A few more observations from Georgia’s win over Vanderbilt in Nashville …
Georgia came out of the game with the Commodores a bit of a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, as Winston Churchill once said.
The Dogs seem incapable of putting away even a mediocre team and yet have won four straight conference games and are tied for first place in the SEC East. Georgia had way too many penalties called Saturday night (11), got gashed at times by a Vandy team ranked 100th in the nation in running, and has turned special teams play into something resembling Russian roulette.
But they still won, and managed to get back into the AP Top 25 on the basis of that very flawed performance.
There were other positives to be gleaned from the Vandy game. Aaron Murray had several career bests despite still being occasionally off-target with his throws. And his one interception was more a case of superb defense than a poorly thrown ball.
Also, Michael Bennett and Marlon Brown did a more than able job of stepping into the breach in the absence of injured Malcolm Mitchell, with Bennett catching seven passes for 89 yards and Brown finally showing what he can do, with four catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns. It probably would have been three if Murray hadn’t missed a wide-open Brown headed toward the goal line on a third-down play in the third quarter.
And despite being unable to stop Vandy on a couple of long scoring drives, Georgia’s defense did rally to snuff out the Dores’ last three chances.
Also on the plus side, Mike Bobo finally seems to be warming up to the short passing game.
Only not on third down, for some reason. Why does he insist on having Murray trying for long pass plays or tricky sideline throws on third-and-long instead of going with something quick and more likely to produce a first down like a slant or crossing route or even throwing to a back?
Georgia fans also were left wondering Saturday night why the Dogs couldn’t successfully kill the clock after an interception of a Vandy pass had seemingly handed Georgia the win. Without a healthy Isaiah Crowell on the field, Georgia basically doesn’t have a running game.
And why, on a punt where everybody in the stadium and television viewing audience knew Vandy was going to come after the block, the only possible chance they had of staying in the game, could the Dogs still not keep it from happening?
And is the Georgia punt coverage team and coaching staff the most gullible bunch in college football? Let’s see, Vandy’s backup punter comes in and the line suddenly shifts en masse so that the center is now an eligible receiver, and no one suspects a fake is coming up?
As for Blair Walsh, it’s pretty obvious he’s no longer money in the bank. Four out of six would be great in baseball, but not kicking field goals. Though it has to be said that Georgia having to attempt six field goals, which tied a school record, doesn’t make you feel very good about the Dogs’ red zone offense.
Finally, some thoughts on the sorry post-game scene on the field.
I don’t care if Vandy was cut blocking (retaliation for which apparently played a part in Georgia’s three personal foul calls) or if Commodores head coach James Franklin should have picked a better time and place to address some complaint he had about a Dogs player with the UGA coaching staff.
The fact remains that Todd Grantham is supposed to be setting an example as a teacher and a leader and instead he acted like an immature school kid, screaming at the opposing coach, inciting a near riot among the milling players and hurling f-bombs at the Vanderbilt fans in the stands.
He set such a disgusting example that Georgia players started taunting the Vandy fans, which is just plain embarrassing. I mean, it was a close win over Vanderbilt!
Richt said Sunday that he has “addressed it with everybody involved,” but if that doesn’t result in some sort of public apology from Grantham at the very least, if not a fine from UGA or the conference, then it hasn’t been properly addressed. Grantham was reprimanded last year for making a choke sign at the Florida kicker, but he apparently didn’t get the message that juvenile behavior on the part of a UGA coach is not acceptable.
He may very well have been perfectly justified in disagreeing with what Franklin had to say about one of his players after the game, but throwing an on-field tantrum is not the proper response.
And, please, don’t try and justify what he did by saying he’s a fiery, competitive coach and just what Georgia needs. Hey, if he wants to scream at his own troops and that works, I’m fine with it. But screaming obscenities at the opposing fans and coaches is just classless.
And don’t compare him with Erk Russell. Erk might have been fiery, but he was always a gentleman and never made Georgia fans ashamed he was one of our coaches.
That can’t be said about Grantham.
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