Looking Back and Forward

I was stunned after Auburn; I was disappointed after LSU; I was angry after Georgia.

For one, Mark Richt should have been tossed from the game for having his whole team rush the field. Not suspended or fined after the fact, just thrown out at the time to ensure no one tries to pull copycat performances. For one, it’s classless. Also, it could have incited a riot, given the amount of bad blood between the two teams. Plus, Heath Cline pointed out it was stupid from Georgia’s perspective too – Moreno barely got the nose of the ball in the endzone, and if replay reversed the play, they’re looking at 4th and goal from the 31. It was completely unnecessary and bad from every angle. And to all of you out there talking about how great it worked: no, it didn’t work. Florida marched right back down the field to tie it, and even took a lead later in the half.

The missed opportunities hurt the most. The defense played its worst game this year, and I put far more of the loss on its shoulders than that of the offense. There were two turnovers in the first half that could have led to scores. Florida got the ball 1st and 10 at the UGA 30 thanks to penalties on the kickoff, and three plays later they were taking a delay of game to back up to punt. There was also the play in the second half where Tim Tebow had  Cornelius Ingram wide open over the middle  for an almost certain score but overthrew him. That’s four well-defined instances where the offense could have scored, not to mention when the defense got back-to-back stops in the second half that lead to a total of zero Florida points.

When it comes down to it, like I said earlier, the defense is the problem. Clint McMillan and Javier Estopinan are not SEC-caliber defensive tackles. Kyle Jackson is not an SEC-caliber safety, and Tony Joiner only is when he’s got Reggie Nelson at the other safety spot. The rest is too young to be counted on every play, and it showed. Georgia ran basic running plays, going left between the tackle and guard and doing toss sweeps to either side. It’s not rocket science, but it worked and was eerily reminiscent of the 2004 Mississippi State game where Jerious Norwood ran all over Florida doing the same 4 basic running plays in a random order.

Speaking of historic games, I could have sworn Dan Mullen learned his lesson about the 5 wide set after the 2005 LSU game. If the defense is blitzing every time you go 5 wide, as LSU did then and Georgia did on Saturday, you don’t call slow developing pass plays from that set. It’s that simple, because 5 offensive linemen can’t block 6 defenders for the time required for the receivers to run their routes. Despite this fact being patently obvious, and despite having reaped the consequences of trying to fight it two years ago, Mullen continually called for slow developing plays out of the 5 wide set. Now, I will never claim to have the expertise needed to be an offensive coordinator, and I have not played organized football. However, just because I’m not a singer doesn’t mean I don’t know when a singer is out of tune, and similarly the fact that I can count to 6 means I am qualified to say that having only 5 blockers for a 6-man blitz is a recipe for disaster. Especially when your quarterback has a bum shoulder and you instructed him not to run.

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As for the national scene, Ohio State can be #1 for now, but if Arizona State goes unbeaten then they have to be #1. The Pac 10 is about 1,000,000 times better than the Big Ten, and so is the SEC for that matter. Given the choice, I’d give an undefeated Arizona State and a 1-loss LSU team priority for the national title game over an unbeaten Ohio State. The statistical quality of Ohio State’s schedule is laughable at best, and in won/loss terms like the NCAA uses, it’s just as bad.

That is all.

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There will not be much more this week since I am very busy with class, projects, and job interviews. I am a graduate student, after all. I finish in December, so the interviews are coming by the bunches now, and I have one each day of this week.

If you are in need of a college football fix, by all means click any of the links in the blogroll and you won’t be disappointed.

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