Thomson in ’89 and a senior at UGA. Toomer ran wild that night if I remember correctly. I introduced my future wife to south Georgia high school football that night. The only other thing I remember is how cold it was. Good memories! Let’s go beat the Gators this weekend. By the way, why did Mays go to Tech?

      • John Barnett says:

        GT was his only D1 offer. Even Ga Southern wanted him to be a receiver. That 89 game was the coldest and wettest night I ever coached in. I’ve coached in colder and wetter, but never a combination of both. We had the chance to take the lead late and fumbled inside the 3. I blitzed everyone trying to get the ball back and Toomer broke it for about 60 or 70. That big RT that went to Ole Piss was dang good too. We had only 30 kids on the team that year and won 11 games. No pass, no play and had what should have been our best 2 FBs and starting HB went crazy and didn’t play. The HB had over 1000 yards as a Jr. Lost him to the streets. 1989 was the best coaching job ever done at THS.

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