UGA’s Murray fine; it’s the O-line I’m not sure about

Another crazy weekend: So what did we learn?

1. Georgia’s Aaron Murray is going to be fine. It’s the offensive line I’m not sure about: Georgia’s 31-24 loss to Arkansas proved once again that in the SEC, the difference between winning and losing is very small. Georgia made a good comeback to tie the game and put itself in a position to win. It had the ball on what should have been the final possession. The worst thing that should have happened is that Georgia didn’t score and the game went to overtime.

But on third down the running back whiffs on a pass block and the quarterback gets sacked. Arkansas gets the ball back and  a safety takes the wrong angle on a tackle and Arkansas breaks free for the winning touchdown. Two plays. Arkansas made them. Georgia didn’t. That’s it.

But here is the good news for Georgia. The Bulldogs have a quarterback. Everyone I talk to in this league likes the upside of Aaron Murray. He’s learning the position and is going to make mistakes. What I want to know is when is this veteran offensive line going to start blocking like one? Georgia ran the ball 41 times for 139 yards at home against an average defense from Arkansas. Yes, six sacks figured into that total. Still, that’s not good enough. Yes, it would have been helpful if A.J. Green had been there to stretch the field. But he was not there. He’s not going to be there Saturday in Starkville. Georgia just has  run the ball better than that.

2. Another tough weekend for the ACC: Georgia Tech took care of business within the league beating North Carolina on the road. But out of the conference it was second straight tough weekend for the ACC. The ACC went 1-4 in head to head meetings with other BCS teams: Clemson lost to Auburn, Duke lost to Alabama, Maryland lost to West Virginia, and Wake Forest was trounced by Stanford. The lone winner against BCS competition was N.C. State, which had a solid win over Big East team Cincinnati on Thursday night in Raleigh.

Florida State beat BYU (Mountain West) and Virginia Tech took care of East Carolina (Conference USA) to salvage something out of the weekend.

If you’re keeping score at home, and I know some of you are, the ACC is now 1-9 against non-conference BCS teams in the first three weeks of the season. In the first two weeks of the season the ACC lost to LSU, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Kansas, and Southern California. Kudos to the ACC for scheduling those games. But you gotta do better than 1-9.

3. Clemson-Auburn was a game for grown men: Auburn’s 27-24 victory against Clemson in overtime was one of the hardest hitting games I’ve seen in a long time. Two guys got carted off with serious leg injuries. Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker took a shot to the back (it was a legal shot, I might add) and showed tremendous grit in playing throught the pain. Auburn showed a lot of maturity in coming back from a 17-3 halftime deficit to win. Clemson showed, with running backs Jamie Harper and Andre Ellington, that the Tigers are going to be a force in the ACC Atlantic. It was a good old-fashioned street fight and I loved every minute of it. Just sorry that it came down to the Clemson kid missing a field goal. That’s a tough way for anybody to lose.

4. Florida is not a Top 10 team: The Gators may be worthy of their No. 8 national ranking (in the coaches poll) before the season is over, but right now Urban Meyer just has an okay team that is just trying to find its way. The good news if you’re a Florida fan is that you have enough talent to line up, play ugly, and win every game on your schedule–except for the Oct. 2 trip to Tuscaloosa to play No. 1 Alabama. The toughest remaining games after that (LSU, South Carolina) are at home. One thing I did learn watching the Florida-Tennessee game in Knoxville on Saturday: Florida’s receivers are pretty average. I thought they would be better.

5. I’ll bet Houston Nutt wishes he had never heard of Jeremiah Masoli: All I know is that since Jeremiah Masoli was clearned to play at Ole Miss on Friday, Sept. 3, almost nothing has gone right for the Rebels and Houston Nutt. Ole Miss just got absolutely gashed on Saturday by Vanderbilt 28-14. The Rebels are 1-2 with Fresno State coming to Oxford this week. If they can’t win that one, they are probably looking at 4-8 at best. Masoli has played reasonably well in the first three games. But the defense, which was supposed to be the strength of this team, is simply not getting it done.

BONUS WHAT WE LEARNED

Tennessee is what we thought they were: When I looked at the Tennessee team Saturday afternoon at Florida, I saw a bunch of guys who should be playing at Middle Tennessee State. I’ll give the Volunteers credit for this: They played hard for 60 minutes against Florida and were still within striking distance of the Gators in the fourth quarter. They didn’t go in the tank when adversity hit like they did against Oregon.

But it’s been a long time since Tennessee was this thin in SEC caliber talent. Things don’t figure to get better any time soon. After UAB this week, Tennessee plays at LSU, at Georgia, Alabama at home, and at South Carolina in the span of five weeks. Even if Tennessee comes out of its first eight games at 2-6, the Volunteers should be competitive in their four November games with Memphis, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Kentucky. The question is if Derek Dooley can hold this team together mentally. They may be so beat up physically when November gets here that it won’t matter. 

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Programming note: Among today’s guests on the “Barnhart and Durham Show” are new Vanderbilt coach Robbie Caldwell, whose team knocked off Ole Miss on Saturday. Please join us starting at 10 a.m. on www.790thezone.com.

869 comments Add your comment

Jerry

September 20th, 2010
10:11 pm

So, let me get this straight…..you would take TCU and BOISE STATE and OK ( barely beat Airforce ) over UF as a top ten team? Come on….Florida plays D Tony. The offense will be just fine and you haven’t seen the wide revievers make the same catches I saw to win the game at sloppy top. You are going to see a team that is going to play solid D all year and win games 24 to 17 …..sort of like the old bama teams that won with D. Bama will have to score in the 30’s to win VS FL. It won’t happen.

I Formation = NBA short shorts

September 20th, 2010
10:27 pm

Our problem is our offensive philosophy is outdated. Our base offense that we run most of the time is I formation with 2 receivers, 1 TE and Fullback and HB. Every D we have played (For a few years now) against guards this by putting 8 men within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. We don’t spread the field and we have no crossing or dig routes and we dont throw to the RBs except on screen plays. PATHETIC!!! If Murray were in a form of the spread, not the Tebow spread but more like the Mike Leach offense, UGA would be unstoppable and undefeated. Richt and Bobo have been outcoached by Spurrier and Petrino both offensive minded coaches. We need fresh new ideas, the 70s Pittsburgh Steelers and the 80 Bulldogs won with the I formation but this aint the 70s and we dang sure dont have a Herschel Walker. Murray aint the problem Richt/Bobo’s stale offense is.

Jeremy

September 20th, 2010
10:33 pm

Nick, Lou, and Tony are clearly the same person, and that person is an idiot.

wolverine

September 20th, 2010
10:38 pm

Reality check. The only reason UGA won the SEC here in recent years is because everyone else was reloading. They are not close to being an elite team and for those that think they are, 1980 was 30 years ago.

college football

September 20th, 2010
11:17 pm

Is it true about the rumor the ACC has petitioned the NCAA to be admitted to Dvivison 2. They may not be competitive there either. It would certainly be a wothwhile endeavor unless they schedule Jax St. or North Dakota St or James Madison or some of the other powers there.

Observer

September 20th, 2010
11:42 pm

Tony, Please tell us again the fine line between win’n and a luz’n

Chuck Uga

September 21st, 2010
12:26 am

Wow Tony, not giving Georgia a chance against Florida. You may be right, but by that time, I would say Georgia has as good a chance as South Carolina or LSU to beat them. Mark this down, Florida will definitely NOT beat all three. I could see them maybe 1-2. LSU’s defense is for real. Georgia will be playing much better by then (and Richt badly needs a win against Florida for job security beyond 2011). South Carolina will be ready. It is going to be interesting. I kind of hope SC wins the SEC East so I can make a small fortune selling my SEC Championship tickets.

Chuck Uga

September 21st, 2010
12:29 am

P.S. I will continue to say it is time for Mike Bozo to go. He just isn’t that intelligent to compete in this league as an OC. All you have to do is listen to his interviews to know that, and watch the wildly inconsistent play-calling that goes on week-to-week. He has no clue how to use the talent on the field. NO CLUE. Period.

Chuck Uga

September 21st, 2010
12:31 am

Hey Wolverine, your program up north almost lost to UMass. Maybe sometime Michigan might win the Big 10 again. Then again, it won’t be anytime soon as long as Tressel is at Ohip State! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Check out Georgia’s finishes the past ten years. Ranked at the close of every season. Won more games than Michigan I am sure.

adrock

September 21st, 2010
1:15 am

Nick, you are a complete idiot. Joe Cox Jr? Have you ever seen a football game before in your life? Idiot.

brokebackvol

September 21st, 2010
6:50 am

C’mon Tony – VOLS are certainly thin, but losing to two top ten teams is not the end of the world. Certainly admit they cashed in too early vs the Quack Attack, but the Gators had to go to a trick play (fake field goal.)

Won’t surprise me to see the VOLS improve enough to steal a game or two unexpectedly, especially vs UGAG. What will Richt’s excuse be losing to a Dooley, hmm?

GO BIG ORANGE!

[...] Georgia’s worry is its offensive line, writes Tony Barnhart of the AJC. [...]

John

September 21st, 2010
7:35 am

I’m trying to figure out why everyone is implying that Arkansas is a pansy of a team that was supposed to be an easy win for Georgia. In seasons past they have been a mid level SEC team at best. But Petrino (whether you want to give him credit or not) has now assembled a great team that came into Athens and proved to the world that they are better than Georgia. He’s got one of the top QB’s in the nation and his receiving corps is also among the top in the nation, especially WR Childs and TE D.J. Williams. If their defense and run game improves, they’ll definitely be a top 10 team this year.

Georgia > Florida

September 21st, 2010
7:44 am

Florida’s offense is worse than Georgia’s. Ga upsets the Gators in Jax—take it to the bank! Dawgs 29 Gators 23

Palladin

September 21st, 2010
8:18 am

I suspect that the troll with 1000 names who spent his whole day yesterday discussing Georgia’s quarterback with himself is actually the quarterback who got kicked off of the team. He probably had to get a neighbor kid to type his comments for him.

Or is he in jail? Maybe his cell-mate can type?

TommyJack

September 21st, 2010
8:57 am

TB: Tis true, TN is thin right now. What’s Richt’s excuse?

Marble Rye

September 21st, 2010
11:43 am

Massage Clemson’s loss all you want; Clemson is a microcosm of the ACC. They’re a competitive failure. Oh wait, the ACC is 1-9 – that’s not even competitive. ACC and every team in it sucks. The problem with the ACC, as mouthed by Swofford, is its goal is to be “competitive”. Sounds great and all, but why not strive to outright win? You can be competitive and still lose, is that what you want out of your conference football, Swofford? The longer ACC teams strive to be competitive instead of win, the more they’ll lose. Nutless.

On Clemson, I think we’ll see that Swinney is not really all that different in the trophy case from Tommy Bowden. There may be an improvement but it’ll either be marginal or cosmetic. In 5 years Clemson will prove it’s the same underachieving program as it was 5 years ago. But no, go ahead Clemson fans, moralize your loss into a victory. But what if you do win the ACC? What is that supposed to mean? Maybe that you’re the king of the d!p$#!+s? That’s a crown worth wearing.

Last Weekend « Football on the Brain

September 22nd, 2010
12:29 pm

[...] receivers 20 yards down field.  All things considered, I think for a freshman quarterback, I think Aaron Murray is doing a great job.  Think about the amount of freshman type moments that DID NOT HAPPEN to Aaron Murray on Saturday. [...]

th dawgs

September 22nd, 2010
7:30 pm

fire BOBO the clown !