UGA fans still have reasons to feel good and bad

Washaun Ealey and the running game definitely have improved. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Washaun Ealey and the running game definitely have improved. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Georgia comes out of the Auburn game — a very big win for the Dogs — with the kind of mixture of positives and negatives that leaves fans somewhat optimistic but still with a lot of concerns.

Yes, the running game does seem to be developing nicely (if belatedly) this season. The one-two punch of Washaun Ealey and Caleb King was quite effective against the Tigers, and since Georgia finally settled on who’s playing where on the offensive line, the blocking has improved, though it remains a work in progress.

But let’s not lose sight of the fact that the Dogs had every reason to think they could run on Auburn, which ranks near the bottom of the SEC in rushing defense.

The fact that Georgia was able to move the ball and score without the services of the injured A.J. Green is impressive, but again let’s keep in mind that Auburn isn’t ranked very high in pass defense, either. The loss of Green really hurts, especially if he can’t return in time for the Tech game.

But the loss of Bacarri Rambo may be every bit as troubling, mainly because it means more reps for coverage-challenged Bryan Evans. Yes, the pass defense stepped it up at the end and kept the Tigers out of the end zone. Rambo was a big part of that before getting hurt, as was the pressure on the quarterback. But there were still several instances in the game where coverage was completely blown in the secondary. We’ll miss Rambo against Kentucky. Cross your fingers that he’s back for the trip to Bobby Dodd Stadium.

On the plus side, Georgia finally kept the penalties pretty much in check and flipped the turnover margin on somebody. If they could make that into a trend, it would perhaps be the single biggest factor in improving the Dogs’ admittedly slim chances of winning out.

On the negative side, the Dogs’ poor kickoff coverage isn’t getting any better. Auburn’s 99-yard return for a touchdown was on one of Jon Fabris’ beloved directional kicks in the corner, and the Tigers got good field position on other relatively short directional kicks. When Walsh kicked one into the end zone, it was only returned to the 24. How much worse could the Dogs’ chances of covering be if Fabris and Mark Richt were to allow Blair Walsh to go for the touchback every time? The Dogs’ punt coverage wasn’t much better, with no one close enough to the ball carrier to recover that Auburn fumble.

Another big plus was that Joe Cox didn’t have an interception, but that was more luck than judgment, thanks to a poorly thrown pass bouncing off the hands of an Auburn defender, allowing Orson Charles to make the catch.

Bottom line: The Dogs are still wildly inconsistent. It’s great to be able to come back from a 14-point deficit, but we’re still looking for that complete game where Georgia doesn’t stink the place up for a quarter. Let’s hope we get to see that.

90 comments Add your comment

Cuz

November 16th, 2009
10:31 am

Kentucky should make our season complete.

Cuz

November 16th, 2009
10:37 am

Yes I am ignoring the Jackets game right now and I hope the players and coaching staff are also. This team cannot afford to look ahead and ignore the game in front of them.

Saint Simons

November 16th, 2009
10:39 am

((((( 45-42 ))))) hahahahahahahahahahahaha more to come!!!!!!!

Cuz

November 16th, 2009
10:42 am

I think our other WR’s will step up with AJ out. The ball will be spread around more that is a given. AJ will be missed because he brings that “take it to the house” factor on every catch. Dawgs versus Cats. Win this one and we may dodge the Shreveport bullet.

Saint Simons

November 16th, 2009
10:42 am

(((((( 67-62 )))))) hahahahahahahahahahaha more to come in basketball !!!!!!!

Josh Fowler

November 16th, 2009
10:45 am

A win is a win is a win. I’ll take it! I’m just worried that the AU not only cost us our leading WR, but also could mean CWM might be back next year. Please…..FREE WILLIE!

Leebo

November 16th, 2009
10:48 am

Lest you forget, SS, we beat you SEVEN in a row before last year. As far as basketball, Hewitt better win this year or me thinks he’ll be looking for a job.

St. Simons

November 16th, 2009
10:50 am

Shouldn’t the North Avenue Trade School for Boys have the Cicada as a mascot instead of a Yellow Jacket? The Cicada only shows up every 7 years too. They are harmless insects, with no bite or sting.

GO Clemson!!!

Otto

November 16th, 2009
10:51 am

King – Yes, the running game does seem to be developing nicely (if belatedly) this season

…and mostly later in the Auburn game

Auburn has 4 yes only 4 Scholarship LBs. Was Auburn gassed or did UGA have more talent?

Paul H

November 16th, 2009
10:51 am

Aside from the early 14-0 deficit, it’s the most complete game we’ve played all year. A lot can be taken away from that. I also like how we didn’t panic and came back to win. I honestly didn’t think this team had that kind of resolve left in them.

RAMBLE ON!!!

November 16th, 2009
10:57 am

Good game Saturday fleabags.

You stand no chance against GT though.

Top Dawg

November 16th, 2009
10:58 am

It was a “W,” and you can’t overemphasize how important that is to a team. That said, it was a very shaky performance against an undermanned team. Bottom line: We have a long way to go to get where we need to be.

Rick S

November 16th, 2009
10:58 am

If a victory over a medicore Auburn Team results in the return of Willie Martinez, Jon Fabris, and others then something is defintely wrong with the mentality of Head Coach Mark Richt. IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE!

Bryan G.

November 16th, 2009
10:59 am

It says a lot that Bryan Evans STARTS but that Rambo was in the game on the most important drive of the night.

The team played great. The kickoff coverage is maddening, but this was a good win for Georgia. We need to keep it going this Saturday.

Cuz

November 16th, 2009
11:00 am

Ramble, let us get past the Cats first, then we will concern ourselves with stopping your offense, or at least slowing them down. Congrats on the Coastal Division.

Saint Simons

November 16th, 2009
11:06 am

(((((( Carpets of Dalton bowl for Uga )))))) hahahahahahahahahahahaha

J Smurf

November 16th, 2009
11:06 am

Obviously, Georgia will miss AJ, but they showed a lot of speed on the outside with Tavarres King and Israel Troupe (Wow,what a great surprise he was on Saturday!)…not to mention Wooten and the possible emergence of Marlon Brown. We know what we’ve got in Michael Moore. AJ is certainly a playmaker, but if we can run the ball as we have been, we’ve got plenty of WR’s capable of making big plays.

Cuz

November 16th, 2009
11:07 am

Numbers are in for UGA versus UK in the SEC DC Fantasy League. Coach Willie has a cumulative score of 19.24 versus 20.4 for Coach Wildcat which translates to a win by the Dawgs. That is the good news. The bad news. Coach Willie and Coach Wildcat split the categories, three versus three. Willie has lower averages in his winning categories. It may be closer than we would like.

Free Willie

November 16th, 2009
11:09 am

Invitation to watch my favorite movie at the end of the year “Free Willie”. Everyone’s invited

Chris

November 16th, 2009
11:12 am

The win was good but changes nothing. Willie must be fired. Not to mention when I was watching Mark Richt walk into the lockeroom at halftime to a chorus of boos, down by 7, I felt like I was watching the end of an era.

Having said that, if Richt is dumb enough to keep Willie after everything that has happened the last couple of years, then Richt should be fired before next year. If he is allowed to keep Willie, our D will be just as bad next year. Improvements need to be made, and it starts with firing Martinez.

A win over a mediocre Auburn team means absolutely nothing!!!

Cuz

November 16th, 2009
11:12 am

We should be able to run on Kentucky. They are the second worse in the SEC against the run. Every other SEC school is thankful for Vandy.

J Smurf

November 16th, 2009
11:13 am

B. Evans has cover issues, but he’s a pretty good tackler. Huge liability on passing downs.

Cuz

November 16th, 2009
11:13 am

Chris don’t hold it back, how do you really feel?

Otto

November 16th, 2009
11:15 am

Paul H, I have never had doubt about this team having leadership fighting for the win.

Yes they may have given up in the 4th to UF but the play calling and scheme was not there to win that one. The team gave up far after the game was out of hand.

The coaches lost games this year not the player.

Rick S, I agree, long kick returns, draws and screens on 3rd and long, and an arm tackling defense are all common.

Lindsey

November 16th, 2009
11:15 am

It was great to see this team be able to come back from a 14 point Auburn lead & win. They improved the running game, had less penalties and no turnovers. Although I was a nervous wreck the entire game, it was a perfect ending, its great to be a GA Bulldog!!

Cuz

November 16th, 2009
11:17 am

The whole secondary has “issues” Smurf. We are dead last in the SEC against the pass. Kentucky relies on the run, big help for us. We are fifth in stopping the run.

JB

November 16th, 2009
11:17 am

My business partner, a avid Tech fan AND alum, say’s Tech’s D is worse than Auburn’s, and if Bobo calls for ONE pass , he’s is crazy. TECH can’t stop the run, The line is playing better. King is running harder. He say’s ya’ll (UGA) need long 7 to 8 minutes drives, and you could win. He said passing as you do and A LOT of Three and Outs, you lose big…………HE IS CORRECT !

another ptc dawg

November 16th, 2009
11:17 am

Bill,
Check the hang time on the punt you were questioning the coverage. Check the holding on #90 on the kick off return.

The Dawgs give up 14 points in 10 minutes and you get on your blog and complain about the kick coverage!!!Did WM ban you from practice? The more you write the more you show how little you actually know about football.

JB

November 16th, 2009
11:20 am

did any of you see the big Richt/Martinez man hug with about 30 seconds left. THAT scares me. If he doesn’t fire this guy, it’s Damon Evans and prez Adams who will have a big problem. Although locked into this blog daily, I don’t know how much “outrage” is out there among the 92,000 in the stands. I know they are not happy, but I mean OUTRAGED !

godawgs

November 16th, 2009
11:25 am

Bill-

Anytime Bobo gets his play-calling mix right and calls 70% run plays/30% pass plays, instead of his defunct pass-happy philosophy, Ga’s going to win. That cuts down turnovers which helps field position, and controls the clock. Willie’s D is UNDEFEATED when the offense commits no turnovers, and Willie’s D held the #1 offensive genius in the NCAA (#1 in 2008, #10 in 2009) to 17 points. And we kicked a 51 yard field goal. Pretty solid in all 3 phases. It was a terrific game plan–we out-coached the other team for a change.

The D

November 16th, 2009
11:29 am

Hey techies, I am the guy your ex-wife ran to when she got sick of your nerdy butt! Thanks for giving her half, it has made my life easier. As for the game, we will be prepared and more motivated then ever. I know your scared, that is why you can’t stop talking on our blogs. Sad and sorry, pretty much sums up your life as a fan of Tech over the last 10 years.

Percy in Dacula

November 16th, 2009
11:33 am

The Dawgs won’t need Green or Rambo against Kentucky, but even if they’re back in two weeks, it won’t make any difference in the serious whupazz that GT will put on our hapless Dawgs.

And dammit, winning against a second-rate Auburn team just means that we’ll probably have to put up with Richt, Martinez, and Bobo another year.

NOTE TO “The D”: Stuff it, you moron.

DawgGirl32

November 16th, 2009
11:41 am

Did anyone else hear one of the broadcasters say in the middle of the game, “you know, that Willie Martinez is just an excellent defensive coordinator.” I had to chuckle to myself a little there.

It seems like no matter who we beat it’s always just, “well, they must have just not been very good.” Auburn might not have been great, but they led the SEC in a lot of offensive categories and we did a damn good job of shutting them down after the first quarter. Give credit where it’s due. I think it was definitely the most complete effort that I’ve seen in a while. I heard Sanford Stadium was very loud, too. Wish I could have been there.

And congrats to Washaun Ealey for winning SEC “Freshman of the Week” honors.

The D

November 16th, 2009
11:42 am

I did stuff it, haha, Percy, So which team are you going for? I know my fellow Dawgs don’t believe were going to lay down to an in-state rival that has made it through a weak ACC conference. Come on! This win wasn’t about beating Auburn; we came together as a team, and we showed the 100+ recruits and their families what UGA is all about.

Mark Olsen

November 16th, 2009
11:43 am

Hey St. Simons, if you weren’t so poor you would at least live on Sea Island.

CMR Wins the 2009 George Hamilton Cocoa Butter Open

November 16th, 2009
11:45 am

Sagarin’s Strength of Schedule rankings…..Top 20 (thru Nov 15)….

1. Washington
2. Washington State
3. Virginia Tech
4. Florida State
5. Southern California
6. Oregon
7. UCLA
8. Miami (FL)
9. Virginia
10. Wake Forest
11. Stanford
12. Arizona
13. Oregon State
14. Georgia Tech
15. Georgia
16. South Carolina
17. San Jose State
18. Mississippi State
19. California
20. Notre Dame

Daily Digest: November 16, 2009 - UGA News

November 16th, 2009
11:46 am

[...] Georgia football fans see good and bag (Junkyard Blawg). [...]

Don Gill

November 16th, 2009
11:50 am

How about this for the Bulldog’s coaching changes: David Greene, offense, QB’s coach. David Pollack, defensive line and defensive coach, Matt Stinchcomb, offensive line coach. Wouldn’t they all rather be on the field than in the booth? And has been pointed out, asst. coaches are now making terrific salaries. Imagine what that would do to Meyer’s, Saban’s and now Kiffin’s recruiting efforts. Ha.

m

November 16th, 2009
11:53 am

Look for TECH to score almost as much against ugag as Knowshon Moreno did with the ugag gymnastics team!!!! Ouch!!!

St. Simons

November 16th, 2009
11:54 am

Do Dawg fans ever look at Yeck blogs? I know I don’t. Who cares about ACC and the second rate teams in it? Just goes to show you what happens when you only win once a decade. I guess the Jacka** fans just need to blog somewhere that actually gets read……

Don Gill

November 16th, 2009
11:54 am

Imagine what would have happened if Tarkington had become a coach.

phildawg

November 16th, 2009
11:58 am

DawgGirl32 that broadcast “team” is so poor week after week that it just baffles me as to why ESPN signs their checks. The coverage had some nice shots of Athens, but the guys in the booth were sloppy, did not do their homework (AJ Greem, according to these bozo’s missed the T Tech game with a broken rib), and call a different game than the one I was watching. Bob Davies is a poorer analyst than he was a Coach. The other knucklehead should do high scholl play-by-play until he developes some skill. This has nothing to do with how they represented UGA, it is related to their collective lack of skill as broadcasters. With the proliferation of games I guess we can’t expect to “world wide leader” to hire top talent, but these guys are worse than watching a bowl game on FOX! Give me Lindsay Nelson in the booth and Chris Shankel back at the Scoreboard Show. Hey – am I as old as Furman Bisher?

Cuz

November 16th, 2009
11:58 am

JB, your business partner is wrong. Tech can stop the run, they cannot stop the pass. In 11 games Tech’s opponents have gained 1289 yards rushing. In the same games Tech has given up 2523 yards through the air. Double the ground yardage. The key to beating Tech is through the air.

Cuz

November 16th, 2009
12:04 pm

Yes I know double is 2578, but 2523 is pretty close to double the ground yardage.

Burdell

November 16th, 2009
12:05 pm

Whose got the pitch man?

500+ yards of offense coming down the track…full steam ahead!

Best wishes to AJ and Bacarri for a quick and complete recovery and yes I want them both suited up in Atlanta on the 28th…

GO JACKETS!!!

Cuz

November 16th, 2009
12:07 pm

Thanks Burdell on Greene and Rambo. Congrats on the Coastal.

Dennis

November 16th, 2009
12:09 pm

Wipe your crying eyes and blow that snotty nose and buck up! Take one Auburn and call your Coach in the morning. 8-4 is still possible (as predicted by everyone) even with all of the premature negative crying. Its just a game played by young men under the age of 22.

The North Avenue Trade School Poet

November 16th, 2009
12:25 pm

Thank GOD you dawgs beat Auburn!

WHY?

Because WILLIE MARTINEZ is SAFE!

And all true TECH FANS want Willie in Athens forever!!

P.S. – Now that we at Ga. Tech are a top tier team, we don’t have broadcast crews like the sad pair that did your game for ESPN. Yeesh.

Ryan

November 16th, 2009
12:32 pm

HA HA HA HA Tech is a “top tier” team? Why? Because of ONE decent season? “Top tier” would be Florida, Texas, etc. Tech is FAR FROM top tier. Do what UGA did from 2002 – 2008 and then you can be top tier. What a moron.

crs

November 16th, 2009
12:36 pm

Tech fans got real delusional, real quick didn’t they! Top tier teams put together more than two seasons. Great job beating the like of Wake, Duke, Virginia and SEC bottom feeders Vandy and Miss St.

I suspect if UGA played Techs schedule we may have two losses this year.

So get a grip.