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. …

Find me on Facebook.

Follow me on Twitter.

317 comments Add your comment

dawgster

September 11th, 2010
10:34 pm

Its just one game folks…still a long season, however with that being said, i do agree with some of the comments, as far as Rambo, well, anyone taking a hit like he did last season probably is a little shy, but unfortunately Div 1 football demands that kind of aggessiveness and i’m sure when they look at the film our DC will evaluate his play along with others…our new DC will be fine…our problem is with our OC, Coach Bobo, who i also like and respect, but does not use our available playmakers to the best of our ability…I not calling for his firing, lets see how the season goes, but if we continue to waste the talent we have, especially at tight end and the receiving corp, then you have to take a long look at lack of offense especiallly in short yardage..Of course Coach Bobo can’t block for the RB’s they should be seasoned enought and that is suppose to be a strength of our team..I didn’t see that today nor did i really see it last week in the run game very much against an weaker opponent…Where is the use of the tight ends, screen passes, etc…I’m usually a big defender of the coaching staff, but i admit i am becoming very discouraged, an although its just one game, some of these smae issues we have had for several seasons now…go dawgs and beating Ark is a must

MyView

September 11th, 2010
10:43 pm

I don’t usually bang on play calling, but on several plays today I found myself questioning the offenses play calling. Why does it take a loss for us to realize that we may as well let Murray play? You have to figure that the conservative approch would get you beat eventually. Let him play and see what you have.

the tide is in

September 11th, 2010
10:46 pm

CMR is a good man and has won 2 SEC titles and …………

Man Enough

September 11th, 2010
10:46 pm

Spot on Bill. While so many people were saying we couldn’t tackle (which was true) the D did hold them to 17pts which I normally would say we would have won. The tackling was an issue but I’m more concerned with the play calling. This game had the same feel as last years debacle is Stillwater. No spark, no passion, no intensity. After last weeks game (even being who it was against) I still expected more fire. Although I did see this coming after CMR got so upset with Murray’s run. I was afraid the Richt would essentially hand cuff (no pun intended) Murray. I will be at next weeks game and right now I’m not that excited about going after todays game. I hate to say that but it’s how I feel. That should change by Saturday though. But if CMR and CMB dont let Murray open up more we will be in trouble, IMO. I dont want to see him get hurt, but he needs to be able to play his game. That’s what got him here right?

Man Enough

September 11th, 2010
10:49 pm

On another note, I did catch myself predicting when we would run or not, it just seemed obvious to me, and I’ve never coached. Just saying.

Sam

September 11th, 2010
10:50 pm

The team I saw out there today had no heart whatsoever. Pure laziness… Murray looked good despite the play calling by Bobo. We have a great QB in the making here folks, all we need is the coaches to take the reigns off and let him play. The D stunk it up today and the O line was pathetic. How can you have a game this big and just lay down the entire time?! If we were this bad today, I shudder to think what we are going to look like next week against Arkansas. Hopefully the appeal will take place his week and AJ will be allowed to play. That is our only chance of coming away with a win. If not, it’s going to be a long day.

Sad Richards

September 11th, 2010
10:54 pm

The Mark Richt era is over. Im tired of the Boys Home in Athens and the coddling of players with no discipline. Looks like CMR has got fat and happy. We seem to no matter who we play UGA just cant knock someone off the ball in short yardage situations. It wasnt very encouraging today even though Murray did ok. Blame rests on CMR and Bobo.

It's the tackling dummy!

September 11th, 2010
11:04 pm

Poor tackling today just like the Georgia defenses of the past three years. The only improvement in the defense I saw today was that we didn’t have any personal file penalties for hitting players after they are five yards out of bounds or throwing punches at the opponents OL because we can’t get to the quarterback. We did get our standard blocking in the back penalties on punt returns though.

Shawn

September 11th, 2010
11:04 pm

I want to see some smash mouth football. I want to see players out there with heart and who want to win. This pathetic bunch (aside from Murray and special teams) deserved to lose today. We still have a chance to win out but it’s going to be tough unless this team gets it together and plays hard nosed football.

OldBallCoach

September 11th, 2010
11:16 pm

Losing to a really good team on the road in the SEC……It ain’t the end of the world people. I think the loss of #8 had a bigger impact on this game than the defense or the fumble.

TC

September 11th, 2010
11:21 pm

We are on the road to under-achievement once again. Where do I start???? Offensively, I think its safe to say that Murray is a player but our O-line (which should be our strength) can’t run block. I’m tired of the excuses (B. Jones said they were a little rusty last week). That is what camp is for!!! It seems as if our O-line doesn’t wake up until mid-season. Back to Murray…take the handcuffs off the kid Bobo. Open the playbook. Defensively…TACKLE SOMEBODY!!!!!. I like Grantham and the attitude he brings, but lack of fundamentals will get you beat everytime. And Coach Richt…how about a little passion for the game!!!

Realistic Dawg Fan

September 11th, 2010
11:21 pm

You can’t beat anyone in the SEC if you can’t score a TD. As bad as the tackleing was we still held them to 17 and made 3 trips inside the red zone with 6 points to show for it. Our offense lost this game not the defense although they can play better.

We played very tentitive and that is coaching. Who would you rather have calling your plays… Steve Spurrier or Mike Bobo. That was the difference in the game.

Ed

September 11th, 2010
11:25 pm

Since when did South Carolina become a good team? They haven’t been really good since Lou Holtz went 10-3 and won the Outback Bowl. Too many people on this site are trying to excuse a beating by pretending that South Carolina is that other USC all of a sudden. Newsflash: They’re still South Carolina, they’ll lose about 5 games this season, and Georgia continues to be tentative, flat, and uninspired under Mark Richt.

SOS Dawg

September 11th, 2010
11:27 pm

open the play book ? Hell this is the same crap for years now and Im sick of it. Fire Bobo

Ed

September 11th, 2010
11:27 pm

And stop blaming the freakin’ assistant coaches. They have a boss named Mark Richt, and the buck stops with him.

North Shores Dawg

September 11th, 2010
11:27 pm

BILL, Mark Richt is the FIELD GOAL DADDY! He and Bobo hate touchdowns. Can someone please explain why we’re scared to throw the ball in the red zone?
Can anyone believe we ran that pathetic wildcat mess 3 times in one drive . . . it was the same dern play!!!
Anytime a portion of an Alabama practice, workout, etc is shown it’s clear why our staff just doesn’t measure up. There’s just a level of intesity they maintain while we keep our “feel good” program stuck in the early 90s
I’M TIRED OF OUR COACHING STAFF/PROGRAM WASTING MY TIME & THE TALENT THEY RECRUIT AND BY THE WAY I DIDN’T WASTE JUST 3 HOURS ON SATURDAY, WE’RE TALKING ABOUT ALL WEEK – THE ANTICIPATION OF SEEING OUR TEAM PLAY, AND THIS IS WHAT IS DELIVERED? EVERYONE HAS A BAD PLAY, QTR, BUT THE WHOLE DERN GAME? MIKE BOBO IS IN OVER HIS HEAD. TAKE THE NAME OUT OF THIS LIST THAT DOESN’T BELONG: WILLIE MARTINEZ, JOE COX, RICHARD SAMUEL, BRYAN EVANS, MIKE BOBO . . . HOW ABOUT: JOE BIDEN, NANCY PELOSI, BARNEY FRANK, AL GORE? GET THE POINT???

Fire BOO BOO the baby maker

September 11th, 2010
11:29 pm

This guy is a clown. Should have left with Willie.

Dawg 39

September 11th, 2010
11:40 pm

IF i was the UGA OC I would have gone into the game believing the only way to win was to run the ball, control the clock, & keep Garcia & Lattiimore off the Field. Actually that it what USC did. Less than 3 YPC for us. It was not the play calling, it was the lack of execution. We also lost to the best team we will play this year.My preseason opinion.
The only answer now is to let the passing attack open up the running game. Turn Murray loose. Finally us not having A.J. is the equivalent of them not having Lattimore. This will turn out to be a very good Dawg team. It just might take us a couple of games to find out where our strengths are. Right now it is not the OL & I thought it would be.

Ray Goff

September 11th, 2010
11:41 pm

I think CMR and BooBoo are more clueless than me!

sc dawg fan

September 11th, 2010
11:45 pm

you cant really blame the defense for that loss. sure we couldnt stop latimore but they only score 17 points. the problem is with bobo. the entire game it was like we had 2 plays: run up the middle or throw deep. horrible play calling.

popabear

September 11th, 2010
11:50 pm

Will someone please tell me where this o-line that was supposed to be so great was today?
What happened to the improved more agressive “D” ?
Why were the (coaches???) worried that our freshman QB couldn’t perform on the road ? He was one of the few bright spots
We were a pretty pathetic bunch today on both sides of the ball for the most part. Poor fundamentals , poor coaching, a really disapointing showing by a dawg team that was supposed to be improved . Kind of reminded me of last years team an awful lot . Better get better fast or it’s gonna be a very long season !!!

UGA needs an enema

September 11th, 2010
11:56 pm

This was the same crap of the offense underachieving as usual against South Carolina.

SouthGADawg

September 11th, 2010
11:57 pm

Saying Lattimore is a “special back” does not cover it. At sub 4.3 40 speeds, he is a load in a hurry at the line of scrimmage. He also has the instinct to slip or avoid the full blow of first contact which coupled with his size and speed at the point of attack allows him to run through tackles. The USC oline also kept the larger defenders off of him allowing him to deal with smaller dbacks and some backers. He is the perfect zone running back with great vision. At the very least, he’s another Ingram. He is going to make a lot of defenses look like poor tacklers this year and in seasons to come. Our Dawgs were just out manned today. As hard a pill as it is to swallow, this was in truth, the game to measure the Dawgs and they measured up as middle of the pack SEC again. On the bright side, they were beaten and did not beat themselves. That alone will translate into more wins than last season especially with AJ back.

Savannah Dawg

September 12th, 2010
12:00 am

Just got back from game.

Extremely disappointed with: 1)playcalling (too many examples to point out one; watch the game and you will know what I mean) 2)tackling 3) Off line-supposed to be best in nation, all played together for years, etc. etc. etc.

We cannot buy a 3rd and 2 but we cannot stop a 3rd and 12!

Will need to watch more to determine if we are that bad or So Car is that good; suspect some of both, but what is evident is that they are much better than we are.

Can’t stand Spurrier but must admit he outcoached us big time today. Give him credit. We don’t get the most out of our weapons, but feel Spurrier maximizes his. We did not have two players who could stop Lattimore; he would twist and fall for 3-4 yards. Ealy would be stopped dead in his tracks. When does the offensive line show up?

As pointed out earlier, is our offense so complicated that young players cannot learn it and would have to ride the bench, but Lattimore looked like a Jr or Sr.

But what do we know? Even though I have been in “the arena”, I have never been in the football arena.

Will still go to all the games including away games. Just a cold splash of reality and disappointment. Maybe some of our rivals who troll on these blogs are correct that we always have unrealistic expectations and inaccurate assessments of our abilities.

Jonathan

September 12th, 2010
12:02 am

Yes the jackets lost… but we scored touchdowns and it was obvious we left many points on the field… not bad for a “High School” offense… Hey how did that “BoBO” Offense do today??? What was that head line not even a touchdown… Are you serious??? A power house like UGA didnt even score??? Good thing they dont run a “High School” offense…. lets hear all the excuses…. there are none for GaTech we got beat and shouldnt have… The SEC east is wide open for the first time in years…and UGA is already deep in the hole… and its only week 2!!!

turkeycaller

September 12th, 2010
12:04 am

It is early in the season with only two games to judge this team by. SC is a pretty good football team on both sides of the ball. I do think Lattimore is the finest freshman running back I have seen in a long time. He is quick to hit the hole, fast when there is any opening, has good moves and is one hard driving back. He appears to be a very special player and quite a workhorse. We didn’t pursue as well as I thought we would and that along with both missed and weak tackling attempts sort of busted my hopes of the defense being considerably better. SC appeared bigger and stronger on both sides of the ball. We appeared to be moving in sand a great deal of the day. SC came to play and came after us. UGA appeared a little hesitant throughout the game on offense and defense. I sort of feel the OL didn’t fire off the ball because of the movement penalties against LL. After two games it looks to me like they are better at pass protection than providing running room of any duration. Murray and the offense were never allowed to maintain any flow and rythm before the playcalling would take them away from what they were moving the ball with. Hell, I know I could in no way coach but think about how we stifled the offense all day. That little quick out pass for 8 to 10 yards was there. We completed several plays with it and SC appeared to be willing to almost concede it because they knew we would still try running off the guards and tackles. Two pass attempts hurt us alot. One was third down and 8 or 9 yards to go. We try to throw a deep pass and SC knew it was coming and we had to punt. That little quick out took a backseat in lieu of a long pass attempt. Another time we tried to throw it deep on first down and then run Ealey up the gut on second and third down. SC knew it was coming. The playcalling was predictable as usual. I thought the coaches stated they were trying to keep Murray on safe ground. What they did was essentially put him in third and medium to long situations the entire game with no hint of going with what was working. SC struggled at times trying to run Lattimore but they were smart enough to keep going with what was working more often than not. I felt for Murray because it was as plain as the big nose on my face that we played ultra conservative then tried some ill advised long lobs down the field. I actually could tell when it was coming. This consistently took us out of any flow we were establishing. The OL showed me no more than the previous week. We absolutely don’t fire off the ball and keep driving. We move two steps back instead of forward. We are not big and strong enough on both lines. Defense and ball control will win you some games. If we don’t trust Murray enough to let him run this offense then why in God”s name even have him in there? It seems for several years we can’t find that sensible middle ground between being out of control or too retained. Maybe we get better….

DawgByte

September 12th, 2010
12:05 am

Janathan –

GT lost. A loss is a loss. Don’t come over and try and make yourself feel better. We lost to a top 25 team. You lost to a Kansas team that lost to a division two school the week before. How pathetic is that? Face it you guys suck.

Just a thought...

September 12th, 2010
12:06 am

Yeah, let Murray play, turn him loose…let him get his head knocked off…then what?

E N Z Y M E S

September 12th, 2010
12:09 am

corninmypooh –

you win best post in my book, you made some great points

Jonathan

September 12th, 2010
12:10 am

DawgByte…. we scored.. and should have scored more.. that USC team that whipped the dawgs today… lost to UCONN…. so is the Big East really better than the middle of the road SEC teams?

Jonathan

September 12th, 2010
12:11 am

I agree the Jackets looked terrible… looks like both teams will be unranked by the time we play

Savannah Dawg

September 12th, 2010
12:12 am

Jonathan, go get yourself committed.

DawgByte

September 12th, 2010
12:14 am

Dawg Fans -

I know it’s only the second game of the season, but it’s time we all get prepared for a repeat of 2009. This team is not nearly as talented as we think they are. Our OL STILL can’t run block. The playing calling was once again WAY too conservative and the Willie Martinez anti-tackling virus still courses through our defenses veins. SC has more talent than UGA and it showed today. We will have our hands full with the Hawgs next week and quite frankly I don’t expect the outcome to be much different than today. Hell, even Miss. St. is going to be hard for us to beat. Something is significantly wrong in Athens. It starts with recruiting continues with coaching and ends with EFFORT. We got whipped by a team that clearly wanted to win more than UGA. I don’t like that one bit.

Jonathan

September 12th, 2010
12:14 am

Hey Im just saying… I dont see anything that speciall about the SEC beyond Bama…I think they are the only team that could give the Sooners and Buckeyes a run for their money… Everyone else in the SEC is lucky they dont have TCU or Boise State on schedule…

Jonathan

September 12th, 2010
12:15 am

Not to mention… Utah… of course Im sure Bama fans could tell you all about that

rincon dawg

September 12th, 2010
12:20 am

I remember a few years ago when everybody said let bobo call the plays. Son of a dog is right. Same offense every game. Ctg will fix this problem. Richt has to call the plays. Were very young everywhere except the ol we should run block much better. Everything is capable of being fixed just don’t know if richt can do it.

Corninmypooh

September 12th, 2010
12:23 am

Thanks ENZYMES -

It’s hard not to look around at other teams and see the make-up of their players compared to ours. Rodney Garner has become too comfortable and is not thinking outside of the box. There’s more to football than just speed. The best linebacker in the country last year was a true freshman at Boston College – a white boy that was lights out. Hell he had arms like toothpicks, but could play like nobody’s business. I’ve played sports (football and basketball) with the bros and as soon as the heat in the kitchen starts getting hot they start talkin smack, turning on each other and utlimately give up. I’ve seen it scores of times. I’m not saying get rid of our players, but our D could use one or two corn fed white boys from the midwest that bring the leather play after play and provide leadership.

DawgByte

September 12th, 2010
12:28 am

SC lost to UConn… LAST YEAR!!! In case you haven’t heard they recruited Marcus Lattimore, the number two RB in the country and the kid is pretty damn good. I’d like to see UConn beat SC next week. Trust me it wouldn’t happen. Spurrier has put together a team that will challenge Florida for the SEC East title if they can keep it together and not implode, as usual. SC would also destroy Tech, who has a completely one dimensional office and a very suspect defense. Al Groh needs to retire in Miami where the shuffle boarding is good.

DawgByte

September 12th, 2010
12:30 am

PS – I don’t imagine we’ll be seeing many Vol fans on the board tonight. They got pasted by the Quacks.

hind tit

September 12th, 2010
12:36 am

take away lattimore we win 6 to0 and everybody would be singing the praises of cmr. this is how fickle so called ga fans are. why do you people think we wanted him so bad. this kids gona run over and through a lot of teams in his three years at s.c. and will win against some good team. did you people really think uga. would come out and stomp every team they play. they made a huge change on defensive side of the ball. changed all the coaches and style of play. this is going to take time and it’s not going to come over night. we had no running game and that’s not bobo’s fault. he don’t block for the ball carrier.the line coach does well on pass blocking but he’s not to hot on run blocking and it’s hard to call plays if they know what you are going to do because you can’t run the ball. butler didn’t look like the same guy this year as last. line drives and no hang time the last two games and that hurts. one thing that i seen that i hadn’t seen in along time is making ajustment on defense at the half giving up just 3 points in last half. that hasn’t happened in a long time. the tide wasn’t that good year before last after making all their changes and they turned out all right. give them enough time and support to get better. rome wasn’t built in a day they had a night shift.

bufbox

September 12th, 2010
12:46 am

I disagree.. Ealey’s fumble was the turning point in the game for us.. We hadn’t played well on either side of the ball all day… I don’t deny that. But the fumble came early 4th quarter. Lattimore certainly continued to get his yardage afterwards … but all his scoring was in the first half. Suppose Ealey didn’t fumble and we scored to make game 14-13? You state Spurrier had already learned all he had to do was feed it to Lattimore… well, he did feed it to Lattimore.. who never scored again.

UGA needs an enema

September 12th, 2010
12:46 am

hind tit…. weve heard those crap excuses before. take off your rose colored glasses and go to bed.

Dirk Dobber, High School Recruiter

September 12th, 2010
12:48 am

Mr, Boo Boo, thanks for your application, but we do not feel that your coaching skill set measures up to Region 1-AA standards.

lattimore4heisman

September 12th, 2010
12:52 am

Enter your comments here

65Dawg

September 12th, 2010
12:53 am

Grantham is no better than Willie and he cossts a whole lot more,

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Reverend Richt

September 12th, 2010
12:57 am

How’s my hair?

Disappointed

September 12th, 2010
1:11 am

I haven’t seen that poor of a defensive effort since, well, last season. Guys standing straight up, not ready for the snap; no aggression off of the ball; no safety play in the run or pass game; the middle of the line caved all day with no LB fill; the worst fundamentals in tackling I have ever seen – like peewee league. I really thought Grantham would dictate to the offense and try to play on the other side of the line of scrimmage rather than try to react all day. Spurrier didn’t need any genius – I could have called that running play all day too. What a joke – UGA used to take prIde in things like toughness and effort and good fundamental defense. Oh yeah, if Bobo ever calls a designed QB run on 3rd and nine again, give him a bus ticket and move on. If you don’t have enough confidence in your qb to throw the ball, why take 100 people to SC to even play – just stay home and forfeit or start kicking fg’s on third down.

George

September 12th, 2010
1:13 am

First dawgie ass whippin of the year is the season opening ceremony as far as I’m concerned. Dawgies need to lose 7 and they can sit their ass home for bowl season.

12-2

September 12th, 2010
1:17 am

LOSS 6-17 South Carolina 2010
LOSS 27-34 Kentucky 2009
LOSS 17-41 Florida 2009
W 34-10 Vanderbilt 2009
LOSS 19-45 Tennessee 2009
W 41-37 South Carolina 2009
W 14-7 South Carolina 2008
W 26-14 Tennessee 2008
W 24-14 Vanderbilt 2008
LOSS 10-49 Florida 2008
W 42-38 Kentucky 2008
LOSS 12-16 South Carolina 2007
LOSS 14-35 Tennessee 2007
W 20-17 Vanderbilt 2007
W 42-30 Florida 2007
W 24-13 Kentucky 2007
W 18-0 South Carolina 2006
LOSS 33-51 Tennessee 2006
LOSS 22-24 Vanderbilt 2006
LOSS 14-21 Florida 2006
LOSS 20-24 Kentucky 2006

LOSING RECORD FIVE (5) YEARS VS SEC EAST 10-11

There has only been 1 opponent in SEC East for Georgia last 5 years.

North Dakota State beat Kansas last week, and Georgia is now measured by what we do to a team who cannot even beat Kansas the following week ?

On top of all of this, we ALSO are # 2 in Fulmer Cup over the last FIVE (5) YEARS too.