Sunday, October 08, 2006

Manic Depression Is A Frustratin' Mess...

(Opening caption: perhaps those pregame clouds should've been taken as an omen after all.)

Better sports writers than I have already weighed in on the brobdinagian gonads-punch that was last night's UGA-UT game, so I'll try to be brief and attempt to put a mostly positive spin on things. But it still felt like a hell of a nut shot, so if you want smiles and happiness...I don't know, perhaps you shouldn't be a Dawg fan.

(Consider FSU--sure, they can't beat NCState, but they have girls in cowboy hats that are considered semi-literate. Plus just by posting her photo, Orson at edsbs becomes incensed)

(Side note: I realized another connection last night between the die-hard Red Sox fan and the die-hard Dawg fan beyond colors, abject hatred of rivals, and an obessive and internet-savy fanbase: we can be a hellaciously pessimistic group sometimes. A 24-7 becomes a 24-14 lead going into halftime and people around me were shaking heads. Worse, far too many people were giving up when it was 24-21. Sure, they'd prove right a quarter later when our D proved to be easier to score on than Lindsey Lohan after getting cheated on and downing 10 tequila sunrises. But if you're a fan, should you really be that down on things before they've actually gone down the toilet? Because really that's skating really close to Cubs-fan-esque. And that ain't good.)

(Examples of coverage options UGA might've considered)

Unlike some, I really can't in good faith say "let's trust Coach Martinez" and let the D off the hook because of multiple second-half turnovers. Sure, one TD came on a blocked point, but the fact is Saturday is only the second time in Sanford Stadium's long history that an oppossing team hung half-a-hundred on the Dawgs. And the last team to do it had Danny Wuerful, was coached by SOS, and was going up against Ray Goff in his final year. If that wasn't bad enough company to be in, I was forced to utter "this is worse than Kevin Ramsey's defense" at one point. Which, to be fair, is harsh, because Ramsey's D was routinely seive-like against good and bad offenses alike, and they probably wouldn't have forced a punt either.

(Comparisions to these guys=not good.)

But the thing of it is, they did blitz, and if they were going to get smoked, it was in man coverage and aggresive--none of this 5-7 yard cushion, non-blizting, passive as I was after passing out, give Danny Ainge's inbred nephew 10 seconds to throw defense. And yes, on multiple occasions, he had 10 seconds or more in the pocket.

Martinez postgame talk of "we got outplayed" doesn't inspire confidence either. Under VanGorder, the D gave up 30 or more twice--to National Title-winning LSU, and undefeated Auburn. Even Spurrier's averging-nearly-50-per-game offense didn't crack 30. Sure, they got 600+ yds of offense, but to me, the points count more. And it would be nice to here, "we screwed up, we needed to bring more pressure." If Tech can blitz, despite not coming close to a top 25 recruiting class under Gailey, why can't we let our highly recruited DBs spend maybe a few plays on islands while the proverbial house is brought? The book on Ainge is that if he's not rattled, he'll pick you apart. To me, when he's completing every pass, and given a sixth of a minute to find someone, that's a failure to adjust defensively. Get better, or I'll have to break out my solar eclipse view for the Florida game.

Was the offense better under JT3? I'll go with a tenative "yes" here, but color me unsure about him going forward. He won't be back next season, and barring some huge defensive turnaround, the Florida game looks as bad as waking up in bed with a tub-top clad Phil Fulmer, should "the future" at QB get all the snaps, or at least more than "well, we mathematically can't come back and all the 'Rocky Top' playing has made JoeT want to vomit--'Howitzer' get in the game"?

As bad as things were, the next two weekends bring in Vandy and Mississippi State (so, we're good for at least two more "ugly" wins, maybe some confidence reinspiring-but-only-to-a-small-degree-because-come-on-look-at-who-we're-playing wins.)

The Auburn game looks far more winnable now than it did a few weeks ago (and Brandon Cox and Al Borges are certainly no Ainge and Cutcliffe--though Al's brother Jorge is a badass writer.) Beyond that there's a game against Kentucky that will be close, but should still go as a "W."

And then Tech. I'll get back to them.

The SEC and Atlanta are still options thanks to this schedule: EweTee still has a big rivalry game against Alabama, a visit from an LSU team still pissed from the Linda Lovelace job they did vs last year's far suckier UT team, plus trips to a possibly improved South Carolina team and an Arkansas team that won't mysterious abandon a working running game. So in a best-possible-worlds scenario, UGA upsets #2 Florida (or even better, Auburn mans up and doesn't lose two in a row AND UGA upsets #2 Florida), wins a gutty game on the Plains and takes care of business with the three more-or-less cupcakes left on the schedule, whilst UT drops one or more of their remaining games (my guess is they split the away games and lose to LSU--LSU's D is legit good, unlike our's, and UT's D is no great shakes. Ark should top 250 on the ground against them.) Then we get reunited with our Razorback buddies in the SEC championship game, or see LSU again.

("So you're sayin' there's a chance...")

Worst case, we drop two more to Auburn and Florida.

Because horrid D and inconsistant offense or not, losing to Tech cannot happen.

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