Halftime analysis: Seven thoughts

semerson@macon.comNovember 17, 2012 

ATHENS - Here's what I have to say as Georgia leads Georgia Southern, 17-7, at the break.

1. Yes, it's not a blowout, but if you were expecting it to be you were probably being unrealistic. The triple-option is just that way. Look at all the trouble South Carolina is having with Wofford today: It's still tied at seven as I type this. That said, the Bulldogs have to be thrilled with the turn things took in the final minute: A chop-block call took GSU from a first down inside the 5, to trying a field goal that missed. Then Georgia took it downfield and scored. That may be adequate breathing room, the way this game is slogging along.

2. As far as evaluating the defense, you kind of throw this game out, other than evaluating how it might do against Georgia Tech. But there are some mixed signs on offense, where the line has yielded two sacks to Georgia Southern. The blocking in general hasn't been great, with the tailbacks not getting many holes.

3. Defensive adjustments for the triple-option: At cornerback Damian Swann got the start over Branden Smith, who spent the first drive with his helmet off. Swann is a little bit bigger than Smith, which Todd Grantham prefers anyway, but particularly this week it means more playing time for Swann. At linebacker, Christian Robinson over Mike Gilliard and Amarlo Herrera. Robinson has a lot of experience against the triple option. And no, Josh Harvey-Clemons hasn't played yet.

4. The key to stopping the triple-option, in a macro sense, is holding the offense on first down. That puts a run-dominated offense in a hole. Of course GSU helped Georgia on the second drive, which had reached the Georgia 30, by calling the team's first pass, and the quarterback just dropped the ball. Garrison Smith recovered, helping Georgia immensely at a point GSU had some momentum.

5. The first half featured a play you don't see much: When Georgia's Marshall Morgan was short on a 51-yard field goal attempt, Georgia Southern had a man under the uprights. That player, Darreion Robinson, caught it in the air, hesitated, then ran it down the right sideline. Morgan made the tackle - in fact Morgan at one point was tied for the team lead in tackles, with two.

6. Todd Grantham was attempting to teach his players stuff during the timeout, but a lot of his guys were watching the video board, where UGA fans in the armed forces were shooting things. Throughout the game they've been showing video messages from UGA fans serving in Afghanistan, and it's been pretty cool.

7. If Georgia Southern weren't an in-state school, there's no way UGA would schedule this game, and it shouldn't. Playing against this offense is just that much of a headache. And the Bulldogs get to do it again next week!

Follow Seth Emerson at @sethemerson.

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