UGA coach: You don’t replace Moreno

SouthernPigskin.com asks former Georgia receiver Bryan McClendon, now coaching the Dogs’ running backs, how you replace a Knowshon Moreno and McClendon’s answer is forthright: “Well, I don’t think that’s possible. … If people are looking for that, everybody is going to be a little disappointed. You can’t replace a guy like him. I have to make sure the young backs know that it’s not their job to be the next Knowshon, but it’s their job to be the best they can be; just focusing on that … on getting better. … Even though [Moreno] played an integral part of what we did as an offense and as a team, he has moved on and we need to move on, too.”

Along those lines, I’ve been thinking this week about how Georgia’s offense is likely to play out this season. Assuming they’re not hit by another rash of injuries, the line should be pretty good. Maybe great, but let’s keep our expectations moderate. Whether we end up with one featured back or tailback-by-committee, most observers expect a drop-off in the running game, at least initially. Which probably means the Dogs will be throwing it more this year than they did last season.

Joe Cox may not have the arm strength of Matthew Stafford, but he throws a nice pass and if the line gives him time he should be able to spread the ball around between the various receivers and backs. A.J. Green, obviously, will be a big weapon but the double coverage he’ll draw makes it likely Cox will have to throw it to a lot of different folks. We have some exciting freshmen hitting the receiving corps, too.

Mark Richt likes balance in his offense, but even with Moreno in the backfield last year, Georgia passed for a lot more yards than it ran (3,610 to 1,928) and made more first downs through the air than on the ground (163 to 95), though the scoring was pretty even (24 touchdowns rushing, 23 passing).

So what do you think, something closer to Air Georgia this season? And if so, is that a good thing?

104 comments Add your comment

Cuz

June 26th, 2009
10:46 am

I see a more balanced offense with the run/pass ratio. Either Caleb or Committe RB’s, we tote the rock more than last year.

GT's Nuts

June 26th, 2009
10:47 am

At least the UGA coaching staff doesn’t have the blinders on like the general UGA fan base, who think they won’t miss a step with Caleb King and Joe Cox in the backfield.

reebok

June 26th, 2009
10:49 am

Tech fan here – the O-line will determine everything for you this season…Cox is no Stafford, but he’s still a talented QB who can take a defense apart given good blocking…IMHO, of course and as always…see you on the Flats in November.

Long Dawg

June 26th, 2009
10:50 am

The Dawgs will have to establish the run and we have the personnel to do it. Carlton Thomas is my pick for #1 starter in the back field based on the Spring game. If you think he is too small to be effective see the Oregon vs Souther Cal. game last year. A 5′6″ back ran all over USC. Bobo needs to build the offensive around what Joe Cox can do best as far as the passing game and the receivers need to catch the ball. If so we’ll not only be competitive we’ll be pretty good.

Gen Neyland

June 26th, 2009
10:53 am

The Eight Ball says, Ask again in November…

Blindog

June 26th, 2009
10:55 am

Joe Cox knows the offence as well as Bobo and with his accurate arm and A.J. and company the defences will be so spread out the running backs[whoever] will have plenty of space to run.

augustadawg

June 26th, 2009
10:56 am

The strength of the offensive line will be our biggest asset along with a 5th year guy at qb who is a proven winner. I think Cox will take better car of protecting the ball than Stafford and that will be huge. If our dismal special teams from last year can improve, I think we could have a monster year, especially if the injury bug stays away.

JB

June 26th, 2009
10:59 am

I just hope we expand the play book from the same 10-12 plays we run….also, We need to throw out the book on what we do on a certain down and yardage. I guess about 7 of 10 plays before we run them. I know an opposing DC who studies film on us is a lot better at it. also, we need to never run the play where the QB takes the snap from the shotgun, say’s a thousand one, then hands the ball to the tailback and say’s “good luck”. I don’t get it. Hardly ever works.

Cox

June 26th, 2009
11:01 am

You don’t have to be an all-star QB to have a good year. If the O line holds, we’ll be good to go (offesively, anyway). Remember John Parker Wilson?

T-Dog

June 26th, 2009
11:04 am

I think Samuel will begin to separate himself from the pack of TBs as the season progresses. I also think we will see C. Thomas a good deal as a change of pace type back. He has the ability to confuse defenses by hiding behind the line and popping out for a quick 1st down.

T. King will have a great year catching the ball. He has put on some good weight and strength during the off season. M. Brown will contribute this year as well.

Cuz

June 26th, 2009
11:07 am

JB, that is my favorite play, to get thrown in the dumpster.

NoleRick

June 26th, 2009
11:09 am

Just suggesting, you may want to change the front page from the “Denver Bulldogs” to the appropriate.

coachdawg 2000

June 26th, 2009
11:15 am

I think that ,for all of his talent actually playing the position, Knowshon’s biggest impact was his energy and passion. I think that will be as hard,if not harder to replace than his awesome running abilities. I just hope that the committee apporoach that Richt and Bobo use doesn’t cause them to not “stick with the hot hand” when it comes to who is getting the ball/reps. In 2007 against the Chicks it was obvious the Knowshon was lightyears more effective than Thomas Brown.Unfortunately it until the Vandy game for the coaches to figure that out.

coachdawg 2000

June 26th, 2009
11:18 am

JB,
The play you are talikng about is a draw play in a passing formation and FYI Knowshon scored on it in 2007 Florida game.

blackout_dawg

June 26th, 2009
11:21 am

I think you answered you own question. Richt likes a balanced offense. Unless the game forces a change (like getting behind or big lead) they will continue to attempt a balanced attack.

Good Dawg

June 26th, 2009
11:21 am

I think we should keep our expectations in check and see how we stand after the first 4 games or so. I don’t think this team needs to get into any scoring shootouts, because I don’t think we can put the points up that we have in recent years. Hopefully I’m wrong about that. So defense and special teams play will be huge. Eight or nine wins looks reasonable to me, not counting a bowl.

coach smith

June 26th, 2009
11:22 am

Washaun Ealey, Carlton Thomas, and Samuel will split the carries (I think Caleb will see his time decrease)

Look out for EALEY…he could play ALOT before it is over with

Jeff Weathers

June 26th, 2009
11:22 am

Hersch tried to sound excited about the upcoming Dawgs season in his interview last week…the key word: tried. I still feel like we perform better when everyone is least expecting it. I know that Cox is starting but i would like to see Gray get a few snaps in from time to time to confuse the D. I hope Hersh sounds more excited during the Sports Legends Challenge this September. If not…let’s just try to get out of this season alive.

SavannahJacket

June 26th, 2009
11:25 am

Good call NoleRick. Bill was so excited about writing in the Bulldog Blog this morning that he changed Denver to the Bulldogs as well. Maybe he can get some new lenses for his Sally Jessie Raphael glasses.

The dawgs are going to be fine this year. They lost a lot to the draft last year, but they are still loaded with tallent and the cream will rise. The important thing to worry about is keeping everyone healthy and out of trouble. We want the Dawgs ranked as high as possible come Thanksgiving weekend.

richtfan

June 26th, 2009
11:28 am

we roll tonight to the guitar bite

southgadawg88

June 26th, 2009
11:31 am

The OL if completely healthy looks to be something special…every starter was a freshman All SEC or All American.I don’t think that has ever happened at UGA.Even the back ups have extensive game experience.I’m still skeptical of Joe Cox at QB though…I just can’t get past the fact as much as Stafford struggled at times during his time at UGA Cox never got any real PT except his Frs year.Practice is no substitute for real game experience.In our league 1st year players have a tendency to struggle…Cox has not played enough in my book to say he’s a veteran.He’s been in the program awhile and all that…some say that’s means a lot…me I don’t know,he’s had a lot of time to earn some playing time and didn’t.All the stuff about leadership and being undefeated in HS don’t impress me much.I don’t see how you can be a “great” leader if you haven’t played.the HS stuff is irrelevant…that school went undefeated for 8 years or more I think it won like 108 straight games which takes some punch out of that claim.He is a SR anyway the backup MUST get a lot of pt because Cox aint coming back.As for as C.Thomas being the main guy…The Pac 10 is not the SEC.I think he makes some impact though…he looks to be very talented.With that line I’m not worried much about the run game.

coachdawg 2000

June 26th, 2009
11:38 am

Unfortunately as the season creeps up I start to adopt a munson-like outlook. I just don’tnow if we’ve got enough bullets in the gun to hung a bunch of points on the board. Therefore, I get even more concerned about our defense and special teams and our ability win games more than we lose.OK.St. looks to be an absolute juggernaut and unless they simply padded their stats against two-hand touch defenses we may come home with an ugly loss there and goodness knows we will be lucky to survive the chickens (Garcia is good enough to beat us-blake mitchell did 2 years ago). Year 2 is usually when a program takes off under a coach so Arkansas may send us to 0-3. Arizona St. is an unknown. Then we get LSU if we don’t solve our offensive issues really early (week 1) we may be looking at a Ray Goff-era type of season. I hope i’m just being pessimistic but after watching G-Day again (comcast on demand is awesome!) I just feel like the cupboard is more bare (in proven playmakers) than I had previously thought.Somebody please give me a reason why I’m wrong and the sky in fact is not falling.

Bill King

June 26th, 2009
11:40 am

I don’t write those teases, but I’ve let them know about the “Denver Bulldogs.”

Of course, at times over the years Denver has been kinda Bulldog-heavy …

reality check

June 26th, 2009
11:40 am

I agree with T-dog about Samuel. The guy is really young and last year his progress during the season was noticeable. He averaged 5.1 ypc last year, and that average increased as the year went on. He will play at 225 pounds this year and he is clearly Georgia’s fastest back.

McCendon is right when he says Moreno can’t be replaced. Richt is also right when he says he believes we will be sound at the RB position this year.

I for one believe one of our problems last year was over emphasis of the passing game. The statistics under Richt are clear and unequivocal. When we run 60% or more we have won. When we pass 50% or more we have lost.

Chicken Little

June 26th, 2009
11:41 am

coachdawg, the sky is not falling. If it was, I would know.

Lets be honest

June 26th, 2009
11:42 am

If the line holds up this year it should open the running game more so than the passing. But I like the the run/pass game plan. Keeps the defense guessing. Unlike Tech which we know how to stop them now i.e. LSU. Stop the option. Stop Tech. But the hard thing is stopping the option. CPJ has done a good job with the many different blocking schemes tied into his option game. It’s not JUST stopping an option. Can’t wait till November. They’ll be so much red & black you’ll think it’s a home game! LOL

MiltonDawg

June 26th, 2009
11:48 am

we should be fine with everything. WRs will fall into place, Cox will be fine, D will be great, the Lines should be solid and we have a plethra of RBs to choose from.

chazzo

June 26th, 2009
11:49 am

So, I spent some time this week pointing out some chinks in the armor of the Dooley mythos, but he understood something impeccably. You don’t need eleven yards a carry to make first downs, eat the clock, and score points. Four yards a carry will do just fine. UGA does not need star power, it needs solid, fundamental, penalty-free teamwork. The dawgs have a solid line and fast guys in the backfield. Figure out how to get it in their hands, hand offs, passes, laterals, whatever the situation calls for. There will be some wrinkles, too, I imagine, with some new speedsters able to go both ways, hybrid tightends, and the occasional Logan Gray look. It could be really interesting. The key is that Cox can lead, and if he doesn’t try to force things, everything will be fine. Patience and fundamentals: they won’t sell xtreme sports drinks, but they will win games.

Cuz

June 26th, 2009
11:52 am

Who besides me thinks that Stafford changed plays at the line of scrimmage so often that it turned us into a pass oriented offense. A show of hands please.

I think we move steady down the field and score. No seventy yard bombs but what is the completion rate on those things?

Don’t worry, be happy.

chazzo

June 26th, 2009
11:53 am

JB,
Totally with you on that shotgun delay draw thing. There are some other things that perpetually failed last year because they just take too long to unfold. Need to hit things fast… especially last year with a gimpy line.

GT-Jake

June 26th, 2009
11:53 am

If he and Stufford were so good, why did you get whipped by Bama, Tech and Florida?

UGA Football = OVER-rated
OVER-rated… OVER-rated

Cuz

June 26th, 2009
11:54 am

“Three yards and a cloud of dust.” will be etched on Saint Vince’s tombstone.

coachdawg 2000

June 26th, 2009
11:59 am

This summer reminds of the lead up to the 1995 season. QB gone(Zeier),virtual ,unknown commodity here (Bobo),and Tailback gone (Davis) unknown replacement here (Edwards), Dominate fullback gone (Strong), lack-luster ,except for one linebacker (Godfrey), defense returning.Daunting early schedule home vs. chicks, @tennyshoes.
Maybe this will turn out better than that did (6-6 loss in Peach bowl to virginny)

Native Atlantan

June 26th, 2009
11:59 am

I’d rather keep the expectations low. The schedule is difficult enough with playing in the most competitive league and then having Ok State and Tech on the road while dealing with a very respectable PAC 10 team with ASU at home. While most schools have two or three ‘gimmes’, UGA only has one.

The O-Line will have to stay healthy and the whole team will need to resist temptation of a great college downtown area, beautiful women and cheap beer. These are the wonderful ‘unknown variables’.

I think Cox will be ok. There will be a large drop off at tailback. Will the D improve because there’s lots of room for it. Will the kicking game get better or will we keep missing FG’s less than 40 yards? Will we still have HighSchool kickoffs and coverage? Will the Martinez scheme give up five TD’s in half the games? All these along with the ‘unknown variables’ are just as significant to me as the new QB and TB.

Cuz

June 26th, 2009
11:59 am

GT-Jake, you had a three point whipping over Gardner-Webb. Have you got your 10-7 ring yet?

TopDawg

June 26th, 2009
11:59 am

Thank you coachdawg for explaining that simple play to JB, who somehow can’t figure out what a draw is called but he correctly guesses 7 out fo 10 plays that UGA runs. Now if you just guess ‘run’ or ‘pass’, that doens’t necessarily solve the mystery. A good d coordinator would take more pride in knowing the type of run or pass play that is about to be run against their defense. So while JB may be right about the ability of an opposing D coordinator to guess what the offense is about to do, it does go a bit deeper than ‘run’ or ‘pass’.

I think Mike Bobo is great coordinator for 1, offense was hardly our problem last year even with the patchwork offensive line. The problem we had more often than not was stopping other teams, as the year went on our defense just became less and less sound. That could have been due to excessive injuries, or coaching. My guess is both. But you couple that with us having designated fair catchers as punt returners, and the fact that Blair Walsh is under the impression that you’re SUPPOSED to kick the ball out of bounds on EVERY kickoff and you have a recipe for a quick fall from the perch of #1.

Seriously tho, something has gotta be done about the coaching on defense and special teams. That would be my suggestion for focus in the upcoming traning camps.

Huh?

June 26th, 2009
12:02 pm

The offense will be fine. I am not at all concerned. Cox will run the show to perfection and take care of the ball. Caleb King, while obviously no Knowshon, will be better than people think. A.J. Green will be his usual spectacular self. Can they really double team him every single play? He will make them pay when they can’t. Michael Moore will step up and have a MoMass kind of senior season. I would like to see the offensive line get a little more physical in run situations and push some folks around, but for the most part that unit should be very solid. Its the other side of the ball that makes me nervous. I just don’t know about those guys….

chazzo

June 26th, 2009
12:02 pm

One more thing. OSU will be a baptism by fire. Things will have to gel quick, and leaders will have to emerge. OSU will be more than ready for that game. Not predicting anything, but if UGA loses one, OSU wouldn’t be all that bad a loss.

TopDawg

June 26th, 2009
12:03 pm

And GT-Jake, if we’re so over-rated what are you doin reading stories about us. Isn’t there some Star Trek convention coming up soon, don’t forget your pocket protector!

Saint Simons

June 26th, 2009
12:05 pm

45-42 !!!!!!!!!!!!!! hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Clock says...

June 26th, 2009
12:07 pm

71 days and counting….

Cameron

June 26th, 2009
12:07 pm

I don’t think we are going to have a drop-off in the running game at all. I think we have a deep, talented, experienced line that is just as important as having a stud tailback. Moreno was running behind a patchwork offensive line last year that could muster nothing against top opponents, outside of LSU.

The combination of King/Samuel/Jackson/Thomas will be more than enough, behind that line, to produce as much or more than last year.

coachdawg 2000

June 26th, 2009
12:11 pm

I think Bobo is a good OC sometimes he seems to try to get too cutesy in the redzone or simply seems to outthink himself. Sometimes the most predictable play is the best play (i.e. line up and knock ‘em on their backsides in the short yardage/redzone). Sometimes we try to fool everybody and when the plays don’t work and we end up kicking fieldgoals the offense seems to deflate a little bit.

Huh?

June 26th, 2009
12:26 pm

“I think Bobo is a good OC sometimes he seems to try to get too cutesy in the redzone or simply seems to outthink himself. Sometimes the most predictable play is the best play (i.e. line up and knock ‘em on their backsides in the short yardage/redzone).”

I think the problem has been that we haven’t had an offensive line that is capable of doing that. That’s why you see all the cute stuff. This weakness was readily apparent in the Florida game. We moved the ball well enough between the 20’s, but the redzone was a disaster because our offensive line could not hold its own against their defensive front. That obviously has to change.

JB

June 26th, 2009
12:30 pm

I love the Dawgs and Georgia but I think Bobo would have trouble getting a Job in Division 1 if he were looking.

coachdawg 2000

June 26th, 2009
12:36 pm

Huh?-
You’re right about the line but i you look back at the 2007 chicken game we were knocking them off of the ball and running at will with Knowshon, then we put in TB and we try a trick play with AJ Bryant and goes for a pick and AJB hurts his knee. This why i woory aboyut our tailbacks Richt/Bobo/whoever seems to let loyalty/likeing a guy get in the way of who is getting it done and seem to over-think situations (especially in the redzone).

coachdawg 2000

June 26th, 2009
12:44 pm

Beleive me when i tell you I am not one those playcalling critics. I’ve been on the other side of that deal but i will say that we seem to ,at times,take a shot gun apporach to offense rather than the rifle approach Dooley took.Being mulitple is good but you need to do what you do best(to use an ultra-lame expression “you’ve got to dance with who brung you”).

quaildawg

June 26th, 2009
12:48 pm

Ball control, change up passing down to keep defenses honest. If, and this is the big question, if our O-line steps it up, as they should, then pushing the ball for 4-5 per pop is one of the greatest demoralizers an Offense can exhibit on oppossing Defenses.

DirtyDawg

June 26th, 2009
12:48 pm

Regardless of the tailback play, and even if that guy we saw in the Caleb King YouTubes from his high school days shows back up, I’m the most encouraged by the apparent improvement in the offensive and defensive lines. If we can dominate on both sides of the ball at the line of scrimmage then I’ll take my chances against anybody. Injuries and depth can effect their performance, and you want to make sure you limit turnovers and penalties, but give me a superior line of scrimmage and we’ll be right there all season long.

southgadawg88

June 26th, 2009
12:53 pm

……..I’m with you DirtyDawg