While some experts may have expected it, the Georgia faithful were hoping that we wouldn’t start the season 0-2.
In the season-opening game against Boise State, the Bulldogs got outmanned, outplayed, and outcoached throughout the game. We were uncomfortable the entire time on offense, and that led to our defense getting pretty worn out right before Kellen Moore got extremely hot with a dink-and-dunk attack.
Then yesterday against South Carolina, the Bulldogs outmanned, outplayed, and arguably outcoached the Gamecocks, yet no breaks went their way and they ended up gift-wrapping the game and allowing South Carolina to walk out of Athens with a win.
There were still a lot of good things, as well as some bad things, so let’s get to it.
1.Isaiah Crowell looks like the real deal. After gaining 60 yards on 15 carries against Boise State despite having basically no blocking, Crowell rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries against the Gamecocks. That also included 40 yards and a touchdown on two receptions. Crowell was the best offensive player for the Bulldogs in the game, and showed great vision and the ability to run through arm tackles. I think he ends up with 1,000 yards this season as of right now.
2. The defense seems to be much approved. Yes, Boise had their way with us through the wair, but they couldn’t run at all. The defense was able to handle Marcus Lattimore for a good portion of the game, but started to wear down late in the game and he started busting off bigger runs. They did consistently pressure Garcia, who they kept out of rhythm and on his back. Still, despite the Gamecocks scoring 45 points, on 17 were true points against the defense.
3. The receivers looked much better in week two. After being inconsistent at catching passes against Boise, Georgia’s receivers showed to be big-time playmakers against SC. Michael Bennett is a guy we will be seeing a lot of the rest of the season and Malcolm Mitchell will be one of the better playmakers on the team before the season is said and done. Still, Tavarress King was much better, while Rantavious Wooten and Marlon Brown seem solid.
1.We’re still having the killer turnovers. Georgia turned the ball over three times against the Gamecocks. One was a fumble by Crowell that looked like a miscue on the handoff that was returned to Georgia’s five (and became a touchdown), another was an Aaron Murray pass that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown, and then a fumble by Murray when we just down three points late in the fourth quarter that was taken for a touchdown. A team that played as good as we did yesterday can’t have this happen.
2. We can’t pass block at all, but were made improvements running. Murray has been sacked eight times already, but was hurried a lot more in the first two games. In the opener, we could not make a hole for our running backs to get through, though we did look better at that against SC.
3. Murray is very good, but is he great? Murray is the best quarterback in the SEC, but some fans are now asking if he has the “it” factor. He has had some killer turnovers, though not that many, in his time in Athens, but it is more about us just not winning games I think. This can be an unfair assumption though. After the pick six he threw, Murray played like a man possessed, but it could be something that ends up hurting the Bulldogs. Whenever he scrambles and makes a play, he won’t run out of bounds or slide. This cost us a few seconds prior to the long touchdown pass to King to pull to within three with two minutes to play. He turned back into the field instead of running out of bounds a few plays before.
With Crowell’s emergence as the team’s best playmaker, I would think that he starts getting at least 20 touches a game. He got up to 18 this week, but I would have liked to see him get about five more with the way he was playing. He was a little banged up though, so that may have been why.
Murray is going to try and play the hero at times, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. He is as fierce a competitor as anyone that has ever suited up for the team, so when he makes a mistake is going to take it fully upon himself. He’s the ultimate leader and we should feel thankful for him.
Overall, this was probably the best team effort we’ve had since the 2009 Georgia Tech game and we really should have left with a blowout win. Those three turnovers and the 68-yard fake punt touchdown flipped the game around.
If we give this much effort and fight, there is still a great chance that we make it to the SEC Championship game. We as fans need to keep our heads up and support these players and coaches. They gave it all they had, and we shouldn’t ask for anything more.
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