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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gray to Play, But How Much?

Joe Cox will start this week, but...

"We do think that we need to give Logan (Gray) an opportunity to play and see if he can become very productive," head coach Mark Richt said.

OK, where have we heard this before?

Yes, Georgia's coaching staff has been promising a larger dose of Logan Gray since August, but we haven't seen it. The No. 2 QB has been in for mop-up work against Vanderbilt (all handoffs) and put-an-end-to-the-misery duty against Tennessee and Florida (a total of 1-of-7 passing with a pick-six).

But this week will be different, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo promises.

"It'll probably be in the first half, but we haven't nailed down precisely what series it'll be," Bobo said. "But we'll get him in there and change up some things and get him some work."

Earlier in the season, this might have been accompanied by huge applause from fans. Now, some will call it too little, too late. Other will point to Gray's work thus far and say, "Eh, how about Aaron Murray instead?"

But Bobo and Richt both are quick to accept some blame for failing to give Gray a real shot at success and even quicker to write off his shortcomings thus far.

"I talked to him after the game (against Florida) and said, 'Look, we're not going to hold that against you,'" Bobo said. "'You were put in a bad situation backed up against a very good defense. It's something we can learn from and take advantage of your future opportunities because you might have some in the near future.'"

And while Gray's interception that Brandon Spikes returned for a score was ugly, to say the least, Richt said it was excusable, and it isn't likely to have any lasting effect on Gray's confidence.

"We don't look at it like,' Oh my gosh, he was awful,'" Richt said. "We ran a play-action pass at a time where they probably didn't care a whole lot about play-action, so a linebacker that would probably get close to the line of scrimmage wasn't too concerned about the run. Logan's got a vision the receiver that he's throwing to and he kind of buzzed in it. Does he need to expand his vision on that? Probably, yes. That play certainly was one that is much more effective on first-and-10 when the game is close rather than late in the game and we're trying to get something going in the passing game."

The better question might have been why Richt put Gray in at that time in the first place. For all the opportunities the staff has had to give Gray a taste of action this season, that seemed like one of the worst. Georgia wasn't likely to win the game, but it wasn't over by any means. Georgia was backed up deep, and the O line was struggling -- and without Clint Boling. Gray never stood a chance. Besides, for all the times they left Joe Cox in to win a close ballgame, it only seemed fair he stayed in to clean up a mess caused, at least in part, by his three interceptions in the second half.

But again, things will be different this week, Bobo said, and not just in terms of the personnel. Bobo promises we'll not only see Gray in action, but we'll get to see him work his magic with some play calling that doesn't fall in line with the same stuff Georgia has been running all season.

"We'll do things that we think he can be successful with, whatever we feel that may be," Bobo said. "It'll be stuff he can operate, and some of it's within our system and some of it we haven't done. Some of it will be a little bit of a change up and some of it will be the basis of our offense."

Even if you disagree with Bobo's handling of his quarterbacks so far, you have to at least admit, it's nice to see a coach willing to adjust what he does to fit his players and to change things up when the status quo hasn't been working.

Even if it does come a few weeks too late.

18 comments:

Dawg4Life said...

I am excited to see what Gray can do, if they coaching does staff actually play him. He can bring a new side to our offense with his ability to run we can run some more spread plays and make the defense spread out. With AJ Green out this game we are going to have to rely on the running game more this week. I am just hoping that we can get the offense clicking again. If we can not get the some confidence back in the offense we will have no shot at beating Auburn or GT.

Anonymous said...

Talk is cheap. I'll believe it when I see it. If I was Gray I would be mad. Last year, they put him on the punt team and they admitted it stunted his growth as a QB. Now, they are admitting to messing up with him again this year.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I seem to remember another QB who was given mop-up duty against in the Florida game last year. I believe his name was Joe Cox and I believe he marched down the field the scored our only touchdown. Being put in a "bad position" didn't stop him from scoring. Cox also played better against Florida this year than Stafford did last year. I'm just not sold on Logan Gray yet and I hope he changes that for me.

Dawg4Life said...

I am not sold on Gray at all. I just think that he might be bring a new weapon to our offense. I would prefer to see what AM can do but I am pretty sure we are going to have to wait until spring ball to see him. Cox just has not gotten any better the whole season He has thrown a pick every game this year. He needs to learn to not stare down Green every play

Anonymous said...

Cox won't have the opportunity to stare down Green this Saturday. I really hope Marlon Brown gets a shot. I would like to see what he can do.

Dawg4Life said...

I am actually looking forward to Green not playing to see what our receiving corp. can do. If they can get Brown and Charles to step up we could have a great passing game next year with Green, King, Brown and Charles. All we need to do is get a QB to get them the ball. Ealey is stepping up every game anbd should be the #1 back next year. Still leaves the defense which is whole different problem.

Matt said...

If Logan isn't ready to play, is that because he has been on the punt return team and not getting QB reps? Seems like he ought to be able to run an offense pretty well if he had been groomed to do so. He was an Elite 11 QB just a few years ago. Seems odd if he has no ability to throw after 3 years in Athens. I bet a lot of teams would love to have at least recruited him at quarterback...

Jan said...

To reiterate what many others have said already, it will be interesting to see what Logan can do with a scheme geared more to his skillset. I imagine a DJ Shockley-ish spread-lite offense which allows for roll-outs and draws, while emphasizing ball control with short passing.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if that's the kind of thing we'd run with Murray next year (except with more deep routes) if he were to win the job, since he ran a spread-ish shotgun offense in high school. It helped Stafford gain confidence in '06 when we put him in more shotgun situations near the end of the year.

This shouldn't be interpreted as an advocacy for a long term shift to the spread offense. As I said early on, I'm interested in the opportunities. (Hey, you gotta find SOME reason to watch the rest of the games this year).

Marty Funkhouser said...

Why do the coaches do this? Why do they do that? These guys are just well compensated gym teachers who survive most Saturdays because they have better players. When the talent is equal, natural variance takes hold, and when the other coach actually has some football acumen, they get incinerated.

Leon Black said...

I have a question for John Jancek. Does he have an opinion as to how Central Michigan's scoring defense decreased by two touchdowns a game the year after he left as defensive coordinator?
Also, does he have long balls?

JRL said...

This quote annoys me

"It'll probably be in the first half, but we haven't nailed down precisely what series it'll be," Bobo said.

Is it just me or does this seem to indicate BoBo plans the entire game before hand - the heck with the flow of the game. I know many teams work off of scripted plays initially adjusting as the game develops.

Maybe I'm just so down on BoBo I can't give him a break - I dunno.

John P said...

we'd be 6-2 if we started Murray and Ealey every game.
lol, just kidding...
or am i?

SCdawg said...

at least one of our coordinators is willing to make adjustments and try new things. the offenses problems start with the defense i think. because they have no chance to get into a rhythm. if the other team went 3 and out every possession, the offense would have a lot more opportunities to make something happen.

UGA69Dawg said...

Your kidding right, we are going to take the premier fair catch player at UGA and play him at QB. He might get hurt, where would we be on punt team and KO team without him. The coaches have finally lost what little minds they have.

Seth said...

It will be interesting to see Gray. I think he could be the real deal just as easily as Murray. I don't get the love fest for the freshman, to be honest. What has he done to get anyone's hopes up. At least Gray has (apparently) played well enough in practice to warrant a little game time.

Anonymous said...

Coaches do not put future starting QBs in to cover kickoffs and return punts. It will be the Aaron Murray show next year. I got no problem with giving him a few snaps this year, but it ain't to get him ready to be the starter next year...

tulsadawg said...

I don't think you can say the decision to play Grey vs Murray has anything to do with performance. This staff only makes adjustments (benching) for performance based on pass protection. When they keep rolling out Evans and Prince as starters for the worst secondary in the SEC, while Rambo, a guy who has proven he's a better performer, rides the pine. We'll you get the picture.

Anonymous said...

Marty, I hope someone is able to take care of you, hate to think someone expects a person of your limited mental capacity to function on their on. Hope your mind heals soon whether it was an accident, or just an unfortunate birth circumstance, we all pity you.