1. First and foremost, I just want to say how incredibly happy I am to see Keith Marshall in the backfield again. And I am not speaking of a not-completely-healed, gun shy version of KM, either. Number 4, when he got his chance, looked like the #4 of 2012 and the first few games of 2013 with edge quickness and a burst. I also saw some tough running in the middle, too. We all know our backfield is absolutely loaded this season. Going forward, I hope there is a way to utilize Keith in other areas on offense. He's got great hands - perhaps the best of all the receivers.
On with the Show....
2. The offensive game plan - by design - was to be as vanilla as necessary. I do not think I saw a single toss-sweep or anything that resembled anything but basic formations the entire game. We did see on the first Nick Chubb touchdown, a 2-Tight End formation. Just a standard line-it-up and run-it-in-the-middle game plan. Although our opening series was a 3-n-out, we did what we wanted to do and if the game had not been shortened by electrified cumulonimbus clouds, the rushing and scoring total surely would have been higher as the offensive line began to wear down ULM before the second round of lightning descended upon the campus.
Lightning was a real issue, particularly around the southeastern U.S. on Saturday:
Not only did it force a 63-minute delay for Florida State-Texas State, a 75-minute delay for Miami (Fla.)-Bethune-Cookman, an 80-minute delay for Tennessee-Bowling Green, a 90-minute delay of Cincinnati's home game with Alabama A&M...LSU's opener with McNeese State ended with 10:08 left in the first quarter, ultimately cancelled after each team had one possession, and LSU ran only eight plays, reaching a first-and-10 at the McNeese State 49-yard line. - Washington Post, Sunday September 6
2a. Unless we find ourselves in an unexpected hole up in Nashville next Saturday (3:30, CBS), I expect more of the same flavor of ice cream with a few added wrinkles here 'n there for some diversity in game plan. Vanderbilt is not a good football team, but it is a road Conference game and the season really begins next week.
3. The running game was fine, totalling 38 times for 243 yards on the day. It wasn't perfect, but again we didn't do anything but run between the gaps either out of a single back formation or Power-I. Nick was efficient as ever with 16 carries for 120 yards (7.5 avg) and a pair of scores. Sony Michel looked great, tallying 41 yards on the ground on 6 carries but proving deadly as a receiver (2 rec, 79 yards and 1 touchdown). Marshall got his yards (10 carries/73 yards 7.3 avg - 2 TD) and I thought I almost saw the windmill as he ran towards the corner in the open end setting up his first score. Brendan Douglas ran for 17 tough yards on 3 carries and looked quite quick through the holes on his limited opportunities.
4. What I saw from Greyson Lambert was generally good decision making and a strong arm after some early moments of hesitation which is completely understandable for most; a disaster for those who were expecting perfection and maybe a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow once the thunderstorm passed. He did what he was asked to do: protect the ball, make his check-downs, and execute. One of the knocks against him at Virginia was that he tended not to roll away from pressure and made poor throws or got sacked. Today, he might've overly compensated for this early on as he might've bailed a bit early - but this is fixable. He looked a bit awkward in the pocket. He's got to trust his linemen. His numbers: 8/12, 141 yards and 2 touchdowns. The opening salvo to Jeb Blazevich was spot-on with some zip...
5...but his strike to Malcolm Mitchell was a thing of beauty. Good to have you back, MM. Oh, and buy his book. Help a DGD out.
Malcolm could catch mosquitoes in the dark, methinks...
6. Brice Ramsey, in limited action, did just fine with a beautifully set-up 31-yard screen pass score to Sony Michel. Again, I imagine he was robbed of 4th quarter playing time when Mother Nature decided to get all meteorological and stuff. At any rate, we've got two very capable quarterbacks that have the luxury of what is essentially (or, at least should be) another tune-up game to sort out the pecking order and hone their skills. I think it'll be fun to watch. This should push these guys - Faton Bauta included - to be better, knowing a single bad series could result in some time on the bench.
7. ULM punted on 3 of their first 4 possessions. Garrett Smith was intercepted by Aaron Davis on their second possession, and looked utterly outclassed for most of the first half. However, towards the end of the second half Georgia's defense became - in my view - lazy - as the Warhawks sailed down the field in less than 2 minutes, culminating in a Smith to Rashon Ceaser 22 yard touchdown pass. The Warhawks took the second half kickoff and drove just as efficiently, going 74 yards in just under 4 minutes. Again, Smith hit Ceaser with a perfectly thrown 29 yard strike to cause much consternation throughout the land.
8. Why am I dwelling on this when the defense looked unblockable at times? Because it reminded me that we have much youth in the defensive backfield and at times we were playing the ball, not the receiver or providing too much cushion expecting the rush to take care of business and perhaps peeking into the backfield too much. Poor tackling will get you benched, too. Anyway, Dominick Sanders didn't have his best effort and Rico McGraw is undergoing the inevitable learning curve that is the plague of true-freshman. All are coach-able and fixable.
9. What was good about our defense was the play of Leonard Floyd, who was all over the field - inside, covering the slot or "star" position. Lorenzo Carter is just plain explosive. ULM couldn't do much in the run game and was forced to screen and bubble pass until they began to find success, particularly to the aforementioned Rashon Ceaser.
10. Georgia played a solid game up front. Jordan Jenkins' sack of Garrett Smith was nicely done. ULM wasn't about to sit back in the pocket against this front, but their QB looked pretty beat up when the game was finally called. Davin Bellamy looked good. And quick.
11. Tim Kimbrough brings the lumber when he hits you. That is all.
12. Special teams looked great, and the we essentially blocked two punts - with D'Andre Walker getting a face-full of leather after the lengthy 3rd quarter delay, which resulted in a safety. Lo Carter got the other partial block in the first quarter. Reggie Davis looked good in the punt return game as Isaiah McKenzie was held out in that role to rest up some issues he had in August camp.
13. Colin Barber is back. His kickoffs were un-returnable and his directional punting was near perfect as he pinned ULM deep a few times.
14. All-in-all the desired result was achieved. Of course there are going to be some issues, but we got the win and got out of a difficult weather situation with no injuries. There is always a concern after a lengthy delay that, once play resumes, a muscle gets pulled here 'n there. This didn't happen and I am thankful that Coach Richt and Todd Berry decided that enough was enough and ended the game when they did. I hope Greg McGarity wrote a check for the full amount and it wasn't pro-rated.
15. Vandy is next. The old adage says most improvements are made from week 1 to week 2. Georgia might need to find another edge rusher to make up for the time Floyd switches to the inside backer position. Roquan Smith, is it time for your debut? How about D'Andre Walker? Expect more experimentation next week in The Music City. Some of the wraps on offense might slowly be unveiled, but I wouldn't expect too much just yet...
- Bama looked pretty stout vs. Wisconsin last night. I tuned out shortly after halftime when Derrick Henry broke his second long touchdown of the game. Bama also has some soft spots in their secondary, too. Wisconsin couldn't do anything on the ground, but their offensive line is very young. Usually, the Badgers have experienced guys at that position. Not this season... but Bama simply outclassed their B1G opponent.
- Auburn vs. Louisville was hard to watch. I hate Auburn. However, there is something morally redeeming when Bobby Petrino begins to pout on the sidelines. What a power-tool.
- Comment of the Year of the Day:
This is Malzahn's First year at AU using a QB that wasn't kicked off an SEC team, so they lack their key element - BartlettPear
- Tennessee has issues in their defensive backfield, too. Big issues, as Bowling Green - without a running game - threw for over 400 yards, and the Vols gave up a few digits north of 550 in total.
- The NCAA is still looking into the
blatant 11th hour cheatingpossibility that some malfeasance occurred during the recruitment of All-World tackle Laremy "Tunsilectomy" Tunsil. If there's any justice in the world...