Bama (Natl Champ)
Alabama Crimson Tide (National Championship)
L, 23-26


I guess I'm stating the obvious here when I say that Saturday night was a HUGE disappointment. Of course, I had been predicting a win, so I'm happy to eat a large helping of crow with a double-order of humble pie. But, losing the game wasn't all that surprising - let's give Boise State a little credit here - it's how we lost that has me so upset.

Crying HaydenOne of the primary sources of my optimism for this season centered around the changes in strength and conditioning. It had been clear for a while that we were highly deficient in this area, so news that we were totally revamping the program this offseason was music to my ears. Couple that with the drive-blocking techniques brought in by Coach Friend, and I was completely convinced we'd have no trouble running the football. Beyond that, we had a HUGE size advantage against Boise, so I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt we'd be able to impose our will on the ground. WRONG Watching our continued ineptitude trying to rush the football was painful. Crowell showed promise, but finding a hole seemed as hard as finding a sober UGA fan Saturday night. This used to be Tailback U where we could walk across the sideline, tell the opposing coach we were about to run a toss sweep, then run it anyway for a gain of 6 yards. Coach Friend and Coach Tereshinski still have a lot of work to do.

And the defense....oh, the defense - another source of my optimism that crashed and burned. I've written a couple times over the summer about how this team will go as far as the defense goes, and how much improved we should be in year 2 of Grantham's 3-4 scheme. Well, Boise State is a fantastic offensive football team, but I still can't understand how they could carve us up to the tune of 35 points. We had hands on hips and cramps all night long - additional signs that the S&C changes have not been as successful as we'd hoped. Losing Ogletree was a huge blow, but why on earth are Gilliard and Herrera not ready to roll? Jeremy Sulek filled in admirably, but there is absolutely no way the 2nd team middle linebacker at UGA should be a walk-on. Sorry. Shouldn't happen. The tackling was no better than in recent years, which just absolutely blows my mind. We had guys in a position to make a play many times, only to have the ball carrier spin away from over-pursuit or run through an arm-tackle. And where's the pressure? I thought the 3-4 was all about pressuring the quarterback, yet Moore wasn't sacked at all and only hit a couple times. Another 30+ points given up, and it could have easily been 40+.

Look, I refuse to allow myself to be the knee jerk fan that wants everyone fired after a loss to the #5 team in the nation, but I can't say my optimism for Richt's administration didn't take a hit this weekend. I'm still extremely hopeful that everything will be as I'd hoped and that this was simply us running into an immensely talented, underrated team looking to prove a point. Hopeful, but not optimistic - not after watching a performance that looked painfully similar to those produced by the 2010 team. I'll be in Athens for the showdown versus South Carolina this coming weekend, and I'll be cheering for my Dogs just like I always have and always will. Unfortunately, I'll be cheering scared, scared to death that Lattimore or Jeffery are about to take another one to the house.

By the way, for those who enjoy torture, stats for the Boise State game are up.