Thursday, September 15, 2011

These Dawgs are Knocking and I Think They're Coming In

Georgia's offense moved the ball consistently on South Carolina and did so from multiple sets involving a handful of playmakers. By the second half, the South Carolina defense had no prayer of stopping the Dawgs. The Dawgs did stop themselves several times and those issues must be eliminated. If that happens, the Dawgs offense, which has scored over 30 points in 8 of their last 10 games (over 40 in 6 of those), is poised to take us fans on a rocket ride. This potentially explosive offense coupled with continued improvement from the defense which effectively held South Carolina to 17 points will result in at least nine wins this season. After an 0-2 start, nine wins will be a welcome turn around.

Here are a few key points that fill me with optimism for our offense going forward:

- Aaron Murray has made too many mistakes in the first two games - interceptions, fumbles, holding the ball too long, etc - and he is too smart and too talented to not correct those issues in the next two weeks against Coastal Carolina and Ole Miss.

I fully expect Aaron to settle down and become more comfortable with what the offense is doing especially with the emergence of Isaiah Crowell as a guy getting the ball 25 times a game. I believe that the majority of Aaron's mistakes have resulted from him trying to do too much in his effort to lead this team by example and carry them on his shoulders. He showed last year that he knows he can throw the ball away or accept a sack instead of allowing disaster to strike. In the first two games, we have had a season's worth of disasters and I believe this will abate along with the rise of and reliance upon super-talented Isaiah Crowell.

- Speaking of Crowell... He showed just why he was so highly touted coming into the season and based on the admissions of Coaches Richt and Bobo, he will be getting 20 to 25 touches from now on. Here is my assessment of Isaiah: He is quick enough to get to the hole or the corner; powerful enough to break tackles; has the vision and shiftiness to make people miss; and has that extra gear to get gone when he is in space. Against South Carolina he had 118 yards on 16 carries for 7.4 yards per carry and 2 receptions for 40 yards. His two touchdowns are just the first of many that he will amass this season. I won't be surprised if #1 ends the season with 15 to 18 TDs.

- Orson Charles. Even when he isn't getting balls thrown to him, he attracts extra attention from the defense. South Carolina had him double-teamed on every snap and they did shut him out. But, as a result, we had 19 receptions spread out among 8 other players and none of them were Aron White. The point here is that we have guys open when Orson is doubled up and Aaron is finding them. Malcolm Mitchell is a dual threat with the speed to hit on the deep ball and the hands and route-running skill to work the short passing game. Michael Bennett has made his case for the role of "possession receiver" previously held by Kris Durham. Our receiving corps is plenty capable of putting up big numbers, especially when Tavarres King plays up to his full potential.

- Effort. I have said it before and I will say it again. These Dawgs have their backs against the wall and they know that the only way out is to give maximum effort on every outing. We saw that Saturday against South Carolina. I am expecting nothing less for the rest of the season. We will probably see a flat performance at some point, but I hope it is against a team that we can beat even while flat.

As we reflect upon the season from our 0-2 perch (can you be on a perch at 0-2?) this is what I expect over the next three weeks (assuming we don't have devastating injuries and have enough linebackers to play):

I believe we will win big in our next three ball games - Coastal Carolina, Ole Miss, and yes... Miss State. We will be better on both lines of scrimmage and Bobo will have discovered the most effective ways to use Crowell, which will open up other opportunities on offense for guys like Charles, Mitchell and even Figgins coming out of the backfield. The return of Baccari Rambo made a distinct impact in our secondary, but we have to develop some new linebackers immediately to get us through this three game stretch. By midnight on October 1st, we will have great cause for optimism for this team as we prepare for our invasion of the state of Tennessee.

Go Dawgs ! GATA!


Bernie said...

I want to see Orson split out some more. I think we got scared (for good reason after BSU) into using him as a blocker almost exclusively against SC. Although that still has the desired effect that you point out of opening up opportunities for the WRs, it also takes what may be our best receiver out of the downfield equation. Hopefully our line can gain some confidence the next couple weeks.

Hunker Down said...

Bernie, You are so right. If we want a TE in to pass protect, let's use big Artie Lynch and split Orson out as a receiver. Against SC, on the occasions that Orson was in a route, he was double. In fact on every defensive alignment, SC had a man directly on top of him and safety help over the top. That opened up the screens and FB out of the backfield more than it otherwise would have been because one safety was worried about OC7.

Amanda said...

You are definitely both right! Splitting is the best way to make a strategy.. Amanda Vanderpool