1) Mike Davis: Davis garnered(or garneted, as the case may be) 22 yards on 12 carries. He did convert a couple of 2nd and 3rd and short opportunities at a maddening clip in the second half, which is about all Steve Spurrier could really ask of him. Willie Martinez's gameplan, as much as it gave most of us indigestion, makes sense on paper. The plan clearly was to stop Davis and his backfield mate Brian Mattox and make Chris Smelley beat us. It's what I would have tried to do, as well. Unfortunately for us the execution was a little bit off, and Smelley looked a lot better than he has the first two weeks of the season. And Stephen Garcia did in fact make it in during the first half. He was really not a factor, but was something of a distraction for our defense.
2) Matt Stafford dropping the Bomb: Stafford did throw some decent deep balls, much to the delight of a smitten Gary Danielson. A.J. Green has become more of a factor each week, and is quickly becoming a great downfield target to augment Massaquoi and Durham. While we didn't get any quick strike TD passes, Stafford was again quietly effective, completing 60% of his passes, giving up no turnovers and getting us into good plays (that we sometimes didn't execute because of missed assignments on the line). I have no complaint whatsoever.
3) Jasper Brinkley walking on grasping at air: Yes, that was Jasper Brinkley who was caught overpursuing at the goalline on Knowshon's touchdown run. He also got outrun by Matt Stafford on one of the frequent quarterback draws we saw (the 30 yarder down to the 5). Knowshon also turned him around on a counter. If Jasper thought this game was fun, just wait until he gets a load of Florida's offense. The poor guy may pass out.
That being said, Brinkley did a great job attacking the run on the inside, and has me thinking more and more that he's going to get a look in the NFL as one of those combo weakside defensive end/linebacker types. Against I-formation teams, Brinkley's your guy in the middle.
4) A wild start. We let South Carolina hang around, despite a dominating defensive effort in the first quarter. If the offense had been able to punch it in on 2 early drives, I think you see a very different ballgame.
And of course, if a frog had wings he wouldn't bump his butt when he hops. Instead, we saw the twin hobgoblins of the Mark Richt era: a handful of dropped passes and redzone ineptitude. The difference of course is that neither of those seems like a longterm problem, unlike during previous outbreaks of bad offense.
5) UGA 31, South Carolina 13. And thus ends my streak of either correctly or nearly correctly predicting the margin of victory in University of Georgia football games. If you could spend wrong, I'd be eating steak for a year. I don't know why I thought this year would be different. It seems like every other year I get this wild hair that prompts me to think that we finally have this early season nightmare game figured out. And just as frequently I'm reminded why this game drives sane men to drink (more than usual) every stinking year.
But in the end, as Gary Danielson noted, if you're going to win a National Championship you've got to win some ugly ones. And I also think it's a bit early to be forecasting doom and gloom for the coming game with Arizona State. The old saying in coaching circles (and the blogging world) is that you improve more between the first and second games than any other week of the year. I think that given our early schedule this week will be our improvement week.
There's definitely a lot to improve on, though. I'll be back on Wednesday to help you get to know . . .Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson. Until then . . .