Monday, September 10, 2012

What Mizzou showed me

First off, it has come to my attention that my Friday rant was not well received by some "other" SEC fans. So I put a lot of thought into this over the flight back yesterday and have come to this conclusion...oh well. Some people can't spell hyperbole, much less grasp its delicacies.

Second, the Mizzou fans couldn't have been any nicer. My wife never had to use a port-o-let because the fraternity across the street from where we were recognized the lack of them evidently and continuously offered to open their doors to us. That's just one example of how out-going and good-natured the campus, community and city were towards their guests from way down south.

In fact, they were almost too nice. It was as if they thought at any moment a Dawg fan could just open their handheld device and contact Commish Slive to rescind the offer. Of course, not that said handheld device would have a shot in hell of working in and around the Missouri campus...but hey, not everything there is up to SEC speed just yet. As the 4th quarter confirmed.

Speaking of which, here are some thoughts on the game.
  • Although we heard people leading up to the game make Hawaii Sugar Bowl type predictions, I think the growing consensus as kickoff approached was that it would be closely fought and would come down to a kick, late game execution, turnovers or some semblance of all three.
  • My lowest point was after the three and out to start the second half. Had this sinking feeling of never being able to rise above the "playing down to their level" attitude. It was Colorado 2.0.
  • And I think the fans (for both sides) sensed this as well. It was clear, especially once the game started, that Georgia had better overall talent, size and experience. As momentum constantly shifted back and forth the fans rose to the occasion time after time. I give Mizzou a lot of credit. They love football deeply and appreciated what they had in front of them.
  • But back on the Georgia side of things, the team wouldn't let up and the fans wouldn't either. In short, it was electricity defined and contained for 60 minutes of football.
  • DickSAMIV...just doing what he does. "Oh, you need me to stop a fake punt. On it coach!" That was clearly the moment that Georgia finally both took the momentum as well as refused to surrender it.
  • Couple things that especially impressed me. First, like I mentioned above there was this feeling that we would eventually relent late. The method of operation the last few years has been to wilt in the late going. Not Saturday. We got stronger and didn't snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. If this becomes a trend it would make a lot of Dawg fans happy in 2012.
  • Second, of course I was wrong about Richt "unsuspending" some players. Not a huge surprise. But the defense really didn't suffer because of it. Talk about Mizzou having a B1G offense all you want, they are legit. That quarterback is one of the most composed quarterbacks I've witnessed stand in the pocket. Pinkel has a well oiled machine and Grantham's boys didn't let a few missed starters get in the way of the business of slowing said machine down. If someone had told me we would only give up 20 points going into the game I would've been a lot less nervous about the outcome. I had visions of Franklin not only chopping up the secondary (which this team has the ability to do each and every week), but also running free. The second phase of Franklin's game never came to fruition thanks to Robinson, Herrera and Jarvis.
  • Rainbows and daisies aside, there were plenty of problems. Namely our freshman tackle and tailbacks jumping as soon as their defensive line shifted. This was a glitch that turned into a theme over the course of the game.
  • The secondary blew a coverage. Initially I assumed it was Bowman's assignment, but I noticed Grantham making a bee line towards the safeties as they came off the field.
  • There's been a lot of gnashing of teeth over the offense. Some of those points were handed to them on a platter, but overall I was pleased with the playcalling. Without some receiver drops and untimely penalties I think Bobo could've enjoyed one of his most productive games. To spread the field and go with an empty set on King's touchdown was a brilliant call. It was something Mizzou had yet to see and they clearly weren't sure how to attack it.
  • Overall, while it will be curious to see how things shake out for Missouri in the SEC I would be surprised if they manage better than 4th in the East. So while that would seem to dampen the outcome Saturday night just a bit I'm still much more optimistic having seen this Georgia team get back to doing something they are ALWAYS supposed to do - impose their will on the road in the 4th quarter.
Last note, shout out to Sheldon Robinson. Not only did he give the team and the fans a battle cry for the game, he also sought out Richt post-game to make sure there was no ill will. Upstanding young man. And after meeting so many nice Mizzou fans over the weekend I am not surprised in the least.
A moment both Georgia and Missouri fans can embrace. (via)