The Plays Not Had

October 15, 2018
4,035

ATHENS - All you have to do is watch the first quarter of Georgia’s loss to LSU to realize how much of this season can go right… if only this team will execute - specially on offense. 

Georgia pushed LSU around the entire first quarter, but after it ended the Bulldogs were down 3-0 rather than up 10-3 or 14-3. 

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The plays were there to be had - Georgia simply didn’t make them. LSU deserved to win. It played a better four quarters than Georgia. The Bulldogs, as it turns out, lost the game in the first 15 minutes. 

That the Bulldogs gave up on the run game (actually it should have been called the gash game the way the Dawgs were punishing the Tigers on the ground) is completely inexcusable and totally on the coaching staff. 

 

In the first quarter UGA running backs had runs of 28 (called back for penalty), 18, 17, 12, 9, 7, 3, 2, 1 and 0. 

Jake Fromm missed a certain touchdown throw twice on two different drives - one a wide open Terry Gowdin; another Mecole Hardman with a three-yard head start on a defender. That can't happen. 

Even the fake FG was there for what appeared to be a certain touchdown. Go back and watch… the LSU defender rushed the kick, and turned back to sprint outside to force Rodrigo Blankenship inside. Had that not happened - he gets pushed at all on the line or get tripped up in any way - Blankenship can either throw the ball to Charlie Woerner or walk into the end zone.

These are the things that determine games. Even a made 31-yard FG to tie the game up early in the first make a huge difference later in the game. 

But those things didn’t happen, and the what-if game is always a dangerous one. My point after watching the game on CBS is that Georgia was hardly manhandled. Georgia’s defense did all it could do for three quarters while the offense didn't take advantage of what was there. 

This was Jake Fromm’s worst game as a Bulldog. He made bad throws. He made incorrect decisions. He held the ball too long too often. He just didn’t play well. His offensive line did its part. The run game was averaging 4.8 yards a carry in the first half, and no sacks had been given up. 

Those are perfectly good offensive metrics.

Having watched this program closely since Kirby arrived, and many of you have, its pretty easy to see that the run game is the reason why these Dawgs win or lose - both on offense and defense. Leaning on the quarterback to make plays is not something that Georgia is designed for. That style of play isn’t what UGA is, and to put Fromm in that position isn’t ideal. 

That’s not his game, and it isn’t Georgia’s either. 

This was a game that was lost because of a lack of execution in the first quarter. You can take that any way you would like - a reason to panic, or something to help calm your nerves. So much of life and sports is about execution. 

And for so much of the time Kirby has been around UGA has executed. Most of the time the execution on the field hasn’t really been spectacular - it has just been efficient. So much so that in the last 21 games, the Bulldogs have beaten 17 teams by double digits - including six of seven games this fall. 

This was, for sure, one of the most challenging environments to play in. But the game itself was  what we call an outlier. Even against other ranked teams (Notre Dame, Mississippi State, Auburn (SECCG), Oklahoma, Alabama and South Carolina) Georgia didn’t play like this. 

The only other time was at No. 10 Auburn last year. Lessons were learned after that game - will that be the case again this year as well?

 

 
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