Here, if you missed it, is today’s notebook with items on the national acclaim that is deservedly finding Joe Cox, the blizzard of points Georgia is giving up and Caleb King’s much-delayed debut.
Now, a few more things of note from Mark Richt’s teleconference Sunday:
– Not that he advocates falling behind by double digits in the first quarter every game, but since it happened in each of the past two games and Georgia won both, Richt sees a benefit.
“I think the guys are beginning to believe that we are not out of any game at any time,” he said. “The more you get put into the fire, the more it refines you. I think it makes you stronger, makes you a little bit tougher mentally. And I think you do gain confidence that when you get into these battle royales, we can be left standing at the end in victory. We’ve just got to keep that going, and we’ve just got to stop the self-inflicted wounds. If we can do that, we are going to improve tremendously.”
– The past two games have alleviated Richt’s –- and probably Bulldog Nation’s –- concerns about a dearth of playmakers on offense.
“When we started the season, we felt like . . . A.J. Green, maybe Richard Samuel and you-hoped-someone-else might make a play,” Richt said. “Now, we’re like, you know what, Michael [Moore] can make plays and Tavarres [King] can make plays and Aron White made a great play and Orson [Charles].”
King, White and Charles caught touchdown passes against Arkansas, and Moore had six receptions for 91 yards. Plus, Green had seven catches for 137 yards and two TDs, and Samuel had an explosive 80-yard TD run, and Caleb King looked good, too.
“We’re starting to get a collection of playmakers,” Richt said. “Branden Smith [also] has come in and given us some punch. Now, we’ve got more options than we had, and we’re probably going to be a little more difficult to defend now that guys opposite A.J. are starting to make some plays for us.”
– A huuuuuge play late in Saturday’s game was Drew Butler’s 64-yard punt that backed the Razorbacks up to their 9-yard line with 5:25 to play and the Dogs ahead 49-41. For the night, Butler averaged 55.2 yards on four punts. For the season, his average of 54.5 leads the SEC by a wide margin. He has become what the coaches implored him to be: consistent.
“I’d say he’s got a tremendously strong focus right now,” Richt said. “I don’t think he had that when he was behind [Brian] Mimbs [last year]. It’s hard for a young guy . . . if [he's] second-team punter to have the focus you would if you’re the starter. But I’ve just seen a tremendous amount of difference in his mentality, his preparation, his focus, knowing that he’s the guy. We kind of put it on him that we need you to be a consistent performer, not just a guy who can do it five or six out of 10 times. And he took that to heart.”
And on one last perusal of Saturday night’s stats while flying back from Arkansas, these things jumped out:
– The Dogs and Hogs combined for 1,015 yards of offense –- plus 193 penalty yards.
– Ten touchdown passes in one game –- nine of them covering 18 yards or more, including four of 40 yards or more.
– Three Georgia turnovers in the first half -– and yet the Dogs led 27-21 at intermission.
– Arkansas in the first three quarters: 379 yards passing, 421 yards total offense, 38 points.
– Arkansas in the fourth quarter: 29 yards passing, 64 yards total offense, 3 points.