Man what a disappointing loss. We fought in the second half, but it surely wasn't enough against a VERY good Alabama team. Give Nick Saban and Co. credit, they are punching people in the mouth right now and daring them to hit back.
Let's just get through this because honestly, I don't want to talk about this longer than I have to. A lot of things went wrong on Saturday, but I'll try to hit some of the finer points and leave the obvious stuff out, since you've probably already heard enough about those things already.
The Stats Say:
You won't see a more black/white (poor analogy?) 1st and 2nd half than that in a very long time. For everything UGA did wrong in the first half, they mostly got corrected in the second half.
Penalties are again killing us and it turns out we've had 54 penalties in 5 games. THIS is a problem that will make us easily an 8-4 team if we don't get it corrected soon. I'm not saying we win last night if we don't have those early penalties in the first drive that kept that Alabama drive alive and negated a turnover, but I'm saying it gives us a much better chance. UGLY, UGLY, UGLY play on both sides of the ball penalty-wise.
Also, they say we're getting adequate pressure on the QB, but it's when we're on Offense. Stafford was flat getting killed last night and it forced him to scramble, throw off his back foot and make him look like he hasn't looked since UT last year. He forced the ball, missed his checks and threw into covered receivers all because he didn't have time to make better decisions.
1) Fan Participation -- If you would have told me that we'd be down 31-0 at halftime and our fans would not only stay in their seats, but also try and rally this team back, I'd have told you that I also have ocean front property in Colorado. The fans were jacked from the very first snap until maybe 3:00 left in the 4th quarter and if you aren't impressed by that, I don't know what to tell you.
2) Lack of "Quit" -- As ugly as the first half game was, our team did their best to try and come back, and did one helluva job doing it. We were aggressive in the second half like we should have been in the first half, and even though Alabama still had a comfortable lead, you have to acknowledge that their starters were in there for a reason. This game wasn't so out of hand that Alabama just cruised in the 3rd and 4th quarters, but it was never so close that we had more than a fighting chance, either. Anyway, the team came out and made some pretty big plays when we needed them desperately. I'll take that silver lining.
3) Rennie Curran -- This kid is a monster. His height may keep him at UGA all four years, but his talent level should suggest that he could play on Sundays as soon as he's eligible. This kid is a DGD.
4) The Recruits All Seem to Have Had a Good Time -- This ties back into points 1 and 2, but every recruiting scoop I've read so far lists that game as one where the crowd and the 2nd half performance saved us a lot of face. A lot of the kids we had visit last night like Branden Smith, Jarvis Jones and Orson Charles all gave good reviews of the game even though we lost. With as much exposure that we had with that ass-whipping, it was nice to know we still made a good impression on (possible) future Dawgs.
5) The 'Bama Fans -- I'll be honest, I admired the fact that they traveled so far to watch their team and after the game, I had a couple of really good coversations with 'Bama fans. They aren't bad like LSU fans in the sense that if they win, they won't go TOO out of the way to make you hate life. 'Bama fans are somewhere in between UGA fans (because they like southern football) and South Carolina fans (because sometimes they are flat out delusional). Aside from "Beat Down" in the comments section on the last post, most of them just said "Good game. Hope we see you in December." I admire that kind of sportsmanship.
1) 1st Half Gameplan -- Ugh. There's not even enough room on this limitless blog to tell you how flat and unprepared we were yesterday. Coverage was blown, gaps weren't filled, tackles were missed and penalties were created on the Defensive side. On the Offensive side, we tried to run it up the gut, Stafford was pressured and penalties were created. The problem is that when we knew it wasn't working, we tried to do it anyway. We didn't toss sweep, roll the pocket or anything to try and give our guys some space to work with, and on Defense, we stuck with the soft zone even though it was obviously failing. Yeah we changed the gameplan in the second half, but man it was WAY too late.
2) Brian Mimbs -- I hate to call the kid out because he's usually automatic, but not every single touchdown was the Defense's fault. When the opposing team starts from the 50 because your punt netted 10 yards, you have a problem, and it wasn't just one or two poor kicks. They were all bad. Mimbs has got to shake it off and get the boom back. I did hear on the 5th Quarter Show that they thought the problem was Mimbs was trying to directionally kick the ball because Arenas was so good and our coverage isn't solid, but if Mimbs can't directionally kick, just have him boom it and hope our gunners get there to force a fair catch. I'd rather out kick my coverage than have a punt only travel 10-20 yards. No brainer.
3) National Exposure -- Well, Dawg fans, you've been clamoring for more love from ESPN and whining about not getting enough love. Well, it filtered all the way to Briston, CT and the WWL, and it turns out that we totally sh*t the bed when they came to town. Now, all I see are Dawg fans asking for ESPN to never come back to Athens. Look, you can't have it both ways. Trust me, we want ESPN there because it's an AMAZING recruiting tool and it's great exposure when we win. There is no "Gameday Curse" or anything like that. However, the road to national prominence runs through ESPN, so do me a favor and stop crying. We had our chance and blew it. Now we have to win 7 straight in order to get the love again. Who's fault is that, really?
4) Chewing on This Loss for Two Weeks -- A win here and we take some serious momentum going into the UT game, but a loss takes the wind out of our sails and we have to practice with the thought of being embarrassed again in the back of our mind. I said earlier that "pressure breaks pipes" and I can tell you that the players know anything short of domination of UT means we will be considered as "overrated." I hope we use that idea to get motivated to destroy Phil & Co., but who knows how this team will respond?
1) The Injuries -- Man oh man are we a razor thin team now. Knowshon, Chandler and Ellerbe are all questionable for Tennessee with Knowshon being more on the "probable" side. Durham is going to be gone for quite a while and it turns out that Bruce Figgins is most likely lost for the year. We're so thin at TE that we moved Kiante Tripp from the OT spot. Now, that's another post for probably tomorrow, but I do like the idea of moving KT. However, we've got to get healthy and get healthy quick. Getting Southerland back against UT helps, but man, it's as bad as I've ever seen it.
2) Losing the Blackout -- I'm a fan of the Blackout. It gets the players excited, gets the fans excited and gets the recruits excited. I don't think it's "gimmicky" at all. I also don't think the black jerseys cost us a game. I'm absolutely amazed by the folks on the message boards who think the Blackout should never come around ever again. We didn't lose the game because we were too worried about our wardrobe. We lost the game because we got punched in the mouth and didn't respond. That being said, I do think it's time to take the stance of making the players EARN the Blackout instead of just setting a date for it. Last year it was a reward; this year it was a certainty. I say keep the Blackout, but let's hang it up for just a little while until I get this taste of "embarrassment" out of my mouth.
3) Being Out of the National Title Race -- We'd have to win 7 straight games, including away games at LSU and Auburn in order to get back to Atlanta for the SECC to probably face 'Bama again. IF we somehow run the table and do that, we have to hope that whoever we play in Atlanta is ranked high enough to give us a significant bump in the polls. Then we also have to hope that every team ranked ahead of us currently takes a loss (or another loss), which is possible, but not entirely probable. At that point, we have an OUTSIDE shot of playing for the crystal football. That, my friends, sucks.
Well, there you have it. I'll write some more on the move of Kiante Tripp probably tomorrow. Also, for the commenter named "Beat Down" who took nearly every word I wrote in my preview and showed where I was wrong, I appreciate it. You've earned the right to gloat and certainly earned the right to show me where I made my mistakes. However, at the end of the day, I'm still from Georgia and you're still not. Thanks for proving my point.
Until next time kids.
Labels: College Football, Damn It, Game Recaps, UGA Football