More reasons for UGA fans to feel good … or bad

Dogs fans have to feel good about Joe Cox. (April L. Brown, AP)

Dogs fans have to feel good about Joe Cox. (April L. Brown, AP)

There’s a lot to feel good about after Georgia’s win over Arkansas. And a lot to be concerned about, as well …

The biggest plus is Joe Cox throwing to A.J. Green, Michael Moore, Tavares King, Orson Charles, Aron White and A.J. Green some more. If Cox continues his trend of week-to-week improvement, look out!

Another plus: Richard Samuel finally showing his breakaway speed on that 80-yard touchdown sprint. But his two fumbles in the game are alarming. Caleb King looked very strong in relief. And like I said Sunday, take away Samuel’s long run and King was actually the more productive, reliable back Saturday. His passing protection came in for praise from Mark Richt, too. Samuel may hold on to the nominal starter’s spot this week by virtue of his touchdown run, but he better start holding on to the ball as well or he’ll quickly be relegated to backup. One thing King’s return should mean: No more wasting downs by trying to run Carlton Thomas between the tackles. Instead, hopefully, he’ll be used on screen and dump passes, where his open-field running ability can be put to use.

The offensive line opened up a gigantic hole on that scoring run by Samuel and did a good job of protecting Cox most of the night. But all those false starts and holding calls won’t cut it once Georgia is up against a conference opponent with an SEC-worthy defense, like LSU or Tennessee. Fourteen penalties for 93 yards just isn’t acceptable. Richt needs to get back on top of this situation in a hurry.

These Dogs don’t panic. And Cox has poise to spare. After coming back from being down 17-7 and 21-10 in the past two weeks, Richt noted in his Sunday media teleconference, “The guys are beginning to believe that they are not out of any game, and the more times you get put in the fire, it refines you and makes you stronger and tougher mentally. We’ve been in some battles and shown we can be the last one standing. However, we have to stop the self-inflicted wounds, and when we do that, we’ll improve tremendously.”

Yes, the turnovers have put Georgia’s defense into a short-field situation too many times. Opponents have scored 40 points off nine Bulldog turnovers this season. And yes, without the resulting scores off turnovers by opponents, the Dogs would have won more comfortably the past two weeks and might even be undefeated.

But that doesn’t change the fact that our pass defense has been absolutely wretched the past two games. Against South Carolina, they couldn’t stop the short pass. Arkansas barely bothered with the short pass because the Dogs were so vulnerable to the home run. At times Saturday night, Georgia’s secondary didn’t seem to have a clue where they were supposed to be. Richt brings a whole new meaning to understatement when he says that on defense the Dogs “have an opportunity to continue to improve.”

Still, the run defense was good and late in the game the overall defense got stronger. In the fourth quarter, the Hogs’ Ryan Mallett completed only two of 10 passes for 29 yards. As Rennie Curran noted in the Athens Banner-Herald: “There was a lot of times when we could have started pointing fingers and started turning our backs on each other, but we kept our head in the game. When the game got on the line, we got the stops that we needed. We’ve got a long way to go. We can’t keep giving teams the long balls and the busted coverages.”

Kickoffs. Jon Fabris is still in love with directional kicking despite the overwhelming evidence it’s costing Georgia field position. This is a clear case where Richt needs to step in and bigfoot his assistant. Even if Blair Walsh can’t consistently put it deep enough into the end zone for a touchback as much as the coaches would like, the odds of Georgia defending a returnable kick there are better than when Walsh tries to stick it in the corner.  If the opponent is going to get the ball around the 40, at least make them earn that field position.

What else about Georgia’s performance has you elated or concerned as the Dogs prepare for Arizona State?

61 comments Add your comment

barneyb

September 21st, 2009
10:33 am

What is it going to take for Richt to send his buddies packing?

L-Dawg

September 21st, 2009
10:34 am

GLORY GLORY TO OLE’ GEORGIA!!!!!

****AMBER ALERT**** CHILDREN MISSING FROM JUNKYARD BLAWG, AND AN ENTIRE POP WARNER OFFENSE MISSING FROM NATIONAL RANKINGS!!!!

GO DAWGS!!!!

UNDEFEATED IN THE SEC, AND 5 DAYS AWAY FROM GIVING ARIZONA STATE A WARM SOUTHERN BEATDOWN!!!!

Jigger

September 21st, 2009
10:36 am

If you are a fumbler, you will fumble through out your career. George Rogers won the Heisman, but fumbled forever. If you directional kick, a fair # will go out of bounds. Rember, the Buck stops with MR, not the Coaches. He is their boss. So, if they continue to do things that do not work, it is on MR.

Say what ?

September 21st, 2009
10:38 am

L-Dawg, why are you “o-lay”-ing Georgia ? This isn’t soccer.

david

September 21st, 2009
10:39 am

Sun Devils shouldnt be a problem–not much talk out here in Tempe–unlike last year. They had about 35000 for their last home game

Kelly's a Dawg

September 21st, 2009
10:41 am

This is all well said. I can’t stand to think about our defense being compared to those in the Big 12, but that’s how it appears. And 14 penalties is just unacceptable…it’s practically spotting the other team a touchdown!

GreggJ

September 21st, 2009
10:41 am

Well said in all aspects! I agreee %100

Daniel #12

September 21st, 2009
10:43 am

Excessive penalties, woeful pass defense, and lacking special teams. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

gt

September 21st, 2009
10:45 am

yESTERDAY i SAW THE REPLAY OF THE ‘82 SUGAR BOWL. We rushed the passer.We were at least close to the receivers. We hit the recievers hard. We lost at the end. How? We blitzed, Pitt read blitz, the backs read blitz and everybody blocked, or held.The QB threw a 35 yard bomb.The QB? Dan Marino.

Today in order to complete a long pass someonecan trot down the field,stop and wave. The qb, tired of standing in the pocket with nothing to do, lobs it. The receiver catches it.TD!

In today’s game with our current D, Marino might have gone 15-15, with 700 yards and 14 TD’s.

Before we all condemn the coaches again, someone ask the players-WHAT THE CRAP IS WRONG WITH YOU GUYS?

WE NEED TORECRUIT BETTER PLAYERS- BETTER ATTITUDESAND/OR TALENT.Never seen such an inept defense against the pass, going back to the early 60’s!

Jeff

September 21st, 2009
10:51 am

*******AMBER ALERT*******
Nerds missing from the Top 25 College Football Poll. Wrecked Car, nerd looking fans. Pencil Holder in pocket. Last seen somewhere in the Everglades trying to find their way back to Atlanta after being hit by a Hurricane. Call 1-800-Iam-Nerd (426-6373)

Fort Worth Dawg

September 21st, 2009
10:54 am

Mmmmmmmmmmmm bacon.

Dr M

September 21st, 2009
10:59 am

The penalties on the O-line should be fixable, resulting in an even more potent offense. Caleb King impressed. We knew the Hawgs were gonna pass but we couldn’t pressure the QB. If we can improve there, we might be for real.

AceDawg

September 21st, 2009
11:02 am

I’m still terrified when I watch the Dawgs! Will we stay good on offense against the better teams in the coming weeks? Does Mike Bobo actually direct a particular type of offense or just experiment all game? Is it ok to fire Martinez mid-season considering the team doesn’t know what it is doing on defense anyway? I can tell four guys to rush and defensive backs to cluelessly stand around in zone until it is too late to react too! If it isn’t a talent problem…

Dawg Dude

September 21st, 2009
11:06 am

Im no expert but if we arent pressuring the QB and arent covering recievers very well where is everyone at?

Dawg Dude

September 21st, 2009
11:08 am

Oh and one good thing would be Reshad Jones pulling up and not hitting that reciever on the sideline on an incomplete pass for a personal foul in the second half. Not sure if anyone else saw that but i did and I was surpised.

BlackSmoke

September 21st, 2009
11:10 am

I hope Joe’s performances over the last 2 weeks are beginning to silence the critics. The kid has poise and a great head on his shoulder…and contrary to popular belief, a pretty dang good arm. The offense needs to keep doing what it’s doing. But our passing defense is in serious trouble. We can’t keep counting on Cox putting up 40+ just to win us a game.

MyView

September 21st, 2009
11:14 am

Its to a point where maybe UGA should go man to man with two deep safeties in all passing situations. At least then the db will be in the vicinity of the receiver. Saturday night was a first for our d. Receivers were catching passes without a defender on the tv screen. A new low for us.

Paul H

September 21st, 2009
11:18 am

Richt HAS to close the lid on Fabris’ love of directional kicking! I can’t STAND seeing this happen over and over again. Opponents now know to just stand there when we kick it off there is a good chance it will go out of bounds! Enough is enough already!

Chris

September 21st, 2009
11:20 am

I have to believe that Butler could put the ball on a tee and kickoff. That would solve our directional kick problem. With Butler’s leg I doubt there would be many returns. Our defense is not very strong, we need to quick giving offenses short fields. If we had played Florida Saturday night we would have given up 100 pts.

Hunting Dawg

September 21st, 2009
11:20 am

14 penalties

2 or 3 ‘directional kickoffs go out of bounds

Inept pass rush

Poor coverage

3 turnovers

Reduce the number of penalties and we control the ball better and keep the D off of the field.

Eliminate the directional kickoffs and the D doesn’t have to start defending at the 40 all of the time.

More blitz packages and the rush becomes more effective.

Defensive backs knowing what to do stops more home run passes.

Stop turning over the football and the D doesn’t have to be on the field as often.

If the trunovers don’t occur or are reduced, less time that the D has to be on the field and allow TD’s.

Assessment – Get these kids whipped into shape

Go Dawgs!

Moonlight Mile

September 21st, 2009
11:23 am

Martinez’ D has been awful this season and last season but it was successful before that. I’m not defending the D but I will defend Richt for not firing him…. yet. If UGA gets to a point where we fire coordinators after 1 bad season then we’ll be losing a lot of what has made UGA successful under Richt – stability.

There will be no defending Martinez if this keeps up though. If it does and he’s around in 2010 then Richt will certainly have made his bed.

HBTD

September 21st, 2009
11:23 am

Drew Butler’s punting has been huge!!!

CTNTGS

September 21st, 2009
11:24 am

CMR, please fire WM after the season, promote RG to DC, and hire someone who actually knows how to coach a secondary. Better yet, bring Kirby Smart home as DC.

UGAUGAUGA

September 21st, 2009
11:25 am

Take the under this week!

GeoffDawg

September 21st, 2009
11:26 am

Just out of curiosity, I wonder how much, if any, the expected continued rain presence going into Saturday will play to the advantage of the Dawgs. Just thinking that with the exception of the odd away game up in Oregon or Washington, Az. State probably never plays or even practices in the rain. Might be a sloppy Saturday across the board.

PMC

September 21st, 2009
11:27 am

This is the Joe Cox and the receiving crew I thought we’d see. They are still having some growing pains but they are getting better except for the outside pass rush.

Mike Bobo is doing a good job getting the most out of his available talent.

PMC

September 21st, 2009
11:27 am

I’ve been really impressed by the kickers too.

GeoffDawg

September 21st, 2009
11:29 am

And just to pile on: those damnable directional kicks need to make like tech’s offense – disappear in big games.

JPW

September 21st, 2009
11:29 am

To answer your direct question – one thing that has me elated and hopeful is the presence of AJ Green. Anybody who says he’s not the best WR in the land is just naive.

Erk, Baby!

September 21st, 2009
11:30 am

I’ll say it again…

I wonder how many people actually remember seeing Erk on the sidelines…bald head bloody from headbutting his player’s helmets?!? What a badass!

Compare that to Willie. How far we’ve fallen…and how depressing.

Bob Horner had a sweet compact swing

September 21st, 2009
11:30 am

directional kicks…..I agree Bill.. Richt should tell Fabris simply…”I don’t want to see another one the rest of the year..” the Defense…I think we should blitz more…change things up….keep teams off guard….wish we had dominant DE…

NewnanDawg

September 21st, 2009
11:33 am

Jigger – have to disagree on the once, always a fumbler – case in point – Terrell Davis – became a back up at UGA bc of fumbles then got coached up in the NFL. Samuel had lots of fumble issues last year, but looks vastly improved – I think it was a lapse into an old habit because of pressure to succeed in the second very long, close game in a row. Remember – he came to UGA very young. Although a soph, he’s still only 18.

Great improvement on the offense – some of those passes won’t be an option though against Eric Berry’s secondary and some others. The skill players looked awesome – line needs some penalty clean up.

I’m not totally against keeping WM, but they have got to get him some help with some fresh ideas from an outside consultant or co – coordinator. It must be from someone outside the program because the inside is getting stale on the defensive side.

I don’t think they’re world beaters or anything yet, but they sure are fun to watch as long as they don’t give me a heart attack.

Go Dawgs!

robodawg

September 21st, 2009
11:34 am

Bill King, your goods and bads are dead on. I’m hoping we’ll see improvement on the penalties, ball security, kickoffs, pass coverage and DE pressure. And hoping the offensive stars and stout run defense can keep us in the W column until the rest of our game gets up to speed. This will be an interesting season.

Any word on Vance Cuff?

murfdawg

September 21st, 2009
11:53 am

Now is the time for all good coaches to come to the aid of their special teams,the directional kickoff and the pooch kick will not serve the republic well.

CMR needs to take over the special teams.

Ed

September 21st, 2009
12:04 pm

Lost in the excuse of “turnovers put the other team in scoring position” is the fact that the other team still had to physical drive the ball into the end zone. Unless the turnover occurs inside the 5-yard line, that’s on the defense. There’s nothing that says a turnover at the Georgia 20 or 30 yard line has to result in 7 points for the other team – sometimes you have to stop them and make them try a field goal.

The most alarming part about the defense’s performance is the excuse- making. Giving up boatloads of points and yards to two middling SEC teams speaks for itself. Can’t blame the offense and special teams for giving up an average of almost 40 points and 450 yards. We need some accountability on defense, fast.

hamburger lips

September 21st, 2009
12:10 pm

Get a new coaching staff immediately ! If you want a NC Fire the whole shooting match. Like Obama says CHANGE and YES WE CAN !

Ed

September 21st, 2009
12:16 pm

Erk, Baby!, I remember Erk roaming the UGA sidelines. His teams were known for yielding ground early in a drive but stiffening when the other team got near the red zone. He frustrated a lot of offenses. I remember BVG hollering and giving his D the “thumbs up” as they ran off the field after a good series. That’s beginning to seem like a long time ago.

A great defensive coordinator is like a co-head coach, a force of nature in his own right. Think Erk, Buddy Ryan, John Chavis, Monte Kiffin, Bob Stoops at UF, Will Muschamp at Auburn and UT, and of course BVG in the early Richt years. Steve Spurrier, a shell of his former coaching self, has survived this long at SC because he’s been blessed with great defensive coordinators. Mike Leach took Texas Tech to a new level when he hired Ruffin McNeil to coach their defense.

When there’s weakness in the defensive coaching, it seems to affect the toughness and discipline of the entire team. Until Georgia finds the right fit at Def. Coord., we’ll continue to see flameouts against elite competition. That didn’t happen from ‘01-’04.

Eric C.

September 21st, 2009
12:20 pm

How much do we know about AZSU this year? I hope the Dawgs are treating them like a visit from Western Carolina or Tenn Tech…now THIS could be a “trap” game if you ask me. I know they beat Idaho St. 50-3…the same team OU beat 64-0, and gave up 14 pts to ULM, the same team that scored 20 pts on Texas and beat TX Southern 58-0. So doing the math, I’m thinking AZSU isn’t a bad team and probably has a decent defense. Just don’t take them lightly because it will be easy to have a let-down on offense after the past two games.

Eric C.

September 21st, 2009
12:21 pm

correction to previous post – should be aren’t treating

jdawg

September 21st, 2009
12:24 pm

I have said many times before about kick offs….I just do not understand..we have done better….and now two penalties….remember we can talk about Fabris….but the buck stops with CMR…jdawg

reebok

September 21st, 2009
12:24 pm

Tech fan here…congrats to the Dogs for 2 come-from-behind wins against conference opponents…I think AzzState is supposed to be a pretty weak team this year, altho I have not seen them play. LSU vs UGA is one I plan to kick back and enjoy watching.

See you on the Flats in November!

jw

September 21st, 2009
12:31 pm

Auburn is going to beat our ass.

BAMA STAN

September 21st, 2009
12:57 pm

12 NATIONAL TITLES – 21 SEC TITLES!!!

UGA is 2-0 in conference play.

– offensive mistakes (movement more easy to fix).
– not sure what to tell you about your defense – two weeks in a row against 2008 mid-level SEC teams.
- ASU game perfect set up to prepare for LSU – not a directional school – but a team that will have some fight. UGA should win this game and if the defense has a great game – will need to confidence against LSU.

As a Bama fan – very happy to see UGA beat an SEC WEST team. Need for UGA to go 3-0 against SEC West teams – currently – with the trends that UGA has had in the first three games (penalities, turnovers, and defensive clunkers last two games)- thinking UGA goes 1-2 against the SEC WEST.

COX was brilliant – offense really opened up – very good game calling – Bobo was in a groove – where was he against OSU??? Sometimes it takes a game or two for the coaches to get into a groove as well.

ROLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL TIDE!!!!!

D Tech-Fan!

September 21st, 2009
1:02 pm

Geoff Dawg….I know you ain’t talking smack to Tech! Aren’t the records the same right now at 2-1? And didn’t you lose to us last year? And didn’t you guys give up 78 points the last two weeks? Did you guys play Florida and Texas? No I believe it was those two SEC powers USC and Rkansas! Georgia’s defense couldn’t stop Grayson or Lowndes from scoring! Is Tech great? NO, but neither is the Almighty UGA! See you in the flats with that incredible defense and we will see who talks smack then!

Johnny DangerDawg

September 21st, 2009
1:05 pm

GeoffDawg,
You make a good point about the rain.

bulldog in carolina

September 21st, 2009
1:06 pm

it is obvious that talent is lacking in the defensive backfield…will be lots of shootouts and yes tennessee and florida’s defense will be tough…looking at 8-4 or 9-3..and georgia tech will be a W

Johnny DangerDawg

September 21st, 2009
1:08 pm

MyView,
You may be right. It seems that playing zone is difficult for our young cornerbacks. They don’t even know where they’re supposed to be. Perhaps more man-to-man with two deep safeties is a better option until these guys get enough experience to move up to more complicated defensive schemes.

William

September 21st, 2009
1:19 pm

BAMA STAN

September 21st, 2009
12:57 pm
Since they stopped recruiting violations bama has not been so hot! whatsuyppp?

NewnanDawg

September 21st, 2009
1:21 pm

Hey – just a little something to keep an eye on for Falcons fans especially. Just about every SEC coach would suspend a player for at least the next game for the inexcusable behavior Jerry Franklin displayed to get kicked out of this game. But with Bama coming up, what are the chances Petrino the *rick suspends him? Yeah, I thought so…….

Losing and being quoted whining about it after couldn’t have happened to a nicer coach.

From an Arkansas paper – Petrino after the game said of his penalty, “I asked [Parks] how come the flags came out when we got the lead. He felt like I questioned his integrity.”
Ya Think? Did you not see the 14 flags on UGA? I wonder how long it will be before those poor kids find a note on their locker and his office cleaned out.

Go Dawgs and Roll Tide next week!

GeoffDawg

September 21st, 2009
1:23 pm

I’m back – was engrossed in watching animals lining up two by two outside my office window.

Johnny DangerDawg – just a thought that may mean nothing. Could turn out to be a significant home field advantage though.

d tech-fan – you’re surprised at smack talk? This is your first time here, right?

JB

September 21st, 2009
1:41 pm

Try something new on D. Go crazy. blitz ” someone every play from somewhere. Give different looks before snap. Jump into different scheme from time to time, say a 2-5-4…..try something new. Def. Cord preparing for us ARE GETTING THE WEEK OFF. VANILLA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JB

September 21st, 2009
1:43 pm

I mean Off. Cord getting the week off.

Slide Rule

September 21st, 2009
3:02 pm

Here’s how real coaches own up: A displeased Wommack said Tech’s defense in the Miami game was “the worst-looking defense, embarrassing, that I’ve been around in 10 to 12 years. Maybe ever.”

Dennis R

September 21st, 2009
3:22 pm

Well if this group were the UGA coaching staff, there would never be an agreement on which side of the field to head toward I am sure. :-)

I am reservedly encouraged at this stage. First game was a major disappointment, but since then, some things appear to be dialing in a notch at a time (just got to get them all happening in the same game). I’m just glad we haven’t had to play a super strong offense yet, and that the D can get these bad games outta the way! If Willie is not hoarse from screaming after this week of practice, and the D’s butts aren’t bruised and sore, we will have a dim, dim future for sure. I hope they (defense) get BIG DAWG MAD at themselves after the performance this week. We can fuss at them all we want, but until they get mad at themselves — it won’t change. We still love ya guys!

Thanks to the O for a fun ride this week, it was encouraging to see Joe C have the big day.

Oh…, and by the way, I sure miss Moreno popping up like a cork at the end of each play. What a heart……….

New Attitude

September 21st, 2009
4:06 pm

Ok.. Ok.. big dawg fan here and I post often. After 3 games and a pre-season prediction of UGA going 10-2, I now have to be realistic and hope for maybe 7-5. I love my dawgs but I’m a true student of the game. I will be happy to watch some decent exciting games and hope we get enough young guys in to help for next year. My new battle cry is BEAT Georgia Tech….

Go ahead and flame me if you want but we can kiss being competitive in the SEC this year good bye.

Carl Spackler

September 21st, 2009
4:45 pm

You need someone in the secondary that can call out the coverage…Logan Gray would be a perfect fit as a FS…he has the speed and athleticism to cover, he has the football smarts, he has the desire to get on the field and contribute any way that they need, he can reconginze reads, and he’s listed as 6′2″ and almost 200 lbs (not too shaby)…heck, UGA sure needs someone back there w/ football knowledge…get him on the field somewhere

how2fish

September 21st, 2009
8:51 pm

Burg Lips who is your team not the Dawgs?? Just asking.

how2fish

September 21st, 2009
8:56 pm

New Attitude not flaming you but not sure where your coming from we are 2-0 in the SEC and frankly if the Vols don’t make a change at QB I don’t seeing them beating us unless the football gods turn their backs on us…we should be favored vs the Sun Devils..if we can win that one and take a up to this point so-so LSU team….I think 8-4 or 9-3 is easily in our reach but your idea about TECH right on the money.

DawgNation

September 21st, 2009
9:26 pm

Not flaming you either New Attitude as I agree with the battle cry of “Beat Tech” as that is mine every year dispite the win-loss records of either team, but I think if you lend your name to the coachs we will have a better chance at the 9-3 or 10-2. The season is young and untill we lose one we are still on top of the East.

Tom

September 23rd, 2009
12:31 am

It’s not “we”, you are not on the team.

YankeeDawg

September 24th, 2009
11:27 am

Why is no one addressing the penalty issue? Innthe Arkansas game stupid penalties made us have to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns. I agree with playing aggressive, but off sides is just lack of focus and needs to be fixed.