Before I begin, I give a big thanks to the UGA fans I chatted with before and after the game. Great people, great hospitality. Many of them thanked us for coming to their state to support our team, many of them came up after the game and told us we had the better team, etc. It takes a lot of class to do that. I did not receive that kind of hospitality from the Va- Tech fans…..
Offensive line- After watching the game on TiVo and in person, it was evident who was in shape and who wasn’t. Our line was out sized all the way across. We had a few different people in the o-line mix and they all came to play. No holding penalties, no sacks, and over 100 yards rushing. Nate Potter, Joe Kellog, Spencer Gerke, Thomas Bird, Matt Paradis, Jake Broyels, Charles Leno and Brenel Meyers all came to play. Our big boys deserve all the credit. They faced much bigger men then they have faced, granted it was a 3-4, but UGA was bringing lots of pressure late and our O-line handled it well. I was very impressed. Good job big men.
Running backs- Early on the yards were hard to come by, but Doug Martin fought for every yard and refused to go down on first contact. He displayed his speed and power often to the UGA defense by hitting the hole, breaking tackles, stiff arms, and juking the defenders. D.J. Harper was held out longer than I expected but his contributions were vital to our 2nd half running attack. He hit the holes well, also broke tackles and ran well out of the Wild Cat formation. Our backs looked great, even Harper got time at full back with Dan Paul out with an injury. Credit goes to Gabe Linehan for stepping up and doing his best to open some holes.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- A lot of question this off season was about our WR corps. No, we don’t have a deep threat… yet, but our coaching staff proved why we can still win ball games with the young, tall, talent we have. Matt Miller had great hands, Mitch Burroughs provided some good yardage and speed through the middle of the field. Kyle Efaw and Gabe Linehan were as good as we could have asked them to be with 9 catches and 92 yards between them. We only had one drop, which can be credited to the UGA defender that made a good hit on Tyler Shoemaker. Moore hit 9 different receivers in this game, which in my opinion sets a trend for this season- spreading the wealth…..
Quarterbacks- The Sandwich man was at it again. Getting off to a slow start at the first of the game, he settled into a groove. Moore took what the defense gave him, which was usually 6-8 yard completions in the flats, or over the middle. He eventually found holes in UGA’s cover 2 zone , the holes usually over the middle behind the linebackers. At half time, our coaches saw damage could be done in the flats, and we came out gunning in the 3rd quarter. Moore engineered a perfect drive, finding the flats over and over again. Moore was 7-7 on the opening drive of the 3rd quarter and showed why he is one of the best quarterback in D-1 football by taking what was available and not rushing things. Moore was flawless in the no-huddle offense and seemed to be most comfortable when we ran it. Moore finished with 28-34, 261 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Grant Hedrick provided great speed and good decision making as our Wild Cat QB.
Defensive line- Our defensive line was faster, more experienced, and made the difference for us in this game. They allowed us to not have to put 7 and 8 men in the box to stop the UGA running attack. As usual, we saw a lot of players rotated in and out of the defensive line. Aside from our starters, we saw a lot of Jarrell Root, Michael Atkinson, and Tyler Horn. The defensive line sacked Murray 6 times and by deep in the game it was clear who was more physical, more conditioned, and was more hungry. Our coaches mixed in different looks, at times using 3, 4, and 5 lineman. At times the line was all standing and rotating, and at times Shea McClellin or Jarrell Root was dropped into coverage. The looks helped give confusion and not let UGA front get into a rhythm.
Line Backers- Not a lot to mention here. We could have done a better job jamming Orson Charles at the line of scrimmage, but our linebackers did what they could and filled the holes well. We did see a lot of bodies, Byron Hout, Aaron Tevis, J.C. Percy, Tommy Smith, and Blake Renaud.
Defensive Backs- This was great at times, and not so great. Jerrell Gavins made some great plays in the passing game, but he needed to act more quickly on the touchdown run by Brandon Boykin. We have some issues at the safety position. Ioane got the start for the suspended Febis and was pulled in the 2nd half for Travis Stanaway. The touchdown pass to Orson Charles was a blown coverage by our safety. The safety should have given help sooner over the top.
Special Teams- Huge. Brad Elkin did a phenomenal job. He pinned the Bulldogs time and time again with his punts. Our kickoff coverage was spectacular barring one run by Burton to mid field. Punt return coverage was great. I like that we came out the first two or three times in a different look this year for punt. It gave the UGA something new to see, and I am sure made coach Richt a bit uneasy. Give Coach Choate much credit for having our special teams prepared for this and having a great game plan.
Wrap up. UGA is a bit better than they realize. They have the athletes; I think they need new coaches. They are predominantly a play action, rollout team but it seemed as if Coach Richt wasn’t sure what exactly to do. He used some drop back, rollouts, and play action, but was also using the spread running attack and neither one was giving him consistent results. Boise knew what was working and they stuck to it. There was no question who was more conditioned for this game. By the late 3rd quarter our big guys on both sides of the ball had control, and their receivers dropped (if I am correct) 4 passes. And the great Jerry Rice said that the biggest thing that causes dropped passes is, you are tired. That is why after practices he ran wind sprints, ran hills, went jogging, ran with the parachute on his back is because he did not want to drop passes, especially late in the game with the game on the line. I think UGA has a ways to go in their strength and conditioning. There is no question who the better coaching staff was that day. We have Toledo on the road in two weeks, one game at a time.
P.S.- can anyone post the post game video? Especially the trophy presentation… I didn’t get to hear anything that Coach Pete said about the game and about our fans….. Thanks Nugies.