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15 Thoughts: Of Triple Options and Aligning Stars...

As expected, Georgia took care of business against the North Avenue Trade School. Are you still celebrating? Curfew begins at 8:00 tonight. We've got film to study...

Football?  I'll take it!
Football? I'll take it!
Scott Cunningham

I found this little blurb* in an old spiral notebook from my UGA days in 1982, titled, "Entomology 101: Dr. A.B. Weathersby - How to deal with Yellow Jackets"

The best way to snuff out a Yellow Jacket is to choose and use your weapon(s) carefully. Take can of Raid, for example. You just shake it, point it, and shoot it. As those pesky, swarming wasps buzz 'round and 'round, eating up clock and causing a slight discomfort, one merely needs to be accurate while on the offensive. The size of the hive often determines how much effort and product it takes to wipe out the entire swarm. It doesn't take very long to do the job, either. Remember: While on the offensive, be efficient. Also, try not to shoot yourself in the face. Do these few things, and you'll enjoy bug-free living for the next 365 days. A proper maintenance plan can be effective for multiple years...maybe as many as 11 of 12 or so before you're stung again.

*I took some artistic license. But I really did attend Dr. Weathersby's insect classes. He was an awesome professor...

The Georgia Bulldogs dispatched the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in a most efficient way on Saturday. The stage is now set for the biggest game since the 1982 Sugar Bowl vs. Penn State as Alabama awaits next Saturday afternoon in the Georgia Dome. Here's a couple of thoughts.

1. Normally, I hate a noon kickoff. Yesterday was an exception. I was ensconced in the comfort of my own home and didn't have to wake up super-early to drive to Athens for either a Bloody Mary and breakfast tailgate or to just simply park the car and walk right to your seat. I will say this: Taking care of business early, both figuratively and literally, allowed us all to enjoy the rest of the day's games. What a beautiful day for football in Athens. By all accounts, a little coolish, but it's supposed to be this way in late November. And that's what brown liquor is for.

2. Tech may have done us a favor in 2008, when you think about it. Sure, the Jackets can hang their hat on that one, but that loss was truly the catalyst; the beginning of what is now a total shift in defensive philosophy. The 2009 season, in it's entirety, was simply validation that Willie Martinez wasn't the answer. A change was made, we had some growing pains, and now we are playing for an SEC Championship and a possible BCS Championship. We beat Bama, it'll be The Tailback(s) vs. The Hunchback, part 2. The stars have been aligning...

3. The game could not have started much better than it did. I don't understand why Paul Johnson would defer the opening kickoff. My biggest concern all week was twofold: Would we be focused? Would we play from behind. Tech beats people when they grab a lead and control the ball. Malcolm Mitchell's 47-yard opening return just past mid-field set up a short-field, and 4 plays later, we're up. Tech never had a lead. Must be genius...

4. Aaron Murray was 14-17, 215 yards with two touchdowns. Twice, it looked like Tavarres King lost his footing on at least one potential touchdown throw. The other "miss" was an attempt by a sliding Chris Conley on a tough grab going out of bounds in front of the Georgia bench. He actually had the ball, but couldn't control it on a 3rd and long. When you remember the details of incompletions, you know your quarterback is doing something right. Murray, again, was efficient, accurate and deadly.

5. How long will Georgia Tech commit to the Triple Option and to Paul Johnson? Facing it every year has just become an annoyance. I got to believe that our defense is actually looking forward to not having someone deliberately try and blow out your knee on every freaking play. This week's practice session Todd Grantham's guys should literally be like a breathe of fresh air. Two weeks in a row to prepare for the Triple Option is hard labor. I hope there's a reward, because our guys withstood the cuts and chops to emerge relatively unscathed.

6. Was Tech's defense about the worst we faced? I was very impressed with pass protection and run blocking. There was a tremendous block by Keith Marshall on a blitzing Tech defensive end that just confirms how well coached these two freshman backs are.

7. Alec Ogletree had 15 tackles. He may always be remembered for this one.

I like to call it, "The Rag Doll"

7b: No one strips the ball better than Bacarri Rambo. He had two, the first one was successful as Tech was about to score which could've changed the complexion of the game, although not the outcome. The second strip was actually recovered by Tech, but was still perfectly executed. Rambo has tied Jake Scott for all-time career interceptions with 16. Glad you stayed for your Senior season, Bacarri.

8. Todd Grantham kills it:

When we played Florida it was a lot more physical. So I wouldn't say it's a physical offense. Little people can't block big people. And that's why little people cut. That's why you do what you do, is to get an advantage, little people are going to try to cut you. ... I think what they do is good, but we've played in more physical games.

Read more here:

9. More production from Artie Lynch and Jay Rome. Rome is a huge target, and could be as dominant as Leonard Pope was in the mid '00s.

10. The hardest hit of the day? Probably when Jordan Jenkins crashed into Jarvis Jones. Jarvis got his bell rung pretty good. Just a case of two guys closing in on the Tech runner. I was worried for a second or two. I'm not used to seeing Jarvis down on a knee. He's okay.

11. John Jenkins had a solid game, as did Christian Robinson. CRob has a ton of experience defending the Triple Option, and it has shown over the last 2 weeks. Our linebackers...all of 'em....are playing exceptional football right now.

12. Offensively, when the starters were in the game we scored at will. Six of the first 7 possessions resulted in touchdowns and we only stopped ourselves on some holding penalties. Fourteen points in the first, second and third quarter. Richt called off the Dawgs going into the fourth, defensively, too.

13. Gurshall was, in a word, efficient, rushing for 163 yards. The line was simply blowing holes in Tech's middle. I would have liked to see us grind out some more running plays, particularly in the 2nd quarter. The defense seemed a bit tired as the offense was scoring so quickly. A good problem to have, but some ball control next year, fellas!

14. No more Triple Option for another year. No more Tevin Washington. Tech will go with Vaj Vad Lee, who isn't going to confuse anyone with Josh Nesbitt. Johnson ain't going anywhere anytime soon because, like the ACC as a whole, mediocrity is acceptable. Tech is emblematic of the entire conference, and the entire conference has regressed. Check that. They are who they are, and who they are is average. The ACC - SEC Challenge? Meh.

The ACC will get the best of the SEC this week.

The SEC is clearly the best conference in the nation, but I think it will take a hit this weekend at the hands of a conference that most of the country, including many of the polls, have disrespected so far: the ACC.

- Phil Steele



Vandy beat Wake, Georgia beat Tech, Florida beat Florida State (welcome to the hot seat, Jimbo...), and South Carolina really played a great game against Clemson. This was impressive. SEC 4 - ACC 0.

15. I cannot express just how proud I am of this Georgia team. When I was watching from the upper deck in Columbia, Missouri a few months ago I knew this team had the talent to compete on the highest level, but wasn't seeing it despite our victory because much of that talent was back in Athens and the chemistry of the team was still going to be a work in progress. Could we survive the re-learning curve? For the most part, we did, except for that horrible night in the Palmetto State.

Bonus Thoughts:

  • Congratulations to Notre Dame. You will not win the National Championship, regardless of who emerges victorious out of Atlanta next week.
  • Hugh Freeze has done a great job in Year 1 over in Oxford. The Rebels are bowl-eligible, after knocking off The Bizarro Bulldogs 41-24. Ole Miss has some talent and will not be an easy out next season for anyone.
  • Jim Tressel shows up at the Horseshoe and gets a standing ovation? This is why Urban Meyer is so perfect in Columbus. There's nothing about Ohio State that I like. Nothing.
  • When Lane Kiffin is giving an interview, he needs to come up for air. The man is one long run-on sentence.
  • The coaching vacuum is about to go Super Dyson. It'll be interesting...

That's all I got. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. Pace yourself, Dawg Nation. This week is going to be off-the-hook. Two more wins.

Go Dawgs!