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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fleeting thoughts: After South Carolina

There wasn’t much that went well for Georgia on Saturday. Not when you only score six points, and the defense lets a freshman run for 182 yards.

Here, quickly and painfully, are the postgame grades for each Bulldog unit:

QUARTERBACKS: Aaron Murray was solid, but he needed to be more. That’s not necessarily his fault, especially if the coaches weren’t using the full playbook, as they indicated afterwards. Murray was asked to manage the game and not commit turnovers. Largely, he did that. But he also needed to make things happen with his feet, and did not. …. B.

RUNNING BACKS: Washaun Ealey got off to a good start but stagnated a bit. He also didn’t show much breakaway ability, and had the critical fumble inside the 5. Carlton Thomas only got one carry, and Caleb King didn’t play with an ankle injury. The backs also weren’t a factor in the passing game, especially after Shaun Chapas got hurt. … C.

RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS: It’s a lot to ask with the best receiver out. Kris Durham had another good day getting what would have been Green’s routes. Tavarres King got open early, but then couldn’t later. No one else was much of a factor. The tight ends aren’t getting involved much, which needs to change given the talent at that position. You have to give credit to the South Carolina secondary, which has some studs back there, and the pressure Murray was getting late in the game. … C.

OFFENSIVE LINE: The front five did well early, and Murray had all day to throw for most of the first half. But it couldn’t open many holes in the running game, especially on the outside. The line struggled as the game went on, and for what should be the team’s strength, that can’t happen. … C.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Gamecock freshman Marcus Lattimore had 182 yards, and while it wasn’t all up the gut, it did seem that way. Also, total number of sacks this season for the front three? Zero. Demarcus Dobbs was the only one on Saturday to even make a tackle behind the line. … D-.

LINEBACKERS: Their stats are good. Five sacks from this unit, three of them by Justin Houston, while Christian Robinson also recovered a fumble. Darryl Gamble and Cornelius Washington combined for 15 tackles. But when you’re on the field a lot, that tends to happen. I can’t really hold the group at fault for any major screw-ups; they were just a part of the overall problem. … C+.

SECONDARY: Bacarri Rambo led the Bulldogs with tackles – now queue up the cliché’ that it's never good when a safety leads the team in tackles. That’s a team problem. But this group was also as guilty as anyone for the day’s major snafu, which was not wrapping up the ball-carrier. The 40-yard catch-and-run by Alshon Jeffery springs to mind. Pass coverage itself was almost a non-factor: South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia only needed to attempt 17 passes, and he completed 12 of them. … C.

Well let’s see. Blair Walsh made both his field goal attempts, but they were short. Was Drew Butler sick or something? All his punts seemed low-hanging, leaving him with a 38-yard average net. Branden Smith totaled just four yards on two returns, and Brandon Boykin averaged 20 yards on two kick returns. The coverage wasn’t anything special either. … D.

COACHING: I think both coordinators would tell you, if they injected truth serum, that they should have made better adjustments.

Todd Grantham’s defense tightened up on Lattimore in the third quarter, but by the final drive the Gamecock freshman was running at will again. I know Grantham must have been afraid to stack the box, with Garcia and Jeffery there to exploit it. But you do wonder if at least stacking the middle, letting Justin Anderson and/or Kwame Geathers play more, would have accomplished something.

Offensively, the gameplan just didn’t work. Yes, not having A.J. Green really limited the passing offense. But as the game wore on and it became clear the offense had to do something, more flare was needed. It might have helped to see more Branden Smith, or to put Murray in a position to make plays with his feet, or get Tavarres King involved more. ... C.

OVERALL: Honestly, at no point did it really seem Georgia was going to win the game. You could say Georgia simply lost to a better team, which was playing at home. But the Bulldogs clearly didn’t help themselves, and have a lot of work to do if they want to beat No. 13 Arkansas next week.


Anonymous said...

Another conservative game plan. Richt and Bobo seem like they are afraid to let Murray do anything. The so called 'game plan' screwed the defense. When you go three-and-out after trying the same old plays you need to ADJUST. Try a little improv, guys.

Anonymous said...

To say I was disappointed with how we played yesterday is an understatement. After our first game I really felt like the Dawgs finally had their fire and fight back but yesterday I did not see that at all. I think this comment you made about sums it up best... "Honestly, at no point did it really seem Georgia was going to win the game." I completely do not understand why Bobo did not open up the game plan. we were losing and having limited if any offensive success - what do you have to lose by opening things up a little. Exactly how many three and outs do you have to have to figure out you need to fix something? I understand the concept of having a game plan and sticking it to it but I also understand the concept of the game plan's not working so something needs to be changed. I have a friend who for years has been telling me the problem is with CMR and that when Van Gorder was here he just hid Richt's faults and we've seen things falling apart and I've ignored her simply because I do like Richt so much as a person and really like what he stands for and all the good things he represents but I am beginning to wonder if Richt has maybe reached the ceiling of his ability. Our defense obviously had some issues but I did see improvement in our schemes during the game and we were in place to make some big plays (I remember one 3rd down play in the 3rd or 4th quarter where we hit Lattimore well short of the first down (even before he hit the LOS) and we missed the tackle and he got the first down. At least our guys were in the right spot. But our offensive coaching was just terrible - something is just wrong. To have had Stafford and Moreno go through here with such limited offensive production over the past few years and now that we have "the best offensive line in the country" as some have said and to only score 6 points is embarrassing. Something is wrong and has been wrong for a while....

Doug said...

I don't think the offensive game plan involved a plan B. It seemed like they just kept running the same stuff.

Richt needs to get in there with Bobo and develop the plan and then interject some ideas through out the game.

Also, he might need to mention to Bobo that his job security is on the line.

Anonymous said...

Bobo had/has no clue how to develop, implement, and execute a proper game plan.

Lindsay said...

While the defense left A LOT to be desired, they did adjust. South Carolina did have several other scoring opportunities. South Carolina was on the field over 10 minutes more that our offense. That adds up, and didn't leave a lot of room to rest.

I felt that the players definitely share a smaller portion of the blame. Yes, Murray overthrew a lot of his receivers; Yes, Drew Butler sucked it up; Yes, Ealey fumble was the nail in the coffin on the game. HOWEVER, the coaching was horrible.

Wasting 3 time outs early in the 3rd quarter...unacceptable. ABSOLUTELY unacceptable.

I feel like Bobo's game plan was to play not to loose. They played overly conservative, and did not adjust when needed.

I also feel like Murray is extremely talented, but the coaches tried to curb him to play more conservative, which made him second guess when to run the ball or not. I almost wished he went into the huddle and said, "okay that play isn't working, we're going to do this." The short passes worked fine. I don't understand the mentality of Bobo & Richt to "Okay passing worked getting us from the endzone to the redzone...Now let's run the ball which has been ineffective the entire time!!"




Todd said...

I think the players perform like the coaches - with a lack of confidence. Early on in the Richt era we started to see the Dawgs believe that they could win. Now they play with no swagger at all. It's almost like we're a team that's constantly rebuilding, not as a team that is constantly reloading. We have the talent. There always seems to be something that's missing and I can't put my finger on it. The season's early and we can still win the east.

Todd said...

I'm not upset that we lost. I'm just disappointed in the way we played and the way we lost. I'm not sure having Green in there would have changed that.

Anonymous said...

Richt says he is going to open up the offense for Murray.

I am sorry but I will believe it when I see it.

To say the Carolina offense game plan was pathetic is to kind.

Lets run down the list:

1. Ignore two of the best tight ends in the conference. Check.

2. Ignore one of the most electric athletes in the conference in Brandon Smith. Check.

3. Don't allow your athletically gifted QB to make plays with his legs. Check.

4. Call one QB draw all day from 3rd and 14 to make sure we settle for a FG. Check.

Our coaches plan to not make mistakes and our players play tight and flat. Time to grow a pair and play to win instead of playing not to screw up.

Scott said...

On the drive where Ealey eventually fumbled, Murray started 4-for-4 marching down the field then when the Dawgs got close, Bobo went into a mind-numbing conservative mode.

This is not the first time Bobo has done this. He will attempt the quick strike, but when it comes to guide the team down the field on a sustained drive, he seizes up and tries to finesse the offense with runs. Once he gets away with what works, the opposing defense adjusts and it doesn't work any more.

Bobo's play calling stinks. He has not learned that if the defense is giving him something to keep it going until they stop what you are doing. On that drive, Murry was picking on the corners on play action with everyone converging in the middle. It was working! Then he stops and allows the SC defense to defend against the run. Why? Why play to the defense's strength?

Bobo looks clueless. In fact, he's calling the plays as if he was still the QB with his issues. Bobo needs stop coaching the QBs like when he was on the field and do it right... or hit the road and join Willie Martinez in Nowhere, Oklahoma!

Brandon said...

@Scott... Not to mention that on the drive that ended in Ealey's fumble, when we got near the goal line, we subbed in Gray and Troupe as the WRs. Then Troupe got the false start to set up the fumble. Why in that situation do we not have Durham/King/Brown in?

Anonymous said...

I could live with season after season of mediocrity if UGA was a school of limited resources, or was located in an poor recruiting area, or was composed of players with extremely high character/academic requirements. Obviously none of these are true. Mediocre seasons should be a rarity, perfect storm occurance for the Dawgs. Instead they are the norm.

meansonny said...

I know that it's part of the Saturday past-time.

But I think it's a little ridiculous all of the "playcalling" complaints that are coming out.

When you lose... there will be reasons. Last season, the complaints were that we didn't stick to the run. We abandoned the run. We set too many RB screens. We threw downfield (low percentage passes) too much.

Now... we went conservative in the redzone by putting the ball in our best offensive players hands (not named AJ). We should have run more FB/RB screens. Why not let Murray loose and have him go downfield?

meansonny said...

Let's have a little recollection.
We DID throw to our TEs (not always to success)
We DID run the ball 56% of the time and stayed dedicated to it through 3+ quarters (not always to success)
We DID the toss sweep (not always to success).
We DID bootleg (not always to success)

Could the playcalling have been different? Sure? Would it have mattered? Not sure? We didn't execute. Not many things go right when you don't execute.


I'd love to get a live action fan's perspective of our WR's. On TV (of course), we don't know who's open or if there was a window available. On TV, all we see is Murray throw it away or get the coverage sack/scramble.

How did the WRs do late in the game? Any separation? Any open guys Murray missed?

I appreciate Murray as a gamemanager. But when you know the dealer has 21, you can't check on 18.

Travis said...

you're quite generous giving any part of the defense more than a 'D' grade from Saturdays performance. The lack of wrapping up the ball carrier, and failed shoulder tackling made me sick.

Grantham isn't showing me much yet. Willie Martinez 2.0 with his lack of halftime adjustments.

Anonymous said...

Travis - Grantham DID make adjustments and our players were often in the right spot to make tackles - but they didn't. You can blame Grantham for not getting onto his players about the missed tackles but not about not making adjustments - because he did do that.