Saturday, October 8, 2011
Well, Richt has won one hundred games as the head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs. The centennial mark came in a hard fought game in Knoxville, Georgia struggling to put away the Vols late, threatening to keep the head man stuck at 99 for the moment.
The first half was an ugly affair, with both offenses plodding along, eating clock, and settling for field goals. It wasn't necessarily defensive; there was only one punt overall in the first two quarters and the only other possession that didn't end in points was a missed Tennessee FG in the first. In fact, both defenses looked a little shaky. The Dawgs could never really get a pass rush going and refused to cover the tight end for whole drives at a time. Tennessee played questionable coverage downfield, with safeties letting Georgia wideouts consistently get behind them. Lucky for them Aaron Murray's just not playing that well right now. He overthrew wide open receivers who had their men beat and when he finally connected on one, it was a terrible under-throw, forcing Mitchell to backtrack and killing the chance for the TD. At least he didn't throw a pick.
Going back to Mitchell for a moment; that kid plays nonstop balls-out and I love it. The 'Dream Team' kids have been great, not just for getting talent on the field, but for changing the attitude around the program a little. Mitchell's the leading receiver right now and another true frosh, Isaiah Crowell, is the leading rusher. He's also won SEC Freshman of the week three times already. Hell, Crowell's probably the MVP of the entire team so far this season. The problem is, without these kids, we don't have much on offense. That's a lot of pressure for true freshmen. It also means we have to play them a lot, which means they could get hurt. In fact, Mitchell had to leave the game in the third quarter after pulling a hammy on a long pass and Crowell was banged up from the first or second drive of the game. If we're not careful, we'll lose these guys for a game or two.
The defense picked up a little in the third, keeping an already anemic Vol run game stuffed and finally getting in Bray's face on two big third down stops. It would have been nice to see that paired with better coverage, but most of the mid level routes are linebacker responsibilities and we're a little thin at that position, so I guess it's understandable.
Something that's not understandable? 3rd & 57. That stretch of penalties early in the 4th was ridiculous. And they were followed with equally as ridiculous play calling. I get a screen or draw on 2nd, but a dive on 3rd down with over half the field to go? Seems a little yellow to me. The most frustrating thing about all of it is that drive felt like it was going to be the back-breaker. Another touchdown there would have put the game too far out of reach for the way Tennessee was playing. Instead, we got unfocused, undisciplined, and let the Vols hang around a little bit longer than they should have. This is something that has got to be addressed.
Overall, though, a win's a win and now we've had four-in-a-row. This is definitely an improvement from the past year or two. And, despite how unsatisfied I've been with certain aspects of Richt's tenure recently, I am glad he was able to reach win number 100. What would be great is if he got to 108 by season's end...