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

Tru Blu

September 20th, 2010
9:32 am

Butler, Boykin, Smith, King, Ealey, Charles, O-Line, all looked like ALL-Stars under Joe Cox’s leadership. They look terrible under Aaron Murray’s leadership. The team has had 9 arrests since murray took over as leader off-the-field. Where’s the respect for Aaron Murray’s leadership?

0-2 makes people start looking around, and they start with leadership, because 99.9%, that’s the problem.

Go Vols

September 20th, 2010
9:32 am

Appreciate the reply, CharlotteGator. Can’t argue with your points, especially Texas.

how2fish

September 20th, 2010
9:33 am

bamafan some good points but 2 things to think about…you ought to wait a few more days and then talk about how good Mallet is..we really won’t know till he plays you guys..if you don’t pressure him he might bite a big chunk out of the Tide..ARK can’t stop your run game so there is little chance they can beat you.Mallet is tougher than you might think too..we only sacked him once true but we brought the wood to him at least 4-5 times and he didn’t flinch. Second point is CMR had a lot more fire in this game than I think you saw his sideline meeting in the 3rd lit that fire that brought us back to tie the game.

how2fish

September 20th, 2010
9:34 am

Tru Blu what was your name last season?

Lowcountry Bulldawg

September 20th, 2010
9:34 am

1) Grantham was right for calling out the players.

2) #50, Gamble needs his arse benched for quiting on the play to bit$h to the official about being held, when he clearly was not on that 3rd down.

3) Murray is just fine.

4) The D has ZERO playmakers in the secondary.

5) The offensive line is confirming what we have really known for years. They are SOFT.

If UGA played Arkansas with as much heart as UT displayed on Saturday we would have had a different outcome. UT did more with less in that game than UGA has in either game thus far. CMR and his staff is doing an underwhelming job at thus point in the season.

Kerryb

September 20th, 2010
9:34 am

Mason comes in and throws a TD against ULL. Tru Blu is ready to make him the starter. If you had started him against South Carolina and Arkansas the Freshman would have got down in a fetal position and cried for his Momma. Murray showed guts standing in the pocket taking some licks looking for receivers who couldn’t get open. I think that kind of guts earns leadership from the other players. Tru Blu, siit down on the couch, pop a top on your Milwaukees Best and leave the football talk to others, you don’t have a clue as to what you are talking about.

Beast from the East

September 20th, 2010
9:34 am

T3,
2006? How about the 2009 Sugar Bowl. Ring a bell?

RxDawg

September 20th, 2010
9:34 am

I’m a little shocked to see so many fans trashing Murray. I’ve watched all of our games very closely, and our QB play hasn’t exactly stood out as our biggest problem to me.

UGAfaninFL

September 20th, 2010
9:35 am

Tru Blu, do think alligators are ornery cause dey got all dem teeth and no toothbrush? You are a MORON!!! Now it’s Murray’s fault that other players are getting arrested. You’re a joke.

5IML

September 20th, 2010
9:35 am

bamafan,

Our friend, Reality, has come to town. And the delusional pre-season bloggers have gone or vacation. But, if our defense doesn’t do a better job tackling (i.e. proper angles, wrapping up) and defending passes (i.e. footwork, assignments), we won’t be laughing for much longer.

For now, we are free to laugh and poke fun for another week. RTR

Abnerish

September 20th, 2010
9:35 am

All you people out here saying that the Bulldawgs showed no heart must’ve left the stadium or turned off the TV in the 3rd quarter. That 4th quarter comeback was a great sign that this team will not fold its tent. The defense made 3 great stops, and the offense willed its way into the end zone (especially T King’s effort on the 3rd and goal play for the last TD). The Dawgs have issues, no doubt, but heart is not one of those issues. I saw an offense start to figure things out, WRs helping out their freshman QB with some amazing catches (Troupe, Durham, and T King). And, now you are blaming these losses on Murray?!?! What did you expect?? He doesn’t have the game experience of a DJ Shockley or even a Joe Cox. Try to be somewhat realistic here!! We knew going in to the season that we would have a couple of stiff tests in Carolina and Arkansas. That doesn’t mean we should stop playing and stop rooting on our team. I am an alumnus of the University of Georgia and I will be a Bulldawg till the day I die, and I will support them always. So, for all of you so-called Bulldawg fans that are “bored” with the Dawgs or are going to “stop watching them”, go right ahead and don’t let the door hit you on the way out. MOre tickets for real, true die-hard Bulldawg fans! I am excited about our trip to Starkville this week and hope we can fix the obvious flaws we have. Btw, for all of you that want Richt fired, the grass is not always greener on the other side. Just ask Tennessee… Do you think they would be where they are today if they stuck with Fulmer? No, and I doubt there are 10 Tennessee fans that are glad they fired him. Besides, what coach in their right minds would come to Athens if Richt was fired? Seriously, do you think another coach could do better than Richt has done in the past 10 years?? Stay the course, people. Richt will right this ship and have us winning championships again soon. Bank on it.

WonderDawg

September 20th, 2010
9:35 am

Wish Richt could “light a fire” before the 4th quarter . . .

ol' balls coach

September 20th, 2010
9:36 am

Lot of talk about the staff and the offense – and rightly so. At the same time, our secondary is ineffective always. We obviously were playing the new 3-4 – problem is thats only 7 players – we needed 4 DB’s to go with it.

3rdn8

September 20th, 2010
9:36 am

@ 51ML

watched the Bama-Duke replay last night. It was just too easy. Makes me nervous.

Other than some missed defensive assignments in the 2nd qtr, it would have been a complete bloodbath.

Of course some would argue that 62-13 IS a complete bloodbath.

Kerryb

September 20th, 2010
9:40 am

WonderDawg, I agree, Richt shouldn’t wait until the 4th quarter to light a fire. Whatever he said he should have said before the game started or at halftime. Hopefully what happened showed him his players will play inspired if he inspires them and shows emotion. Somebody needs to kick those Offensive linemen in the butt because they are playing like high school players.

5IML

September 20th, 2010
9:41 am

3rd,

I’m concerned with our tackling. For example, Hightower is trying to knock every ball carrier unconscious but he’s not wrapping up. Lester continually takes poor angles which result in (attempted) arm tackles.

Even without fixing these problems, I feel that we’ll go undefeated in the regular season. I’d like the defense to help make each game as anti-climatic as possible.

Kerryb

September 20th, 2010
9:42 am

Anyone else notice how the 2007 team played with more fire and emotion when Richt started to show some. Now he is back to his old way and look at them again.

secfootball

September 20th, 2010
9:42 am

For some reason I just don’t think UF has shown us everything and will not until Oct 2. I will judge then!

WonderDawg

September 20th, 2010
9:43 am

Abnerish, I too believe Richt can “right the ship,” but it gonna take him realizing that he, himself needs to be more of a figurehead because he is no longer an offensive whiz.

When he demotes Bobo back to QB coach and goes to the NFL for a bright, young offensive whiz (like he used to be), he can challenge for the SEC again.

But not until.

Kerryb

September 20th, 2010
9:43 am

Bama fans, go to a Bama blog. We don’t care how Bama is tackling.

Mike Smith

September 20th, 2010
9:45 am

UGA’s O-line coach needs to take some heat for real. This was supposed to be a veteran group, but they are playing like a bunch of freshman. Maybe its Bobo. I notice not too many people are questioning the fact that Murray was even dropping back on 3rd and 4. All the receivers were running deep routes. Just dump it off in the flat or something.

Bobo is a good QB coach, but he makes a lot of mistakes as an OC. Until now, the talent has made up for it. I also cant keep him out of the blame for the O-line performance. He is after all the Offensive Coordinator.

3rdn8

September 20th, 2010
9:46 am

@ 51ML

I think that Hightower’s problem is brain-clutter. Last year (before the injury) McClain handled all of the defensive adjustments, and Hightower could just play football. He’s in an entirely different role this year, and think he is struggling a bit….must like a first year QB.

I tend to be more critical of Bama (and our fans) than I do of other teams, and am hoping this defense is better than my current “gut feel” is telling me.

5IML

September 20th, 2010
9:46 am

Kerryb,

In case you haven’t noticed, this is not a UGA blog. This is a college football blog (heavily slanted towards the southeast).

Abnerish

September 20th, 2010
9:47 am

Ol’ balls coach — that’s a good line. pretty funny. Yeah, we definitely have some work to do in the secondary. Sad thing is the game was decided by 3 blown coverages. But, that’s the risk reward the entire Bulldawg nation wanted when we collectively “suggested” Martinez be fired. You play aggresive and you get burned sometimes. I also found it ironic that Arkansas used Richt’s famous “hide the ball” trick for their first TD. Petrino gave us a taste of our own medicine there. He knew we were going to be pumped up to stop the run because of last week’s debacle at Carolina. Good call by that jerk.

DawginLex

September 20th, 2010
9:47 am

Uh, Florida is not going 11-1.

UK will give Florida a fit this weekend. Ever heard of Randall cobb or Derrick Locke? After this weekend you will.

If the game was in Lexington, I’d give the pick to UK straight up as a win. Down in the Swamp, I’ll go with the gators especially if they bring back the refs from last year’s Arkansas game.

1eyedJack

September 20th, 2010
9:49 am

Why aren’t all you retards in school today? Or is this Millegeville’s Internet day? You Johnny-come-latelies on here trying to throw everybody under the bus need to chill. Most rational Dawg fans on here this summer were predicting 9-3 or 8-4 with possible losses to SC, Ark, UF and AU. I was glass half full at 10-2, but am going to adjust to 9-3. Unforseen circumstances.

For the most part we are seeing what we thought we would see. Early defensive struggles as they learn it. I think Murray has performed better than I thought he would. With more consistent O-line play and AJ we could easily be 2-1 or 3-0. This ain’t Madden football. Either be Dawg fans or go somewhere.

RxDawg

September 20th, 2010
9:49 am

I think Tru Blu is a Tru Troll. I’d ignore him as I highly doubt he is a Dawg fan.

3rdn8

September 20th, 2010
9:50 am

@ 51ML

kerryb seems upset about our conversation re: Bama.

Wanna talk AU football?

5IML

September 20th, 2010
9:51 am

@ 3rdn8,

With the number of new starters in the secondary, we expected the lapses we now see. I am most concerned with the lack of pressure from the D-line. Did you notice the safety blitzes we had to use to pressure Duke’s QB? That is very disturbing.

3rdn8

September 20th, 2010
9:52 am

kerryb….speaking of Kerry….speaking of John Kerry.

I served with Kerry in Vietnam. I can attest that he started taking fire when we stopped in Honolulu to refuel. I think he won his first Purple Heart right there on the tarmac. We all tried to sit on the other side of the plane.

Tombo

September 20th, 2010
9:54 am

Tru Blu – Since you’ve indicated that the entire team isn’t playing hard, did you ever stop to think that maybe it’s Richt’s leadership that they don’t believe in? Richt needs to quit being everybody’s BFF and be a coach.

McDawg

September 20th, 2010
9:54 am

I said this at the beginning of the year that i will believe it when i see it about our O-Line and i don’t see it-we have heard this blather the past 3-4yrs about how great our line would be if it didn’t have so many injuries ya yadda yadda but all i ever see is our running backs run into the butts of our O-Line

despite the obvious need for a NT i think on the whole our D is playing better than last year

-essentially this team needs to learn how to win; playmakes will need to step up b/c we cannot rely on the leadership of the veterans on the O-Line

–not sure Boykin wants to return kicks-he looked uncertain

–someone needs to tell Carlton Thomas to run forward-i know Arkansas had speed in the secondary but you have to see the field and run at the sametime looked like he had some space a few times and didn’t take advantage

–can we please get O-Charles the ball!!!!!

RxDawg

September 20th, 2010
9:54 am

Abnerish,

lol this (band)wagon just got a lot more elbow room didn’t it?

3rdn8

September 20th, 2010
9:55 am

@ 51ML

saw the same thing. Even with Darius back, the pass rush is a bit enemic. Also teams seem to get a good push against the defensive front. We’re missing Cody a lot more than I thought we would.

McDawg

September 20th, 2010
9:56 am

Bama is going to crush Arkansas

5IML

September 20th, 2010
9:56 am

@ 3rdn8,

I only watched the first half of the Aub game. When Clemson went up by 17, I was feeling pretty good. The field goal before halftime caused me great alarm. Something told me that Clemson was gonna let it slip away.

My significant other and I went out to eat and missed the second half. As we were leaving the house during halftime, I told her “If you want something (beating Aub) done right, sometimes you just have to do it yourself.” Unfortunately, I was right in that instance.

Freddie

September 20th, 2010
10:01 am

Georgia has never lost a game when you get Washaun Ealey 100 yards. The guy has leadership out the whazoo. Teammates play harder when he’s on the field running the ball a lot. He gives Georgia swagger. The team plays like Superman’s when Ealey’s getting a bunch of carries. Give Ealey the ball enough to get him 100 yards, and win the rest of the games.

how2fish

September 20th, 2010
10:03 am

Abnerish 1eyedJack good post both of you..I had a “fan” tell me this morning that she wasn’t watching or rooting for the Bulldogs anymore until Bobo was gone..I wished her well…

David

September 20th, 2010
10:03 am

Murray is the real deal. Little early to be making that call. Didn’t you guys do the same with Joe Cox about this time last year?
Again CMR get’s a pass. Why does he get a pass? I can tell you CSS was the hottest offensive line coach in the nation a few years ago. All of a sudden he is an idiot? Right. CMR is your problem, he just get’s a pass. Deep down I like it like that.

3rdn8

September 20th, 2010
10:03 am

@ 51ML

that FG AU got just before halftime was big. They were able to take some momentum into the half, and kept it in the 3rd qtr. I was pretty impressed with AU’s defense…especially Josh Bynes. If someone is playing better at LB I’d like to see it.

Cam Newton is not a primetime player….yet.

Red Man Reaction

September 20th, 2010
10:03 am

Tru Blu:

Here’s a spelling lesson for you: the word is spelled ‘aren’t’ not “arn’t”.

Goodbye, credibility.

Palladin

September 20th, 2010
10:04 am

@5IML

You are hammering the obvious into the ground here. It’s true that the defensive secondary is Alabama’s weak link starting this season. With the talent that left the roster last year, that is no surprise. Still, they have amassed decent stats in spite of their inexperience. They will only improve with each game. You will have a legitimate landmark to consider after next week’s game. They will not face too many passing attacks better than Arky’s. It is strange to have a Crimson Tide squad being led by the offense, but you’ll get used to it.

ga gator

September 20th, 2010
10:05 am

I agree with many of the posts on here except for the ones about Murray being the problem. He played poorly in the Gday game but none of us knows what the practices are like. I personally believed that he was Richt’s favorite all along because of Metts personality, but we will never really know. As for UGA’s future, with my team still making it’s way on becoming an offensive team, if UGA wins out until the game in Jax, you could still win the east. Even though I believe we will play Bama tough, they are just too good, too disciplined. They remind me of an NFL team. I think we are about where we should be in the rankings around #10.

FLA DAWG

September 20th, 2010
10:05 am

Tony,

If you think the O Line is our only problem I respectfully suggest you review the SC and Ark Game Tapes again.

im4bama

September 20th, 2010
10:05 am

The ACC is down for sure, but I want to give props to Clemson for playing like an SEC team. They have some guys on defense that can hit and make plays and the offense impressed me in that first half, especially that running back. Clemson, if they use this experience as a positive rather than be deflated after losing, should go on to win the ACC title finally. I can’t wait to the Clemson vs. S.Carolina this year!

Captbob

September 20th, 2010
10:09 am

The Auburn hit on the Clemson QB was the most obvious example of “spearing” I have ever seen, I have ever seen. He literally launched himself head first into the back of the downed player. He should have been ejected! The refs didn’t even flag him! Tony, you better get your eyes checked…or perhaps it is just your SEC bias.

USC GAMEC0CK

September 20th, 2010
10:10 am

How’s that new high powered defense workin for ya?

Where is that big time Scott Lakatos defensive back pass defense?

How’s that big all star offensive line workin for ya?

How’s Mark Richt sleep at night?

AJ should have got 6 game suspension and he should have picked USC.

What gonna happen for georgia at Missy state this weekend?

atlvol55

September 20th, 2010
10:10 am

A couple of observations. Outside of Alabama, the SEC is WAY DOWN.

I’m not trying to be a bitter fan here. Trust me, we expected to lose this game, but outside of Demps, Florida has no speed or playmakers on offense. TN is just awful, but UF is not very good. Trust me, that Orgeon team we played last week would wipe the Gators by three touchdowns….the talent on offense isn’t even close….

That being said, I give credit to the Gators for finding a way to win. However, Brantley is going to be a train wreck. Tn has no defensive line and he could just sit back in the pocket all day. If you get pressure, he air mails everything….My only saving grace is as bad as we are, I really don’t think we are THAT far behind UF and UGA.

3rdn8

September 20th, 2010
10:11 am

I thought the AU player should have been flagged as well. I’m not saying it was intentional, but it was clearly a foul.

Gen Neyland

September 20th, 2010
10:11 am

KerryB : This blog is an open forum for all things college football. That’s Mr CFB’s way. Although you may want it to be about UGA, it’s not and blessedly, will never be. The back slapping, atta boy UGA blog would be the Junkyard Blawg down the hall on the left. Enter at your own risk…

Congrats to the Gators on your win Atop Rocky…