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

It is Willie Willie bad

September 20th, 2010
8:00 am

UGA needs to lure the strength and conditioning coach from either Auburn or Clemson. Those teams have studs which is seriously lacking at UGA.both of those teams didn’t have quit and were punching each other in the mouth. Kyle Parker is a man amongst boys playing hurt and had guts to continue playing unlike many coddled UGA players.

Mark

September 20th, 2010
8:01 am

Tony,
In your opinion, who gets the blame for TN not having the horses? Fulmer, Kiffin, Hamilton?

I disagree with you on all the kids… they do have some talent in some areas but they are all young (CB, WR, OL). However, the 2 deep is filled with kids that normally would not be playing for Tennessee or another SEC school.

Palladin

September 20th, 2010
8:01 am

@Wow…

You should watch a re-play. I did. The Clemson QB was pasted with a shoulder pad — not a helmet. It was a brutal hit, but it was legal.

Dawg_Mike

September 20th, 2010
8:01 am

@ Larry- well said.

Regarding the 3rd and 4 with the game on the line-
I still wonder if ealey was supposed to chip the D lineman and then be the safety valve. I guess we will never know.
I agree with TB- the game was either going to OT or UGA moves 20 more yards and wins it on a FG. In the words of Sir Charles, that was turrible.

Duke

September 20th, 2010
8:02 am

Even with questionable play calling, a decent o’line could have made the difference against SC and Ark. These guys have enough depth and have been together too long to have to start over every year. Something ain’t right.

Lou

September 20th, 2010
8:04 am

Tony’s right, the O-Line is not playing better wiht Murray as their leader. Neither is the defense, or special teams or receivers or te’s or rb’s. The whole team is getting worse under Murray’s leadership. Leaders make their teammates better, not worse.

uga76

September 20th, 2010
8:06 am

Agree totally with wow – Auburn player led with head and speared a player in the back who was already down! There was also another instance when a Clemson player was down and Auburn player hit him headgear to headgear. Clemson player also clearly being held by jersey on touchdown scored by McCaleb – he never gets the corner without the hold

WonderDawg

September 20th, 2010
8:06 am

I think it’s the offensive. The I-formation is a bit outdated for college football and apparently the way Richt/Bobo employ it makes it easy to prepare for, as Kiffin told us last season.

Nearly all of the better teams in the NCAA, as well as the NFL, now use some version of the spread offense or at least a mix of the spread and I. Hell, my hometown high school has run the spread for years, quite successfully, with several state titles.

Anyway, with a QB as mobile as Murray, it would seem to be a natural fit for UGA to add some of the spread to our offense. Bet that’s what he and Hutson Mason both played in HS, seeing the numbers they put up.

One other thing, the only thing Bobo tried Sat to slow the pass rush was several draws. i was yelling at the tv all day to roll the pocket one side or another. They finally did one time in the 4th quarter and it resulted in about a 50 yd completion.

If Bobo/Richt’s game plan doesn’t work, the Dawgs are screwed. And it happens more and more with equally talented teams.

If I’m wrong, when was the last time UGA beat an equally talented or more talented team?

ckgator

September 20th, 2010
8:08 am

You are right – FL is not an “elite” team at present. But if are so bad, why will they be favored in every SEC game with the exception of Alabama? Is the SEC that bad this year?

Gators will continue to improve as the season goes on… and should still be in the running for the conference. Hats off to the Vols for one helluvan effort.

Gtr17

September 20th, 2010
8:09 am

Gators not a top-10 team? That is a little harsh, don’t you think Tony? Outside of Alabama and Ohio State and maybe Nebraska, who in the top-10 has been clicking on all cylinders? Who outside of the top-10 is better than UF right now? LSU? Utah? Auburn? USC? Arizona? The point is…most teams are feeling their way right now. Seems a little unfair to single UF out as not being worthy of a Top-10 ranking right now.

dap01

September 20th, 2010
8:10 am

Bobo’s play calling is very poor right now. He calls plays as if Green and Strafford are still playing. His play calling on the last drive was terrible.

Dawg_Mike

September 20th, 2010
8:10 am

Power I formation – run the ball right into a pile of bodies for no gain.
Stubbornly refusing to adapt to today’s current spread type formations utilizing shotgun.
BOBO MUST GO

Overheard preseason

September 20th, 2010
8:10 am

*We’d rather have Richt than Saban because at least he’s a good man.
*Saban wanted Grantham but Richt stole him.
*Grantham coached Bama’s D last summer not Saban.
*King and Ealey are better than Ingram and Richardson.
*Phil Steele has us at #3 and he is the best of all predictors.
*Richt has the highest winning percentage of any coach last 10 years.
*Saban follows his good seasons with 7-6 seasons.
*This is the best O-Line in the country.
*Saban will leave Bama in ___ years.
*UGA will own Florida this year.
*UGA wins the East and beats Bama for the SEC.

WonderDawg

September 20th, 2010
8:11 am

Dang, I’m still thinking about my own question. Somebody help me – when did UGA last beat an equally talented or more talented team?

Was Tech equally talented last year? I don’t really think so, but maybe.

Dawg_Mike

September 20th, 2010
8:12 am

Oh, and AJ Green doesn’t play defense, so he wouldnt have been able to pressure Mallett or cover a wide open receiver.

WonderDawg

September 20th, 2010
8:12 am

Right Dawg_Mike, read my 8:06.

toga

September 20th, 2010
8:14 am

Same story, missed tackles, lazy o-line, WR and RB not blocking and poor play calling. If Petrino was coaching Dogs and Richt was coaching Hogs, Dogs would have won by doulble digits. But Richt is a really nice guy! Go Dogs!

RussDawg

September 20th, 2010
8:15 am

Dawgs will lose at least 2 more SEC Games
scratch UF for sure
Auburn can beat this team, UT may beat this team
Richt has devolved into Donnan and with time will further devolve into Goff
Call this what itis, a rebuilding year, and just ride it out.
Aren’t we ALWAYS concerned about the O’Line with the Bulldogs?!

WonderDawg

September 20th, 2010
8:15 am

Overheard preseason, so you live in an institution – like an asylum?

Atticus

September 20th, 2010
8:15 am

Anyone who knows football knows Georgia runs a high school offense. They simply try to beat you talent against talent. Same with LSU. Its not just about playcalling, it’s about being the aggressor, about a gameplan that takes advantages of mismatches. And how many times in the past 3 years has Georgia’s offense disappeared for ahalf? And the thing is, even with the talent on the line, they don’t take it to anyone physically. Except GT but they don’t count, the ACC is the minors….

Rookie

September 20th, 2010
8:17 am

Aaron Murray, loses his second game in a row as Georgia’s QB and has the Dogs in an 0-2 hole.

Cleveland Brown

September 20th, 2010
8:18 am

UGA sho does have a lot of experts that post here. Not a one of ‘em could win coaching, even if they were coaching Alabama against Marist High. Delusional. Simply delusional.

RambleOn84

September 20th, 2010
8:18 am

If you want to still rag on the ACC for its week 2 performance, fine by me…THAT was pathetic.

But last week really wasn’t bad at all.

Our three worst teams (MD, Wake, and Duke) lost to three ranked teams.

And Clemson lost a nailbiter to Auburn on the road.

Nothing to be ashamed about there.

The conference is still reeling from that awful week 2 performance though.

Atticus

September 20th, 2010
8:19 am

Dawg-Mike. You are wrong. Alabama runs the I formation and dominates. It can be done if properly prepared, gameplanned and motivated. You have to DEMAND excellence in execution or face the consequences. Richt doesn’t get it. The only time in 3 years this team played motivated was 07 agaisnt Florida and Auburn, neither of which were very good.

Dawg_Mike

September 20th, 2010
8:20 am

This is not Murray’s fault. He is playing a pee wee league offensive philosophy that his coach stubbornly refuses to change. Joe Montana would have problems with it too.

WonderDawg

September 20th, 2010
8:20 am

RambleOn84, if it’s okay to lose to ranked teams, why are y’all giving us so much hell about losing to SC and Arkansas? “Nothing to be ashamed of there” right?

Corch Myer

September 20th, 2010
8:20 am

I haven’t seen a team fall in the polls after winning since…..well, when UGA was ranked #1 and fell after their first three wins.

UGA VII

September 20th, 2010
8:21 am

Mississippi State wins by 30.

I can`t stand it anymore.

popabear

September 20th, 2010
8:22 am

I can’t believe all you idiots that are willing to throw Murray under the bus. The problem here is NOT Murray! This is a bunch of crap if you think that the offensive lineman and running backs aren;t blocking because they have no respect for Murray. I guess they had no respect for Cox or Stafford either? This oline has nnever played up to their potential or billing. If you want to play the blame game, it starts with Mark Richt, CMB and CSS. You are out of your tree if you think changing qb’s solves The offensive problems. It all starts up front.

Bill King is a............

September 20th, 2010
8:22 am

Tony………….Did you happen to see Josh Davis on two consecutive play action pass plays, lineup in his pass blocking stance?? And what gets me is, we were driving to the closed end part of the stadium so he was on the Georgia sideline side. He did it once and then the very next play, he does it again!!! Where in the hell was Searls or one of our know it all coaches telling him to get in a 3point stance?? As a whole, we arent very good. This is supposedly a veteran team with the exception of Murray and he(Murray) is playing pretty damn well. Some of the powers that be need to do a better job of evaluating these socalled 3/4/5 star players we recruit. Horrible, horrible.

What say you????

Dawg_Mike

September 20th, 2010
8:23 am

@ Atticus- Alabama is in a whole different league….you are correct.

RambleOn84

September 20th, 2010
8:23 am

WonderDawg,
Two things:

1. Show me where I’ve given anyone crap for UGA losing those games.
2. Do you consider UGA at the same level as Wake, Duke, or Maryland?

Atticus

September 20th, 2010
8:23 am

Cleveland, it doesn’t take an expert mechanic to figure out your car doesn’t drive.

It’s not just people on here too. I know coaches that said the offense is pedestrian. I agree the coaches know football, much more than us hacks. But it’s not just people on here, believe me. 2-6 in the last 8 SEC games. 10-12 vs the SEC east.

Is it just me?

September 20th, 2010
8:25 am

Sure, the ACC has taken it on the chin, no doubt about it. But look at the matchups and games they committed to versus the non-conference games the SEC plays. Sure, Bama handled the Dukies – what a surprise. LSU barely beat UNC’s practice squad and Auburn hung on in OT at home against Clemson. At least the ACC is not afraid to play anybody anywhere. Can’t really say the same for the SEC. Also, Wake played at midnight and got throttled just like most east coast teams would by Stanford, a team they beat last year at home. Other than Tennessee, when was the last time you saw an SEC school travel to California for a midnight kick off?

Look- the SEC is hands down the best conference and the ACC is a pretender right now. But if you compare the OOC schedules between the two conferences it is night and day. Miami goes to the horseshoe to play OSU, FSU travels to Oklahoma… I must have missed where the SEC went on the road this year to play these types of OOC opponents..

Addie

September 20th, 2010
8:25 am

Leadership is knowing what your strengths are, and going with that. Georgia’s strength is the O-Line and the running backs. No one in the entire country has more experirnce than Georgia’s O-Line, over 150 starts. You’ve gotta put the ballgame on these guy’s shoulders, run the ball 50 times, and let the big bruisers do their thing. You don’t put the game in the 1 person with the least experience, without any track record of success as a college football player. Murray has only started 3 football games. Yet, Bobo keeps putting the game in Murray’s hands, trying to win passing the ball, letting Murray get sacked 9 times in the last 2 games, with terrible results everytime in the SEC match-ups, 0-2. Come on now, trust this O-Line, win or lose, running the football. Passing it, won’t beat Miss St., much less Arkansas or South Carolina.

Gotta go with your strengths, let the O-Line do their thing. That’s the Georgia identity. Georgia has lost its identity and become a finesse team.

chazzo

September 20th, 2010
8:26 am

As far as UT is concerned: If UT is full of mediocre talent, where did all the Kiffin recruits go, and how did they beat UGA so bad last year?

Speaking of mediocrity: Sometimes I wonder if the problem is that Mark Richt didn’t just let a season go a s a full on rebuilding season. We use it as an excuse, but honestly, he never just said, “Hey the caliber is not there, and I am going with all the youngins to get them experience.” We will be good again in three years. To his credit, I think he tries to field the best team he possibly can each year, and I think he his really kind to those upperclassmen who waited their turn. So there always seems to be an experience-lag and star sych problem in these last several seasons. I remember Joe Pa saying I’ll give you a national contender every four years. Of course, at that time he didn’t have to deal with two year players going pro. It is a tough juggling act.

5IML

September 20th, 2010
8:26 am

@ Atticus,

Actually, BAMA’s runs what is called a Multiple offense. We run I-formation, pro set, spread, wildcat, and pistol. And I’m guessing you’ll see the wishbone at some point (i.e. SECCG).

WonderDawg

September 20th, 2010
8:28 am

RambleOn84,

1. I said y’all not you
2. Give me another month to answer that one

Palladin

September 20th, 2010
8:28 am

@Is it just me?

I agree. The ACC has posted some of it’s most impressive losses in recent years so far this season. One cannot argue with progress.

Jake

September 20th, 2010
8:29 am

If Dooley can just keep the kids clean, out of night clubs, going to class and no police issues,, he will have an outstanding season.  If he picks up say 4 wins,, he’s had a really good season. They might pull off one upset. 

WonderDawg

September 20th, 2010
8:30 am

“No one in the entire country has more experirnce than Georgia’s O-Line, over 150 starts.”
******************************
Addie, don’t mistake exerience for excellence, and this case proves it perfectly.

DawginLex

September 20th, 2010
8:31 am

You folks ragging on Murray need to get to an eye doctor quickly. He is the only thing on offense that was encouraging. He is a freshman and is still learning but he is better now than Hutson Mason or Logan Gray would ever be at QB. Logan Gray played a solid game and is happy doing what he is doing.

Our offensive coordinator lost this game. 3rd and 4 and send the recievers downfield 20 yards? I would have rather ran a toss sweep twice and we would have at least had a shot at getting the first down.

Bobo, this one is on you. i said before the game that this game would be decided by our play calling and it was. Just like I said. Either unleash Murray and let him play or get behind (just like we did) and then unleash Murray. It was too late.

Coach Richt needs to demote him now and take back over the playcalling.

Bobo lost this game. For him to throw Murray under the bus for that last sack is a joke.

h walker

September 20th, 2010
8:32 am

A Murray is only mediocre in passing accuracy and arm strength. He is indecisive which could be attributed to inexperience or maybe that is his personality and will always be such. Bring on Hutson Mason and at least see what he can do. He is a more accurate passer and I believe may have a stronger arm. He also seems more poised with what little I have seen of him. Otherwise, fire BOBO

Tru Blu

September 20th, 2010
8:33 am

If Richt won’t make the change, Murray’s teammates will help Richt decide. The guys arn’t making plays for Murray–WR’s, O-Line, Running Backs, they just don’t want to follow the guy. They arn’t following his leadership, Richt needs to notice that, it’s been going on for months, ever since Richt kicked Mett off the team, without consulting his leadership core.

RambleOn84

September 20th, 2010
8:34 am

Fair enough, Wonderdawg…

UGA will be fine; y’all just need to take care of business against Miss St.

Auburn looks beatable, Tennessee is bad, and Florida is a huge question mark right now.

UGA can definitely go on a run here.

Good luck til Thanksgiving.

Palladin

September 20th, 2010
8:35 am

@Tru Blu

The Dawgs aren’t following ANYBODY’S leadership. They’re just not into that.

WonderDawg

September 20th, 2010
8:36 am

Fans that are want UGA to run the ball are seeing a different team than I am. We tried to run the ball against SC and Ark, and our line cannot open holes for our backs. We lose yardage when we try to go off-tackle or outside. Our sets are predictable and obvious. Everybody knows what and where.

Y’all want to see even more 3-and-outs?

DawginLex

September 20th, 2010
8:37 am

tru blu, those last 2 drives I saw a different team and they were following Murray’s lead. Why did bobo wait until then?

It is not Murray’s fault. Even the announcers saw Murray’s ability and commented on it.

bobo blew the game

Is it just me?

September 20th, 2010
8:38 am

What are the big SEC out of conference games? Are there any outside of the in-state rivalries? And aren’t a lot of those against the hapless ACC? So those aren’t tough games, right? Kind of like when another conference beats a lower tier SEC school like Vandy, KY, or Miss State – that its no big deal beating an SEC bottom feeder. But when an SEC school beats them its a great SEC road win in a conference that eats their young.(any win in the SEC is a good win)

So, where is the meat out of conference?

Greg McGarrity

September 20th, 2010
8:39 am

Tony I learned under the tutelage of the Master (Jeremy Foley) and was there when Ron Zook was mediocre. If Richt comes in worse than 3rd in the East this year I will fire him.