06 October 2010
Somebody posted a message on Bamaonline saying something like: "If they had converted that early TD, and if Mosley doesn't run that TD back, this is a close game." Well, yeah, maybe, if that and a whole bunch more weird crap had happened.
But if there's no weird crap? We beat that team like a drum every time. They weren't good enough to be on the field with us, and after we stopped their first drive, it was pretty obvious they knew it.
We didn't see a whole bunch of that business of wide receivers running free in our secondary on Saturday night. How much of that is due to the maturation of our talented young defensive backs is hard to say because, unlike what had happened in previous games, Brantley was under pressure all night long.
Perhaps Florida just has an inferior offensive line, although with their recruiting rankings over the last few years that is not the first explanation that comes to mind. The first explanation is that this was the first game we have seen a relatively healthy Marcell Dareus, and perhaps even more importantly, a healthy Courtney Upshaw. Florida had no answer for those guys, and they changed the character of the game.
Upshaw, in particular, had a dominant game, and deserves the weekly honors he has picked up.
I've been asking for some more C.J. Mosley. We got it, and it was good, and I don't think we'll be going back to less C.J. Mosley as long as the young fella stays healthy.
At different times during this season, I have kept changing my mind about who is our best linebacker: is it Dont'a Hightower? Is it Nico Johnson? Really, I think the best answer is that all three guys are good, and none of them are well-separated from the other two - but the guy whose name comes up the most often for me in that context is C.J. Mosley. This fellow does it all, run D and apparently some truly outstanding pass D. True freshman or not, he is getting the best results per minute of play of all our ‘backers.
We saw some good stuff from the DBs, too. Dre Kirkpatrick treated us to a nice exhibition of his superb body-control on his pick. Most DBs wouldn't have been able to make that super-quick burst on the ball and quickly twist their bodies to the right to get their hands on it, as Dre did, but what really separates him is that he was so under control as he did it that he was immediately able to adjust back to the left and snatch the ball out of the air before it fell to the ground. That was an amazing play that few people I have ever watched at this game could make.
Menzie is exactly what you hope for from a juco signee, i.e., ready to step right in and play quality Div. IA ball. And when Saban stuck with Milliner after the two straight penalties, he was rewarded with a special stop on a run blitz when the freshman managed to trip up a Florida back behind the line despite being blatantly clipped as he went in.
As for our red zone D? No need to say anything, just run the numbers:
2010 Florida red zone offense, first four games: 15 possessions = 14 touchdowns and 1 field goal = 6.6 points per red-zone possession.
2010 Florida red zone offense, fifth game : 4 possessions = 0 touchdowns and 1 field goal = 0.75 points per red-zone possession.
Along with our improved defense, there may be another explanation for Florida's inability to munch the field against us the way Ryan Mallet and Arkansas did, namely this: that was Bobby Petrino and this was Urban Meyer. Petrino is known for engineering passing attacks, and his schemes may be a large part of the reason so many Arkansas receivers kept getting open throughout the game.
Meyer, on the other hand, appears to be in the process of being exposed as a guy who can run one scheme and one scheme only, and who has no answer when his players don't match the scheme he has in mind. 2010 Florida has a quarterback who can't run the option and a center who is disastrous at shotgun snaps - but they're running the option out of the shotgun.
With the current personnel and the current scheme, Florida is not a championship team, I don't care how many Rivals/Scouts star totals they can boast. And if Meyer is being exposed, and Pete Carroll has beat feet in the dead of night to avoid the disaster he created himself, that leaves one fellow undisputably on top of the college football coaching world. It's the same dude who is coaching the top program in college football. You know who he is.
As for our offense, clearly it was effective early on before going into a shell. Even early on, though, I was struck by how limited our passing attack was. I don't recall a single pass more than 15 yards downfield all night, and there were only a couple of those, both inaccurate.
I have to think McElroy was hurting more than we let on, and wasn't ready to execute the part of the game plan that usually calls for us to throw deep and loosen up the defense. As a result, our running game had trouble getting untracked, and the passing game was extremely limited. McElroy is not at his best on quick stand-up throws where he hasn't had time to get his feet set, so we were pretty much limited to slow-developing screens and flat passes.
That may have something to do with why we were so painfully conservative inside the ten yard-line, where we found ourselves a few times. Normally, I hate going in a shell inside the ten - at least once you get past the four or so, and therefore give your punter full room to drop back - because you are pretty much guaranteeing giving the other team the ball in or near field-goal position. But if we didn't trust our QB to air it out, that changes matters, especially when you're sitting on a lead.
If McElroy was really that limited, though, it makes you wonder how much trust the coaches really have in McCarron. On the other hand, the game was a beatdown of a physically inferior team, so it's just possible the coaches figured all along that is what would happen, and simply wanted to play it safe with the veteran. That's pretty much what we did in the BCS Championship Game, where McElroy was obviously not healthy.
Around College Football
Oregon has to be #2 now. It's hard not to say Stanford is a pretty good team, but the Ducks have been amazing in the second half early in 2010. It would be a shame if the season ended now, because they would get the joy of playing Boise St. in the Consolation Bowl, while we became Yet Another SEC Team Fattening Up On Ohio State in the championship game.
Looking forward to seeing Denard ("Tecmo Bowl stat line") Robinson against a real defense. Or at least realer than what he has seen so far. Yeah, he's the leading Heisman candidate, but you've gotta be curious how that is going to hold up once reality hits. Also, bear in mind that the dude has been banged up in every game. Chances are the insane stats are not going to keep going.
The last time that neither Texas, USC, Notre Dame, or Penn St. were ranked in the AP poll was November 1960. Minnesota, Ole Miss, Iowa, Navy & Missouri were the top 5 that year. Duke finished in the top ten, and Yale finished #14.
--You may not be a big believer in Boise St. or TCU, but it's hard to argue that they shouldn't be ranked where they are. Maybe you could make a case for Nebraska, but no other team has been impressive once you get past the top 5.
All the words have been said about the end of the LSU-Tennessee game. But you have to really hand it to Derek Dooley and his staff for screwing up a wet dream. Their ineptitude was not as absolutely brilliant as Les Miles' - really, how do you call a run play with 32 seconds left and no timeouts, with the game on the line, and then have no idea what you're going to do next - but they came through when it counted.
It was just the icing on the ineptitude cake that the Vols had, not 12, but 13 defenders on the field for the last play, when 4 or 5 would've done the job.--
This week will be the first time since 1906 that Georgia and Tennessee have met and neither team had a winning record. Neither team is even close, and it would be surprising if either team finished with a winning record.
Classic trap game this weekend. Coming off two tough games in a row and on the road against a tough foe who is probably a bit underrated. If we get off to a fast start we can convince these guys they can't play with us, like we did to Florida. But if we don't, this could be a doozie.