Joe Cox isn’t the main problem with the Georgia offense.
That would be the running game. Between injuries to Caleb King, the inexperience of the other backs and the generally poor run-blocking of the offensive line, tight ends and fullbacks, the Dogs have become a one-dimensional team. Tennessee was able to sit back in a zone defense designed to guard against any long passes without having to worry about the run.
Mike Bobo’s predictable play-calling doesn’t help matters, either.
But Cox also has hurt the team’s chances with the kind of poor decision-making you generally don’t associate with a fifth-year senior.
Just in last Saturday’s game against Tennessee, he threw another interception after a botched snap — the latest of a number of passes that shouldn’t ever have been thrown. He didn’t check out of screen plays where Tennessee was sending a safety blitz. He threw the ball to heavily covered receivers rather than dumping it off to a back or secondary receiver.
And then there was that embarrassing play at the end of the first half, where Cox decided to spike the ball with only 1 second left on the clock. He subsequently said that he thought there was 3 seconds on the clock and that he could get a spike in with a second left so that Georgia could attempt a field goal. That’s what the signals from the apparently clueless coaches on the sideline were telling him to do.
If he had been aware there was only 1 second left, he would have known there wasn’t time to spike the ball and he could have at least taken a shot at the end zone. But he never checked the clock. A classic rookie mistake.
I bring this up because I think the lack of playing time Cox received during his three seasons as Matthew Stafford’s backup is probably responsible for lapses like that. The blame should fall on Mark Richt and Bobo. They didn’t make getting Cox meaningful snaps in a game a priority while they had Stafford.
And they’re making the same mistake again this season.
Cox will be gone next year. Behind him are an inexperienced redshirt sophomore, Logan Gray, whose development has been stunted by too much time spent on special teams, and two totally inexperienced true freshmen, Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger.
For various reasons, including practice time Murray lost to a shoulder problem, Richt and Bobo have decided to redshirt the freshmen, barring an injury to one of the other quarterbacks.
But at the same time they haven’t developed Gray. Other than the two series he ran late in the Tennessee game, his playing time at QB had been limited this season to a handful of times when he was brought in for a single option play that everyone knew he was going to run and which ended up predictably unsuccessful.
Bobo acknowledged to Bulldogs Blog that Gray is ready for more playing time at quarterback. “Logan’s done a nice job,” the offensive coordinator said. “He’s done an extremely good job getting better as a quarterback. I think he’s ready if he gets into the game. Obviously if we continue to struggle, he could be something that could spark our offense.”
But Richt continues spouting the same line he’s had about Gray all season when asked if he’s going to get into the game more. “I wouldn’t say that’s out of the question,” he said Tuesday at his weekly media briefing. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the idea.
Apparently, unless your father is threatening to transfer you elsewhere, as was the case when D.J. Shockley was backing up David Greene, Richt is loathe to provide guaranteed, scripted playing time for his backup quarterback.
We’re seeing in Cox this season the results of that.
And the way they’re treating Gray doesn’t bode well for next season, either.