Perhaps the only thing more disappointing than losing the COFH game 42 to 10 to the dawgs on Saturday was the lack of support from the Yellow Jackets fans that showed no interest in going to Athens and sent back 2,000+ tickets to UGA. Further reinforcing their motto; they run this state! It’s one thing not wanting to travel several hours to an out of state road game during the season, but to have zero interest in attending the contest against the heated state rival speaks volumes. No doubt those no shows are the first people making comments regarding the direction of the program and the standard input about what needs to be done, etc., etc., etc. To that group of nameless fans all I can say is thanks for your very limited support.
My response to anyone offering criticism after this game is; show me your ticket stub first before you say anything further. That being said, since I was in attendance at the game then I’m entitled to offer my thoughts both good and bad. One of the first things that struck me was the number of open seats in several sections throughout the entire stadium. That was especially surprising for a team that is on the cusp of playing for a potential national BCS Championship and traditionally had a waiting list of fans wanting to buy season tickets. The dawgs are a very good football team and well deserving of their #3 ranking this season, certainly their next game against the Crimson Tide will be quite a game with all that is at stake.
UGA played an outstanding game in all three phases and throttled the Yellow Jackets by scoring quite easily time and time again against the defense. They also clearly brought more energy to the game and perhaps that was aided by a great kickoff return to open the contest by starting at the GT 45 yard line on their first offensive possession. With the lack of success in having a kicker that can consistently, if ever, kick the ball into the end zone, let alone out of the end zone, it might be worth considering just kicking it out of bounds next week and have the opponent begin on their 35 yard line as opposed to watching them catching it at the ten yard line with momentum and breaking a return giving their offense superior field position on GT’s side of the field.
No doubt this is not going to be a favored tactic but after seeing this same formula succeed too many times this season, perhaps it’s time to recognize the negative impact this is having in the overall game plan and start taking control of the opponent’s field position by dictating where they will start an offensive possession. While UGA’s kicker did not kickoff out of the end zone on every boot, he did it at least 80% of the time on Saturday and our offense began most of time on the twenty-five yard line for each possession.
The effort on defense in this game was clearly unacceptable and hopefully the flu that was going around the past few weeks was a large contributor into that effort. If it wasn’t then the Yellow Jackets are in monumental trouble heading into the ACC Championship Game. The dawgs are very good on offense but one would have a thought a few stops early in the game would have been possible. That needs to occur against the Seminoles to have any chance of winning that game and making the remainder of this season quite remarkable given the chips that fell the Yellow Jackets way when it wasn’t looking very promising. Let’s hope that the dayquill has eradicated the flu this coming week. While it’s obvious that our defense will never be confused any time soon with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and they are down a DC, the talent is there to be playing much better than the ugly gashing witnessed against the dawgs.
All in all I was pleased to see our offensive line doing a consistent job inside with very good interior blocking against the UGA defense that were playing both of their 350+ lbs. NG’s together on the line all day long against the triple option. The fact we were able to move the football consistently on the ground with our B-backs up the middle against a very athletic and complete defense gives me substantial hope in the upcoming game against the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday in Charlotte. While we obviously need to be able to finish off those drives with touchdowns, it was not lost in the final score that the dawgs made big plays on defense to keep the Yellow Jackets out of the end zone, and penalties certainly helped them augment those efforts when they successfully ripped the football out for a few forced turnovers.
It will also be interesting to see whether the dawgs will be able to duplicate those WWF body slams next week against the Bama receivers that they were able to employ when they tackled our players throughout the course of the game on Saturday. At this juncture I’m not looking for that advanced tackling technique to be utilized any time soon by our defense as they need to be able to make the fundamental plays first before ratcheting it up to Monday night raw standards.
This was going to be a very challenging two game stretch for the Yellow Jackets and they got an absolute thumping from the dawgs pure and simple. They were the superior team and much as nobody wants to read this; they have a very good opportunity to beat Bama and play Notre Dame for the big glass football in six week. The after taste of this loss should be motivation for the team to want to play that much harder for the ACC Championship against the Noles.
FSU is a very good team, but frankly they had their own problems against the gators on Saturday and even though they will be a two touchdown favorite this is a very winnable game for the Yellow Jackets provided they get past the whipping by the dawgs and play with some enthusiasm for the Conference Championship. I’m confident that they will. As for the final score, that will be up to the performance by the Yellow Jackets in all aspects of the game. The challenge is there but it’s not insurmountable.
What would go a long way in aiding that effort would be for lots of GT fans to show up at the game and support this team. The quicker everyone (fans included) gets past this loss the better it will be for the program. As for those 2000+ returned tickets which translates into Yellow Jackets fans that didn’t want to go to the game, that sends a real big message to all the high school players in the state when it comes time to making their decision where they want to play football at the next level. The UGA coaches now have been given an additional recruiting tool that they didn’t need by telling any recruit who is down to choosing between both schools; heck GT fans don’t even come out to support their team in the rivalry game, why would you want to go play for Tech? Think about that one the next time the issue of recruiting comes up, as it always does! Go Jackets, and the true fans that follow the team through both thick and thin!