In the midst of a below par first half of the season (more on that below), there still have been a few standouts for the Dogs, players whose performance on the field deserves special mention.
So here are the members of the Junkyard Blawg’s midterm honor roll:
A.J. Green. Perhaps the best receiver in the country, the sophomore leads the SEC in receptions and receiving yards and is Georgia’s go-to guy on offense. He’s made spectacular catches and has even blocked a field goal on special teams. Imagine what he could do if he were on a really good offense!
Rennie Curran. The junior linebacker leads the SEC with 63 tackles and is the only player in the league averaging 10-plus tackles per game at 10.5. He set a career high with 16 tackles in the LSU game and has led the Dogs in tackles every game this season. Without him, the won-loss record would be much worse.
Brandon Boykin. The sophomore defensive back is the first player in SEC history with two 100-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns. He also has two of Georgia’s four interceptions so far this season.
Bacarri Rambo. The redshirt-freshman safety has the other two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. He’s been earmarked by Mark Richt as someone Georgia needs to play more. No arguments here.
Drew Butler. The redshirt-sophomore punter’s kicks may not always be pretty, but they’ve been devastatingly effective. His 49.8 yards per game average leads the SEC and puts him among the NCAA leaders. He’s delivered clutch kicks when Georgia has needed them, too. If he ever gets the kind of hang time his coaches want, look out!
Blair Walsh. The sophomore placekicker has made nine of 10 field goal attempts, including a long of 53 yards, all of his PATs, and has led the conference in touchbacks despite all the messing around Georgia has done with those silly directional kicks.
As for the team grades, well, those aren’t so good. Here’s how I rate the season so far:
Rushing: D+. Georgia’s running game has unfortunately gotten worse as the season progresses, which has made the offense one-dimensional. Richard Samuel has been unproductive the past three games, Caleb King has shown flashes but can’t stay healthy, Washaun Ealey shows promise but has only played sparingly in two games so far and Carlton Thomas has been misused much of the season. The offensive line’s run-blocking has been poor.
Passing: C. Joe Cox got off to a slow start in the opener, looked fantastic in the next two games and has been up and down since, mostly down. It would help if teams defending him had to account for a Dogs rushing attack and if he wouldn’t lock in on his intended receiver.
Rushing defense: C+. Georgia looked pretty stout against the run early in the season but has slipped in the past couple of games as missed tackles have started showing up more often. A failing grade in the Tennessee game pulled their average down.
Passing defense: D+. They started out the season looking OK but then fell off the cliff. Any defense that can make Jonathan Crompton look like a Manning is definitely in need of remedial work.
Special teams: C-. The kickers have excelled, as have the kickoff returners at times. Our punt return game disappeared for much of the season as fair catches became the norm, even at midfield. Kickoff coverage generally has been abysmal.
Coaching: D. Willie Martinez doesn’t look destined for long-term job security at UGA and Mike Bobo’s play-calling has been all over the place. Clock management problems have continued, and Mark Richt got flatly outcoached by Lane Kiffin. Enough said.
Overall, that averages out to a C-. About what you’d expect with a 3-3 record.
How would you grade the first half of the season?