Gamecocks ‘exposed’ Dogs’ weaknesses on offense and defense

Jakar Hamilton slides off again. (Gerry Melendez / The State)

Jakar Hamilton slides off again. (Gerry Melendez / The State)

A few more thoughts on Saturday’s loss in Columbia …

Georgia losing to South Carolina wasn’t a surprise to me. I’d picked that game as one of two predicted losses in the preseason. What was a surprise to me, though, was how bad the Dogs looked at times in losing it, particularly the running game and tackling.

It certainly didn’t help that Caleb King was sidelined with a bad ankle and that Washaun Ealey coughed up the ball, but it looked like the main blame for the ineffective rushing attack was our highly overrated offensive line. I think the great fallacy is that just because our line is experienced that they ought to be really good. So far it isn’t turning out that way.

I’ll grant that the OL did do a pretty good job in pass protection. Aaron Murray got flushed out a few times, but mostly had plenty of time in the pocket. But the line simply wasn’t opening up holes for Ealey. Most of his success came running outside — which makes you wonder why Mike Bobo didn’t exploit that more. Those second-down runs up the middle weren’t fooling anyone.

And a 27 percent conversion rate on third down will nearly always mean you lose. As Bobo and Mark Richt conceded after the game, they’ve got to give Murray the opportunity to make something happen offensively when the running attack isn’t going anywhere.

At the same time, Murray’s got things he needs to work on. Don’t stand there and take a sack when you can throw the ball away! And he’s still tending to either overthrow or throw slightly behind his receivers, which resulted in Orson Charles missing what could have been a scoring pass in the red zone.

Field goals weren’t enough to beat South Carolina, and they certainly won’t cut it next week Between the Hedges. As Richt noted, in order to have a chance at beating Arkansas, “we’re going to have to score points.”

As for the defense, one of the first things I read about the 3-4 scheme back in the winter was that its main weakness is against the run and it requires dominating play at nose guard. The latter, we certainly didn’t have, and Carolina’s terrific freshman back Marcus Lattimore quickly wore down the Georgia D. Could conditioning maybe have been a factor there? Check out this Lattimore quote: “Our offensive line was in better shape than their defensive line.”

Despite Steve Spurrier’s tongue-in-cheek tweaking of Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham over the former NFL coach perhaps not being familiar with the inside zone running play that was the Gamecocks’ bread and butter Saturday, Georgia’s defense actually had players in the right position most of the time. They just didn’t execute. As Grantham indicated after the game, Lattimore is good, but Georgia’s poor tackling made him look even better. And it wasn’t just Lattimore. Missed tackles on screen passes hurt the Dogs, too.

Too many times you saw Georgia defenders going for what Bacarri Rambo called a “kill shot,” where they tried to take the ball carrier down by slamming into him with a body block instead of wrapping him up. There were also way too many arm tackles up high instead of taking him out low. And I lost count of how many times Jakar Hamilton slid off a ball carrier like they were greased. Demarcus Dobbs nailed it when he said, “We didn’t get in position to make tackles. He exposed us.” As Justin Houston put it: “That should be one of our main focuses next week.”

While Georgia’s defense looked pretty hapless in the first half, they actually did a much better job of containing Lattimore and the Gamecocks in the second half … until that last drive, where Carolina started on its own 37 with 8:19 left and Georgia’s offense didn’t get back on the field until only 1:05 was left. The most damning thing about that drive is that there was absolutely no mystery to what South Carolina was doing. Lattimore got the ball on eight of the 11 plays. And yet the Dogs still couldn’t stop him, giving up 66 yards to the admittedly tired freshman in that series.

What else was there for Georgia fans to complain about? How about the Dogs squandering all three of their second-half timeouts by midway through the third quarter? And while he’s holding on to the ball, Branden Smith looks like he still needs more coaching as a returner. Someone please tell him you don’t run backwards deep in your own territory.

On the plus side, as I noted Saturday, the best thing about Georgia’s defense was the pressure they kept up on Carolina QB Stephen Garcia, who had some success throwing to Alshon Jeffrey but generally was most effective just handing off to Lattimore. Ace pass rusher Houston is living up to his hype, with 10 tackles Saturday, three of Georgia’s five sacks and forcing a fumble. The Dogs are going to need Houston to come up big again if they’re going to have a chance against Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett.

Also encouraging was the team drawing only four penalty flags for 25 yards (though another false start on a failed third-down play was declined by the Gamecocks).

And Murray showed a lot of potential. Too bad his receivers didn’t do a better job of getting open and helping him out in A.J. Green’s absence.

Bottom line: The Dogs have a lot of work to do if they want to avoid starting out 0-2 in conference play.

Feel free to share your own thoughts the good and bad you saw Saturday.

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473 comments Add your comment

UGA needs an enema

September 12th, 2010
11:37 am

Same ole crap just a different year. When are the blind homers gonna wake up? Mark Richt has plateaued and its time for him to go.

Kramer

September 12th, 2010
11:38 am

These are the positives I saw…

1.

2.

3.

That about covers it.

Nick

September 12th, 2010
11:39 am

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; they need to lose Searels. The O-line should be solid, year in and year out, and it’s done nothing but underachieve or at best come to life late in the season under his direction.
I also said repeatedly prior to this season that I wasn’t a fan of this 3-4 and yesterday my fears were confirmed. I’m not sold on it at all. And where are all these blitzes? There is such a thing as a run blitz too, ya know.
And where were those perfect fundamentals on defense that we saw last week? Guys were making tackles, wrapping up and gang tackling. None of that took place yesterday and the whole team seemed timid to me. Everyone lolly-gagged around the entire game and just seemed scared to death.
And I agree with Bill on the running game. The whole game, I kept wondering why they weren’t running outside more. It worked early and Ealey looked tough and fast. The inside running wasn’t working at all. I think if they would have run outside more often, it would have opened up the inside game as well.
While I am surprised and highly disappointed in this early loss, I don’t feel like the season’s over by any means. I don’t think it spells gloom and doom.
Get your act together guys. Pick it up and play with the intensity that we’ve all become accustomed to…in the past!
Mike Bobo: You aren’t an idiot and frankly I think you can be brilliant. But you gotta open up that playbook to be that.
Go Dawgs!

Frank Lane

September 12th, 2010
11:40 am

Georgia got out-schemed and tackled poorly. Amazed we did not get beat worse.

frank perez

September 12th, 2010
11:41 am

Richt needs to go back to calling plays again.

G Baller

September 12th, 2010
11:41 am

SC was favored in this game, so Georgia was not expected to win. Probably due to the freshman QB, AJ ut, and new defensive staff and scheme.

joe cox

September 12th, 2010
11:42 am

Lets go get Chris Petersen he could have won a championship with me playing qb. Richt and Bobo couldnt win with Peyton Manning. The talent is there. Where is the coaching?

Since Vince

September 12th, 2010
11:43 am

Trust me dawg fans this season is OVA as far a SEC championship is concerned.

T-Dawg

September 12th, 2010
11:44 am

Dude — If Charles can’t make that catch then he shouldn’t be on the field.

G Baller

September 12th, 2010
11:45 am

Georgia’s going to lose any game against a good team where the TE’s don’t get 5 touches. You had some production at receiver, Durham averaged 25 a catch, and Brown, averaged 20 a catch. Problem is, Bobo only got the playmakers the ball 5 times. Durham and Brown were the mismatches against SC, but Bobo couldn’t look at the numbers and figure that out.

ryan

September 12th, 2010
11:45 am

I am starting to see the writing on the wall on CMR they need a change wither its Kirby Smart or Will Muschamp , Bob Stoops or Chris Petterson of Boise Sate we need change we can believe in .

Clipboard Joe

September 12th, 2010
11:46 am

Mark Richt couldnt win a championship with a Stafford and a Moreno. But he won with Donnan players !

Hogwash

September 12th, 2010
11:47 am

The good Saturday was Murray. Still has a lot to learn, but no ints. Plain and simple we need a new OC. Bobo is not qualified to coach in college and it shows every game. Again, Richt should have gotten rid of him the same time he fired all the other coaches. Not impressed with Searles or the play of the OL. We need new RB and WR coach also. There is no way we should not be able to seperate from the defenders. I am about to agree with other people that we waste our talent with pathetic coaching and the excuses after every loss has gotten old. Mcgarity needs to start looking for a new group of offensive coaches or a new HC if he doesn’t right this ship by next week. Not giving up on the defense, but i think we need to be able to switch to a different defense during the game if the other isn’t working. Though Rambo would be a star, instead he has been a big disappoint two weeks in a row. Diehard fans open your eyes, Richt is not getting it done. The team is way too soft on both sides of the ball. They have no killer instinct. Other teams have new QBs and their offense performs a whole lot better than ours. Bottom line is either Bobo goes or Richt and Bobo need to go. The recruiting philosophy is not working nor is the coaching philosophy working. We will not improve with those two running the show.

joe cox

September 12th, 2010
11:48 am

chris petersen is the only option, He can go head to head with Saban and Meyer and Spurrier now without fear. Richt cannot

Hogwash

September 12th, 2010
11:49 am

Sad to say but Donnan’s players were better coached and had more discipline and it shows on and off the field.

Warren S

September 12th, 2010
11:50 am

After reading your comments, it’s sad to see UGA fans are so fickle. Lose one game and you’re ready to fire your coaches and burn their houses down! SC is fielding the best team they’ve ever had. Is it here to stay, noone knows. Don’t be such CRY BABIES! This could very well be USC’s year. UGA should have their way with UF this year…time will tell if it really matters.

Clipboard Joe

September 12th, 2010
11:51 am

Stacy Searles is overrated. His offensive line couldnt run block through a wet paper bag. Same crap year after year. Moreno had to make his own space most of the time when he was here. Searles is an idiot along with BOO BOO the clown.

G Baller

September 12th, 2010
11:51 am

I love it when our oppoentns get on this boards and start calling for Richt to be fired after losing a close game. Please, real Dog fans would never do that.

Hogwash

September 12th, 2010
11:52 am

I like Petersen or UConn HC. Does a whole lot better with less talent. Defense will be fine with some adjustments and better tackling, but we need to recruit bigger and better CBs and I don’t see that in the 2011 recruiting either. WE NEED A CHANGE FAST!!!!

G Baller

September 12th, 2010
11:52 am

It’s just 1 blogger using a bunch of fake names, no one’s calling for Richt to be fired.

Hogwash

September 12th, 2010
11:52 am

Enter your comments here

1eyedJack

September 12th, 2010
11:53 am

Tough loss…get ‘em next week though!!

Clipboard Joe

September 12th, 2010
11:54 am

Warren S. ….. South Carolina will choke guaranteed. I will be here in a few weeks to tell you I told ya so.

Manny

September 12th, 2010
11:54 am

If Murray can’t score a TD, put in Gray or Mason, but Georgia needs a spark.

joe cox

September 12th, 2010
11:54 am

G baller lives in a fantasy world, and accepts mediocrity.

Hogwash

September 12th, 2010
11:55 am

Been a Dawg fan since the 70’s and i have enough sense to know when there is a problem and it’s not one game and spans over the last four. When you finally open your eyes then you will also see the problem. Real Dawg fans want too win not make excuses. WAKE UP!

1eyedJack

September 12th, 2010
11:55 am

I’m convinced that if Spurrier coached at Vandy he’d find a way to beat us half the time.

FB Fan

September 12th, 2010
11:56 am

I think you have to give SC’s DTs credit. The stuffed the middle of the line. I believe two of their starting linebackers were out. Second team linebackers may have had something to do with our effective pass blocking… few blitz packages coming our way. I heard throughout the offseason the SC dline was supposed to be stout. That is why we couldn’t run up the middle. Two linebackers out made running outside easier. Being out-coached is why we didn’t take advantage.

Clipboard Joe

September 12th, 2010
11:56 am

Gballer ….you are a homer and you probably still have a man crush on Ray Goof !

joe cox

September 12th, 2010
11:57 am

10 returning starters on offense and murray is way better than me. how come they cant score a td? I guess its the players not the coaching.

christophorm

September 12th, 2010
11:57 am

Israel troupe did’nt know the play before the big fumble, at 4 minutes left in the 3rd…warshan’s motto should be a little less talk and a lot more action,he’s not a big timer ….as for the lline, look at the hole when he fumbled the ball on the 3 yard line !

Hogwash

September 12th, 2010
11:57 am

G baller wants to keep hearing the same excuse year in and year out. Murray is not the problem, it’s the Offensive Coordinator.

Joe

September 12th, 2010
12:00 pm

That’s the best defense Georgia will face this year, and we almost beat em without Washaun’s goal-line fumble. It’s gonna be a real good run for the next 6 games, don’t see Georgia facing a tougher defense, until the Florida game, and King and AJ will be back for that one, and the Georgia QB & new defense will have a lot of experience by then. Looking at a 13-1 season.

Clipboard Joe

September 12th, 2010
12:00 pm

Real Dawg fan here but lets face out program stinks right now ,both on and off the field. Whats your excuse blind homers????

joe cox

September 12th, 2010
12:01 pm

Alabama lost a ton of starters they arent crying about rebuilding. they reload no excuses G baller is a tech or gator fan if he likes the way our program is going

OldSkoolDawg

September 12th, 2010
12:03 pm

I know I’m late to the party, but here’s my two cents: Lattimore doesn’t run for 182 if we aren’t getting beat up front on seemingly every down. Must the CBs and Safeties make ALL the tackles in the 3-4 scheme? I didn’t hear a DL’s name called all day! Wood, Tyson, Dobbs, et.al., looked like they were on rollerskates.

Offensively, I thought the OL did well in pass-protection, but had trouble opening holes consistently. And Ealey wasn’t breaking tackles like I’ve seen him do.

All I can say is: Go Braves!

Joe

September 12th, 2010
12:04 pm

If Georgia beats Arkansas, a big season is still on tap, lose that one, and it’s a rebuilding year.

George

September 12th, 2010
12:05 pm

Meyer looks like he needs to be fired. Another lousy game. So does Paul Johnson at G Tech. If a coach has 1 bad game, it proves they should be fired immediately.

Tennessee Dawg

September 12th, 2010
12:06 pm

How ablout another knife in the heart for us dawg fans and I will not put dawg in caps again until they show me they deserve it. Where was the great ol that we were all told about. You can not keep up with all of the games we have lost that were helped out by bobo’s stupid play calling. How about sitting the defense down and showing them some game film of some of the truely great open field one on one tackling defenses. Every year all we hear about is how well the dawgs have recruited. Someone please call their parents and tell them how sorry we are for doing such a disservice to their kids.

joe cox

September 12th, 2010
12:07 pm

richt has had a lot of bad games and consistently loses to teams with inferior talent

NO LINDSEY SCOTT,NO 1980 TITLE MUTTS

September 12th, 2010
12:08 pm

FIRE MARK RICHT,THEN MIKE BOBO CAN GET THE HELL ON!

oakisland

September 12th, 2010
12:19 pm

from a 1969 UGA grad, I watched our beloved dawgs go down to a mediocre program. The lack of intensity and fire on both sides of the ball makes me want to throw up. I was a big fan of CMR but have lost all confidence in his judgement when it comes to keeping Bobo, who just might be the worst OC in college football. I live in NC and have to put up with John Fox and the Carolina Panthers and their stupid predictability on offense and Bobo could get a job with them. Long for the days of Erk and players like Jake Scott, George Patton, Bill Stanfill who played like a mad dawg. I know CMR is a nice guy but this kind of play the last four years can no longer be tolerated not mention the recruits that are looking at this sloppy type football. I implore the new AD to at least to hire all new offensive coaches and to stop us from being a predictable as the sorry Panthers.

Bruce

September 12th, 2010
12:25 pm

Let’s just hope yesterday was just a bad day and not proof that our defensive problems last year were not our coordinator but due to the fact that we have recruited players that can’t be tackled or coached to tackle.

yarddawg

September 12th, 2010
12:26 pm

Its obvious that Mike Bobo has become more than predictable as an offenive coordinator. I mean, first of all any defensive coordinators epecially the good ones got to be licking their chops, you can take so called average atheletes and teach them the fundamentals like, blocking, tackling, and where to be on a given play when you see the other team line up in this formation, and beat Georgia alomost everytime. Its sad too, because I personally believe we have decent athletes on the team. These coaches these days make alot of money to do something that is a sport. Maybe we might try given Mr. Grantham the head coaching position and put CMR back at offensive coordinator. Anything at this point has to be better than what coach bobo is doing. I don’t personally hate the man, I just think that the game is way ahead of him right now. We could have won the game yesterday no doubt, and I know people get tired of could of should of all the time when we lose. But if you really look at the game, has anybody ever the South Carolina might have one of their better football teams that they have had in awhile. That Lattimore guy looks awesome, he’s gonna be something to keep an eye on for games to come. Congradulations on the win Carolina, looks like the dawgs got to go back to football 101 just to try and stay in games.

Ed

September 12th, 2010
12:30 pm

If Richt survives this season, he needs to make a concerted effort to recruit character guys, especially on defense. There’s more to football than 40 times and verticle leaps. Just see Boise State, a team that would probably beat UGA by 3 touchdowns if they played this year. Surely out there somewhere in a state of 9 million plus are a few country boys that won’t get arrested or dance on the sideline and don’t need any gimmicks or uniform changes to bring the leather to UF and Tennessee on every play. Where have you gone David Pollack?

Clipboard Joe

September 12th, 2010
12:31 pm

Hey George…… I guess UGA is really dragging its feet with CMR, he has numerous bad games now.

subpar

September 12th, 2010
12:33 pm

3 or 4 times in the red zone-poor tackling again,no run blocking again,6 points and 0-1 in the sec east, that about sums it up. Tell me if anyone saw anything different than the past couple of years, other than murray is going to be a stud, if the coaches will let him. Im not sure that Mike Bobo has what it takes to be the offensive coordinator of a sec team, didnt and doesnt call the right plays,stop running up the middle when its not there.O-line has to get better,tackling has to get better, or its going to be another long and dissappointing year,and we have to much talent for that, so coaches get better at doing what you make dang good money for “WIN–BALL–GAMES. Tired of losing to teams that is no better tha you……

Ed

September 12th, 2010
12:33 pm

“Looking at a 13-1 season.”

No chance, Joe.

Dawgtime

September 12th, 2010
12:34 pm

The Dawgs will be fine…We got revealed that we are not physical enough. For a 34 front to work, you have to have a dominant nose and big middle LB’s. We are developing those. I know you will hear all these “Georgia” fans talking trash, but you need to remember that most of these are GT fans. Yes, true Dawg fans are frustrated. Will it get better? Yes. Tackling was a huge issue. Rambo seems to back away from contact. Our MLB’s are just not physical players. The play calling is so predictable. We run the same 7 or 8 plays over and over again. That has to change. I believe the 34 approach will improve with better technique. Jarvis Jones will be the stud in the middle next year. It’s time to start Bean at nose. At least, he can clog the middle. Move DeAngelo to end. It’s time to introduce Dobbs to the bench. He is not a playmaker. I would move Gamble to the middle. I think a LB corp of Justin Houston (great player), Jarvis Jones (great size), Richard Samuel (loves contact), and Cornelius Washington (great athlete) will make for a better situation. The scheme is new and it will take time. In terms of the offense, we have the weapons. We just need a better scheme and play calling.

FB Fan

September 12th, 2010
12:35 pm

WHAT SUPERIOR TALENT??? – Most of our “superior talent” is either thrown off the team, not admitted or suspended for character/integrity issues. It starts at the top and unfortunately we have seen the integrity at the top. Was’t our leader allegedly arrested with some hos red panties in his lap? What type of leadership is this administration hiring? What type of players are we going after? 9 arrested in five months? Best player getting paid by an agent? It is time for the school to get REAL leaders to bring in high character kids that will commit themselves to excellence on and off the field. Then we will see results.