Look Back to Tech and Ahead to Alabama

While it wasn’t a 6:09 type of score at the end of the day, the outcome of the 2012 edition of Clean Old-Fashioned Hate was no less dominant than that glorious day in 2002.  The Georgia offense ran roughshod over the Tech defense and carved it up like a turkey at Thanksgiving dinner.  The Georgia defense did its best Junkyard Dawg, bend-but-don’t-break impression and won pretty much every big down against the Tech offense.  Let’s get to the rundown.

What Went Well

Offensive Balance – The Georgia offense pretty much did whatever it wanted whenever it wanted while the 1st team was in the game.  Aaron Murray, the nation’s most efficient passer, had 215 yards on only 17 attempts with 2 TDs.  Why he isn’t in the Heisman conversation eludes me at this point.  Gurshall ran over and through the Tech defense for 160+ yards and 4 TDs.  The offensive line played beautifully pretty much the entire day in both run blocking and pass protection.  While I’m not a huge fan of statistics, a 9.02 yards per point is a ridiculous figure of offensive efficiency.

Defensive Aggressiveness – While the big hits and the turnovers will get all of the headlines, I loved how we played against the option.  The only big plays came off the cut blocking version of the toss sweep where they got to the edge quickly before our outside guys could react.  For the most part, we appeared to eat up the triple option with fundamentally sound defense.  We gave up yards but few points.

Penalties – Only 1 unnecessary roughness or unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.  We played on the edge but clearly played under control.  Jarvis Jones had a roughing the passer penalty, but it was aggressive rather than a cheap shot.  Also, it should have been negated by an offensive pass interference penalty on Tech for that play.

What Didn’t

Not a whole lot to say about the performance on the field, so I have something that has nothing to do with the team.

Late Coming Crowd (including the students) – Yes, I know it was an early game, and it’s Thanksgiving weekend.  That’s no excuse for the crowd especially students being in your seats for a game with arguably our biggest rival on Senior Day.  That would be like the Cameron Crazies showing up for the UNC game at Duke with 10 minutes to go in the 1st half.  Since McGarity isn’t going to insist that we hire a special teams coordinator, this may be the one area of the football program where he and the administration need to figure out how to get people in their seats before the game starts.

Overall Assessment

Offense A.  When this offense operates as it did on Saturday, there aren’t many college defenses out there who can handle it.  When we go into a spread look with Murray, Gurshall, an athletic tight end, and 3 wide, it’s very difficult to stop unless you can really disguise coverage and get pressure without blitzing.  While Texas A&M may be more flashy with “Johnny Football,” I’ll take this offense when it’s executing crisply any day of the week.

Defense – A While we gave up some yards, the 1st team defense protected the end zone.  While time of possession is an important statistic, this game showed really how useless it is at the end of the day when you have a defense playing on the edge in good condition.  Tech never could hit the big play against our defense.  I think we can say Grantham has figured out how to defend the service academy offense.

Coaching – A.  Coach Richt made it clear that he and the team were only thinking about Tech.  He and the staff kept the players focused exclusively on winning the state championship, and they got the job done.  Excellent game planning and execution will earn an A every time.

OverallA+.  The whole is greater than the sum of the parts in this case.  I never thought we would be able to dismantle a Tech team coached by Paul Johnson, not because he’s a genius but because we wouldn’t have an opportunity to demonstrate how much more talented and prepared we would be.  If you have visited the Tech message boards, you will see Saturday’s win has absolutely demoralized the Tech fan base.

Look Ahead to Alabama

While I didn’t get the outcome in Los Angeles that I wanted (I can’t stand Notre Dame), it’s now clear that the winner of the SEC championship will play for the national championship in Miami.  This game has all of the makings of a classic between Georgia and Alabama.  While the talking heads are already downplaying our chances to win, I believe that we match up well with the Tide primarily because I don’t think they have the pure pass rusher in the Clowney mold that can cause havoc.  I do believe that both defenses are likely to control the game, and one big play on offense or special teams could make the difference.  Right now, I have to give the Tide a slight edge to win next Saturday, but I won’t be surprised if we’re celebrating an SEC championship on Saturday night.

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

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