Monday, October 8, 2007

More about this weekend: Georgia at Tennessee

I would be remiss if I didn't examine the Georgia at Tennessee game and it's aftermath. I did watch about half of this game, and figured (correctly) that the game was over after Tennessee scored 28 points in the first half.

From what I saw, Tennessee dominated Georgia in every meaningful aspect of football in the first half. They ran and scored almost at will, and the UT defense held the Georgia offense to 5 three-and-outs in the first half, aided by numerous untimely drive-killing penalties on the Dawgs. Georgia played ugly football, and looked more like Vanderbilt did against Auburn than anything else. Tennessee racked up yardage on the ground and through the air, almost doubling up the Dawgs in total yards and nearly tripling their ground total.

I was very surprised at the futility of the Georgia ground game, and the sternness of the Tennessee defense. It was a surprise, in every aspect and nuance of the sentiment, to find this Georgia team utterly woebegone against a Vol team that had not proven anything so far this year. Georgia fans must be unhappy, and that's where we'll go next.

The irrepressible Kyle King at Dawg Sports has something to say about everything, and you can bet, he had something to say about this debacle:

What I know, though, is that Georgia went to Knoxville and got embarrassed. The Bulldogs didn't just lose . . . they got embarrassed. I will assume my share of the responsibility---the two times I have declared game co-captains (against South Carolina and Tennessee), the Red and Black have lost; you may rest assured that there will be one and only one honorary game captain from now on---but there were many more problems with such fundamental matters as blocking, tackling, discipline, coaching, and execution.
Indeed. It appeared that the Dawgs either thought this would be no contest, or were simply otherwise preoccupied or simply unprepared to deliver. Senator Blutarsky blames complacency, and fears the '07 version of this team has become irrelevant to anyone but Dawg fans:
Complacency is a bitch. With this loss today, though, I don’t think Georgia has any laurels left to rest on. The shot at the East title is gone. There won’t be a top 25 ranking for this team for a while, if at all, this season. There isn’t a team left on Georgia’s schedule that the Dawgs can’t lose to. The program, in other words, is likely to be irrelevant to everyone except its fan base for the rest of this season. That’s not where anyone wants things to be, obviously.
The loss places Georgia in a precarious position in the East. I'm not ready to declare the patient dead, as Blutarsky seems to, but at this point, they do look like they are comatose and on life support as far as the SEC championship is concerned.

Doug at Hey Jenny Slater wants to thank Southern Cal, Wisconsin and UCLA for ringing up so much embarrassment that it distracted the nation from Georgia's calamitous misadventure in Knoxville. He also finds more than a little incredulity at Mark Richt's rather dispassionate evaluation of the loss:
Some of the statements Richt made I had to grudgingly concede were true, but others -- such as the following quote, recounted with no small amount of incredulity by by Jeff Schultz in his dumbfounded column in Sunday's AJC -- made me wonder what a toaster oven would look like if it was hurled out the window of a Volkswagen Jetta traveling through downtown Atlanta at about 85 mph:
“It’s not that surprising to see Tennessee’s D-line handle our guys like that,” coach Mark Richt said Saturday.
Mark, you keep using that word, "surprising" -- I do not think that word means what you think it means.
Now, to the undoubtedly more satisfied Volunteer fans. Jon at Fulmer's Belly says that Knoxville felt just like home for the first time in a while:
That is the Tennessee team that the residents of Knoxville expected to see. The team that came out and passed, rushed and scored at will, and more importantly, the team that tackled, wrapped up, stayed in their gaps, and got off blocks. The defense was markedly better after a mere 15 minutes of tackling practice as mandated by Coach Fulmer. If Fulmer can do that in 15 minutes, the rest of the SEC had better watch out if he ever decides to spend any time on the offense.
Joel at Rocky Top Talk lists some "best of's" and "worst of's" the Georgia game. I liked this one:
Worst response to a spectacular play. Ellix Wilson, whom officials tagged with one of two 15-yard penalties following the blocked punt for removing his helmet in celebration. Son, you don't dance out of the bank you just robbed.
Heh. Finally, Big Orange Michael says that maybe all the coaching staff at Tennessee needs is a little motivation:
If threatening to fire the coaching staff will get the Vols to respond like they did today, then I say we threaten at least one staff member with termination every week....
Congrats to the Vols, condolences for the Dawgs. Keep in mind another Saturday comes again in just a few days, and the season is only half over.