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


A third of the way into the season the Dawgs are 4-0 (2-0) with an off week, followed by a trip to Knoxville. It hasn't always been pretty, but I'd take that situation any day of the week. If we intend to challenge for a spot in Atlanta in December we need to improve in many areas, but there are a lot of things that we've done well so far. Here's my report card for the season so far:


Quarterbacks: It's hard to complain too much about the play of Shockley. He's had two great games and two average games. I could sit here and nit pick about how he should have been more accurate last week on a few of those passes, he should have gotten 6 when in the red zone and he should have played better against South Carolina. BUT, he is a first year starter and he's 4-0. He has demonstrated great leadership and has not tried to force the issue as much as I was afraid he might. I have to drop the grade a little because Joe T and Blake haven't had the opportunity to play as much as I would have liked. With La-Monroe and Miss State I was hoping that DJ would play the first series in the 3rd, then hand over the reigns. We didn't take care of business like we should have, and that couldn't happen. Grade: B

Running Backs: These guys are incredible. They weren't too impressive last week, but let's give credit where credit is due. Mississippi State doesn't do many things well, but stopping the run is one of those things. Thomas Brown is Warrick Dunn reincarnate. Brown gets a little banged up and Ware steps up and rushes for 100+. Lumpkin has shown flashes of his former self (did you see the lick he put on one of those Miss State linebackers???). This, not to mention, the great receivers that all these guys are coming out of the backfield, as well as, lining up outside. Southerland and Milton have played great at fullback. Grade: A+

Receivers: I would be very happy if 12 guys had a catch in each game for the rest of the season. There is enough talent (and no proven "go-to" guys) that there is no reason not to rotate these guys the entire game. This keeps fresh legs on the field and also gives everyone the opportunity to step up and become that "go-to" guy. There have been more drops than I'd like, of course I'd like there to be none, so that may be a little unfair. But there have been a few pretty impressive circus catches (thanks Mr. Massaquoi). The tight ends have been spectacular and they bring the rating up a little. Grade: B-

Offensive Line: These guys are every bit as good as they were hyped up to be. They gave up 3 sacks last week, but the protection overall has been very impressive. More impressive than the protection, has been the monster truck-size holes the running backs have had to run through. Again, Miss State stuffs the run, that's what they do, so don't let that game skew your opinion of the run blocking capabilities of this group. These guys are a big reason the running backs get that A+ grade. Grade: A


Defensive Line: Depth was somewhat of a concern here before the season, but that seems to have faded with the outstanding play of some of the younger guys. Anderson and Golston are rocks there in the middle stuffing the run. Gant, Swain and Owens have proven to be solid contributors providing that much needed quality depth. Thompson, Moses and Johnson are all three All-SEC caliber ends, and they're proving it. Lomax and Howard have also been very capable backups. Grade: A

Linebackers: This is where I had the greatest concern entering the season. I have 100% confidence in the talent at this position, but I was, and still am, extremely concerned about depth. We dodged a bullet with Jarvis being able to come back so fast from injury. Overall, I'd say this group has played pretty well. I wish Miller and Ellerbe were playing a little better, but they are young and soon their experience will catch up to their talent and they should be great. Taylor is a rock in the middle and Verdun-Wheeler has played well. Grade: B+

Secondary: This group hasn't really been tested yet. If Zabransky, Blake Mitchell, La-Monroe QB, or Omarr Conner had performed well against our DBs then I would be really be concerned. Blue is continuing the recent tradition of stellar safeties at UGA, and Tra Battle plays with the most heart since Mr. Smart was roaming the defensive backfield at Sanford. The picks are great and Oliver is starting to realize some of his potential. Grade: A

Well, those grades are all pretty high, but what else would you expect from an avid UGA fan, not to mention, a 4-0 team. Overall on offense, I'd say we are in the A- range. The red zone struggles are not fun, but the offense has been pretty impressive overall so far (especially in its versatility). Overall on defense, I'd say we are an A. 11.25 points per game is not too shabby. Especially when you consider that if you take out points in mop up time, it's more like 8 per game. Overall special teams, I'm thinking like a B. Ely-Kelso has been outstanding, and Coutu has been good. Those long kicks last weekend were Vinateri-ish in that wind. Flowers has been okay, but he needs to hang onto that football. Kick-off returns and coverage could be better.

Okay, this has been a long article, but I still need to get in my weekly top ten:

Week 4:

1. USC (3-0) - Go Sun Devils!!

2. Texas (3-0) - Young for Heisman.

3. Virginia Tech (4-0) - Wow. I predicted a win against Yech, but that was impressive.

4. Florida (4-0) - Winning at Tuscaloosa will not be easy.

5. Georgia (4-0) - Red zone struggles again??! Well, at least now, Richt is hot about it. Hopefully the week off will give us time to figure out how to get those last 20 yards.

6. Florida State (3-0) - Defense - Wow. Offense - Blows.

7. Ohio State (3-1) - Okay. Okay. I guess they are this high. Still not totally sold though.

8. Tennessee (2-1) - Hopefully they fall after we take care of business, but coming back like that IN BATON ROUGE has to count for something, scratch that, has to count for a lot.

9. Alabama (4-0) - Yeah, I know, Arkansas hung around, but the Gators get punched in the mouth this weekend. Bama escapes with a 20-16 victory.

10. _________ State (Michigan/Arizona) (4-0/3-1) - I can't make a decision, so I call this one a tie. After the first half last night, Arizona State was solidly in this spot, but Mr. Clausen and Mr. Riggs changed that. Michigan State loses this weekend, but they can be here for the present time.