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. 

Please follow me on Twitter:

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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

Honky Talkin'

September 20th, 2010
11:01 am

Georgia defenders dive instead of tackle. There are a lot of discipline issues at Georgia which all stem from the coaching staff. It’s going to be a long season in Athens…7-5 at best. Why are they so mediocre with so much talent? This is Richt’s last season and Georgia will be a non-story in the SEC for years to come.

Joe

September 20th, 2010
11:02 am

I bet if it was a parked car Ealey would have hit that guy he was trying to block!

SonofaDawg

September 20th, 2010
11:02 am

Curious, the line is UGA by 3.5

Corninmypooh

September 20th, 2010
11:03 am

Beast from the East -

We are not on the opposite side of this analysis. We have issues in both trenches. We have issues across the board for that matter. However, I agree with Richt that we are making some minor improvements. The offense played way better Sat. than they did in Columbia.

On the 3rd and 4… you can’t send 3 guys deep and not have a TE and RB safety valve. On that play Murray should have been in the shotgun and rolling out in the event he needed to run for a first down. It was a bad play call from second one. Unfortunately, Murray is not able to check off at the line as much as he needs to. However, that will come with experience.

Einsteindawg

September 20th, 2010
11:04 am

Sonofa…
I’m with you, but our coaching staff keeps saying our freshman recruits can’t play because “they haven’t learned the system”. Funny how other teams get great play from their freshman.

ga gator

September 20th, 2010
11:06 am

gdawginkalamazoo

September 20th, 2010
11:06 am

Lowcountry that is just wrong that they called his name that many times.
Great drinking game though. I missed most of the game but did catch the last few minutes and they showed him I don’t know how many times.

Since I missed most of the game, maybe 5 minutes or so to go, I found it curious that the announcers were questioning or saying that NOW would be a good time to get the tight ends involved in the game. Is that true? Did we not use our all american potential TE’s during the course of the game?????

PapaDawg

September 20th, 2010
11:06 am

I think our receivers need to learn how to seperate themselves from the DBs quicker which could be the reason for our QB taking to long

ga gator

September 20th, 2010
11:07 am

Hard to believe that UF is a 14 point favorite against KY this saturday. I am afraid that KY is for real. Only thing that might help is they haven’t beaten us in the Swamp in 31 years.

Mobile Dawg

September 20th, 2010
11:08 am

Zoo, I have become to pessimistic lately. After we came back there was still no real excitement flowing through my veins and I hate to say it because some of the Kool Aid drinkers will plaster me. I have come to expect what happened and it came true yet again. I am pissed off at the inability of the coaching staff to take care of business.

Observer, your comment didn’t get overlooked. We did get beat by superior teams at this time. Should they be superior? That is another question. I personally don’t think they should be superior, but they are. The reason is “coaching”. I don’t expect CMR to make midseason changes but would be pleasantly surprised if he did. He does need to make major changes after the season if he is to stay. Got to get some work done folks. Have a good day.

Corninmypooh

September 20th, 2010
11:08 am

Mobile Dawg -

I agree with you… motivation in a game like this should be the last concern as a coach. To me it all bowls down to recruiting the right players. In my mind Rodney Garner has been failing this program for the past three years. Out of all the changes that need to be made, that is the most significant.

hmmmm

September 20th, 2010
11:09 am

Everyone keeps going back to the 3rd down and 4 play, and they should…that play sums up the season for UGA…..not only was it an awful call, that was not executed, but what I can’t understand is if you have a young mobile quarterback who can scramble, and you have “questions” about your ability to block, and you only need 4 yards to sustain the game-winning drive, then when why didn’t Bobo call a play that has Murray roll out (get him out of the pocket), and if it’s not there downfield then RUN for the 4 yards????

SonofaDawg

September 20th, 2010
11:09 am

Ding, ding! And we have a winner! Einstein, Nebraska has a redshirt freshman QB and he looks pretty awesome so far. UGA and the sportstalk radio people here are delusional and just as cowardly as our coaches who blame players for their poor coaching. Too many excuses

Tech Lifer

September 20th, 2010
11:10 am

I’m not a Georgia hater, but the Dawgs have too much talent to be so mediocre. CMR needs to do less praying and more ball busting. The tackling was horrible which stems from discipline which stems from coaching. UGA will struggle against FL, TN, Auburn and Tech. Shreveport might be out of reach.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

September 20th, 2010
11:10 am

Use the Tightends? What are they?

This is the tough part of analyzing the game. I do not know how many target White or Charles were to have, but CLEARLY the offense could not figure out a way to get the ball to either. White, I beleive had the only catch and it was a nice grab- tough catch. Charles was a non factor.

This position should be Murray’s biggest ally, and Charles seemingly his favorite target as they are former teammates, but at this juncture this looks to be anotehr part of the team that was clearly overrated.

PapaDawg

September 20th, 2010
11:10 am

All you naysayers need to STICK IT. Ive been a Dawg since 69 and Ive seen worse teams than this one. Not alot of you remember the post Dooley Days when recruits were running away from Georgia

ga gator

September 20th, 2010
11:11 am

Not only is the recruiting coordinator responsible for the evaluation of talent, he is also responsible for keeping the proper depth at each position. UF has the same depth issues at QB as UGA. If Brantley went down, it would be lights out in G-ville.

Prognosticator

September 20th, 2010
11:11 am

Mississippi State 24, Georgia 17. Third beatdown in a row.

Not that it matters any, since the season is over.

3rdn8

September 20th, 2010
11:11 am

If they called AJ Green’s name fifty times, they must have mentioned Mark Ingram twice that much in the Bama-Duke game.

Ingram was only in for five plays. So he had 151 yds rushing…….just tell me what he did in the 4th qtr.

Les W. Moore

September 20th, 2010
11:11 am

It’s Richt’s offense. It’s Richt’s play sheet. Richt has play calling veto. So stop blaming Bobo. It’s Richt’s defense. It’s Richt’s defensive scheme. Richt has defensive scheme veto. So stop blaming Martinez/Grantham.

Richt was great when he could play against Ron Zook, Cutcliffe-less Fulmer, and Lou Holtz. He’s opposed to change and too loyal with his assistants.

Let’s hope he stays at UGA forever!

ACC Report Card

September 20th, 2010
11:12 am

Week 1 … F-
Week 2 … F-
Week 3 … F-

Blobo

September 20th, 2010
11:12 am

BOBO!!! SUX!!! Where did he come from? He’s been at UGA since he was 18. He knows nothing other than what he learned as a player by coaches who sucked and got fired. And he was an average QB a best. When you look at every other OC in the SEC, you see guys who have been around and have a lot of experience. Even Richt played at Miami, but worked under Bowden. Bobo does not have the experience to run this offense. He never has. If he were to be fired, where do you think he would end up? Another SEC school? No. He wouldn’t be an OC for any of the BSC schools. He would end up at Wyoming or Nevada. He simply sucks at his job and needs to be fired. 20 years from now he’ll be good. But right now, he is a newbie OC and he is killing this program. All I have to say is 3 and 4 and we run a play sending everyone deep? With two timeouts and two downs to get the first? With plenty of time? That alone should get you fired. But that is the norm with him. Same BS week after week. FIRE BOBO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Big Dog

September 20th, 2010
11:13 am

I guess Richt is learning why LSU (Miles) dumped Searles. Please explain to me why Head Football Coaches don’t speak with other coaches (outside of their program) and friends about who (position coaches) are up & coming coaches and/or the best teaching coaches and go hire these people when you have a need or a void. Instead it appears they look around and try to hire someone they know. Tell Richt to get the best people he can find and start from there. Also, please get a new Strength & Conditioning Coach, a new Offensive Line Coach and somebody that can teach DB’s what the heck to do and whom to cover!!!!!!!

Beast from the East

September 20th, 2010
11:13 am

ga gator,
We get dissed in the polls for winning “ugly” (and by Tony), but Vegas knows the deal! It may be ugly, but we’ll find a way to get it done. You have to admire them for stepping up in crunch time every week, so far. I just wish we could put together 4 solid quarters of football on a single Saturday. If we can do that, then we’ll be a tough team to beat. Until we do, it will continue to be a struggle every week and we’re sure to drop a couple of games.

Rad in Griffin

September 20th, 2010
11:14 am

“CMR needs to do less praying and more ball busting.”

Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen. You’ll turn blue in the face and pass out!

Casey

September 20th, 2010
11:14 am

Georgia is 0-2 in SEC play, Murray not getting it done.

Terry

September 20th, 2010
11:15 am

I don’t care if Murray’s a redshirt freshman or a senior, 0-2 is 0-2.

ga gator

September 20th, 2010
11:16 am

Blobo, Bobo might have been an average Qb, but he was one of 3 Georgia QB’s who beat us in the last 20 years.

Burt

September 20th, 2010
11:16 am

Casey,

Best post I’ve read in deacades.

Michael

September 20th, 2010
11:16 am

Great, great post Casey, you’re a genius, well said.

Beast from the East

September 20th, 2010
11:16 am

lowcountry,
Ever think they’re keeping the TE’s in to block because the o-line can’t get the job done? That would be my opinion from what I’ve observed.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

September 20th, 2010
11:16 am

Actually I remember the post Dooley days as Goff and Donnan being able to bring in PLENTY of talent, but in Goff’s case he was nowwhere near as good a head coach as he was recruiter.

Boots

September 20th, 2010
11:17 am

Casey, good stuff, incredible post.

ga gator

September 20th, 2010
11:17 am

Agreed Beast. We have been spoiled by weekly 40 point blow-outs. If we can get the 1st qtr problems solved, we will be difficult to handle.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

September 20th, 2010
11:17 am

Beast,

It would honestly be the only plausible explanation.

Beast from the East

September 20th, 2010
11:18 am

Welcome, Casey/Terry/Burt/Michael! What does your mom call you?

Vance Duuley

September 20th, 2010
11:18 am

How long is it going to take for UGA fans to realize that UGA is simply no longer relevant in the SEC? In the national picture, UGA isn’t even a blip on the radar, and hasn’t been since the preseason #1 ranking two years ago.

Sit back and be grateful for the seven or eight wins you’ll get every year. Coaching genius Mark Richt may take you to 8-4 or even 9-3 occasionally, but Florida will still win the SEC, meaning no BCS bowls and no top 10 final ranking. Most years, UGA will be very lucky to finish in the top 25, and only after a big bowl win over a nobody opponent.

It’s a different world now, and Dawg fans need to adjust their expectations downward to reflect reality.

Unfortunately nothing is going to change until UGA changes its mediocre coaching. That’s where the difference is, and that’s why everyone outside Dawgtard Nation just laughs at Dawg fans getting so excited year after year about what a great recruiting class UGA gets. It doesn’t matter how many blue chip high school players go to UGA, they simply don’t get the coaching they would get at Florida or Alabama, to name two schools whose programs are far ahead of UGA. And that’s not going to change as long as Mark Richt is in Athens.

Get your heads out of the sand and face reality. And mediocrity and irrelevance. 

Ron

September 20th, 2010
11:18 am

Casey,

Feel the same way. Just an insightful, succinct, but very powerful blog post. Perhaps the best I’ve ever read. Thanks so much for spending a few minutes with us.

SonofaDawg

September 20th, 2010
11:18 am

Perry on Mayem in the A.M. said “before you(in general) start criticizing Mike Bobo, you must understand that Murray is a freshman qb, and it takes time for the defense to learn the 3-4 scheme.”
I agree with the latter but i’m tired of reading and listening to these apologists protecting this sub par coaching UGA is displaying. But they crucify every other coach in college football but noooooooo not St. Mark Richt. It’s pathetic.

Rip Van Winkle

September 20th, 2010
11:18 am

Yawn, has Lindsey Scott scored again?

Joe Blow

September 20th, 2010
11:18 am

Why is a supposed top SEC program….having to use a redshirt freshman QB after using a 5th year senior the prior year? Where are the QBs in the Senior, Junior and Sophmore class? Is GA not recruiting and developing them? And the RBs? Not top flight SEC type RBs.

There are many many flaws with Georgia football these days..

I think recruiting and getting the best players the last few years is a major problem.

3rdn8

September 20th, 2010
11:19 am

has anyone ever seen more pressure on two coaching staffs (with 1-2 teams) than the UGA-MSU game this week?

CFB is a terrible beast.

Corninmypooh

September 20th, 2010
11:19 am

Casey –

Incredibly lame post and not insightful at all. In case you didn’t notice this is a team sport and Murray can’t win the games all by himself.

Tom

September 20th, 2010
11:19 am

Hi Casey:

You said it better than anyone’s ever said it. Rock On!

Sam

September 20th, 2010
11:19 am

I think Nick is Huston Mason’s agent.

how2fish

September 20th, 2010
11:19 am

I have a question was Bobo calling the plays during the two touchdown drives in the 4th quarter..you remember where we tied the game??..lets be fair folks the line blocked and the plays worked then and last I looked we were driving until that missed block..and Bobo didn’t miss that tackle.Oh and wasn’t he the coach calling the plays on the opening drive where we moved down the field and scored right out of the gate? Really we have a ton of folks that beat him to death when a play goes wrong for any reason and give no credit when they do.

A Big Dog

September 20th, 2010
11:19 am

Tech Lifer…..you Techies love bringing up Shreveport…have fun butthead, it’s a ACC Bowl city now. I hope Tech makes it all the way back to ACC Championship Game..ahhh….December In Charlotte…yeah, real comfort for the fans and teams, but then again Techies don’t travel well do you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ga gator

September 20th, 2010
11:20 am

Good post 3rdn8. They all bring it on themselves with the salaries they demand.

gdawginkalamazoo

September 20th, 2010
11:21 am

Mobile, I think I am being realistc as opposed to pessimistic. I liked the way the kids fought back at the end there. No quit in the team which it one positive thing to look at. That hail mary pass. was pretty awesome too. 70 yards in the air and it almost worked. Thing is we shouldn’t ahve needed it with Arky’s defense.

Lowcountry, that is inexcusable right there. 1 catch by our TE’s????
WTF. They are supposedly two of the best in the country. But how are we supposed to know that if they aren’t thrown the ball.

I watched a little bit of football Saturday afternoon and night. Why can’t our WR’s get any separation from the defenders? Just about every game I saw the WR’s, no matter who’s team it was, had some separation from the DB’s at one point of or another. Is it the route running? Most of our guys always look covered for some reason. Mayb I am wrong.

Paulie

September 20th, 2010
11:21 am

I agree Casey, without being negative, the bottom line is Georgia is better than being an 0-2 team against SC & Ark. 0-2 isn’t good enough, and this week wasn’t an improvement over last week, same result, a loss in SEC play and the season’s over. Murray most definately is not getting it done.

Peace out, Boy Scout!