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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bobo and Grantham speak, I blog and react

A few odds and ends after Tuesday’s practice. Let’s return to a previous format, where I provide quotes, and then my take on it. For what little that take is worth. Onward and upward:

- How much can the Georgia offense truly be opened up for Aaron Murray? Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo isn’t so sure.

“Our whole goal going into this year was to reduce the penalties and not give the game away by turnovers,” Bobo said. “Despite how the game went last week, obviously it wasn’t how we wanted, but you’ve still got a chance there to tie the game at the end if we don’t turn the ball over. You just gotta keep playing. I don’t really have the answers on how you’re gonna open it up with him. Just allowing him to make more plays, I guess, would be the answer.”

MY TAKE: First, Bobo seemed to want to remind all the doomsayers that it wasn’t all bad on Saturday. And that’s true, the penalties were low and there was only one turnover. (But quite an important turnover.)

Still, while Mark Richt has said three separate times now that they’re going to open it up, his offensive coordinator is saying he doesn’t really know how you do that. Bobo could just be playing possum with Arkansas. Or, if you gave him truth serum, his real answer might be: “Until we get A.J. Green back, what are we supposed to do?”

- Branden Smith is someone Bobo clearly wants to use more.

“I wish he wasn’t playing 50-some snaps on defense. I wish we had him full-time,” Bobo said. “It’s hard, he’s still a young guy and it’s hard to say, hey you’ve got him 5-10 minutes a day. You can’t give him the whole offense. You look for guys when they touch the ball they make things happen. And I think he’s one of those guys, we’ve just gotta get him the football.”

MY TAKE: I thought it said something when Smith was the first person (other than Murray) to touch the ball on offense this season. But he was under-used at South Carolina, especially with Green out. It looks like Bobo regrets not using him more.

- Could there be offensive line changes? Tackle Trinton Sturdivant played three snaps on Saturday, and could play more against Arkansas, according to Bobo. He also said that backup center Chris Burnette, who missed much of the preseason with a concussion, is about ready to return.

MY TAKE: It sounds like they really want to play Sturdivant, but where? The tackles have produced, especially with pass-blocking, while it’s the guards who have struggled. I suspect that’s why Richt said the guards were in danger of losing their jobs, because he really needs to give them a kick in the rear.

- The defense has been accused of being timid, and no one – Richt, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, players – is disputing it. Grantham said he wasn’t “necessarily taken aback” by the struggles in Columbia. But for what it’s worth, he thought Tuesday’s practice was “spirited.”

“There’s no such thing as a perfect game,” Grantham said. “But you need to play physical and you need to play fast. If that’s happening, then we need to play guys that are playing fast. If you want to earn your playing time, then you need to show production.”

MY TAKE: Grantham was just as defensive (pun not intended) about his unit’s performance as Bobo. And to be fair, neither unit was truly horrible at South Carolina. But neither was outstanding either, and when you put it together, you have an 11-point loss that seemed more convincing than the final score.

Grantham didn’t want to come out after one poor showing and say that such-and-such starters were going to be replaced. He may do that if there’s another bad game against Arkansas. (Although how you define that against Ryan Mallett, D.J. Williams and company, is difficult.)

In the meantime, Grantham is just trying to get the unit as a whole to play with more passion and power than it did at South Carolina. Call me a cockeyed optimist in the mold of Billy Mumphrey (obscure Seinfeld reference), but I think the Georgia defense responds on Saturday.

- When it comes to using the nose tackles, Justin Anderson and Kwame Geathers – who are bigger and younger than DeAngelo Tyson – have been mentioned as candidates for more playing time. And mentioned by head coach Mark Richt.

But Grantham seemed noncommittal.

“Every week we’re gonna evaluate our team and our players,” Grantham said. “Because I really believe you play the guys who earn the right to play.”

MY TAKE: Not playing Anderson or Geathers – especially Anderson – remains a big mystery from Saturday. But you can’t go back and change that now, and the next opponent is a passing team. Playing Anderson or Geathers would have been a better move at South Carolina than it might be against Arkansas.

That said, I’m almost sure Anderson will play some on Saturday.

- Tailback Washaun Ealey spoke on his fumble for the first time.

“It was just I lost my focus,” Ealey said. “It was just running hard, trying to score, the ball got kind of low on me, and they just took it away from me.”

MY TAKE: A rough couple weeks for Ealey. But he’s going to get plenty more chances to redeem himself.

- Tailback Caleb King said he was a full-go at practice. He didn’t have a carry in Saturday’s game.

“It was pretty much a game-time decision,” King said. “It was depending on how I looked in the pregame. And I guess I didn’t look that good enough, for them to shut me down for the whole game.”

MY TAKE: The less Mallett is on the field Saturday, the better for Georgia. It’ll need King, Ealey and improved run-blocking, or it could be a long day. I’m not sure Aaron Murray is ready to win a shootout.


Stamey said...

Seth, could it be that the reasoning behind not playing "Bean" is simply that he's not ready yet? The guy just switched from offensive line to defensive line, which, obviously is much more difficult than lining up on the opposite side of the line of scrimmage. I understand that Anderson and Geathers are both massive players, and undoubtedly more prototypical for the 3-4 nose position. But, size isn't everything, at least in this case. What good is it if you have a 350 lb. monster but his technique and fundamentals are so poor that it makes his size virtually obsolete? Do you know of anything substantial that points to "Bean" possessing the fundamentals necessary to be a successful nose guard? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The defensive line certainly looked pushed around, particularly in the first half, but in the end it gave up 350 yards, not horrible, and held the Gamecocks to a respectable 17 points.

The offense on the other hand only put up 250 yards and scored only 6 points. This was pretty close to horrible. I hope they improve next week.

Anonymous said...

Not much said by either. And no comments from a position coach. That is good.

Check out the Hawg blogs and see what they say and somewhat think about the game.

Detect a little fear and caution...spirited workout...wants another player. That is good.

Could be fun in Athens between the hedges. Want every team who comes there this season to know they got "hit, hit hard, and hit often". Like I'm glad I'm a junior and don't have to go there again.

TG...send a message...the Junkyard Dawgs are back in business between the hedges.

BullyMack said...

So the Coordinators come out and basically contradict the Head Coach on what needs to be done movign forward. That is a little perplexing. Either there is some sand-bagging going on(which would make sense with Grantahm's NFL background)or it's going to be a long year. Let's hope for the former.

Bobo, I'm sure you had a role in recruiting these skill players outside of AJ. Put your big boy pants on and figure out a gameplan son. Hell, watch a game with a decent O Coordinator and copy their plays for gods sake.

How many responsibilities can a NT have in the nickel that are overwhelming Bean. Surely he can spell Tyson some. Line up and whip the man in front of you, period. I think he can do it.

Why do we recruit these guys if we are afraid to play them? Turn'em loose!

Scott said...

I said it before and I will say it again, when you march down the field on 4-for-4 in passing and it looks like they are stopping the run, you keep doing what works and make them stop you. Don't play into their strength because you get stopped.

Let's forget that Ealey fumbled. Before he let go of the ball, the SC defense stopped him short of even the 1st down! So if the defense is stopping you on the run, pass the darn ball!

UGA69Dawg said...

This Nose thing scares me a lot. Tyson can't play the whole game if the O is constantly 3 and out. I get the feeling that our guys are playing themselves into shape again this year. It seems that early on we are weak but later in the year we get stronger, this is a S&C problem. Just pumping iron in the off season does nothing for your overall conditioning. After mat drills in February everybody must take a few months off.

Carter said...

Seth, I read on a message board that Bean Anderson has turf toe. Can you confirm that? Thanks

Anonymous said...

Wow I see a DC that knows better than to play his hand in the media.

Wow I see a OC that can't play his hand.

Anonymous said...

Here are the Sec offensive stats afer two games. That would be us at 11th. Only Vandy is worse. Look who is first.

1 Arkansas 1018 509.0 733 366.5 295 147.5 75 37.5
2 Alabama 1000 500.0 574 287.0 437 218.5 72 36.0
3 Auburn 956 478.0 423 211.5 557 278.5 75 37.5
4 Kentucky 948 474.0 515 257.5 436 218.0 86 43.0
5 Tennessee 870 435.0 370 185.0 514 257.0 63 31.5
6 Mississippi 853 426.5 543 271.5 329 164.5 75 37.5
7 Mississippi State 815 407.5 523 261.5 314 157.0 57 28.5
8 South Carolina 803 401.5 428 214.0 413 206.5 58 29.0
9 LSU 705 352.5 290 145.0 442 221.0 55 27.5
10 Florida 635 317.5 296 148.0 350 175.0 72 36.0
11 Georgia 630 315.0 408 204.0 245 122.5 61 30.5
12 Vanderbilt 567 283.5 364 182.0 257 128.5 24 12.0

Anonymous said...

Me thinks Mr. Bobo is way, way over his head as head play-caller in the SEC.

dawgjammin said...

the running game could be worse this week with out chapas in the backfield...he took the job from brandon sutherland and hasn't let go since....he's a key blocker on the edge, but bobo refuses to call running plays on the edge.

I say play Sturdivant at C.Davis's guard spot....

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact, as of two weeks ago, Bean had turf toe. Yes it's true.

Anonymous said...

I'm sick and tired of the AJ comments. The last time I checked we have 11 players on offense and AJ would only be one of them. Yes - AJ is a great player - the best WR in the country but he is NOT OUR ENTIRE TEAM!!!! We can and should be able to score points even if he's not in there. I'm discouraged that Bobo is hesitant about opening up the whole play book simply b/c AJ isn't in there... really... wtf.... Oh and we need to really begin using our TEs more - I keep hearing how good they are but we don't seem to use them much. I do know they were a little shaky starting out against SC but did settle in.

KTM said...

I did not see the D-line getting pushed around in Columbia. I think they got good penetration, but missed the runner. They over-shot the play. This, in my opinion, is what CMR means by 'dropping anchor'.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that people are weighing AJ wayyyyyyy to heavily....I seem to remember him missing 4 games last year also and that not being a crutch. Last time I checked we have great skill at the other positions including wideout....just the JOB done....CMR if Bobo can't get it done then find someone who can!!!!!

MarkS31 said...

Great article, Seth.

I still think we played decently last Saturday. We were just WAY too cautious against a very good Gamecock team. I believe Richt and Bobo will open things up a bit on offense (I hope Bobo is really just playing possum with his comments, as you suggested), and I think the defense will respond with a bit of a chip on their shoulders.

Could be a very long day for the Hogs. Go Dawgs!

Doug said...

I wonder how many SEC games we win scoring 6 points?

Or giving up 17?

9 starters back on offense (Green and Cox missing), the new QB played fine, and we struggled to score 6.

Somebody else needs to call the plays.

Ginny said...

Scott- We did pass the ball. Passing the ball isn't successful when your receivers drop the passes.

And I'm not too worried about those offensive stats Mr. Anonymous put up. Arkansas has played no one of quality...of course their stats will be inflated. Tennessee's a good 6 spots ahead of us and 5 spots ahead of Florida. Does that mean they're destined to win the East? Hardly.

And I agree with Stamey...if Bean was ready to play, I'm sure he'd be out there. He was playing on the o-line all the way through the summer. This is a very new position for him.

Be patient, Dawg fans. We don't have all the right personnel for the 3-4 yet, but we will. There were going to be growing pains. A new coach and new scheme wasn't going to fix everything overnight.

Kevin said...

Grantham = world diplomacy and Bobo = international intrigue ??

BullyMack said...

Ginny-Bean has not been playing on the OL this summer. He was hurt in the Spring or else he would have been getting snaps then at NT. He has however been in the DL meetings since changing positions then. Yes new, but that new to him.

All Cock No Bite said...

First off, Seth, if they want Sturdivant to play more, they can slide Boling back to left guard where he's played before. In the last three years Boling has played every position on the O-Line except center. If Cordy Glenn hasn't recovered fully and is under-performing, you can expect to see this happen.

Secondly, I think you're wearing the Scarlet colored glasses a bit. In Columbia, Gamecock fans whip themselves into a frenzy saying "this is our year." It doesn't matter how bad they really are because every September the South Carolina faithful will forget that they have never, ever won a championship and place their expectations up there with the Florida's, Bama's, LSU's and UGA's of the SEC. That's why the UGA game is SUCH a big deal to them. We realize that South Carolina is NEVER a contender. We should beat them, but sometimes they get the better of us, just like on Saturday. We don't even consider having to jump the Gamecocks in the East to win the crown because by early November, they'll have dropped to their knees faster than Paris Hilton at a coke party. South Carolina will lose three games they are supposed to and one they aren't. It happens every single year. Now that you're out of Columbia, you'll be able to see all of this so much clearer. It's the reason why UGA doesn't consider USCe a real rival. We don't have an ounce of respect for them.