First off let me congratulate the Dawgs on their win in this year’s version of clean old fashioned hate. As part of a bet I have every year with the UGA correspondent on the site, who really does a great job covering his team, the winner had to say something nice about their opponent. I wish UGA the best in their upcoming SEC Championship Game this Saturday at the dome against LSU. That being said, here is my report on the game:
I also want to thank and recognize all of those GT fans who actually showed up at BDS for this game. In my section alone we had a record number of folks wearing red and black and cheering for the Dawgs. I’m not really sure why some folks want to give up their seats for this game, but apparently they do. Also, let me compliment the UGA fans who were in attendance as I have always found them to be respectful. In addition, they really follow their Dawgs as evidenced by the amount of red and black in the stands throughout BDS on Saturday. Looking forward to the day GT is able to have the stadium filled with white and gold for not only this game but every game on the schedule.
The contest started off with the Yellow Jackets having the ball around their own thirty after a nice return. CPJ called for a reverse option pass on the first play. Great call! Other than the lollipop pass going to a covered receiver in the middle of the field as I watched Stephen Hill running wide open all by himself down the right sideline with no UGA defender in the same zip code, at least it was a viable opportunity. Once again the Yellow Jackets failed to execute on a play that would have resulted in a quick touchdown on their opening play after apparently working on this all week based on extensive film study. Execution is the root of all success and failure on the gridiron, and today the Dawgs executed and the Yellow Jackets were not able to answer when needed.
On the second play of the drive we were called for the once a game obligatory chop block with a 15 yard penalty that shut down the Yellow Jackets first offensive possession. The player who went down with an ankle injury from UGA was not even involved in that play which resulted in the penalty. He had injured his ankle being blocked on the previous reverse pass play and then fell down coming out of his stance on the next play. So for all of the hysteria that was generated, and continues to be by those who are of the erroneous impression that DeAngelo Tyson was injured by an illegal chop block, he was not even involved in the play.
After having to punt the football coupled with outstanding coverage provided once again by Jemea Thomas who immediately tackled the return man, we pinned UGA back at their 10 yard line. Then after giving up two first downs, we actually got some pressure on a quarterback for the first time in a couple of games and Steven Sylvester laid a good clean hit on Aaron Murray just as he was delivering the football. It was a lollipop of sorts the other way and was picked off by Louis Young and we had the football once again.
On the Yellow Jackets second offensive opportunity of the game they pick up a couple of first downs before the drive stalls out near midfield and after a short 30 yard punt the Dawgs have the football once again on their 24 yard line. From this point Aaron Murray was never even pressured the rest of the game other than one play in the third quarter when he was sacked by Jeremiah Attaochu. He had protection from an offensive line that averages around 329 Lbs. per man and they did their job to perfection on Saturday.
On the flip side, the offensive line for the Yellow Jackets was operating against a huge defensive line and for the most part they did okay, although on some counter handoffs to the A-Backs that were well blocked on the second level, the onside tackle was not doing a very efficient job of cutting off the backside defensive tackle in the Dawgs 3/4 defensive front. Although these plays picked up positive yardage, this lack of execution was limiting the yardage that was being generated. In fact, after seeing this go on for the fourth or fifth time, CPJ put Morgan Baily in at a tackle spot to see if he could execute a cut off block on this play.
On another series, CPJ was “coaching” Ray Beno after the offense came off the field. A few plays previously it appeared the Mr. Beno did not block the correct player on an option play to the left that led to a three yard loss and bogged down yet another offensive possession. But that was the story of this game; UGA executed and made plays and GT didn’t. I will say that David Sims displayed some toughness at the B-Back position and was running very hard for his yards. His short scoring run that cut the lead to 14 to 10 was just an outstanding effort as he ran through at least 3 tackles and fought his way into the end zone.
Now before everyone jumps all over Tevin Washington for his two interceptions, I could not tell if the receiver ran the wrong route or Teven just made an ill advised pass on the first one. The second interception was a combination of a great read by the defender and a poorly thrown ball that led to that miscue. But there were times throughout the contest that Teven made good reads on the option and gained some tough yardage as well. But the offensive line did not do a very good job of executing in this game against the Dawgs.
When Synjyn Days came into the game with about 7 1/2 minutes left in the fourth quarter he did provide a much needed spark and completed two very nice passes to Stephen Hill. He also executed the offense very well and did appear much quicker than Tevin in his play. The only issue holding back Mr. Days from more playing time has been his inability to protect the football. Perhaps his unfortunate experiences back in the NC State game have proven to be valuable lessons as he played quite well in his limited time in this contest.
What I liked most is that he is the first quarterback I have seen at GT that reminds me of the speed this offense can display when it’s functioning at full efficiency much like when it was being operated by Tracy Ham back at Georgia Southern. Certainly going into the bowl preparations it is very likely that Synjyn will see more playing time as he has certainly earned that opportunity after showing everyone that he can be trusted to perform under difficult circumstances and maintain his grip on the pigskin.
When there is leakage and penetration into the backfield throughout the game that rests on the shoulders of the folks in the trenches. Although they did okay at times, more times than not there was at least one blocking breakdown that was causing plays to be blown up at the line of scrimmage or in the backfield. When the Yellow Jackets had the numbers on the edge the wrong player was being blocked, or not at all leading to negative plays. At this point in the season those types of mental errors should not be occurring.
For the most part even though the defensive line from UGA was physically larger than GT’s offensive linemen in the trenches the Yellow Jackets were more than holding their own, which made those mental errors even more irritating to watch. But they played with great effort despite the blocking miscues and I can appreciate that performance despite the unforced errors.
The defense did what they could do and came up with a few big plays but when your down linemen are undersized and going against an NFL size line, there is only so much that you can expect of your defensive backs as nobody can cover a receiver when the QB has all day to throw the football. The best way to solve this problem is by finding some more linebackers who can rush the passer like Mr. Attaochu. CPJ and Al Groh have been bringing in some nice defenders like Louis Young, Jemea Thomas, and Mr. Attaochu. Hopefully they can find some more beef to play up front in the trenches.
So now we move forward and prepare to play in a bowl game which provides valuable practice time for the entire team which is very young and gives the coaching staff more time to help them improve their skills. So while we await the bowl and opponent, get ready for the usual scenario to once again surface as to the blue print for stopping this offense is time to prepare. Making it even more imperative to win a bowl game to shut down that worn out song.
I congratulate the Yellow Jackets on a very good season and now they need to finish it up with a win at the bowl game they are to play in their final game of the season. A 9 and 4 finish is quite a productive season especially when everyone had the Yellow Jackets at the bottom of the Coastal Division to start the year.