I was riveted by this game, and had to go back and watch it. I wound up taking a million notes and making observations as I went, so I decided to share them with you. I’ve never played football, and if you need someone who has played for UGA to break it down, go see Ben Dukes. Here’s every play, with as much insight as I can provide. Feel free to pipe up if I get something wrong.
You’ll see if you read this that the biggest defensive disappointments in the first half were by Jenkins, then Herrera, then Swann. Those three played every snap that I could see. Whether their inability to make plays stems from their job security or fatigue, I don’t know. I also will say here that I didn’t see Grantham chew anyone out, and haven’t since 2011. As a side note, our defense has sucked since 2011. Still, everyone else played well on defense in the first half with a few exceptions, and I enjoyed watching it, especially JHC. What happened in the first half were minor miscues which would bite us in the second, perhaps because we were out coached on defense. Read on for more.
UGA 0, UT 0 – 15:00 1st –
Kickoff – UT wins toss. On the return, we get the ball out to the 18, then UT makes a throat slash gesture to push us out to the 36. For our first play, we line up with Hicks behind Kolton Houston, and he then shifts to the Fb spot to make the I. UT has 8 in the box. We don’t care, and Hicks smacks someone to allow for a nice gain of 8 for Marshall. On the very next play, we come out in an offset I. UT has 8 in the box and blitzes a guy from the the OLB spot. Hicks picks up the blitz, the run goes to the spot of the blitz, Hicks mauls the dude tossing him out of the play, and Marshall runs for 13. Lynch has a nice block downfield too. Houston also mauled a guy on the play.
1st and 10 from the 38 – Hall in the game, we’re back in the offset I with 3 wide. UT has 2 deep safeties and is playing our WRs tight at the line. Houston gets destroyed one on one, causing Murray to scramble. Murray doesn’t slide, I shit myself, his neck gets wrenched around, and I shit myself a second time. He’s ok. 3 yard gain. 2nd and 7- we’re in shotgun with 4 WR, one is a TE behind the LOS. We run a counter out of the shotgun, ultimately going right. Dallas Lee pulls into a stunt, and can’t make much of a block. It jams the play up and Marshall somehow eeks out a yard. 3rd and 6. I notice during some crowd shots that the stadium is not full. What a bunch of lame asses. We come out 4 wide with McGowan alone on the right. They zone blitz, and a lineman chases McGowan. McGowan drops it after our line does a great job picking up a blitz. Gary goes on about how a defender was in the passing lane… no Gary, a slow white walkon was in the passing lane and didn’t catch it when he should have. He needs to make that play. Great kick by Morgan from 57. Wow!
Drive summary: We came out really killing them from the I, but struggled in pass protection, particularly Houston. Murray almost keeps the drive alive, but we drop a pass. Absent a great kick from a kicker who can boom 57 yard field goals, this was a tough drive. I don’t intend this post to get all up in Bobo cause he called a great game, but we killed it out of the I and backed off of it. I guess you set up play action and didn’t work.
UGA 3, UT 0 – 12:12 1st.
On defense (nice kickoff by barber… it was low but deep) we come out. On their first play they line up in a variation of the formation they’ll run most of the day – shotgun with a RB to the qb’s side. We typically line up in the nickel with JHC at the star to counter. Here they line up with a TE and 3 WRs. The slot WR is playing back, and comes in motion across the field – he is there to stretch the defense horizontally circa Guz Malzhan’s offenses. Typically this is a decoy. Then Worley and Neal will typically run a zone read. We’ll keep tally of how many times Worley keeps it. Spoiler alert – not many. Back to this play… the WR comes in motion on the fake, and the ball is snapped. The motion WR freezes Ramik and Hererra, and the WR to the left of the play slips behind them. Worley runs right on a rollout not even bothering with the zone read. Drew chases the play, and you can watch JHC zooming to the edge to cut off the short pass. Worley tosses the ball away. Our LBs stayed at home cutting off pass lane and there’s nothing there due to nice coverage by Mauger. 2nd and 10- Same formation from them and us. JHC shows blitz early, as does Ramik. They check the play and run left away from the blitz. No penetration from the line but Jenkins holds the edge, forcing Neal to cut it up, and Ramik does a good job hitting the hole. Gain of 2. 3rd and 8. Prior to the snap on 3rd, we’re slow to get lined up. JHC in the star, the safety, Moore, is slow to walk up to the slot receiver. Everyone seems to be well covered, Corey Moore is on a crossing route receiver, Worley has TONS of time, steps into a throw, and hits his guy over the middle. This play concerns me… on an obvious passing down we rush 4. I can live with 4, but would prefer five, particularly because coverage seemed good. More concerning is that Jenkins (as usual this season) gets no pressure whatsoever despite not getting double teamed. Floyd almost bull rushes his man into Worley but it’s too slow. With anything resembling a pass rush on this, Worley can’t complete the pass. Bailey took an insane arc around the line to the other side, and basically took himself out of the play.
1st and 10 – They line up 3 wide again from shotgun with trips right and a TE left. We only have 3 down linemen. They false start, but it’s not called, and run the read option electing to handoff. Sterling Bailey has the edge, is sealed inside from a double team from the TE and tackle. Ramik gets too caught up inside and is blocked out of the play – the result is a big play for 8. On 2nd and 2 they go quick, we have 18 players loafing off the field, they throw a quick out. JHC BEASTS off of one block, sheds another, and then almost makes a play on the ball by himself. The other CB was backpeddling and out of the play, so basically it was JHC on three dudes. If JHC doesn’t beast here, that could have been a big play. Swann was quickly blocked, didn’t get of anything, and may or may not suck. Richt looks pissed because Grantham’s unit can’t do basic things like substituting right. Garrison Smith, a senior and a captain, is the guilty party and is called for the foul(though I think there could have been others), and we give up 5 yards.
1st and 10 - 50yd line – Again, we’re running people around all over the place before the snap. They’re line up with 2 wide, a TE, and a WR in the backfield. Because Worley audibles, we actually get set on defense with Herrera getting people aligned. Literally everyone was out of position early, from JHC who moves from star to safety, Swann, Floyd (who doesn’t know the play call and is looking around). UT runs the read option, Worley hands off and Neal goes right. Flloyd, who is the read, blows up the left side and is chasing down the play. The line does a good job of stringing it out, and JHC almost makes a great tackle in the backfield but doesn’t wrap up. Mayes is on the edge getting held and double teamed and can’t get Neil. Neal is a good RB, but JHC is a 5-star who needs to make that play…we had a chance. He zooms in like a freak on EASports, but he’s got to slow down there and trust the rest of the defense, or just make the tackle. 2nd and 5 – They hurry, flip the formation from last play, but we do a good job getting into base 3-4. They false start. 2nd and 10 – They line up in the same formation and we creep up near the line, which means we must have been reading run all the way. They zone read handoff, Neal cuts it inside where Jenkins has the chance to make a play but misses a tackle for a loss. Instead, Neal picks up 5. Good play by Mayes and Ramik to bring him down shortly thereafter. 3rd and 5 – They line up 3 wide from shotgun, JHC is at star wide left with one safety deep. They zone read right (they’re reading the left side OLB, Jenkins or Floyd, every time). Smith blows the play up and we swarm for a loss. Gary praises Flloyd setting the edge, and he was out there churning. Herrera cleans it up. Punt. We, predictably, do not try to block it and the punt returner does a nice job of decoying to hold up their people. Touchback when ball bounces into endzone.
Drive Takeaways: Their first downs came on a play where we couldn’t get pressure, and a substitution penalty. We played stout against the run except one play where we were in a 3 man front and Ramik got out of position. Smith, Mayes, JHC are all playing great this season and this drive was no exception. Jenkins had some bad plays and continues to get no pressure on passing downs.
UGA – 1 st and 10 from UGA 20 – We come out with trips right and 1 WR left. Turns out one of the WRs is really Merrit Hall, who motions back to his spot to form the I formation. We playaction. Burnette can’t hold his block long and Murray gets hit as he throws left and deep to JSW, who doesn’t go backshoulder. Incomplete. UT only rushed 4 and got pressure, and their coverage seemed solid. What’s that like? On 2nd, they again rush 4 and stay in a cover 1 with a very deep safety. CBs are 10 yards off us. We line up 4 wide, 2 on each side. Bobo recognizes the ridiculous pad they’re giving and the fact that the one safety is on the other side of the field, and throws a quick out to JSW who breaks two tackles and picks up the first. Great call, great play.
1st and 10. We hurry and line up 3 wide right. Without a fullback, Marshall finds some room somehow on a cut back and picks up 5 where a lesser back may not have found anything. When he’s not running full speed he can break tackles and run in tight spaces. When he is going all the way, he’s top heavy like someone who eats too much Zaxby’s and has tiny little legs. He’s running good today. 2nd and 3 - We hurry again, same formation, and UT only has 6 in the box. Murray checks at the line, we run left and Marshall makes a guy miss in the backfield, and picks up the first down. Marshall has 5 for 33, and he’s earned them all.
1st and 10 – UGA 45 - JJ in, we lineup 3 wide right again (this is Bobo’s new shit, I guess), Dallas Lee pulls, destroys a LBs soul who had the edge, and JJ springs it wide, makes a nice move, and picks up 16. Dude is fast and shifty. Jay Rome continues to block well on the edge.
1st and 10 from their 40, same formation for us. Their safety is a little tighter than before, but they’re also in same look. We hit Woot on a quick slant for 7. Gary says Theus started, he didn’t, but he’s in now and seems to be playing well like he did last week. 2nd and 3 – We lineup with 3 left and run what is either a zone read with a pass option or just a playaction screen left. I think this is a package play we’ve put in where Murray has the option of handing it off, but I could be wrong. I get scared when Murray beams it at Woot but it’s on the money, he grabs it in stride, sidesteps someone, and does what we thought he’d do when we signed him – makes people miss – and picks up 8. Nice play Woot. Bobo is punishing them for playing off the line.
1st and 10 from UT 23 – We go two left, one right from shotgun, UT has their 2 LBs tight in the box. They bring a blitz from the right edge, Theus picks it up no prob, and then disaster strikes. Murray, who saw blitz, gets the ball out quick to Marshall, who is just getting his head around when the ball arrives. Their CB hands off the WR to go after the RB, and as such Marshall is not open. They dive at KM’s knees, and the unspeakable happens. I don’t want to talk about this play anymore. On the replay there was a coverage bust and we had a WR wide open for a TD. Gary blames Murray, kind of, for making a snap decision and throwing to Marshall. I think he had to because of the blitz, even though it was picked up. This sucks. 2nd and 10, we motion to make 3 wide right. Shotgun. I notice our RB is to Murray’s right and he’s been left on these formations every other time. We immediately roll right, Murray hits JSW for 9. 3rd and 1, Douglas in game with Merrit, I formation, 2 TE. Douglas pops it right, keeps his feet, almost breaks 3 tackles for a TD, but picks up 4 and the first. On replay, Theus had a great block. Everytime we’ve run his way for last 2 games good things have happened.
1st and 10 from the 7. We go same I formation, Connely is on an island wide left. We hand off up middle to right side, Douglas bursts through down to the 2. They keep showing Marshall on the sideline. I’d be much happier if they put up pictures of something less depressing, like my wife at the bottom of a huge orgy pile with me crying at the side of the room. Jesus, this is tough. 2nd and 2 – We line up in the same formation, Connely is still out there alone, and we throw the fade to Connely, who forgets he’s not AJ and makes one of the best catches I’ve ever seen not by #8. Insane one handed grab. Nice work by Bobo recognizing what the defense was giving, nice throw, amazing catch. To throw icewater in my face after the td, they cut to Marhsall who can’t smile and is crying. I’d rather watch my grandparents have sex with my other set of grandparents than see Marshall like this. Ugh. Lynch messes up the first PAT with a personal foul, we rekick, and still make it.
Drive recap: Enjoy the play Ms. Lincoln? Everything looked great on this drive except… I don’t want to say it. 12 plays, 80 yards, TD.
UGA 10 UT 0 3:50 left in 1st. Since commercial, CBS has shown Marshall 100 times, the replay of the injury 7 more times, and brought up how catastrophic this is 5 more. I hate them. Honestly, I’d rather go slam my testicles in a car door over and over than watch what they’re showing me. Barber kicks off a high short kick (SIGH) to the 8. Corey Campbell, whom I’ve never heard of, gets thrown into the returner and hangs on to make a nice tackle. 1st and 10 – They come out 3 wide with an offset back and a receiver in the backfield to the right. Floyd pretends to be in coverage wide but blitzes. Worley reads the opposite side, and hands it off. Frankly, there was nobody on the side he was looking at to read. The play goes for 3 yards. 2 things about this – Worley has yet to not handoff on the read. Also, I like it when we don’t show our blitz too early and feel like we show early a lot and never back off when we do. But back to the first point - A zone read where it’s a guaranteed handoff should really just be an easier play to handle, right? Whatever. On this play the DL gets pushed back a little, Herrera and Ramik come up to make the tackle. Classic meh play where neither side is excited about the result. 2nd and 8. They come out in shotgun w/ 3 wide. We’re in the nickel, they snap and roll left. Camera is not on the outside receiver, but it appears as though Shaq was playing 10-15 yards off. They easily make the completion and first down. Fantastic. Worley hasn’t thrown a damn pass more than 15 yards all game, and I’d like to not give them 10 yards cushion when they just need 8. Ben Dukes just called me an idiot. Probably.
1st and 10 from UT’s 30. They line up 3 wide right with a TE right, shotgun. They, surprise, zone read and hand off, Floyd is too wide to make a play. Sterling Bailey gets absolutely owned, Ramik is out of position (stop me if you’ve heard that before) and they pick up a gain of 4. Swann tackles like a little girl, Neal powers through him hard, and they pick up 8. Ramik has been in the game on every play, as has Herrera. 2nd and 2 – They hurry so fast CBS can’t change the 1st and 10 sign, we’re not set (stop me if you’ve heard that before) but miraculously JHC absolutely dissects and blows up a WR screen, which I initially thought was a backwards pass and a fumble. There were 3 WR out there on the edge where JHC was, we had 2 DBs, one of which looked like he was more interested in the cheerleaders. JHC didn’t care, and absolutely lit that thing up. Amazing play. 3rd and 2. Gary says UT wasn’t ready to block on the last play, which leaves me very very confused. Anyway, they line out 5 wide with trips right. On the left slot receiver we are initially 10 yards off and nonchalantely walk up to the line to guard him. The presnap defense is almost as maddening as the post-snap defense. Ray Drew is in the game at end ( I haven’t seen him much today), beats the tackle who hands him off to the guard, then Drew destroys the guard. Having beat 2 linemen, Drew then swallows Worley. I’ve been down on Drew all year (he’s usually a waste of space, we can talk about this later), but for the past 2 games he’s played very well. Great play 47. I can’t tell who the top corner was, but he did a great job defending the flare out from the trips formation and not letting Worley throw right away. UT fans will be mad that the play took so long to develop, with Worley faking left first, then looking right. By the time the play developed, it was too late for him. They punt, Reggie Davis decides to lose his mind and not fair catch, and we almost fumble.
Drive Summary – With a pass rush, UGA plays great defense. Without one, our soft zone or soft man and intricate secondary scheme gets us burned every time. JHC continues to play well.
1st and 10 from UGA 35, 1:56 left in 1st – We come out in the I with 3 wide. They’re in their base 4-3 playing well off our receivers. We fake a handoff inside to FB then pitch it to JJ left. The play is well covered but with a head of steam JJ violently collides into the safety and picks up 4. Gates and JSW miss blocks. 2nd and 6 – We again come out in the I with trips right. We throw a quick WR flat pass to Connely, who doesn’t get much of a block from Davis, and picks up 3. 3rd and 3. Theus is out of the game, and Kolton is in. Dantzler in at RG. We come out 4 wide in shotgun, they play our WRs tight to the line. Dallas Lee gets pushed back, we run a slow developing draw play where JJ looks like he wasn’t in the perfect spot to take the handoff, and it gets blown up for a loss. Houston also got pushed to the inside. With the exception of one or two plays, he hasn’t had a good game. It’s time to give the spot to Theus, but the coaches don’t seem to want to. This is something to keep an eye on for the rest of the season. We line up to punt.
I’m going to do a whole post on this soon, but since N. Texas we’ve had a glaring hole in our punt team coverage and almost had 3 blocked against UT. Everyone is bringing 4 or more up the middle against us. The snapper never blocks by design, so effectively those 4-5 rushers have a straight line into our 3 person wall. On this play, they get 4 into the 3 man wall, Josh Dawson on the right almost misses the first of the two guys coming at him, and they almost block the punt. Inexplicably, Barber gets knocked down but there is no flag. This is the second bullshit no call for UT. Then they show Marhsall again and all I want is for a major lightening storm to end the game so we can win and go home. I hate Knoxville.
Drive Summary: Seems like Bobo wanted to go with short outside stuff, maybe hoping to break something. I can’t fault him for that, but was disappointed in the blocking. The draw play on 3rd and 3 in an obvious run situation seems pretty dumb to me, especially with a freshman running back, but what do I know.
1st and 10 @ UGA 35, start of 2nd – They line up under center with 4 wide and a WR in motion behind the play. The play may be a read option where read Jenkins, then have a pass option instead of keep, or maybe it’s just a fake handoff to the WR in motion. Jenkins stays home, Ramik went with the WR in motion and there was nobody to hand off to, so it’s now a pass (if it wasn’t all along). Drew, Smith, and Baily get no pass rush whatsoever. A man on the crossing route is open (JHC trailing) for 15 yards. Stop me if you’ve heard that before.
1st and 10 from 50 – They come out in the shotgun formation with 3 wide, an offset running back, and WR in backfield. Again, a WR in motion on the read option and, holy shit, Worley hands it off instead of keeping. For those keeping score, number of times Worley has kept on read option is still 0. Nobody gets off a block and they gain 7. 2nd and 3 – they’re in the hurry and same formation. We’re tight to their receivers except the slot, and a safety slowly creeps up to him. They don’t bring the WR in motion this time. We blitz from the left side, they handoff and Neal is immediately forced to the right to get away from the blitz, where Ramik should be hanging out. He is, clobbers him, and no gain. Nice play. Isn’t our defense designed to bring pressure from unexpected places with athletes behind in man coverage when we do? Amazing that works! 3rd and 1 – they huddle we sub 4 or 5, They’re in an eye… we’re not set right away then get there, They check when LB shows blitz. Importantly, in this short yardage situation Ramik is up at the line. This’ll come into play later in the game. They don’t run it at Ramik this time, and we stack up the play inside. Neal bounces out, Jenkins has Neal on the outside one on one and Neal has no steam. Instead of playing like an All-America, Jenkins doesn’t do shit, nudges him, and Neal lunges for the first down. I’m real down on 59 these days. Mayes made a nice play there as did Sterling to get in the backfield. They get the 1st because Jenkins sucks on the edge. Yeah, I said it. On another side note, Bailey is playing DT a lot.
1st and 10 from UGA 40 – They come out 4 wide in shotgun, we’re in our base 3-4. They run a reverse, everyone bites, and they get 16. Jenkins lost contain, bad, and didn’t see the reverse. Swann does a good job to make the TD saving tackle.
1st and 10 from UGA 23 – They line up 4 wide, we have 3 on the DL. They fake a jet sweep and handoff up the middle on the zone read (Worley didn’t keep it!). Jenkins loses contain again on the side and Neal takes it out there. For those keeping count, I think this is 3 times this drive Jenkins loses contain in a row. He looks tired and lazy – meaning he looks the opposite of how Jarvis Jones ever looked. Neal busts it for 9. Swann again gets off a block and has to make a tackle on the edge. 2nd and 1 – They come out in same formation, flipped, and we’re in nickel. They again fake a jet sweep and this time Worley doesn’t have anyone to hand off too, and throws to the vacated running back. Herrera and Moore overrun the play and Neal gets the first. Gary and Verne oooh and awww over a facemask on Moore, when really Herrera, who must be gassed as shit, gets a piece and there’s a flag.
1st and goal – From the 6, they again line up in same formation and hand it off inside. Our LBs led by Ramik make a good read and it’s a gain of 2. On the replay, Gary says they’ve been encouraging Worley to keep. This is humours because he hasn’t kept all game. On 2nd, they line up again in same formation, send a man in motion, we instantly adjust, and they pass incomplete. Mauger on the coverage, but ball was tipped by Flloyd. Probably a TD if not. No pass rush whatsoever. 3rd – They come out with TE in motion and 3 wide. Then WR motions and we almost vacate the middle of the box adjusting. It looks like Flloyd is on their WR in motion and runs wide on the field with him. The play was designed to roll out that way to where Floyd went, but they false start and back up 5. 3rd and 8, they’re in shotgun with trips right and a TE left. We stunt Jenkins who trips and doesn’t do shit. No pass rush from anyone else. JHC on coverage on a fade to the corner that’s overthrown. Good throw is probably a TD, but it was a terrible throw. WR runs into the wall, which is inexplicably 2 yards from endzone. They line up for a FG which we don’t try to block. Stop me if you’ve heard that before.
Drive Summary: While Swann got off some blocks to make TD saving tackles on the edge, Jenkins was absolutely gassed or just plain sucks (maybe he’s hurt, I don’t know). Herrera also looks exhausted. Those three are supposed to be our best players, and on this drive and other times, they’ve appeared to be our worst. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that they never come out of the game, which may have something to do with the fact that nobody else knows the defense, or it may be because Grantham will declare someone a full-time starter and they loaf if not named Jarvis Jones. UT had great success attacking Jenkins who couldn’t set an edge, rush, or make a tackle in space. If not for a penalty and Worley’s refusal to ever keep the ball, they probably score. A better QB may have made that 3rd down pass for a TD. I may have made that pass, given how much time Worley had to throw.
UGA 10 – UT 3. 10:15 left in 2nd. Touchback. 1st from the 25. Douglass in the game, 3 wide with JSW in motion. UT has finally pulled their safety up. We run right, Jay Rome misses a block, BD has to bounce back, play gets strung out for a 4 yard loss. Andrews appears to have missed a block too. Something didn’t add up here. Horrible blocking and no Gurley or Marshall to make some magic happen. 2nd and 14 – Shotgun with 4 wide, 2 on each side. They show blitz from the OLB. Murray sees the vacated space on the blitz, hits Bennett on the slant for a first. That’s a great QB play. Gary goes on and on about how you have to use Murray.
1st and 10, shotgun 3 wide left one right – slow play action, Murray hits Connely over middle. If there was a pass rush on these, it’d be trouble. First down.
1st and 10 from UT 45. We come out in same formation, play action, then miss JSW deep down the right sideline. 2nd and 10 – We throw a tunnel screen to Wooten over the middle and he does a good job making a guy miss for 5 more. Woot has been playing well thus far. 3rd and 1 – we go jumbo with Merritt. Andrews gets blown off the ball and is pushed into the backfield. Their middle LB shot the gap but shouldn’t have been in on the play, but when Andrews got blown back, it slowed things down. Douglass runs into him and loses 4. I don’t know if this is a misread by someone or what, but it didn’t look good. On replay, we have 5 big dudes against their 3 defenders on the left side of the play, but Andrews and Lee both shit the bed and Gates also half-asses a block and is out of the play. Bobo has to be mad about this, he had the call he wanted but our OL didn’t do shit. Credit to UT’s line, but 5 on 3 with 4 linemen and a fullback should be a no brainer. Only Merritt made a nice play of all of them. On 4th and 5 we decide to go for it, which is interesting given Morgan’s boot earlier. But I like it. We go 4 wide out with 3 to the right; UT has everyone up and a deep safety. We get the snap off barely, and Murray throws to Connely on a slant. The ball is tipped but fortuitously it hangs in the air, and as Connely has been known to do on tipped balls, he catches it.
1st and 10 from the 20. Murray is SEC passing yardage leader. We come out in shotgun with two up top and one on bottom. Handoff to JJ who doesn’t hesitate and blows into the middle, almost getting lost on camera. Houston and Burnette on the right, with Merrit blocking, and JJ shoots up in, pushes the pile hard, and gets 8. Nice run kid. 2nd and 2 – I formation with 2 wide. They’ve got the box loaded with 8. JJ gets the ball and goes left, Merritt makes a block, and JJ does a nice job getting to corner for first.
1st and goal from 5 – I formation, same as before. UT has 9 in the box. We play action, which is too bad because it could have gone for a TD, but nobody is open. Murray has all damn day, the protection is amazing, and can’t hit Bennett for the TD on a rollout. Good coverage 2nd and goal – shotgun w/ 4 wide; we barely get the snap off, they blitz from Murray’s blindside. He throws immediately to Woot on the slant for the TD. The drive took 13 plays. Woot continues to impress.
Drive Summary – It’s like UGA gets near the goal line and the linemen remember how to block. JJ Green ads an element to this offense like Gurley and Marshal do. I don’t say that to knock Douglas, but the kid adds a couple of yards to each play and gets there fast. This was a fortunate drive that had bad blocking get bailed out by Wooten and Murray, along with a fortunate tip on 4th down.
UGA 17, UT 3 – 5:09 in 2nd. We kick ball deep, they take a knee. They come out in shotgun w/ 4WR, three to the left. We blitz off the slot and leave the WR to Herrera. Sadly, the play call is a screen to the right away from our pressure and Worley has no problem getting it off. Ramik falls down but fortuitously is right where the play is by the time he gets up. It’s a 1 yard gain and the defense played well to fly to the ball. And, as it turns out, Ramik didn’t fall, he was illegally blocked and it’s a 15 yarder on UT. 1st and 22 (I’m confused about this penalty, if the play started on the 25, how was it half the distance to the goal and not 15?) – They come out 4 WR set and quickly fire to Swann’s man. Swann is playing 10 yards off, then whiffs on the tackle, you know, because he sucks and should be benched. Corey Moore gets off his man and almost makes a play, but also whiffs. UT streaks for 20 when Ramik finally chases him down. I’ve been expecting a lot out of Swann this year and this play really bums me out. 2nd and 2- They’re back in the 4 WR set with one WR in the backfield, i.e. their zone read formation. Not surprisingly, they zone read, Worley hands it off, and our DL led by Smith stuffs it. Smith was playing end and did a great job shedding a block. Moore shot up in the gap up the middle and Neal had nowhere to go. Bailey also did a good job to push his man into the backfield. 3rd and 2, they come back out in same formation but bring the backfield WR to the left. At the snap, it’s a pass, and the WR that was in motion feigns to go wide, but then crosses over the middle. Herrera had him but was too slow getting there (stop me if you’ve heard that before). 6 yard gain. There was no pass rush, but that’s not that crazy since the DL had to play the run too.
1st and 10 – They hurry up in same formation and roll out. I’d swear Herrera was tired on the play before in coverage but then this play he gets a clean line at Worley who is rolling out, and blazes at him. Worley throws it away, scared. The man Herrera vacated was wide open. 2nd and 10 - 4 wide, balanced. We have 3 on the line… this hasn’t worked out well for us yet… they bring a man in motion to the left. They may or may not have been in zone read, the snap is high, and Worley hands it of up the middle and we stuff it for 2 yards. 3rd and 7 - they line up 3 wide with a TE, we blitz 3 from the strong side. Because we blitz 3 someone has to be uncovered, and it’s the RB who flares out instead of staying in to pick up the blitz. Worley backpedals and throws to him in the flat on the left side. Shaq pursues quickly, and slams him down for a loss. #blitzingworks. Amazingly, JHC just fell down on the blitz, but we brought so many that it still worked. Had Worley been looking over the middle he would have seen Herrera out of position on a slant and UT would maybe have scored. They punt, we don’t try to block it and appear to set up a return, but Davis has no time, doesn’t fair catch, and gets killed as he catches the ball (again). Sigh.
Drive Summary – Defense played well, and on third down we got off the field by bringing pressure. We seem to be putting a priority on stopping runs up the middle and it’s working. In addition, we brought lots of pressure and got results every time. Herrera is a liability in coverage, but is useful when attacking the ball carrier.
1st and 10 – 2:09 (2nd) – 4 wide, shotgun. UT rushes 4, Beard gets used and Murray, who is about to get killed near the goalline, sidearms the ball towards JJ with Payton like smoothness. Insanely great play, as they can’t call it grounding and there was no danger of it getting picked. As a sophomore he probably tries to run then hucks it up for an interception. Instead, it’s 2nd and 10. We come out in same formation, this time Murray throws to Lynch who can’t catch the ball. 3rd and 10 – same formation. I’m wondering if the formation is a way to help JJ out with pass protection. UT blitzes, we throw the same slant to Woot that we’ve been doing, but it’s a 5 yard gain. Then, Butch Jones loses his nuts and doesn’t call timeout. On the punt, we squeeze our line towards the center, slow down the middle rushers, and only two get through to take on our wall. I couldn’t tell but it looked like Baber fell again. The coaches high-five Barber but it still seemed slow. The adjusted coverage of our line to the middle slowed them down.
Drive Summary – Poor pass protection and a drop forced 3rd and long, where they bring the house forcing a quick throw. This is going to be an issue against Florida.
1st and 10 – UT 30. This play was odd. Floyd beasts through a double team, gets to Worley, who fake throws the ball. Floyd figured Worley had let it go, doesn’t tackle Worley, who then runs to the LOS. No big deal, but Floyd desserved a sack there. On 2nd they go 4 wide, we stunt Jenkins, and Worley throws incomplete. Jenkins, btw, didn’t do much on the play. Floyd beasted and knocked their guard back to Worley’s feet and to the ground. He’s a beast. Beast! 3rd and 9 – we get no pass rush, but UT has a busted route and it’s incomplete. We decide not to go after the punt at all, which goes forever, and then we take a knee to end the half.
Drive Summary – Not much to say. Odd clock management from Jones and we still know Worley can’t beat us with a deep ball.
First Half Impressions : Up 14 and with UT not really being a major threat, it’s hard to say this was a bad half. But UT did find some ability to move the ball, and our offense started to sputter a little with our freshmen running backs. Fair to say that while I and probably you wrote UT off at this point, we shouldn’t have. The troubles on punts were evident, and if UT gets it together with some adjustments, they could easily get back in the game. Their passing game over the middle is set up by the jet sweep and Neal is finding some ability to run to the edges, which Jenkins can’t set.
Still, we have a big lead and should be able to put a team like this away. The only disadvantage to being up at the half when things are clicking is that it’s stupid to make adjustments to what’s working, yet meanwhile the other team is going to make adjustments, leaving you without the benefit of halftime to evaluate. But our defensive line was playing ok, our offensive line, with a few exceptions, played very well, and Murray was the victim of some dropped passes and shitty blocking on occasion. Herrera and Swann, our leaders on defense, are proving to be coverage liabilities, along with Jenkins’ inability to do his job. Looking at the first half, it’s hard not to wonder how we can expect these three leaders to play EVERY snap of the game and be able to perform at a top level. Even Jarvis, Champ, and Pollack sat some plays. On offense, Houston and Lee had some struggles, as did Gates. Their sporadic play stalled drives, and also should have given us pause. Thankfully, Murray and JJ played great and Woot became a possession receiver, which he’d never been before. These themes would continue into the second half.