It wasn’t the fumble that doomed Dogs in Columbia

Georgia's defense had no answer to the Gamecocks' Marcus Lattimore. (Associated Press)

Georgia's defense had no answer to the Gamecocks' Marcus Lattimore. (Associated Press)

The initial temptation in assessing Georgia’s disappointing loss in Columbia is to say, as Mark Richt did after the game, that if only Washaun Ealey hadn’t fumbled inside the Carolina 5, the Dogs might have tied it up and it would have been a whole new ballgame.

But I’m not sure that’s really true. By that point, Steve Spurrier had already figured out that all he needed to do was just keep giving the ball to tailback Marcus Lattimore, and the Dogs frankly had no answer for that, in part because of absolutely horrendous tackling all day long.

Yes, Lattimore looks to be a special back. But way too many of his 182 yards Saturday were after contact. For for a team that supposedly stressed defensive fundamentals in the offseason, the Dogs looked nearly incapable of stopping the run. That’s got to change.

They didn’t tackle much better on passing plays, either, which exacerbated the height advantage Carolina’s receivers already had. About the only positive for the defense Saturday was Georgia successfully pressuring Stephen Garcia. But even then he frequently was able to dump the ball off and still get positive yardage, something Georgia’s Aaron Murray struggled with.

Speaking of Murray, the redshirt freshman made a few mistakes but generally played as well as could be expected considering he appeared to have been hamstrung by Mike Bobo’s ultra conservative, shamefully predictable playcalling. It also looked like Murray’s  coaches had drummed it into his head that he shouldn’t take off running when his receivers were covered, so much of the spontaneity was taken out of his game.

The reality, as Richt conceded in the locker room afterward, is that with Murray Georgia’s coaches have to “just let him play.” There was one sack Murray took in the first half when, having been chased out of the pocket, he seemed lost about what to do. His natural inclination, no doubt, was to tuck it and run, but he didn’t.

The Dogs had their moments offensively on Saturday but only in spurts. Mostly it was three-and-out. Bobo offered up nothing that should have surprised Carolina defenders. I mean, Ealey in the Wild Dawg or wildcat or whatever you want to call it is about three years behind the cutting edge.

Even as thin as Georgia is at quarterback, it does no good to try and play it safe if it means you take Murray out of his comfort zone. They have to let him play the best way he knows how.

On the other hand, perhaps a series or two riding the bench next week might get the message to Bacarri Rambo that loafing on the field just won’t be tolerated. You have to wonder if the fact that Rambo was pretty much a designated starter all through the offseason got into his head a bit. He definitely didn’t look like the Rambo of last year, who was willing to sacrifice his body for a stop. As former Georgia player Verron Haynes tweeted after one play that Rambo took off: “[I'm] usually not [negative] on players but #18 that was not UGA football!! We hit hard EVERY PLAY.”

Overall, a disappointing day on both sides of the ball. I’ll have more on Sunday. …

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317 comments Add your comment

DCJohn

September 11th, 2010
4:52 pm

We did not hit hard on many plays.

senoiadawgs

September 11th, 2010
4:53 pm

Right on!!!!

tommy wright 3rd

September 11th, 2010
4:53 pm

This game shows that UGA needs to land Crowell bad, and our o line is overated….defense only gave up 17 points..BoBo sucks….

tommy wright 3rd

September 11th, 2010
4:55 pm

Ogletree should be starting next week, Rambo is scared…..

Bob

September 11th, 2010
4:56 pm

Positives:
-Murray didn’t throw an interception
-Field goal kicker hit both chip shots
-Defense forced a turnover
-Houston had 3 sacks and forced a fumble
-Corners looked good again on pass defense
-Pass defense was solid
-Offense got the ball into the red zone 3 times for a potential 21 points
-Durham, Brown, Gray showed they can make plays
-Penalities less than 5

snotbubble

September 11th, 2010
4:56 pm

Pitiful tackling and play calling.. It’s going to be a long season………..We can and must do better !!!

senoiadawgs

September 11th, 2010
4:57 pm

I posted my observations in Bradley blog. but here goes.

I totally agree about the tackling. However I see that the D is much improved over last year. Tackling 101 at practice this week.

Lattimore is a stud. Most rb’s would have gained about 30 yards against the dogs today. SC just became a contender for the next 3 years because of this kid.

The O line is a good pass blocking line. They stink at run blocking. They are unable to move people.

Richt and Bobo got whipped by SC coaches today. They let Cox throw INT’s all over the place last year. A clearly better qb is allowed to do nothing.

I can just imagine if we had Lattimore we would have redshirted him or maybe he would gotten about 5 carries today because he didn’t understand the playbook or couldn’t pass block.

Bill

September 11th, 2010
4:57 pm

Murray and Houston were bright spots; however, the tackling looked like the previous two seasons where the DBs attempt to block a runner down rather than tackling. Play calling left much to be desired, as you mentioned.

Screwball willie

September 11th, 2010
4:57 pm

Played as well as could be expected for a mid-level SEC East team.

Fire BOBO NOW - Nothing to Lose

September 11th, 2010
4:59 pm

To any SCU fans (you cant call yourselves USC because USC won that right in court) who want to talk trash please go ahead.
We couldn’t be more embarassed.
Losing to a school with an all time losing football record and ZERO SEC sucess is unbelievable, especially considering our all time record against you.
I would lay off the “this is finally our year” talk, because the whole nation has heard that before and it never has happened or will happen.
Spurrier will fail as all have before him.
I really don’t know why you can’t ever win.
You have one of the most supportive fan bases, financial and otherwise, but for some reason you will always be the University of Vanderbilt at Columbia.

Bob

September 11th, 2010
4:59 pm

Georgia played like it was scared to lose, instead of trying to win. Go for it 4th down every once in a while, throw the ball on 1st down every once in a while, hit some te’s. Get a block or recoever an onside kick on special teams. Use some gimmick plays. Roll the dice.

GADAWGGIRL

September 11th, 2010
4:59 pm

When I read the fire Bobo remarks, etc., I have never been one to jump on that bandwagon. But after watching this pathetic display today, I have to admit we have huge problems on offense. CMR can say the fumble hurt, which it did, but that’s not our real problem. Our play calling has to be pretty predictable for me to know what we’re doing and I am no offensive heavyweight. This team looked horrible, offense and defense. Maybe if we lose at least 5 games again this year, changes will occur.

Bob

September 11th, 2010
5:00 pm

If Ealey doesn’ fumble, you’re tied 14-14. If you score td’s in the red zone, instead of kick 2 field goals, and fumble, you win the game. Poor red zone offensive execution.

Fire BOBO NOW - Nothing to Lose

September 11th, 2010
5:01 pm

At least we didn’t lose to Kansas
Rock Chalk Triple Joke Offense
30-24

2001mbadawg

September 11th, 2010
5:01 pm

From the start, something was just not right about how we went into this game. It appeared the coaches were approaching this with an “afraid to lose” mentality. I think it rubbed off on the players. Everyone just seemed tentative and not playing at full speed with spirit. Bill you hit the nail on the head with Bobo’s “ultra conservative, shamefully predictable playcalling.” This was the worst playcalling that I have ever seen in my years as a Georgia fan. One of the only bright spots, if any, was that Aaron Murray played well and did not make any mistakes. I think the playcalling is hindering Murray and his natural athletic ability to make plays. Richt needs to turn him loose. I thought the Defense after playing with their heads in the sand in the first half, made pretty good adjustments in the second half-seems like Grantham is good at that. All the yelling and screaming in the world may not be able to stop Marcus Lattimore. I hope he is as good all season as we made him look today. Admittedly the D seemed to take about every 3rd play off. That is totally unacceptable. Akeem Dent, Justin Houston, and Christian Robinson were the only ones that showed up on every play all day. Onward and upward next week, I do have faith that we can rebound….

Bob

September 11th, 2010
5:01 pm

Would like to see some zone blitzing, where the DL’s drop back into coverage and pick the short stuff off. Defense needs to force 2-3 TO’s until they grow through the learning curve.

Fire BOBO NOW - Nothing to Lose

September 11th, 2010
5:02 pm

Better yet, resign
Do the program that has done so much for you a favor

Bob

September 11th, 2010
5:03 pm

Bobo & Richt were in a tough sport wiht a Freshman QB who’s proven to throw interceptions over Spring. So they went with an ultra-conservative gameplan to try and not lose. It almsot worked, if Ealey doesn’t fumble, you’re 14-14 with a quarter to go and all the momentum.

2001mbadawg

September 11th, 2010
5:04 pm

Right on, Bob. I said the same thing. Looked like were were playing afraid to lose instead of GATA and playing to win……

Bob

September 11th, 2010
5:04 pm

It will be better when AJ and Caleb get back.

GADAWGGIRL

September 11th, 2010
5:06 pm

Virginia Tech lost to James Madison…whoa!

tim

September 11th, 2010
5:06 pm

hey Bob…..you lost so how can you dare say there were positives…the georgia puppies could not score a TD…the great savior defensive guru couldn’t stop a freshman when everyone in the football world knew he was getting the ball….I know you’ll blame Green, as you should, but Carolina was missing there all everything tightend. Just an awful display of ineptitude..CMR should be ashamed and every fan should realize that Marky Mark will never be a champion……wait till Mallett gets after your lazy secondary next week..it won’t be pretty

Bob

September 11th, 2010
5:06 pm

i LIKE rICHT’S COMMENT TO JUST “LET HIM PLAY” WHEN IT COMES TO MURRAY. GO DOWN FIGHTING.

Thomp

September 11th, 2010
5:06 pm

teparrott (9/11/2010 at 4:14 PM)
All the Georgia issues rollup to Coach Richt. He is a good man, but I have lost faith in him as our Coach. His leadership shadow is about 6 inches long. He is a moral man but our team has no character. We have a thug mentality. We are bad to the bone until we run into tough teams/situations, then our real character shows up. We have more arrests than any team. We have players that time and time make the wrong choices. Bench AJ period. Bench Ealy period. If they don’t do the right thing sit them down and let them play for our scout team for the year.

Bottom line Richt has to go. We will never get where we want to go with him as our coach/leader. Sorry and I hate it but the time has come. The change will do us both good.

Go get Kirby Smart.

crusher dawg

September 11th, 2010
5:07 pm

Let Murray play like you know he can. By trying to change him you will ruin him and that is
a horrible mistake. It may be time for Richt and Bobo to make some changes themselves. After all
their game plan hasn’t helped recently.

Coach Scott

September 11th, 2010
5:08 pm

I live in the Columbia area . . . saw this one coming. I started to write and warn Mark Richt & Co. Upside: (1) Murray looked okay – first big game on the road – I think David Greene lost to SC in his first one; (2) Pressure appeared better on the QB – not much of a SC passing game; (3) Penalties were way down; (4) Forced a fumble. Downside: (1) We can’t tackle. Period; (2) O-Line couldn’t open a hole and it looked like they were bickering on TV; (3) My friend Eddie can call better O than Bobo can – did Richt take his head phones in the second half?; (4) Can’t we consistently put kick offs into the end zone?

Bob

September 11th, 2010
5:10 pm

Bobo’s got to figure out how to scheme low risk pass plays that convert on 3rd down. There has to be a balance between passing the ball, yet not taking on too much risk. I noticed Murray threw well on 1st down for example.

The team is close, not far off. The SC team was better, but Georgia should have won that game, 3 td’s in the red zone and it’s W for Georgia.

WIldcats are for losers

September 11th, 2010
5:10 pm

Why recruit athletic quarterbacks and then handcuff them? Turn the boy loose and let him play. Bobo sucks as an OC. Find a real playcaller. Why did we not use our recievers and tight ends more?

PLEASE LOSE THE GIMMICKS!!!!!

WIldcats are for losers

September 11th, 2010
5:12 pm

On the bright side, Rock Chalk Jayhawk! Wow what a Buzzkill!!!!

bardawg

September 11th, 2010
5:12 pm

Maybe what Martinez taught our defense is just so ingrained in them that thry’re just ruinrt. CTG better figure out how to undo the damage his predecessor did, or we ‘re in for a tough ride the rest of the season.Maybe he needs to run them until they’re puking buttermilk, cause that’s what I felt like doing after watching that pitiful performance today.

Bob

September 11th, 2010
5:12 pm

I thought this game was lost due to 2 things;
1- Poor ultra-conservative red zone play calls
2- Ealey’s fumble on the 2 yard line.

GADAWGGIRL

September 11th, 2010
5:13 pm

I agree with benching AJ. CMR should sit him on the bench for AT LEAST 2 more games. He needs to instill some discipline in this program. We have become the laughingstock team of college football.

Bob

September 11th, 2010
5:13 pm

One more thing;
Didin’t make good adjustments in the 1st half to stop Lattimore.

Bobdog

September 11th, 2010
5:13 pm

We lost to a good, veteran team today. I agree that they seemed to hold Murray back and the play calling was conservative. But, high risk play calling could have resulted in a lot of mistakes. Murray played a pert flawless game. Of course, SC seemed to take the approach of shutting down the run and making Murray beat them. Maybe the coaches should have given him a chance to once they saw they couldn’t run the ball.

icedawg

September 11th, 2010
5:16 pm

The running game has been a problem at UGA for the last few years. Some of it could be the OL, but we do not have a great breakaway back like Moreno. The guys we have were overrated by the media when they came out of HS. The defense? It may be improved from the past couple of years but again the talent has been overrated. It has been a few years since UGA has recruited at the elite level and it shows. This was a decent test for them and it shows that they will probably end up with another so so year.

cajdawg

September 11th, 2010
5:16 pm

I thought the Oline was supposed to be the strength of this team. They are soft and out of shape. Our strength and conditioning is lousy, especially as it relates to our bigger players.

I don’t understand why we work out of the power I, but then run finesse running plays: stretch, sprint draw, etc. IF YOU ARE GOING TO RUN THE POWER I, THEN BLOW THE OTHER TEAM OFF THE BALL AND RUN RAW, DRIVE-BLOCKING RUNNING PLAYS.

I am very discouraged about the defense. I thought that with Grantham we would never see our Dbacks literally scared to tackle.

Murray played well. It is comforting to know that we have a good QB for three years.

MikeDamascus

September 11th, 2010
5:17 pm

I was feeling pretty bummed by this loss (although I agree with a lot of posters that there were still a few bright spots) until I saw that Virginia Tech lost to James Madison! Sheesh. Suddenly losing to a ranked SEC opponent doesn’t hurt so much. And then I saw that the Jackets lost to a weak Kansas team…now I think I might just go back and watch some more football.

CHDawg

September 11th, 2010
5:18 pm

Bill,
You won’t find a bigger CMR fan than me, but I felt like the objective of our offensive game plan wasn’t victory–it was to protect Murray from getting in over his head. Bobo said before the game that it really didn’t matter if they loaded up the box, we had to run anyway (from Athens Banner). Unfortunately, we did that and lost. Pounding the rock just wasn’t getting it done–we needed to come out throwing imo. Your column was dead-on. I suspect Lattimore is good, but like last year’s passing D, we are going to have a lot of opponents who get their best games against us–unless we figure out a way to stiffen up. Murray did well, but I felt like we could have demanded more from him. The O line played very well on pass blocking, not great on run blocking, but SC had the D focused against the run, daring our coaches to throw it all day long. We didn’t take them up on the offer as much as we might have. Very disappointed to say the least. Might be a replay of ‘09–if we get better in a hurry.

buffdawg

September 11th, 2010
5:18 pm

Bill, I could not have said this any better, most dawg fans are tired of being out manned we are no where near as physical as a Georgia team should be,also agree with Thomp,but not Kirby Smart most pathetic play calling I have ever seen.

Paul Has A Small Johnson

September 11th, 2010
5:19 pm

Our coaches are overrated and continue to not have the team ready to play while they make large sums of money and ask fans to donate large sums of hard earned money for inconsistent play.

dawggirl

September 11th, 2010
5:19 pm

Very disappointing playcalling. Not really that surprised, but this loss is on CMR and Bobo. We had no plan coming in to contain Lattimore (this guy is really special), and there wasn’t the urgency that needed to be there. Murray is up to the challenge, I’m angry that we handicapped him.

Congrats to SCAR on the win, you guys deserved it.

Malcolm Mackey

September 11th, 2010
5:23 pm

Even if Ealey doesn’t fumble and UGA scores there, you can’t automatically say they get the 2-point conversion there. Especially the way they struggled with short yardage opportunities out there today. Bottom line, if they tackle they win that game.

Thomp

September 11th, 2010
5:23 pm

We need a new head coach. Why do we lead in arrests? Coach Richt is no doubt a good man, but I want a championship team and we all know Coach Richt will never get it done. We have talent. We don’t have leadership. We don’t have accountability. It’s our fault if we don’t care enough to expect and demand results. A change will be good for Coach Richt and UGA,

elvisaintdead

September 11th, 2010
5:24 pm

You can’t spell ‘boob’ without Bobo.
Pretty simple.

The Martinez Mistake is over,
will CMR drop the Bobo Blunder soon?

SonofaDawg

September 11th, 2010
5:26 pm

The reality, as Richt conceded in the locker room afterward, is that with Murray Georgia’s coaches have to “just let him play.”
———————————————————
Oh, really coach! Did you just think of that during the press conference?

MikeDamascus

September 11th, 2010
5:26 pm

…and one more thing–yeah, how ’bout that playcalling?! Offense was terrible-period. I felt like at least the D seemed to make decent adjustments after the half (I mean, it took USC until the last couple of minutes to just kick a field goal). But what the heck were they thinking on offense??? Especially that freaking “short-and-inches” play when it was third and 2? I think that may have been the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.

Thomas Sumter

September 11th, 2010
5:27 pm

To: Fire BOBO NOW – Nothing to Lose

Boo Hoo!

I understand how frustrating it is when your team gets beaten into the ground by a group you think is inherently inferior…..GET USED TO IT!

I would, instead, start dwelling on UGA’s other fine accomplishments….

#1 You won the Fulmer Cup by a handy margin
#2 The street value of your used athletic equipment is at $1,000.00 a unit

Have a great day! Remember, this embarrassing season gets shorter every week!

SEC4Life

September 11th, 2010
5:28 pm

P*ss poor tackling by the defense and no AJ Green means it’s gonna be a lonnnnnnnnng day when we play the Razorbacks.

OEJ

September 11th, 2010
5:28 pm

Malcolm Mackey …I dont think we would have even gone for two if we scored. he play calling was too conservative the whole game. Its like without AJ they were scared to throw the damn ball. Bobo is a complete idiot.

Chris

September 11th, 2010
5:30 pm

Bill, you hit the nail on the head when you said that Murray seemed timid to run with the ball. This all falls on Richt and Bobo. They seemed to be aggravated with Murray last week when he ran with the ball. Granted, I know we have zero depth at QB but you can’t play scared or conservative. You do that, and you will lose every time.

It is passed due time for change in Athens. Richt said last week that when Murray is feeling pressure, and he has a chance to pick up 3-5 yards or throw it away, he should throw it away. That one single comment made me realize that Richt has lost it. The object of the game is to pick up positive yardage. If you are scared to do that, and try to teach your QB to be scared of it, then you need to step down.

This was an all around pathetic performance by our beloved DAWGS. I didn’t expect the defense to be instantly better this year. That doesn’t happen overnight, but the tackling today was horrendus. Even worse than it was two years ago against GT. Something is seriously wrong with Georgia. These players don’t seem to care, they have no hunger, and there is no one left to blame but Richt. This team has been spiralling down hill since 2007, and it’s time for drastic changes. I know it wont happen until the season is over, but I don’t see how we can win 2 or 3 more games this year playing like this. As a long time DAWG fan, I am just sick and tired of all the excuses.

This 3 year old bleeding ulcer has got to fixed.