Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Rose-Colored Glasses

I as I have said many times before, no matter the outcome people are going to complain. Tech struggles in the first half against Jax State before pulling ahead in the second, thanks to several turnovers. Fans forget they were still getting over a tough game just a few days before against Tennessee. A month from now people will forget the details and just remember that they won.
Same with Georgia. Dawgs went to South Bend with a true freshman QB starting his first game and came out on top. Sure there were lots of penalties, with is par for the course for any Notre Dame opponent. Rodrigo missed a field goal, but hit the one that mattered. Only the final score mattered.
Auburn fans were quick to forget they were playing the defending national champs. They only surrendered two touchdowns to a potent offense, and their offense moved the ball all day against one of the toughest defenses in the country. No shame in losing a close game at Clemson at night.

Last year the Falcons went to the Super Bowl because they got hot late in the season. They lost their first game at home to a division opponent. They opened 4-3 and were 7-5 before winning six straight to reach the Super Bowl. They aren’t going to blow out every opponent. Just getting a road win in week one is good enough. There’s plenty of time to work out the kinks.

My rosy outlook is why I’d never make it as a sportswriter or on sports talk radio. The only way I’d ever stir up the masses is because nobody would agree with me. But the AJC’s Dave O’Brien is the same way, going as far as arguing with fans for making ignorant statements. Some say a particular pitcher should’ve been called up back in June, and DOB will point out that guy had a 6.00 ERA in June – before he got hurt.

Fans have long forgotten that the Braves are still in the middle of a rebuild. Several regulars lost time to injury: Freeman, Kemp, Markakis, Carmargo, Flowers, and Garcia. Bartolo was bust. Teheran struggled. Even so the team had a .500 record before calling up a cast of rookies to see how they’d do. Half the fans had been clammering for that all year – then they started complaining when more games were lost than won. For the most part the rookies have done well: Albies, Carmargo, Fried, Newcomb, Sims, Sam Freeman, Gohara, Ruiz, Lane Adams. Four rookie starting pitchers have been called up to go with Folty, and there are more waiting in the wings in case these don’t work out. RA Dickey has been solid, and may be back. Fans forget how long it took to rebuild the Astros and Cubs, and how Glavine and Smoltz struggled before 1991. The Braves are building a solid core.    

I do agree with many that UGA’s offensive coordinator’s play-calling is perplexing. Yesterday I read an AJC article talking about all the various formations they threw at Notre Dame. It’s the actual play calls that drive me crazy. I’m usually not a fan of the wildcat formation, because the opposing defense usually defends stops the run.

When the QB takes the snap, turns around, holds out the ball, and retreats five yards to the waiting running back, who been standing still waiting on the ball – by then the defense has penetrated, making it almost impossible for the back to gain even one yard. Clemson does the same thing. Paul Johnson’s fullback dive works so well because the back hits the hole so quick. Saturday Georgia had success with the same play.
Another slow developing play I hate is the end around / double reverse. Usually gets thrown for a loss. The only time it works is when they run it fast.
When Kent State played Clemson and App State played UGA, the severe underdogs only chance was to play a perfect game. But what do they do? Get penalized for too much time, late hits, offsides, and other dumb things. Fumbles and poor punts. They bite themselves in the foot. This past weekend several early timeouts had to be called by Tech, Georgia, and Clemson. All had inexperienced QB’s.
Good move by Kirby last Friday to give Rodrigo Blankenship a scholarship so the kicker wouldn’t have one more thing to worry about in South Bend. Rodrigo has been consistent from close in, but inconsistent from far away. Maybe he can get several tries this week. I think last year Blankenship was told to kick high so the opponent would have to return the kick. This year they’re letting him kick deep more often.
Too bad Rodrigo didn’t transfer to Tech. The Jackets still have a problem. Number 88 missed an extra point, then almost missed after the next TD. Two kicks to the far right with no adjustment. It’s one thing to miss left then right, but don’t miss them all the same way. I guess the backup kicker isn’t much better. I may have to come out of retirement.

Last Saturday Tech’s freshman punter nailed another one inside the 20 – after faking a run.
Big Pressley Harvin III will be fun to watch.
Interesting that as soon as Harvin arrived at Tech he went from a stubby 6'0" 240 lb to a slender 6'1" 239 lb. Nice try.  
UGA’s new punter is an improvement over backup QB Bryce Ramsey. He is a graduate transfer from Colgate, who led the Ivy League in punting.
I haven’t minded Paul Johnson calling so many pass plays, since Marshall is a decent passer – and he moves around well in the pocket and knows when to tuck the ball away and avoid the rush. I’d like to think the Tech defense is improved, but it will probably be another year of the Jacket offense having to outscore the other team.

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