This photo has absolutely nothing to do with this post; I just like it (even if I did take it myself). The “View From My Room” at DWRRS, Fayetteville.
Since the Hogs took their only “Bye” week this week, there was only one thing to do for me: watch UGA/Carolina.
As I’ve previously posted, Sanford Stadium (like most of the SEC stadia) functions as a 12th man on the field for the Georgia Bulldogs. Last night was no exception as the Georgia crowd roared when they needed to, were silent when they needed to be.
Unfortunately for them, that roaring crowd and the Sanford “aura” didn’t seem to have much effect on the South Carolina Gamecocks, who took Georgia to the wire before missing a couple of game-winning passes. It would appear that Steve Spurrier (as the announcing team repeated over and over) has a quarterback who can run his much-vaunted “system” at South Carolina. The Cocks will be a much stronger opponent than anyone gave them credit for a couple of weeks ago.
The Georgia Dawgs bring their “new” starters to Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium this Saturday evening. Much has been written and said about the fact that Georgia is replacing their NFL-draft-pick starters. That is true, they are, but most of them are “older than dirt” Seniors who have been (perhaps not so patiently) waiting their turn.
Wardrobe malfunctions and a bout with H1N1 aside, Joe Cox looks to be the real deal at Georgia. He deftly guided the offense back when Carolina exploded in the first two possessions of the game. In fact, the game was several minutes old before UGA ran its second offensive play. They (UGA) took the opening kickoff and ran it in for 6. Carolina got the ball and marched smartly to the endzone. UGA fumbled and Carolina capitalized, running it into the endzone. The score most pundits expected to see as the FINAL score was on the board before the first quarter was half-gone. Nevertheless, Cox overcame a series of miscues and wound up mixing plays, completing some impressive passes and handing off to Richard Samuel, their great back who put me in mind of Brandon Holmes or Michael Jenkins: solid, like a cannonball. He just puts his head down, gets his pads forward, and plows ahead, frequently carrying would-be tacklers with him.
The Dawgs are not as “young” as you might have been lead to believe.
Georgia has more offensive weapons than Arkansas has defensive weapons. Expect the Dawgs to score a lot of points in Fayetteville. Cox will shred the Arkansas secondary, and Samuel will have to be dealt with. Mark Richt is one of the best coaches in the country, and make no mistake: he will exploit every one of Arkansas’ defensive weaknesses (which appear to be both plentiful and worrisome).
Special teams, too, are going to be scary for Arkansas this Saturday. Georgia’s Brandon Boykin took the opening kickoff 100 yards for a TD, the longest kickoff return in their illustrious history.
Is there any reason, then, for Arkansas to even show up at the stadium? Plenty. Georgia is almost a mirror image. South Carolina shredded Georgia’s defense, and staged their own dramatic rise from the dead in the third quarter. Georgia faltered, with miscues all around on the offensive side, and Carolina capitalized in a big way. The porous Georgia defense didn’t seem to be able to stop the short pass at all. When they did try to cover the short pass, Spurrier’s running backs hit them for 4-5 yards/carry; and as Arkansas fans know, “3 yards and a cloud of dust” (or turf pellets….) = Touchdown, Arkansas, Oh My! Petrino and his staff must be licking their chops thinking of the Georgia secondary vs. Mssrs. Mallett, Adams, Crawford, and Wright. If UGA covers, that will leave the line open enough to allow Broderick Green to show off his capabilities. I like those matchups. Georgia’s lines don’t appear to be as huge and fearsome as in years past (actually, closer in size to Arkansas’).
Kicking game is going to be advantage: Georgia. Unless Tejada proves that he’s got what it takes to kick in the SEC, Georgia is going to be able to outkick Arkansas in all phases of the game. And woe to Arkansas if they give UGA a short field. That would be distinctly terrible.
On a straight-up comparison, I like Mallett over Cox. Ryan has a stronger arm and fewer errors across the board. You can’t really call Cox “new”, he’s a Senior who’s been the number 1 backup his entire career, behind NFL No. 1 draft pick Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions. It’s not like he “wasn’t good enough”; he had the misfortune to be on the same team with one of the great college quarterbacks of his era. He’s not started many games, but neither has Mallett. This should be a really interesting comparison, since both QB’s have arsenals of offensive weapons vs. Little Sisters of the Poor defenses on the opponents’ side.
Just get ready: you’ll look at the scoreboard and think that you’re at Bud Walton Arena instead of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Note to ESPN’s Mike Patrick and Craig James (spit): A pooch KICK may or may not be a “Pooch PUNT”. You see, a PUNT is always a KICK, but not all KICKS are PUNTS. Some KICKS are KICKOFFS (some are also DROP KICKS, but we don’t see those much any more). You can do a “Pooch Kick” for a KICKOFF, but it would not be a Pooch PUNT. A PUNT occurs when, after three tries, a team has failed to make a first down and must kick the ball to its opponent. The punter receives the snap from center and kicks it himself, attempting to place the ball near the opponent’s goal line, without letting it roll into the endzone, thereby making it difficult for the opponent to return the ball. A KICKOFF occurs at the beginning of both halves, and after a team has scored. KICKOFFS are PLACE KICKS, in which the ball is placed on a tee, and the kicker runs up and kicks it. It is certainly possible (though, in my opinion, NEVER desirable) to “Pooch Kick” a kickoff. Nevertheless, a KICKOFF is not properly referred to as a “POOCH PUNT”.
That freaking drove me nuts Saturday night.
I didn’t say much about Carolina in this post, but they look very interesting. Does the Ole Ball Coach have one more great team in him? Maybe. If he can keep his thug QB out of the slammer, he’s got a reasonable shot at reconstructing his glory days.
I wish we were playing Tennessee this year. Kiffin and Crompton just looked “not ready for prime time” yesterday. Kiffin’s ill-advised comments are going to come back to haunt him; the SEC is going to mop up the field with the Vols this year. South Carolina, Georgia, and of course the 2009 projected national champs Florida will annihilate them; it’s possible they could lose again to Vandy and Kentucky. Bleah. But hey, it was a pretty day in Knoxville Saturday, per the television set. The boo-birds were out in force, anyway.
With any luck, next week’s col-yum (can’t help it, too many years of reading Richard Allin’s “Ire Town Col-yum” in the Demozette) should feature pictures. Uncle Malvie plans to be in his seat at DWRRS at kickoff. Anybody got any extra tickets? Need two. Prefer SEZ, have a line on some on the 50 (if the guy calls me back), but otherwise Nathan and I will be among the crowd holding up fingers.
For more good Razorback reading, head over to Trent's blog The South Endzone, where he has a humorous take on Weddings and Bye weeks in the SEC.