The Monday Heat Check arrives, due to the holiday, a day later than usual. Georgia fans might wish it didn’t arrive at all. Because it’s all about the Bulldogs.
Mark Richt’s nerve: It was in place. Georgia won the toss and chose to receive. Get After Their Assets, as the famous Bulldog slogan (sort of) goes. Trouble was, the players’ nerves were jumping all over the place. There was a false start before the first snap, another false start on third down and a delay of game before the punt. Heat Index: Richt tried to be cool, but his players were uncool.
Todd Grantham’s pass defense: Kellen Moore threw 34 passes. One was intercepted. (He was pressured and threw poorly.) Five were incompletions. Twenty-eight were completed. Georgia mustered no sacks. Heat Index: If this is aggressive D at its best, Willie Martinez is Buddy Ryan.
Mike Bobo’s offense: It managed 373 yards, which doesn’t sound so bad. But 167 of those yards came on three plays. (All resulting in touchdowns.) Georgia ran 60 plays and netted 13 first downs. It converted two of 13 third downs. Only one possession spanned more than seven plays, and it ended when Richt chose to go for it on fourth-and-one and Richard Samuel was halted in the backfield. Heat Index: A damp squib.
Isaiah Crowell: He rushed for 60 yards, which is only 24 fewer than Herschel Walker managed in his collegiate debut. But Herschel scored two touchdowns and trampled Bill Bates. Not really a fair comparison, I know — but so much hope has been invested in this latest New Herschel. Heat Index: By normal standards, Crowell’s first game was warm enough.
Aaron Murray: If you want to call it the worst game this gifted quarterback has played as a Bulldog, I wouldn’t argue. He wasn’t terrible; he just wasn’t very good. Heat Index: What’s the opposite of balmy? Tepid?
Alec Ogletree: He figured to be Georgia’s best defender this season. He broke his foot in the first half. He’s out at least a month. Heat Index: That cold chill? It’s traversing the spinal column of the aforementioned Mr. Grantham.
Georgia fans: They came to praise their team. Many left early. Some booed as they departed. Heat Index: A few of these folks seemed hot under their dog collars, if you’ll pardon the expression.
Mark Richt’s seat: He’s not going to be fired on Sunday if Georgia loses to South Carolina on Saturday. But losing to South Carolina could well convince Bulldog Nation that there will never again be great days under this coach, and once that happens there’s almost no going back. Heat Index: No warmer than a blast furnace.
By Mark Bradley