Sunday, October 22, 2006

Saturday Night Thoughts


GEORGIA. Hooray for surviving the threat from the worst team in the SEC. I was not at the game and so was relegated to listening to Larry on the radio. I have not seen any of this on video, so it is hard for me to critique with great specificity. However, a few issues are clear. Something is wrong with MoMass. Three drops is what I heard on the radio. Why? Elsewhere, two fumbles and three interceptions and most of them in our own territory. WTF? I know that Stafford is learning on the job and I have confidence that he will continue to grow and improve. But, I surely hops that he doesn’t have three picks next week. By the way, I think he should throw it away from Pegues. Next week, please know where Reggie Nelson is at all times!

I think we should applaud our handful of offensive linemen for having to take all of the reps everyday in practice and the game and still giving Stafford time to throw the ball and opening some holes for the runners. This has been 8 straight weeks of football with no breaks and no reserves to spell them in the games. That ain’t easy.

I will be in my seat at Alltel next Saturday and I will be hoping against hope that we play our first flawless game and catch the Gators with a bad case of butter fingers. Otherwise, I have little hope that we can keep it within three touchdowns. It hurts to say that, but I can’t imagine how our defense will stop them consistently or hold them under 31 points. More on this later.

CLEMSON. I was impressed with Clemson the first week of the season. Then they started losing starters and more starters and then lost to BC in an overtime game they should have won. Watching them tonight, I am still convinced that they are an outstanding team with some tremendous playmakers. Their defense has Reggie running scared and has rendered him impotent. He is throwing while back-pedaling on every throw.

CJ Spiller reminds me of Reggie Bush. Lightning in a bottle. James Davis is a stud as well. They have torched a fast and talented Tech defense. If Clemson can get Chansi Stuckey healthy for the stretch run, they should run the table. I am not sure where that will land them for a Bowl Game. They need BC to lose a conference game so they will make it to Jacksonville. I think this will happen. Clemson has certainly made a case that they should be considered alongside Texas, Florida, Auburn, Tennessee and Cal as the best on-loss team. I will certainly have them in my Top 10. Oh yeah, the Clemson cheerleaders are smokin’.

TEXAS. I saw most of the second half of this game. The weather was miserable and that surely impacted the ability to hold on to the ball. Texas was going to lose after a third down conversion by Nebraska with 2:14 remaining and only one timeout left. But… not so fast. After the receiver caught the ball beyond the first down marker, he was drilled by the Texas defender who made a great play to knock the ball out. Then, another Texas player recovered, giving Texas a short field to work with to maneuver into field goal range. A few plays later, as Texas was driving, their ball carrier fumbled and this would have lost the game for Texas, but… Texas recovered. Later, on third and goal with 30 seconds left, Texas trailing by 1, tried a fade into the corner that was primed to be picked off. But… the Texas receiver played defender and knocked the ball to the ground. Finally, Texas kicks the field goal to win by 2.

So, what is my point? Simply this… good-to-great teams make plays in the clutch. They cause the fumble and recover it. Or, they recover their own fumbles. Or they refuse to let the defender intercept the ball in the end zone. All of this with the game on the line. Notre Dame did it too. So did Cal. Auburn did it last week. Sometimes, a team needs some luck to win. However, many times, you make your own luck by giving the sufficient effort and refusing to fail. We have had teams with this quality lately, but this year’s group may not have it. Sure, we refused to lose to Colorado, Ole Miss and Miss St. But, come on… they are horrible teams. We need to have some of this mojo next week against Florida. Oh, and a shitload of luck.

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