I have a confession...I fired Dan Mullen tonight. Twice. It’s not like it wasn’t merited. Lord how we looked so unprepared, falling behind on the Dawgs first play of the game, a 75 yard TD run by Garrison Hearst, er, Zeus White, then following that up with a quick three and out. And a failed 4th and nine late when a field goal would have been quite nice. What the hell, Dan? Ultimately, I rehired him. Twice. A 24 point outburst in the second quarter that gave us a 38-21 lead at the half and a win over a bitter rival, ending a three game slide in the series, will give pause for reconsideration. Besides, I wouldn’t want to hand Todd the car keys. So, Dan is still our man and I’ve got to give him credit for his 44-28 “masterpiece.” More Pollock than Rembrandt, however . The real artist on the night was Kyle Trask. 30/43 for 474, that eclipsed his previous high, with 4 TD passes was pretty special. If there was a criticism it was that he probably could have thrown for over 500 with at least one more score. Still, his night was worthy of the Heisman consideration he’s received. But more importantly, and it can’t be overstated, he beat the Dawgs! Should be enough to put him on the cover of the latest edition of Whipped Puppy, which is praise enough at this juncture of the season. Hell, any season! *Defensively, I wouldn’t say it was pretty by any means. If it wasn’t for the UGA quarterbacks’ lack of accuracy on several long balls, our secondary, and most likely our collective Gator @sses, would have been lit up like Portland during a peaceful protest. Our safeties were bad. Any hope of improvement generated against Mizzou last week went up in a puff of smoke when the Dawgs #2 guy threw a TD strike right between Davis and what’s his name (T. Johnson, maybe?). The 112 yards we “held” UGA to was more on them than anything we did. However, we won, had some picks, and tackling overall didn’t look as bad as it has in previous games. *As rough as I was on Dan earlier, I have to give him credit for pretty good game planning. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen as many wheel routes open as I did this afternoon. Backs, tight ends, you name the skill guys and they slipped up the sidelines, usually in a mismatch with a LB or a squatting DB for any easy pitch and catch for a big chunk of yardage. And Kirby had no answer. Who knew? *I hated to see Pitts get knocked out of the game. Haven’t heard the diagnosis, but after seeing the glazed look in his eyes as he headed to the locker room I’d have to believe he was concussed. Hope that’s all and that he’s good to go next game. The hit was what used to be text book safety play and would essentially cut the arms off of a receiver before he ever left the line in a route over midfield. I know safety is paramount, but that was football in times past. *The game was about as physical as I’ve seen lately. There were some big hits and guys limping to the sidelines about every other play it seemed. Hated to see the Dawg receiver break his ankle, though CBS didn’t seem to mind showing it over and over a la Joe Theisman. The lick put on the UGA QB was significant and pretty much nulled him. I believe I heard his throwing shoulder was subluxed. Hard, clean football. I’m enjoying it while I still can. *Toney was pretty much neutralized and why wouldn’t UGA be prepared with the season he’s having? Still, there was a little too much of this... ...and not enough north and south. Against a better defense, one juke is about all he’ll get. *The DL wasn’t bad this evening, if you take away the long TD run to start the game. Without that play, the Dawgs only rushed for 90. They kept the pressure on in the second half and it felt like they were energized by Carter’s return. Cox, Slaton, and others played the gaps pretty well. Have to mention LB Houston’s great form tackle (I won’t mention Miller’s bad read and whiff or the LB’s trouble in coverage, though). For this game at least, the Dawgs were held to 277 total yards. We’ve got a chance in most games with a similar number. *The OL was fairly solid, giving Trask time to throw most of the night. Losing Reese and DeLance later on allowed the Dawgs to put a little pressure on Trask and was a factor in our second half TD drought. Our rushing total of 97 yards wasn’t eye popping, but it was enough to convert some third downs and keep the defense somewhat honest. We’ll need to be better by the season’s end if we expect to have a chance with the big boys. We’ve got to get to that point first and the OL will be a key part if we do. Improvement is still necessary. *I’m glad to see the backs become a bigger part of the throw game. We’ve got three that can catch and run it afterwards. The CBS guys mentioned how Spurrier used to utilize the backs in that manner and that little circle route that Davis ran was very much an SOS staple. Not a bad guy to copy. I’m glad to see us add this wrinkle and hopefully it’ll be more than just a one game thing. *And speaking of the throwing and catching, with Pitts leading the way, Grimes making a couple of catches, one really big, and Shorter rising, we’ve got some big, talented targets for Trask to throw to. How about Gamble? He made Pitts’ departure not quite so worrisome. Zipperer looked pretty good on his lone reception, too. As far as the others go, Copeland’s hands have been his biggest nemesis. He seemingly has all the other tools, but I’m not sure he’s earned the confidence of the QB or the OC. Young Henderson isn’t quite ready for prime time. He clearly had no idea what was going on when he led his defender into a pick six. But he’s young and I’ve got to give Mullen most of the credit for that gaffe. Henderson obviously didn’t need to be part of the personnel in that hurry up set. I can’t tell you how difficult it is to not be preparing this piece while blind drunk. In fact, I’m sober as a judge with only a couple of Miller Lights and an Oyster City Dark Ale under my belt (the latter wasn’t to my liking by the way, so I’m glad it was a gift and I didn’t pay for it!). Truth is that after the election, my old liver probably needs a break! But it was a pleasure, as always, to do a little autopsy, especially after a win in Jacksonville over the Mutts. We can’t ever win enough of these games and I hope to live long enough to see us on the plus side of the series. Next week, we welcome the Hogs and Felipe back to the Swamp. Fresh off a win against the Vols and with Franks no doubt dying to shush the crowd (such as it will be), the game should provide another test for our growing Gators. Time for us to take some more forward steps. Until then, savor the Dawg tears and dust off the grill. I’m hoping for barbecue next Saturday! Go Gators!