Sunday, September 12, 2010

Coach Grantham, please fix the tackling

I look at football a little differently than most, which is to say that my unrealistic expectations are different than the unrealistic expectations of many college football fans.

For example, I don't want Mike Bobo to overhaul his play-calling / be fired. I want Orson Charles to make that difficult catch on the 3 yard line during our first drive of the day, then fall forward for a touchdown. The guy's a stud, and studs make those catches, or else they should be playing outside linebacker.

I can't be mad at Coach Richt for not opening up the playbook for Aaron Murray, because I've wanted him to take it easy with the kid for the last six months. That's a hard thing to change in the second quarter in Columbia, though it probably would have cost us fewer time outs than whatever silliness we burned three on during the first 8 minutes of the third quarter.

And as good as Murray looked yesterday, and as exciting as that is for the rest of this season and beyond, you can't say the he didn't have chances to bring us back in the 4th quarter Saturday, specifically during a pair of drives that quickly ended with 3-and-outs.

I can't be mad about Washaun's fumble, because it was a real good strip, and a tough football play that just happened to come at a soul-crushing moment. I can wonder whether running into a parked car and missing the warm-up game is the best preparation for an SEC schedule.

For that matter, perhaps AJ Green should re-examine his decision-making matrix.

But I digress, because all of this isn't particularly relevant for me. You see, I like defense. I like safeties that make wide receivers wet themselves and defensive linemen with the thousand-yard crazy stare. I like referring to an opposing quarterback's mistake as "Touchdown, Georgia."

I like mashing people on special teams, running over personal protectors to block punts and guys named Brandon or Branden cracking the sound barrier on their way to endzones.

I like focus and performance in general, and that was lacking.

I think the more reasonable among us will agree that South Carolina has a better football team than Georgia. We probably have more speed, but we looked small yesterday. And I think we tricked ourselves into thinking Coach Grantham had a way to run the 3-4 with our current personnel without too many growing pains.

That hasn't happened, and clearly depth is a concern, because we did not substitute as expected. And for some reason we still can't tackle, which is disturbing despite an overall sense of optimism about this team. Like a rat gnawing on your subconscious, whispering "Maybe you didn't cut out all the cancer. Maybe it's growing again."

There is still a long season to go, and we've all seen a South Carolina loss end up as a missed opportunity in an otherwise very good season, as opposed to the first missed step that causes you to fall down the stairs and end up in the cellar.

But, boy, the way we lost that game Saturday.

Sure, we cleaned up the penalties, committing only four for 25 yards. That is progress. There are other things to be excited about, especially as Aaron Murray matures and throws on the money, instead of one step off it.

But the special teams were mediocre, and not because of directional kicking. And the defense. Good grief, the defense. Next Sunday it may be time to wonder whether we have the horses we need, particularly in the front seven other than Justin Houston, though the safeties didn't exactly acquit themselves well in Columbia.

Or we could just learn to tackle. Really, I don't care about anything else until we do that.


UGA69Dawg said...

As we saw and what most of us knew the 3-4 is weak on the inside if you do not have a Nose that can gum up the middle. We don't have one yet. We also have not been able to retrain our Willie/Jancek LBs to attack the damn gap. The combination of that plus a very good running back and zone blocking O line equals a fullback lead play that is going full speed into our ILB and a back who can destroy our midget DB's. Rambo looked bad yesterday because he was having to clean up the front 7's mess over and over again. He was out weighed by a runner with a full head of steam and good balance and technique. If our safeties are the fifth LB we better get bigger safeties. CTG is a coach he is not a miracle worker. What Willie/Jancek hath created will take a while to fix. In the mean time Bean Anderson better get good fast.

Lucid Idiocy said...

Agreed. But will it take a while as in "by the end of this season" or will it take a while as in "two recruiting classes and an overhaul for the strength and conditioning program?"

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly about the bad tackling! That is the one thing that absolutely drives me nuts about this team, and I was hoping Grantham would've addressed that this summer. Why can't they finish a tackle by wrapping up instead of just leading in with their shoulder and expecting one hit to bring someone down? Perhaps these guys all want to be like Thomas Davis (he's one of the few that can could get away with that style...I don't know; but, their lack of tackling skills stick out like a sore thumb. Drastic times call for drastic measures; a mini 'Junction Boys' camp experience is in order for these guys to make the point hit home...if they have to do nothing but form tackling drills for the entire week, I'm all for it! Enough is enough, there's no excuse for bad fundamentals at this level and certainly not at the University of Georgia.

Anonymous said...

Wow, let's say for grins we tackled better and only give up one touchdown. We still lose. 11 first downs and six points. If we want to continue to be embarassessed by our offense, keep bobo. We are kentucky.

Anonymous said...

All good pts, here are my concerns no.1 our players talk much better game than they play(so be quiet) no2.our nose guard DOES NOT WANT to play nose guard, he wants to play end. Lattimore said yesterday his center whipped our nose guard (same guy)he also said they were stronger ( yes we do need new strength coach) and the biggest concern is we have no arguement we have a bright football team.

Paul said...

Anybody who has played defensive football for more than five minutes has been taught the need (over and over) to wrap up on your tackles. Our guys mostly didn't even bother to stick out their arms and pretend they might be trying to get a hold of the ball carrier. That's lack of effort and poor discipline. It should earn you a spot on the bench. We can't blame Grantham for all of this and we may owe Willie an apology. I will be interested to see how both the staff and players respond this week.