I tracked this game a variety of ways, which is kind of appropriate given how the game went. I started it in my apartment, watched most of the middle quarters on my computer streaming at the office, then i finished in an app tracker. When that failed in OT my brother (in Japan) sent me a text that we had won by a field goal.
I did get to see all the bloody losses Georgia's skills steams suffered. This was something of a Pyrrhic victory IMO. Another such victory, approximating a commander's comment from another time, and Georgia shall have no team left. That said, here are 5 quick things that have been running through my mind since last night.
1. Injuries Happen: I have a friend who laid the injury situation on strength and conditioning (in his ongoing campaign against Mark Richt). If Georgia had run out of gas against Tennessee, that would be S&T. Those injuries were all products of freak happening: JSW and Bennett, an awkward fall and an apparent glass knee, or awkward plays/hits, as happened with Marshall's knee. They were not the result of S&T or coaching failings.
It is unfortunate to say the least that Georgia suffered 3 such injuries in a game that went to overtime when it should have been well in hand by the 3rd quarter, but that is life. This means some younger offensive players are going to have to step up. Hopefully Gurley is healthy quickly, but its a good thing the Bulldogs are deep at running back. Just how deep are they at wide receiver?
2. Resilience: We've been seeing it since the end of last year (and through the first 4 games this year), but last night solidified it in my mind. A year ago this team would have folded in this game. 2 years ago this might have turned into a 4th quarter blow out. This thought has less to do with how Georgia found itself driving to tie the game with 1:57 left to play, and more with how Georgia succeeded and overcame. And how they did it without 3 of their stop skill players.
Georgia has its share of last minute wins, and they've been all too common this year for my taste. But I have always felt that winning ugly is better than losing pretty. I stand by it now. The knocks on Richt are that he doesn't get his team up for the big games and he loses some games he shouldn't have. Neither of that has been present this year, which tells me he's made some adjustments to coaching, and the team has responded.
3. The Defense: I'm over it. I still believe that TG is a good coach. But Grantham needs to figure out what his defense is doing and fix it. They're young, but at this point that doesn't cover it. There is too much talent to be continually allowing teams to convert third and long, and letting a team like UT hang around and put the offense in a position where it has to claw its way into overtime is not earning your pay IMO. (I know the offense should have scored more, but I'm giving them a little bit of a pass due to injury).
I am not a coach. I don't know what he needs to do. I just see that what he's doing right now is putting the offense in a lot of awkward positions. So far Murray has come through. But if you keep tempting fate you she'll eventually bite you.
4. Murray/Bobo: From now on, any time they take the field Georgia is down by 4 and there's 3:50 on the clock. Murray is becoming a late game magician. The kid has ice in his veins in late game situations. He drove for a must have score in under 2 minutes short 3 of his key players, and Bobo called a drive that didn't make us scratch our heads (based on what I got from my stat tracker). Keep it up.
5. Georgia Appears Beatable: I don't know why. I don't believe the narrative of signature wins is enough to cause this. Georgia has a history of handing out wins that define a season for other programs. I don't understand it and can't comprehend it, but there it is. Is it the narrative? Is it Georgia's tendency to play to the level of opponents that simply makes it SEEM like Georgia always catches every team's best game of the season? Is it the mild mannered nature of Georgia's coaching that puts a target on the Bulldog's back? Is it a coaching failure that allows Georgia to play down to these teams?
(Caveat: I know Neyland is a tough place to play, and that is a factor, but his is consistent through my time watching Georgia football that teams that shouldn't play Georgia close do, on the road and at home)
I think its a mix of these things. Georgia's history sets the tone for it, the narrative makes sure they remember it. And injury builds on injury, and Georgia doesn't coach for the throat as it were. By not keeping their feet on the gas in certain games, Georgia appears weaker/more beatable than they are, so teams have it in their minds that a game that shouldn't be winnable is.
Whatever it is I'm tired of it. Please Coaching staff, fix it.
In parting: Win ugly, win pretty so long as you win, but for once, win the game you're supposed to win going away, going away.
Edit: Please leave me your comments and thoughts.