The common theme of many preseason assessments of the 2010 Dogs has been that with an inexperienced quarterback, a veteran offensive line and two good (possibly great) tailbacks, Georgia is likely to lean heavily on its running game.
And to an extent, that’s probably going to be true. At least early in the season, while Aaron Murray gets his first game experience, the offense might not be quite as balanced as Mark Richt and Mike Bobo generally would prefer.
But the way a Richt offense works, a successful running game opens up the passing game, and vice versa. And with a weapon like A.J. Green in their arsenal, not to mention a slew of tight ends who are talented receivers, the idea that Richt and Bobo are going to be offering up Dooleyball this season is pretty unrealistic.
Richt said as much this week speaking to fans in Macon. “If we don’t throw the ball to A.J., we’re not very smart,” he said. “We better get the ball to A.J. Green, and I don’t think it’s a news flash to any defense that we’re going to get the ball to A.J.”
Everyone knows Green will be the Dogs’ top target, and Richt is basically saying to opponents: Stop him if you can.
Of course, if defenses load up on A.J., that makes it more likely Rantavious Wooten or Tavares King or Kris Durham is open. And then there’s those tight ends, led by Orson Charles and Aron White.
As Richt put it talking about the tight end position: “For a while there, whether through injuries or recruiting, we didn’t quite have the guys who could become a mismatch for a linebacker or safety, but we have that now. So we’ll definitely use the tight ends, and I’d imagine we’ll have more two tight-end sets than we have since the days of having Watson and McMichael at the same time.”
Ah yes, those were good times.
So, yeah, Washaun Ealey and Caleb King are going to get plenty of carries this fall. But the Dogs’ young quarterback isn’t likely to just be handing off the ball.
Does that put a certain amount of pressure on Murray to make smart decisions and avoid Coxian picks? Sure. And you can bet that defensive coordinators will be crowding the box to try and shut down Georgia’s running game and force Murray to throw.
With targets like Green and Charles, though, that strategy might come back to bite them.
IF YOU’RE KEEPING TRACK …
Georgia has made a preseason Top 20. The Athlon Sports 2010 College Football Annual has UGA at No. 15.
Their somewhat outdated analysis of Georgia’s offense is based on the idea that Logan Gray is still in the running for starting QB and that the Dogs will have to lean heavily on the run, opining that A.J. Green “may go hungry for a while.” But, they say, “With that rushing attack and a 3-4 defense that is light only in the secondary (stud corner Brandon Boykin excepted), Georgia should be just fine until Gray or redshirt freshman Aaron Murray comes around.”
Of course, as the Senator noted, you have to hope they didn’t base their Top 20 prediction on the version of the Georgia schedule that they have on their Web site, which is missing a certain game in Jacksonville.