It's time to take a quick look back at my off-the-wall predictions for what you'd see during the Georgia Bulldogs recent restful trip out west to play the Arizona State Sun Devils. As you'll recall, I thought we'd see:
1) 60/40: "That will be the rough ratio of passing plays to running plays in Mike Bobo's 1st half gameplan." Actually it was 54/46. Though we did throw the ball on 61% of our first quarter plays. Even more important than how much we threw was how we threw the ball. From the long bomb intended for A.J. Green on the first snap, Coach Bobo served notice that he was going to test ASU deep and not let them keep 8 in the box to stop the run. In the process, we found another target for opposing defensive coordinators to lose sleep over, which can't hurt. Green won't go for 150 in every game, but the fact that he could will prove invaluable down the line.
2) The first 300 yard passing effort of Matt Stafford's career: At least I was close. Stafford's 285 yards represented a career high, and were it not for a couple of long Knowshon Moreno runs to wrap things up late, Staff might have gotten there. I don't regret my prediction, though I do regret that I can't plausibly use this prediction again without being like that Alabama fan who's been saying "'Bama's back Baby!!! Wooooo!!!" for 15 years now and will eventually be right. So when it happens, just know that I was thinking it, even if I didn't say it. OK?
3) Ben Jones: As I suspected, Chris Davis and Clint Boling made the move back to the guard spots wehere they looked much more comfortable and effective. Jones had a solid game, which should give us some more flexibility as we move into the heart of the SEC schedule. With all the talk surrounding our early season injuries, it's easy to forget that we're only now beginning the true battle of attrition. Solid depth on the O-line will be critical, and I think we're on the way to building it.
4) Vance Cuff. And Brandon Boykin, and John Knox, and Andrew Williams: I couldn't have been much happier with the secondary's effort. While Bryan Evans did get picked on a little bit (and had a couple of tackling efforts which I would label "poor" and Williie Martinez would label "!%$#@*!"), the overall effort was solid. I don't think we'll see a better overall group of receivers this season, and the fact that we generally kept them in check bodes well going forward.
5) UGA 31, ASU 24: "This one is not going to be easy." For the second week in a row, I might as well have advised you to buy all the Lehman Brothers stock you could get your mitts on. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
The score didn't really reflect how truly dominating the performance was. Had it not been for ASU employing 12 men on the goalline with no penalty and Coach Richt playing it conservative at the end, the score is 38-10, and the national media goes from labelling the win "decisive" to calling it a route. I think it was precisely the type of win we needed heading into what will easily be the biggest game of the season to this point.
A few other random thoughts before we turn our attentions fully to Alabama:
Shaun Chapas has been doing a great job blocking, but his ball skills just aren't the same as Southerland's. At no time was this more clear than when he slipped out of the backfield wide open to the endzone, and tripped as Stafford threw it. I can't help but believe that getting a fresh Brannen Southerland back for the stretch run will be very, very good for our offense.
ASU gained 4 yards on the ground. Four. Quatro. Given Alabama's insistence on establishing the run, Saturday's game should set up as an interesting test of each team's strengths.
Has Rennie Curran replaced Dannell Ellerbe as our most valuable linebacker? I think you could at least make the argument, though I'm not going to in this space.
Has anyone heard why Richard Samuel didn't play? I usually listen to the postgame press conference but just didn't have time to this weekend, and I'm sure one of our crack beat writers had to ask that.
I'll be back tomorrow evening to help you get to know . . .Nick Saban. Until then . . .