Posted: 2:50 pm Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Georgia played its most complete game since 2007 

By Tony Barnhart

So what did we learn about the SEC in the first weekend of the 2014 season?

1. Georgia played its most complete football game since beating Auburn in 2007. I’m never comfortable with reading a lot into a first game — good or bad. But I do believe Georgia’s 45-21 victory against No. 16 Clemson was the most complete game I’ve seen a Georgia team play since the Bulldogs beat No. 18 Auburn 45-20 in the “black jersey” game of 2007.

With the score tied at 21 at the half, Georgia dominated all three phases of the game in the second half. The Bulldogs wore down Clemson with a withering running game (I said it before the game and I’ll say it again: a healthy Todd Gurley is the best running back in the country). The defense held Clemson to just 15 yards and just 22 plays with only one first down in the second half. The specials teams, which have been a weakness in recent years for Georgia, were a strength. Clemson had seven possessions in the second half starting at their 23, 6, 20, 8, 17, 19, and 25-yard lines. And Gurley returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.

It’s only one game and it doesn’t mean as much if Georgia loses at South Carolina on Sept. 13. But it was a good start.

2. We may have overrated South Carolina. Again, we don’t want too read to much into one game but it’s hard to ignore the 680 total yards Texas A&M rolled up in boat racing the Gamecocks 52-28. The defense never had a clue how to slow the Aggies and never put any pressure on quarterback Kenny Hill. The Gamecocks’ offense did OK despite the fact that RB Mike Davis was banged up. We’ll learn a lot more on Saturday when South Carolina hosts East Carolina and quarterback Shane Carden, who has a career completion percentage of 70.5 in the same kind of offense.

3. Because of Texas A&M, the SEC West just got a lot tougher. We made a bunch of assumptions about Texas A&M and life without Johnny Manziel. And those assumptions were wrong. That’s why coach Kevin Sumlin said in the post-game at Columbia that the Aggies are not “a one-trick pony.” This offense is scary good. It’s not just Hill pulling the trigger. It’s 6-5, 225 Ricky Seals-Jones at one wide receiver and freshman Speedy Noil at the other. It’s another great offensive line with probably another top five draft pick at left tackle (Cedric Ogbuehi). It’s a defense that was the worst in the SEC last season but whose young, talented players are growing up quickly. Two words: Myles Garrett.

Move over Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. The Aggies will have a lot to say about who wins the SEC West.

4.  Alabama is going to be just fine. Alabama beat West Virginia 33-23 at the Georgia Dome and here is what I saw: Blake Sims, who earned the quarterback job in practice, completed 24 of 33 passes for 250 yards. He ran for 42 yards. Alabama had two backs (T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry) surpass 100 yards. Alabama’s offense was balanced (250 pass, 288 run). Amari Cooper caught 12 passes for 130 yards. Kicker Adam Griffith, was 4-for-4 including three from 40-plus yards.

Yes, your defense gave up 365 yards passing to Clint Trickett but you knew you were going to be young in the secondary. And who coaches the secondary? Kirby Smart and Nick Saban.

5.  Gus Malzahn is right: Jeremy Johnson could be fabulous.  Brandon Marcello of AL.com reports that Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said this to Jeremy Johnson, who started at quarterback against Arkansas. “He said, ‘You’re a stud.’ I just took that for a good thing,” Johnson said.

It is a good thing. Johnson, starting in place of the suspended Nick Marshall, completed his first eight passes. He finished 12 of 16 for 243 yards. He gave way to Marshall in the second half but the statement had been made. With the throwing of Johnson, the sophomore from Montgomery, Auburn has yet another weapon in its pursuit of a second SEC title in a row. Marshall will remain the starter, but Johnson will play a bigger role this season.

 

86 comments
DawgVoiceofReason
DawgVoiceofReason

Tony,

We learned that Vandy has already fallen off the cliff with the departure of James Franklin.  Losing to Temple by 30 points puts them at or nears historical lows.  We will see if they can improve.  How can they not?

C-Kirk
C-Kirk

It is real important that the SEC teams continue to win all out of Conference games they can. This last week they were 8 - 1 . The teams at the end of the year can not let strength of schedule hurt them when determining Bowl matches .

LEE3333
LEE3333

If Ga Tech would hire someone like Auburn's OC, Rhett Lashlee or Clemson's OC, Chard Morris, the Jackets could be built into a contender.  With the stubbornness of Paul Johnson, that will not happen.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

How bad is Alabama

How good is UGA

How bad is Arkansas

How good is USCe

How bad is WVU

How bad is Clemson



3 or 4 more weeks then we will know


until then we know very little and that is double for the media...the first time Tony plays a snap will be the 1st time ever in his life! That holds true for 90% of the poster and 95% never played a down of college football.


one more thing...f auburn

TU
TU

UT's Worley had an impressive passing performance against their pesky Mountain West opponent. The D held the Aggies scoreless until the end of the game. The rubber will meet the road when they travel to Norman in two weeks and follow that with a trip to Athens.


kls82883
kls82883

Let the delusion by the most delusional fan base in America begin. UGAGGERS for Nat'l Title!!! Wait till the Gus Bus comes rolling in. WAR EAGLE, losers!

Armydawg
Armydawg

I was very pleased to see Ga Tech win also.  When a high powered team like the Wofford Terriers come to your house, its always good to get away with a close, hard fought win!

Getting_Older
Getting_Older

Let me start by saying I am a GT grad/fan.  But that display by UGA was one of the best I have seen.  All of the people on here who are saying "Typical UGA" are just fooling themselves.  With that depth at running back, Gurley will be able to limit his carries, stay fresh, and avoid injury.  Mason proved to be better than adequate.  UGA looks like the real deal.  With SC not looking so sharp, it looks like the east is a good possibility.  The west looks wide open.  Congrats to both A&M and LSU.  A&M looked as unbelievable as UGA, and I had already given up on LSU, and was surprised when I saw they ended up winning.

KeepinItSimple
KeepinItSimple

The Texas A& M offense is a farce.  More than half of those plays were WR screens.  Many of those screens had illegal picks or downfield blocking before the pass was completed(and no, they weren't backward passes so blocking before the catch is illegal .. especially on the defender covering the receiver).  


That being said, it would have been easy enough to stop as I have seen high school teams stop it.  Early on, simply run the inner defender through Oakland Raider style and pick 6.  You don't have to jam them or even get up close.  Float a safety over to help, and leave the outside DB in position.  If you want to make it tough to read, X the CB's and let the outside guy jump the route.  It's a risk, but if you even come close once or twice it throws the entire offense out of whack because they will be overly cautious running that play.  If you do pull off a pick six you can bet they go away from that for at least a few series and the game is changed.


Sitting back like SC did is a recipe for disaster.  Blitzing like SC did to try to get to the QB in time to beat a one second pass is also useless.  It was like that DC had never seen this before despite the fact A&M ran it quite a bit with Manziel. 

coondawg69
coondawg69

I wonder why GTBoob is not posting.......  oh, probably still scoring large at DragonCon.

Chuck_UGA
Chuck_UGA

Only blemish in this article is that Auburn played the worst team in the SEC West, possibly the worst team in the SEC period. Georgia and Alabama and Texas A&M will all defeat Auburn.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

After the Clemson game, some Dog Fans are thinking they need to cancel their reservations on Jan 1 in Orlando, they may need to make some in Tampa. Go dogs

VC80
VC80

Here is what I learned.  UGA is still UGA.  They get all gimpy and super excited over 1 game...against a team who lost half their team. There once was a day when UGA fans would make fun of Clemson you know...and now its a quality win.  I am sure they are assuming SC will be a breeze now, after that embarrassing performance against Texas AM.  I kept asking all summer long...why is SC so high?  Picked to win the east without Conner Shaw?  I didn't get that at all.  Goes to show you how weak the East is.  LSU is still king of pulling BS wins out of their arses, Alabama will lose 3 games, so funny that Coker kid didn't play.  I guess the second coming of Christ wasn't so holy in summer ball after all.  Why can't the "best coach" in college football and that genius Lane Kiffin who oversaw all those unbelievable USC offenses develop a QB, especially one that Jimbo Fisher calls the best backup in the nation and an NFL QB?  Joke.    


Auburn is the only championship type team.  AM is too young and will slip up.  Gurley will get hurt.  Dude is a freak I will give you that but I have seen this movie so many times throughout watching football for several decades.  Gurley is the kind of guy that just ran over everyone his whole life and never really had to work out.  His genetics and muscles are prone to injury.  He will be hurt again.  Auburn is the only team with enough depth to go the long run.  


They may not go undefeated or make the playoff, but they will certainly win the SEC.  

DawgVoiceofReason
DawgVoiceofReason

@LEE3333 PJ just needs the athletes to run his system.  Look what Malzhan (sp?) has done at Auburn running an even more basic offense but with SEC caliber talent.  PJ was very successful early on when he had a fairly stocked cupboard.  He just can't recruit.  Of course, he's stubborn.  He thinks he doesn't need to change because he's won everywhere else.

Terry1961
Terry1961

kls82883, It took Auburn 53 years to win their second National Championship, now you warturkeys think y’all are the greatest football program in college football, I wouldn’t call anyone delusional, its been 34 years for UGA, if UGA would win one this year, it would be shorter than those 53 years it took warturkey to win your second NC by 19 years, and that Gus Bus will be of no effect, once the refs start slowing down the pace of play, you could already see it happening in the games that were played this week, all the refs have to do is not put the ball down as fast, giving the defense the time they need to get set, Gus’s offense has nothing to do with coaching, it is only a verbiage system, used to wear down the opposing defense, by keeping them on the field longer, its the old, big man, little man trick, the little man runs around until the big man gets tired, because the little man knows he cannot go toe, to toe, with a big man.

Armydawg
Armydawg

@kls82883 As I said below, last year Auburn lived on miracles and convicts. This year the convicts are still there but the miracles will move on to another school.  Glad you were able to slip by Arkansas.

DawgVoiceofReason
DawgVoiceofReason

@KeepinItSimple You sound like you know what you are talking about, but then you don't.  The A&M offense is NOT a "farce".  They destroyed a solid USCe defense at home and you exaggerate greatly when you say "more than half the plays were WR screens".  If you see it that way, you are the only one.  If all of those plays were "illegal", don't you think one of the smartest minds in college football would have raised cain with the refs?

DawgVoiceofReason
DawgVoiceofReason

@Chuck_UGA Well, at this point, I would say Vandy is pretty clearly the worst team in the SEC.  You don't lose to Temple by 30 points in your opening game and have any claim to not being the worst team.  In fact, that was horrendous even by historical Vandy standards, which are very low, as you I'm sure know.

george231
george231

@Chuck_UGA  worst team in the sec?? ha ha ha. your so called worst team in the sec would beat 3 or 4 teams minimum in the pathetic sec east.

SEP-AU
SEP-AU

@Chuck_UGA  The blemish is not in the article.  The blemishes, and there  are dozens of them, yours being the silliest, are found in the comments section. 

JakeAU24
JakeAU24

@Chuck_UGA Based on UGA history, I would worry about my own team before Auburn......

Armydawg
Armydawg

@VC80 Auburn lived on miracles and convicts last year. This year they still have the convicts but the miracles will move on to other teams.

BrownDog
BrownDog

VC, there's a reason Coker didn't start, and it's the same reason he didn't play at FSU. He can't see the field. Neither can you.

DawgVoiceofReason
DawgVoiceofReason

@VC80 VC stands for "Very Confused", apparently.  You don't know what you're talking about, making up stuff as you go.  You think Auburn will win the SEC and not make the playoff? You haven't got the first clue.  You think Gurley doesn't "work out" and just runs over people, because?  You think Alabama will lose 3 games?   To who? 


When your system is clean of drugs, then you can try to respond.  Otherwise, please don't bother.

Chuck_UGA
Chuck_UGA

This is the single biggest display of stupidity in the history of AJC blogs. I mean, there isn't one logical point in this whole pointless drivel. I am dumber for having even read through this. I fell like I just cleaned a Waffle House bathroom on the side of I-85 South somewhere between Atlanta and Montgomery. Probably the dumbest statement ever is the one about Todd Gurley not working out. Man, you are in a category of stupid that Science was previously unaware of.

Gandolph
Gandolph

@VC80 All you got is opinion and they are like bellybuttons, everyone has one.  Check back on your post in December and see how absolutely wrong you are. Auburn will not have a shamrock up their arses this year.  If they get there, they will have to earn it and will have to get by some very good teams.

bigdoggie1
bigdoggie1

@VC80 "LSU is still king of pulling BS wins out of their arses..." Hey Kitty, UGA and 'Bama come to mind! You won't have the same luck you had last year! You sound as delusional as a 'Bama fan!

LEE3333
LEE3333

@Terry1961  IF you actually believe that, you are showing your lack of knowledge concerning football.

george231
george231

@Terry1961  ha ha ha this might be the dumbest most delusional, whining post I have ever read.  "once the refs starting slowing down pace of play"  you are so damn delusional. I am glad you have to try to get the refs involved to try to stop our offense. Why don't your get the poor pitiful dawgs in shape so they can keep up. It aint rocket science. Go shed your tears about the hurry up offense with brett bielama.

VC80
VC80

@Armydawg @VC80  I guess I have to spell it out for the sidewalk alums living in Bogart.  Obviously, if you played football at a high level you would know that black players in the skill positions are more prone to injury.  Their muscles and tendons are more succeptable to tearing and injury.  When I played, they used to have to take potassium pills and other medicine to stay healthy while the white players didnt.  It was hilarious, all the white guys would work out all summer long and the blacks would come in on max day and throw up crazy numbers barely working out.  This is how I see Gurley.  My personal opinion is he is one of those freaks...genetics do matter...please explain how Brett Favre or Manning or other players last so long, while other players always stay hurt?  Gurley has battled injuries his entire time at UGA, and I see it happening again.  Sue me.  One thing is for sure, if he does go down...you will be left with damn, that dude was right.  But in general, the SEC is down and that was a reason for my comments.  Auburn is the only team with the depth for the long haul.  If Hutson Mason went down what would UGA have?  Possibly a running game an average defense that is all.  Same goes for LSU and several other teams.  Alabama is obviously having trouble at the QB position.  I think they could lose to AM, Auburn, LSU, FL, and possibly an improved Tennesee.  I could see them losing 3 of those.  LSU obviously has issues and do not look as dominant if they have to claw their way to beat a slow big 10 team.  SC has no chance.  That QB will not lead them to anything and their defense was really struggling with missed tackles.


I think Auburn and UGA look the best right now and those two teams have the best chance, but I think by the end of the year that Auburn will have more depth and have more key players contributing.     


I think I am right.  You think you are right.  In case you haven't noticed there is no difference in that.  We will see.    

VC80
VC80

@DawgVoiceofReason   Hey smarty, ever heard of an SEC champion with two losses?  God you are stupid.  That's the difference between Auburn and UGA.  We don't assume we are going to win every game we play or the national championship every year like UGA does.  We certainly don't get excited when we beat Clemson either, as history proves that win or lose it is not a good indicator of how conference play will turn out.

george231
george231

@Gandolph @VC80  please enlighten us how auburn got so lucky last year. If you want to use your logic uga got incredibly lucky to beat UT and GT to squeak in with a  5 loss season.

DawgVoiceofReason
DawgVoiceofReason

@george231 @Terry1961  George, that's only because you obviously don't read your own posts.  If you did, then you would know yours are "the dumbest most delusional whining post[s]" ever.

Terry1961
Terry1961

George231, I believe UGA stayed with that simpleton offense last year, and that was with a beat up team, your right though, even a preschool kid could learn Warturkeys offense, because there’s no strategy. LOL, you are such a moron. Here’s another tissue.:)

george231
george231

@Armydawg @kls82883  thanks for your continued mediocrity and  not participating in a national championship in 34 years!

george231
george231

@Ihateorange @JakeAU24 @Chuck_UGA  That is the difference between UGA and al the other successful teams in the SEC. you fools have to hang your hats on being on a good streak against auburn for the last few years when everyone knows it is one of the most even played rivalries in all of college football. What do the dawgs have to show for themselves the last six years? Oh ya, nothing more than  a couple mediocre bowl wins. Congrats. Shoot for the stars!

DawgVoiceofReason
DawgVoiceofReason

@VC80 @DawgVoiceofReason 8 of the last 8 National Championship games have included at least 1 SEC team, with only two teams eligible.  To think the SEC champion, with 4 teams eligibile won't event make the playoffs is just ignorant and, again, shows how very confused you are.


Auburn vs Clemson isn't quite the rivalry that UGA vs Clemson is.  Thus there would be more excitement for UGA.   I never said that the win predicted anything.  You're just very confused.


I notice you didn't responds to my other comments.  You had no answer or were just very confused, VC.

LEE3333
LEE3333

@Terry1961  Did you not watch the first 3 quarters plus of that game last year?

george231
george231

@Terry1961  Dude. you might be the most idiotic human being I have ever communicated with.

george231
george231

@KeepOnSmilingWetWillie @george231 @Armydawg @kls82883 LOL before you start spewing garbage like that why don't you go look up some facts and get back with us. when was the last time Auburn as on probation? UGA? how many SEC teams have been on probation since the last time Auburn was?