A! J! Green!!!! Are you kidding me?!?!? You don’t have to look hard at what happened at Sanford Stadium on Saturday to know that #8 was the Georgia offense. Everything else on the GO side of the ball was so disjointed it’s hard to know where to start. You also don’t have to be too bright to know that the much maligned Bulldog D played what was by far it’s best game of the season. However, great defenses can close opponents out to finish a game. This defense could not, therefore it is not. That doesn’t mean the young men did not give it their all, but it is undeniable that due to a confluence of factors a dominating unit they are not.
DAWGBEAST of the week:
Here is where I join the chorus with David Hale from BULLDOGS BLOG….AJ is absolutely amazing. I think I’m just gonna pencil him in as the DAWBEAST of the week (at least offensively) every week until someone shows me a reason not to. Green, the Domin8oR rocked the game again this week, coming up just one yard short of his third consecutive 100 yard receiving game. His final numbers: 5 receptions, 99 yards and a TD.
(It’s a shame that what could have been a storybook finish to an ugly game has been relegated to no more than a footnote in the end story that is most likely to be dominated by the “excessive celebration” penalty discussion going forward; MORE ON THIS LATER)
I’m a defensive minded guy, so here is your defensive DAWGBEAST of the week:
-- Justin Houston – Houston continues to grow and develop as a difference maker off the end for the DAWGS. Need proof? Thanks to BULLDOGS BLOG for the following info:
After having just 12 tackles for a loss in the first four games, the Dawgs have 18 in the last two, including seven sacks.
That’s impact folks. Houston’s final stat line from Saturday reads as follows: 4 solo tackles, 2 assists, 6 total tackles, 2.0 sacks for -8 yards and 2.0 tackles for loss
I chose to spotlight Houston this week, but Rennie Curran is much like Green, the Domin8oR could arguably be penciled in weekly for this honor, but for this week here is his very honorable mention: 7 solo tackles, 9 assists, 16 total tackles, 0.5 a sack for -2 yards and 1.5 tackles for loss for -3 yards
Another very honorable mention for the defensive DAWGBEAST of the week is Kade Weston. This week more than any other I can recall, we had an attacking presence from the interior defensive line and that effort was led by big Kade. His final line: 2 solo tackles, 3 assists, 5 total tackles, 1.0 sack for -8 yards and 1.0 tackle for loss.
For all we heard about and expected from a unit that returned so many players that had real playing experience, our offensive line has sorely under-produced. Run blocking is all about execution and attitude and this bunch has displayed very little of either so far this season. The leaders of this group seemingly need to do some soul searching and find an identity….quickly.
Where is Mike Moore? In my mind, this question is nearly as important as the questions surrounding the offensive line. Moore is someone that I championed throughout the off-season as the already present option to Green, the Domin8oR in the passing game, but for whatever reason Ochodos has been absent from the final stats of consequence the last two weeks. I don’t know if Joe Cox is locked in to #8 (by comfort level or coaching), if it's the defensive schemes that are taking him away, but Moore is a proven play maker and we NEED someone that lines up wide to contribute in a meaningful way. Moore seems to be the logical answer for me. As Green, the Domin8oR draws coverage away from the middle of the field Moore (since King is the other wide starter in the two receiver set) and our TEs should be just KILLING teams with routes over the middle.
**As an addendum to the previous paragraph, it is amazing to me how effective the play-action fake still is despite our lack of an effective running game up to this point.
Many others have covered the topic of special teams in great depth so there is no need to say too much here, but there are glaringly obvious issues with the blocking, coverage and overall philosophy of these units. This is particular saddening to me because it has been my observation over the years that you can tell a lot about a coaching staff by how well they perform on special teams. This was a great point of pride for the DAWG faithful early in Coach Richt’s tenure in Athens, but things have changed. We will occasionally still make a big play with a block or random return, but when you have the level of skill that is on hand in Athens right now, that skill should be given a chance to IMPACT every game. This coaching staff has made a point of recruiting a certain type of athlete with a certain type of body over the last few years…think athletic DBs and LBs, Ramarcus Brown and Brandon Miller as examples…and it should be more effective on these teams. Yes, this generally means that you will have a lot of youth on the field in these situations, but if coached correctly that should be overcome and the results should (on the whole) outweigh the concerns of youth. Speed is great, but it is worthless if it is not put in a position to be used. These units should be feared by the DAWGS opponents weekly, but I just don’t think that is the case currently.
On a defensive note, I do believe this is the best pass coverage I’ve seen all season from the secondary….most likely tied to pass rush effectiveness. BRANDEN SMITH is really coming. His technique and recognition get better with every series he is on the field and he is quickly becoming a BALLER and a game changer. There are flashes where I would swear he was wearing a #4 on his jersey as I’ve seen him plastered on a receiver. On that same note, BRANDON BOYKIN is rapidly improving in pass coverage and will be a fine corner for us going forward. Both need to continue to work on their ball skills while it is in the air, but as they become more comfortable with “playing the game” against opposing receivers, the pace of the game will slow and they should be responsible for more PBUs and turnovers as we move forward. At the other end of the spectrum, based on his play thus far, BRYAN EVANS has not improved at all since his first real playing time as a RSFr. I was on the field for the Chick-Fil-A Bowl a few years back and Evans showed flashes of speed and ball skills (even though he was struggling a bit, I chalked it up to inexperience) that led me to believe we would be in good hands. Unfortunately, I cannot see where he has progressed. Baccari Rambo or one of the other young safeties should get every chance to prove they can get the job done.
OTHER FINAL WORDS ON LSU
The wonderfully informative GET THE PICTURE is a very good read this week and you can find it HERE.
And as always, David Hale and BULLDOGS BLOG put a nice, thought provoking bow on this Saturday’s events.
My PRO DAWG of the week is Cleveland Browns rookie and Damn Good Dawg Mohamed Massoquoi. MoMass turned in his first 100 yard effort in a losing cause as the Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Browns 23-20 on Sunday. Massoquoi’s final stat line from Sunday: 8 receptions, 148 yards (18.5 ypc)
Tim Brando…well, I just really don’t know what to say about THIS. Check it out starting around 4 minutes 45 seconds in.
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