We're Back - Thoughts on UGA vs. Buffalo
Ahh, isn't it lovely to get back to football season?
If you have or haven't noticed, The Blawg House has been shut down since the spring - and there is a reason for that, well, a few reasons. The first is that the site became more popular than I ever imagined, and got hit hard with spam - I'm still working on getting that fixed. The second is that I really wanted to improve the comment section, which is being worked on as we speak. Third, and most importantly, I know what I am and I know what I am not.
I am a football guy, and I like writing about football. What I do not enjoy writing about is speculation. I'm not a beat writer, I don't have inside access to the Georgia program, and I'm not a journalist. I'm just a guy that knows the game and tries to bring it to you from a different point of view.
That being said, we are finally back to seeing some football, which means, I want to share my thoughts with you all.
The Good from Buffalo
Todd Gurley - Boy, he was better than advertised, wasn't he, folks? Now, we only got to see TG3 carry the ball eight times, but what is obvious from watching him is that he is a very fast, powerful back with good top-end speed. I was really high on Keith Marshall - and still am, I think he has tremendous upside - but, wow, Todd Gurley is thunder and lightning in one package. Georgia has the blessing of having 3-4 very good tailbacks in Gurley, Marshall, Malcome, and Samuel. So, I don't see Gurley getting 25-30 touches, but I definitely expect to start seeing him get 15-18 a game. He needs to work on his pass protection, as he tends to lean and lunge (as most young backs do), but he has the strength to really build himself into an elite SEC back.
Aaron Murray - I will say this, the third year signal caller was a bit geeked up in the first quarter. He missed some wide-open receivers on deep bombs, but he came around through the 2nd and 3rd quarters. I really liked the opening drive of the third quarter. Murray was accurate, progressed, and picked apart the defense. The 3-step game was really unstoppable, as Bobo and Co. were really just calling the right plays for the Buffalo defense - which decided to take away EVERYTHING deep after they started getting burned.
Special Teams - A big question mark was how would Georgia be able to come back from losing Blair Walsh, Drew Butler, and Brandon Boykin - well, Marshall Morgan showed us that he has a huge leg for the kickoffs (just needs to be a little more accurate in FGs). As for the punt unit, the combination of Barber (long with avg of 51) and Erickson (pinning all his kicks inside the 20) made for a fantastic day from the punt unit. Finally, Swann and Gurley both showed that they have dynamic potential to be great replacements for Boykin.
The Bad from Buffalo
Missing Players - Not having Mitchell, Ogletree, Rambo, and Commings on the defensive side of the ball was a big blow. There's no doubt when you have All-American and All-SEC talent off the field, you're going to have some drop off. However, I will say that I felt like while Buffalo did move the ball (and credit to them), Georgia didn't really show all their cards and basically played vanilla... which leads me to my next issue...
Play Calling - I'm just complaining about this because, man, I really wanted a statement game. However, there was no reason to do anything other than what we did. We showed zero blitz packages - outside of a 4-man rush with Shawn Williams rolling down for run support - we played basic Cover 2 and Cover 2 man, and we played in a basic 3-4 set. We did a little nickel, but we didn't show anything for Mizzou to see. As for offensively, we were as plain as can be. Look, when you run toss leads and zone reads for 95% of your runs, you know you're vanilla. As for the passing game, we ran three things - the quick screen, the deep ball once the secondary came up to stop the screens, and the quick hitches/curls once the secondary fell back. Bobo played their defense like a fiddle. It will be fun to see them open it up a bit.
The Result - Anyone that was in Sanford Stadium knows how unbelievably hot it was in that stadium, everyone knows that our opponent was not going to get close to winning that game, and everyone knows we were wanting to get done with that game to focus on Mizzou. With all of that, we should never lose focus like that the remainder of the year. I really feel like Georgia can do something great, but the lack of focus on the field has to get fixed - hopefully, with that big game in Mizzou this weekend, it will be.
That's all for now, folks. I've been breaking down some Mizzou stuff for you all, and will have a little bit of x's and o's to you tomorrow!