ATHENS - Believe it or not, some people weren't worried about suspensions this week.
They were also concerned about Georgia playing old man football. Other than that, yeah that was about it.
No really, there was plenty of other fodder for this week's mailbag, including some insightful questions about Georgia's offense, defense, the SEC East, and which characters from "The Wire" fit each team.
But yes, we will start, and finish, with old man football. Because when three words come together with such perfect alliteration, and cause such a surprising stir, a good reporter doesn't hesitate to beat it into the ground. (And neither do I.)
With news that Sheldon Richardson has been “disciplined” for his comment about old man football, how do you feel as a reporter reading something like that? A player actually gave a real answer, brought a little levity, and said something interesting, and he gets shut down. How much harder does that make your job?
For what it’s worth, I think “bulletin board material” is way overblown. The game is won and lost on the field, not in the press conference.
- Stephen Johns
Your take is pretty close to mine. In a way, it was refreshing for a player to say something out of line, because that happens so infrequently now. These players are coached up on what not to say, to be frank. That’s why the comment got so much attention. It may not have risen quite to the level of trash talk – Georgia players seemed more confused on “old man football” meant – but in this day and age, it caused a stir.
I also agree the use of bulletin board material is overblown. For one, if you need that kind of motivation to get up for a game like this, then you’ve got other problems. But for another, as Mark Richt pointed out yesterday, the notion of an actual bulletin board is outdated! If there’s something like that said by an opponent, the players hear about it on Twitter or through teammates pretty quickly.
Something just occurred to me the other day. Since Todd Grantham has become the defensive coordinator, Georgia has yet to beat a team with a good offense. Of the 10 wins from last year, 2 of the teams had average offenses, and the rest ranged from slightly below average to awful. A bottom tier MAC team pushed Georgia's defense all over the field last week. Another thing I've noticed is the defense tires out at the end of each half, and I think this is because they have a bunch of fat slobs on the DL.
Do you think Georgia's defense is overrated? And why is their physical conditioning so bad?
Hmm, interesting take. Here are the rankings for Georgia’s opponents last season, in terms of total offense, as measured by yards:
9. Boise State
18. Georgia Tech
47. New Mexico State
56. Michigan State
73. South Carolina
84. Mississippi State
114. Ole Miss
(Coastal Carolina not included because it’s FCS.)
There’s a lot of extenuating conditions there, including caliber of opponent – I’m not sure anyone thinks New Mexico State actually had a more powerful offense than Michigan State, South Carolina and LSU. Todd Grantham prefers to measure defense by scoring, so turning that around, here’s how they ranked in scoring offense:
5. Boise State
21. Georgia Tech
37. Michigan State
42. South Carolina
72. Mississippi State
79. New Mexico State
116. Ole Miss
Overall, I still think Georgia has the chance to be a very good defense this season. Here’s the thing though: This year’s schedule isn’t any harder. The biggest test, if Georgia gets that far, may be the SEC championship game.
Ok, I am still 100% concerned about our offensive line. Nothing that happened vs. Buffalo has dissuaded me. That was with our starting unit healthy. And with all of our suspensions and injuries, I think we are squarely the underdog heading into Saturday night. So, my question is this…If John Theus and Watts Dantzler do not play, do you believe we will re-shuffle players around, or are we down to depending on a 3rd stringer who is backing up a true frosh to protect Aaron Murray and crew? (I still smell Chick-Fila Bowl!)
- Montgomery Dawg
Were you the one who wrote in last week saying you smelled Chick-fil-A Bowl? I do have to give it to Georgia fans: You guys are not sunshine pumpers. I say that as a compliment. I’ve covered some fan bases where blind homerism was all that was tolerated.
Anyway, If Theus can’t go, I suspect we’ll see Austin Long, especially if Dantzler isn’t 100 percent. (I’ve said this before: My guess is Theus at 75 percent is still the Bulldogs’ best right tackle.) Xzavier Ward could also get a shot. Yes, either of those guys – or Theus or Dantzler at less than full health – isn’t Georgia’s ideal position. But injuries are part of the game, and Long and Ward are just unproven – not small.
1).Do you think Mark Richt will ever bring in Jim Kelly to speak to team or in my for a clinic since they used to be teammates at Miami?
2) Do you think we will ever see Marshall and Gurley in the backfield at the same time?
1. I’ve never heard Richt talk about Kelly. I’m honestly not sure if they remain in touch. Perhaps they are, I honestly don’t know.
2. I wouldn’t bet on that formation being used very much, if at all. Especially with Richard Samuel available to play that hybrid fullback-tailback role. But I’m not invited to the playbook planning meetings, for some reason.
Seth, haven't heard the "Mark Richt's record in opponents stadiums" stat recently. Where is he at on that? Thanks.
- Homeboy Upstairs (via Twitter)
Entering Saturday, Georgia is 38-10 in an opponents’ stadium, including 12-5 against ranked teams. The Bulldogs were 4-0 in pure road games in 2011, after going 1-4 the previous year.
In your opinion, can the issues the D had on Saturday against Buffalo be attributed to Georgia running a different scheme than what will be run against Missouri?
- Robert William Waller, Jr., Bay Minnette, Alabama
Completely? Probably not. I think there were a lot of factors: Georgia didn’t show many blitzes, the suspensions and injuries, first-game jitters, and who knows, maybe Buffalo just isn’t that bad! (Let’s check back in on that theory later in the season.)
Was defense caught off guard by Buffalo QB's running threat?
Ken Malcome still seems to lack burst: am I wrong?
- Joe Mac
Yes, I think Georgia was caught off guard. It had been game-planning for a rushing QB – but that was Missouri’s James Franklin, not Buffalo’s Alex Zordich. Grantahm has pointed to adjustments after halftime to show he’s not too worried.
Malcome has indeed yet to show that explosive ability, although he hasn’t had a ton of carries in his career yet to show it. Of course, the more Todd Gurley does show that bust, along with Keith Marshall, then the less chances Malcome will get.
I was surprised Murray and the other starters were on the field in the 4th quarter (not for the first time I was surprised that Richt didn't pulled his starters). Hot game, tired players - injuries happen when you're tired. But I haven't studied other teams to see when they are pulling out players. Maybe the point was heightened this weekend with Theus being injured, but does Richt seem to leave in his starters a little longer than advisable?
Oh - you should try a movie alone - no one is stealing your popcorn!
- Jon Brock
(The last comment was in reference to last week’s mailbag, when I wrote that the wife’s movie choices had prevented me from checking out the latest Batman movie.)
I’ll be alone in St. Louis tomorrow night, so who knows, maybe I use the opportunity there! Oh, who am I kidding. I’m going to hole up in my hotel room and eat Ben & Jerry’s.
I would attribute the starters staying in there late to Georgia not quite putting it away, and also the depth issues. We're all aware of the scholarship situation, and you had five defensive starters out and one offensive lineman (Hunter Long) also out with injury. Now I did see some more liberal subbing, and 13 true freshman played.
Did Tennessee's impressive win last Friday change your mind at all about the game in Athens or the SEC East race? Will that be more of a challenge then some Dawg fans were originally thinking?
- Will B
It certainly was a good showing for the Vols, but I’ll need to see more evidence than a win over an average ACC team. I never considered putting the Vols in my AP top 25. I think the Tennessee-Florida game next weekend should be very, very telling. You could argue the loser is already out of the East race.
My seats are in the east end zone so sometimes it's hard to see what’s happening on the other end of the field. While I enjoy counting the nose hairs of the running back blasting through the line on a play action pass, I'd rather see if the safeties bit and where the ball was delivered. I know the NCAA is allowing the TV feed to be shown, at least for replays and during reviews, on the scoreboard but I never saw one shot of the TV feed on Saturday. Instead we got the same ole one angle, super zoom perspective we have always had. Does UGA plan on using the TV feed at all? Are their contractual issues that have to be worked out with the network, or are they just dedicated to captain close-up? You mind asking around?
Again, I appreciate you work.
- Keith Harris
Thanks Keith. I haven’t had a chance to look into that this week, given it’s a road game, but we can probably see how the scoreboard is handled next week. Is it possible they did show the TV feed, and it just wasn’t noticed because the TV icon wasn’t on there? I know on the few plays that were reviewed, they showed multiple angles.
I just started watching "The Wire" on DVD (about half way through season 1) and it got me thinking. You can really equate a lot of the characters or crew to college football teams. For instance, Avon Barksdale is clearly Alabama. Powerful and completely in control. Very prepared, very few weaknesses. Omar is LSU: everyone knows he's dangerous, but people still don't think he can take out the big dog. If you watched "The Wire," what are some other teams you can equate to characters? Who would Georgia be? If you didn't watch "The Wire," what would it be for something like "Mad Men?"
Oh believe me, I was a huge fan of “The Wire.” I like your Avon Barskdale-Alabama comparison. For Omar, I prefer South Carolina, mainly because that’s a Spurrier like character – when he’s around, everybody gets a little afraid. Vanderbilt is Bubbles, the heartbreaking underdog you want to root for, but can never quite come through. Florida is Det. McNulty, some big highs and some big lows. LSU is more Stringer Bell, very focused and powerful – but occasionally over-reaching. And Georgia is Lt. Daniels, calm, steady, sometimes infuriating in not showing enough emotion or taking chances, but ultimately, well, calm and steady.
Please do not look too much into everything I just wrote. I ended up writing about the characters more than the teams.
First, what do you make of the many "cupcake games" from week one that had results closer than many would have thought? Is this the result of an increase of the non BCS teams, the BCS teams overlooking these games, or something else? Examples: UGA vs Buffalo, Florida vs. BGSU, Oregon vs Arkansas State, Stanford vs San Jose St., Oklahoma vs UTEP, Arkansas vs. JSU, Wisconsin vs. Northern Iowa, Texas vs. Wyoming.
Secondly, I give what is the origin of Mizzou? Can't really seem to find any reasoning even on Missouri's site. I am sure there is a story there somewhere.
I suspect if you look back to last year there were some other close calls, or lackluster performances. Or it may have been that a lot of teams laid an egg on the same day. I can’t really look too much into these games until we have another game or two.
On Mizzou, I did a bit of Googling, and the consensus seems to be that, well, no one is really sure when it started. For the record, Washington State is often known as Wazzou.
After watching the Dawgs since 1965 and the Buffalo game raised a question I've had for several years.It's very difficult to define, perhaps best described as a lack of rhythm, but I often sense a lack urgency and consistency in the offense. Once a little momentum is established, the play calling becomes erratic, no pattern of continuity.
Fans, including myself, are overly critical of their own team, but is it just me? I have a hard time imagining this team driving 80 yards unless they do it with 4-5 big plays!?!?!
Really enjoy your writing. Thanks.
- Rodney Page
Thanks Rodney. Well, you’ve watched Georgia football for awhile longer than me. But your criticism of the offense is what I hear from a lot of fans, the sense of a lack of killer instinct. We saw that with red zone troubles last year. But on the other hand, the team had plenty of long, productive drives last year. The key is the end result, and over the past few years Georgia has had a fairly middling ranking in total offense, despite some very good talent coming through. But the scoring marks are better.
I need a new Name. Ideas?
- Russ for UGA IX in '11
Russ for UGA President in ’13?
I have more of a request of you (or maybe your boss). I'm a huge fan of your coverage and am a daily reader of your blog. Understanding (and appreciating) that it is a free blog has led me to not ever be overly critical of format changes to the site. I do, however, have to ask of there is anything that can be changed about the new ad-banner on the site. I am a mobile user and unfortunately I cannot seem to close the banner while using my iPhone. This presents a problem when typically about one paragraph is blocked from view. I don't at all expect your site to operate without revenue. I would,however, ask if you could investigate the mobile issues and remedies that may exist. I'd be happy to download an app or read a mobile version of the site that is better suited for mobile advertising. Thanks again for all you do.
Sent from my iPhone
Consider the complaint passed along.
Finally, let’s finish up this week on a light note .. A very light note, thanks to a very creative reader, or at least one with too much time on his hands:
I hope this internet makes it to you through the series of tubes.
My grandson just told me a Missouri player said Georgia plays "old man football." Why has this statement caused everybody to get their panties in a bunch?
Georgia should embrace the "old man football" mentality. Old men have saved the world from Nazis, Communists, and cheap Chinese imports. The same worldview could lead the Dawgs to glory on the gridiron.
Have you ever been in a fight with an old man? (I assume you haven't since you spend so much time composing your dandy little sentences. Back in my day, we didn't worry about subject/verb agreements.) If an old man gets you down in a fight, you will stay down. We realize life is a finite resource and we ain't gonna waste time worrying about the feelings of our competitors.
The Dawgs have not handled prosperity very well during the past few football seasons. When Georgia gains momentum in a game, they have often relaxed and allowed the other team to remain alive. Attention Georgia: Don't worry about being polite! Crush the souls of those tree-hugging lollygaggers!
Please excuse me. Osama's chair is on my lawn AGAIN.
ADDITIONALLY, MY MACHINE NOW ONLY TYPES CAPITAL LETTERS.
Well done. I think you may have meant Obama’s chair, but I kept it that way because, hey, I don’t get in the way of genius. (Which this was, in its own way.)