This one’s going to be pretty short. Been a crazy week with a couple of curveballs so it’s going to be just the talking points so to speak that you can expect for this week. Still no pdf as of now as I don’t really have it formatted worth anything. I can say that once my nursery is complete there may be a small window where these things can return to their previous state, but something tells me that window is rapidly closing. So, enough about me…
The Buffalo game…
I can’t say that I’m really surprised at all by that effort. Can fault be found in our performance? Absolutely. Do I think for a second that if we had been playing Missouri this week that that performance would’ve been what we’d see? Absolutely not. At the end of the day, if I’m picking which games get our A effort, Buffalo would’ve been pretty close to the bottom, maybe even 12th out of 12. Seriously. The fact we slid a bit doesn’t bother me either, as very few teams looked scary (outside of Bama) because it was hard to get a feel for what they faced. SC and Arkansas both struggled at least as much as we did. At the end of the day, we worked out some kinks and put ourselves in a position to have some coaching points and come out stronger this weekend.
Things that surprised me:
- Connor Norman getting all the PT over Moore. I was shocked to see him spend all of this time there.
- How much we played a 2-man front. I know we rarely play a true 3-4, but Saturday we spent a TON of the day with Washington stood up as a rush DE opposite Jarvis. Incredible positional flexibility from that formation but I don’t think we see it much against teams we feel are going to run it a lot.
- Gurley’s speed – I knew he was fast, and I knew he was an athlete, but he was explosive and coupled with his forward lean and effort and you have a pretty darn solid RB.
Things that didn’t surprise me:
- Injuries along the OL – I’ve come to expect that if we have a thin position, we’ll suffer some injuries to further that thinning. This year’s concern area was OL, where our thinness was manifested in our complete lack of experience in the 2-deep. Go figure that we lose 2 guys to sprained ankles and another to a chest contusion. Hopefully Theus can go and Burnette appears to be ready as well but I don’t want another one of those “oh crap” moments when I realize we’ve got an OL down.
- Our freshmen stud RBs struggled in pass protection – it’s one of the old jokes that Richt didn’t start Moreno as a freshman because he wasn’t ready to block but you could see Saturday why it’s pretty helpful if those guys can keep Murray from getting drilled. If a defense can say with certainty that if Gurley is in the game then a) we’re running the ball or b) if we’re passing it then he’s a liability, then we’ve got problems because they’re going to come right at him.
- The fact our fans were lackluster…it’s Buffalo and it was like 112 in the stadium. And folks were surprised our team was flat? I can’t recall a more G-Day like atmosphere in Sanford for a non G-Day game.
The Missouri game:
When we’re on offense -
- The weakness in the Mizzou defense is in the back 4. They have pretty solid LBs and their DL is MUCH better than what we faced last weekend as our young pups were getting acclimated to the game. While this makes you think we’d attack their secondary, I’m thinking Bobo is going to try and establish the run early and often with Gurley and company. If Mizzou proves they can stop our run game, we’ll move away but so much of what we do relies on play action anyway, if we can establish something on the ground our chance go way up. Against Buffalo, we threw it deep because they simply couldn’t cover King deep, so why not go there. I don’t know that we can expect that kind of time this week.
- With Murray facing some pressure last weekend, I fully expect to see him scrambling some Saturday, but I’m OK with that. I’d love to see a fair share of bootlegs to take some of the pressure off of our OL. Murray is plenty athletic to handle it and throws well on the run.
- I expect to see us work the TE back in. We didn’t target a TE once Saturday and that was a big spot for Murray last year. In fact, only 4 guys caught balls and all were WRs. As dangerous as Marshall appears to be in space, we’ll get him the ball out there at some point and he’s going to do some damage. Back to the TE though, I think we’ll obviously keep Lynch in a fair amount as he’s a natural aid to our young OTs but we should be able to slide him out on occasion to and reward him.
When we’re on defense -
- QB James Franklin is a dangerous dual threat QB but he’s coming off offseason surgery. He looked solid in week 1 but if our OL is thin, theirs is emaciated. They had a rash of injuries during fall camp and are starting a true frosh and a former walk-on at the guard spots. I fully expect our front 6 or 7 or whatever the heck we run on any given play (who knows) to be disruptive. The Mizzou offensive scheme is all about timing and it’s one of those spread deals where they try to get matchups they want in space. If our NG is blowing their center back into the pocket, timing is the first thing out the window.
- I’d expect after last week to see Franklin try and set the tone early with his feet but that’s a dangerous proposition with a guy coming back form injury as the UGA defense has some headhunters. I would imagine Grantham has schemed for this game a good bit, I can only hope he’s done so knowing exactly what personnel he’d be afforded.
- I can’t wait to see Dorial Green-Beckham or whatever his long name is. As the top WR in the country last year, he brings near TE size but explosive speed and athleticism to an already solid WR group. If Mitchell can’t go (or being limited) and with Commings out, we don’t really have a lot of size at CB to counter, but I don’t expect a lot of man coverages anyway as we’ll have to be keeping an eye towards the line to make sure Franklin hasn’t broken contain.
Bottom Line: Mizzou has a very solid offense although their ground game is essentially all Franklin. They run a very effective scheme but we’re going to bring a physicality that they might not be used to. I’m not saying that because we’re the almighty SEC, I’m saying that because there’s a reason guys like Jarvis Jones and John Jenkins are in Kiper’s and McShay’s top 6 picks for next year’s draft.
I don’t expect the crown to be that big of a deal. I’m sorry Mizzou, I know you’re fired up, I know this game means a lot to you, but your stadium seats 70,000 people and we’re regularly walking into stadiums signficantly larger, filled with fans that absolutely hate us (Auburn, UT, SC, Bama, etc.). I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of energy, but no more than there is in Knoxville or other Columbia.
At the end of the day, this is going to be a big game. We step up and shut this group down, even at considerably less than full strength (yes, I don’t expect Rambo or Ogletree to play…Rambo maybe, not likely though) and we start to build a buzz about the team. Start getting some key players back and this season starts to look pretty sporty. That all changes if we lay an egg Saturday.
- I loved the Samuel L Jackson voiceover on the pre-game video. Not many schools have that going for them. ”Commit to the G”? I was ready.
- Not sure how many of you saw the Florida game, but if Bowling Green could hit a FG they would’ve been up int he 2nd half against as bad a UF offense as I can remember seeing. I’m not saying it’s likely, but if they play like that the rest of the season, it’s possible they could finish 6th ahead of only UK in the East. Seriously.
- OK, so Bama is apparently pretty good. I think Michigan might not be the 8th best team in the country though.
- I’m having a hard time understanding why the University invests so much money in asking folks to clean up the stadium, etc. then when you’re walking out there is literally not a trashcan that isn’t overflowing. It’s like playing jenga trying to get a powerade bottle to balance on one of those things.
- If there’s a more stubborn coach in the country than Paul Johnson, I haven’t seen him yet.
- My seats stayed in the shade all day Saturday. From all accounts the heat in the sun was pretty much unbearable. I was pretty comfortable but I’m sure I’ll be paying for it later in the year when I’m freezing.
- I purposefully didn’t say “Show Me” anywhere in here, but I’m betting we hear it a few thousand times Saturday.
- How nice was it being back in Athens on Saturday? I just love every time I get the opportunity to get up there. That’s why I was even more amazed at how angry some folks were after the game.
Until next time,
Have a safe weekend,