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

Ironwood

September 12th, 2010
12:36 pm

oakisland, It looks like your “beloved dawgs” lost to the “mediocre program.” If Spurrier stays at USC, it will happen a lot more in the future.

ca dawg

September 12th, 2010
12:37 pm

wrapping up and run blocking. that’s it. we do that and we win. forget about bobo’s playcalling. the O line didn’t move anyone, and on defense we didn’t make the plays when we were in position to make them. people calling for richt and bobo’s head: not time to press the panic button. how about giving them a little credit for getting murray ready to play in a game like this? we didn’t score points because we didn’t block anyone; playcalling was conservative, but it was conservative back in teh herschel days and no one had a problem with that. why? because we moved people up front. we didn’t do that yesterday and that’s not on bobo. can’t gameplan around a line that plays that poorly.

bill, this is a good, rational assessment of what happened yesterday. we got outplayed and made too many mistakes to win, but i think we can still be a good football team.

ryan

September 12th, 2010
12:39 pm

Maybe CMR should bring his son in he threw for 5 TD .

Paul Has A Small Johnson

September 12th, 2010
12:39 pm

Coach Richt

Just saw your segment on Camp Sunshine

How about making your arrested players go to that in the hopes that they will realize how fortunate they are instead of acting like a bunch of idiots

Clipboard Joe

September 12th, 2010
12:40 pm

Dawgtime…… you say its gonna get better well when? Weve been hearing this crap since the death of Methusela.

CG Dawg

September 12th, 2010
12:40 pm

Oh and another thing… will the Dawgs be lucky if they win more than 3 games this year?

Clipboard Joe

September 12th, 2010
12:41 pm

Or should I say since the birth of Methuselah.

JDW

September 12th, 2010
12:43 pm

Overall the D played well enough to win. I agree the line did not excel as we thought they should, but the play calling was atrocious. The 3rd and 2 toward the end of the half stands out in my mind. Get out of that infernal power I, run the normal offense and make two yards. That formation just never works against a decent team. Just a poor offensive plan all around. At the end of the day SC scored TD’s and we kicked field goals and fumbled.

CG Dawg

September 12th, 2010
12:44 pm

No2. you missed that one too, like the Dawgs did with tackling. Does the Dawg defense have tackle practice during the week or do they watch film all day.

CG Dawg

September 12th, 2010
12:47 pm

OK, last but not least: why do I get the feeling that Coach Steve Spurrier could have taken the Dawgs in August and won against SC if SC was using Ritch?

DawgByte

September 12th, 2010
12:48 pm

Last week Richt said they needed to find a way to get Branden Smith more involved with the offense. So what do you suppose happens this week… NO BRANDON SMITH on offense. Can anyone explain that to me? They keep telling us they need to get the ball in playmakers hands. This isn’t frigging rocket science… draw up plays for you playmakers and make it happen. I’m so f’ing frustrated with these coaches it’s just pathetic. Aaron Murray has already proved himself. The kid is way better than Joe Cox and is more mobile than Matt Stafford. LET THE KID DO HIS THING. Also memo to Bobo… we all know you like the long ball on first down, so does opposing defensive coordinators. The long ball has a low completion percentage and when you throw it long on 1st down you put tremendous pressure on the next two plays. Every time we miss Bobo goes to the run to prevent 3rd and long. If I can see this, so does the D. They load the box and we end up getting a yard or two. Say adios to that series. WE’RE TALKING TOTAL BRAIN DAMAGE!!!

A web master out there needs to get the FIRERODNEYGARNER.com web site started. We are losing too many in state prospects and we seem to have a descrimination thing going on in the defense. You can not tell me we can’t recruit a great country boy or corn fed Urlacher to play LB. As has accurately been pointed out we need fewer guys that steal helmets, make hit & runs and more guys that won’t give up with the heat in the kitchen gets hot!

Gator man

September 12th, 2010
12:48 pm

I have been saying this for 5 years now, If Mark R. was at any school in Florida he would be fired, you people in Georgia make excusses for this man year after year.

This could be SC years, Bama look good, my Gators look so, so, I dont see them going undefeated this year.

Paul Has A Small Johnson

September 12th, 2010
12:49 pm

Wait a minute

Run to up the middle left side of center Ealey. Stuffed!!!!!!!!!!

Darn

Run to up the middle Right side of center Ealey. Stuffed!!!!!!!!!!

Darn

3rd and 12 come on Murry you got to get that first down, We dont want to put pressure on you

Darn

Punt

Run to up the middle left side of center Ealey. Stuffed!!!!!!!!!!

Darn

Run to up the middle Right side of center Ealey. Stuffed!!!!!!!!!!

Darn

3rd and 12 come on Murry you got to get that first down, We dont want to put pressure on you

Darn

Punt

We can do it

Run to up the middle Right side of center Ealey. Stuffed!!!!!!!!!!

Darn

Run to up the middle Left side of center Ealey. Stuffed!!!!!!!!!!

Darn

3rd and 12 come on Murry you got to get that first down, We dont want to put pressure on you

Darn

Punt

10 wins yea here we come, every coach gets a raise

edumacated

September 12th, 2010
12:51 pm

It’s sad to be a dawg right now. We got beat by lowly Carolina. We don’t have a true mascot. We have been embarrassed by a litany of off field arrests and shenanigans. Our head coach has no guts. Hopefully, this is the bottom, but one never knows. It could get worse.

Clipboard Joe

September 12th, 2010
12:51 pm

Not having two a days in fall camp have hurt the dawgs. Cant coddle players and take them swimming and bowling and it showed yesterday. Dawgs are soft.

Randy

September 12th, 2010
12:52 pm

What is the funniest thing about this board? All you folks writing in are the exact same folks who two weeks ago were here praising Georgia for hiring this new savior at defensive coordinator and saying since you had Murray the offense was going to be so much better and then appointed yourselves up as the next SEC East Champions.

Now here we are two weeks later you played one cup cake and one real football team, you’re sitting here at one & one and the sky fell on your season and what do we hear???

Fire this one, fire that one. fire another one…………..Georgia fans need to grow up. You have a freshman quarterback, no real backs and your star wide receiver mad a idiot of himself.

Green will be back, Murray will grow up and you can sign a running back in February. Then all you have to do is sit back and say “Wait til next year”.

OH ……….wait……….you’ve been doing that!

Sorry :(

CG Dawg

September 12th, 2010
12:52 pm

OK I can’t help but tell the truth: the Dawgs look like they are scared to hit somebody. They have been taking too many violin classes or something, watching too much film, not spending enough time in the weight room, etc.

edumacated

September 12th, 2010
12:55 pm

Dawgbyte, sir you are dead right about the discrimination on defense. Folks have been talking about it for years.

social circle dawg

September 12th, 2010
12:56 pm

Just flat out getting sick and dang tired of the excuses from the Georgia coaching staff…they have been doing this long enough now to not have these kind of issues. I’m afraid Richt has taken our beloved Dawgs as far as he can.

Todd Grantham

September 12th, 2010
12:56 pm

I just blew chunks in my corn flakes because the A D beat me to work this morning.

macaac

September 12th, 2010
12:56 pm

Richt is too easy on the players and the coaches. He decided to give up two a days during the summer and the team suffered as seen in the poor technique and more importantly poor conditioning. Bobo ran his usual 4 play rotation of run run pass and then punt. Grantham oviously worked on tackling during the summer, what’s with the body blocks instead of wraping up the ball carrier? The D line of the new scheme looked like a sieve most of the game, by the time they made any contact the ball carrier was 5 yards into the backfield and then they went for the strip instead of the tackle. Lots of work to do looks like a long long season. Very dissapointed in the effort yesterday.

joe cox

September 12th, 2010
12:57 pm

Randy is a fool. Murray looked fine, and with or without AJ UGA is a more talented team. The coaching on offense is lacking, Grantham will work out.

PEACH DOG

September 12th, 2010
12:58 pm

BILL KING HAS GOT IT RIGHT HERE CITING ALL I SAW. DEFENSE WILL BE FINE. AND THE 3-4 IS WEAKER AGAINS THE RUN + WE LOST CURREN AND 3 LIMEMAN TO DRAFT.SECONDARY WAS TERRIFIC AGAINST PASS. THE OFFENSIVE LINE COACH SHOULD BE FIRED I THOUGH THAT 09 , THEY ARE FAT UNMOTIVATEED LAZY. GREEN SOLD JERSEY AND OFF. LINE SOULD BE STRIPPED OF THEIRS AND SCHOLARSHIP. THANKFULLY THIS LINE WILL NOT BE ON THE SAME FIELD WITH BAMA THIS YEAR. BAMA CAN WORK IN THE DIRTY TRENCHES. GRANTED THEY CAN PASS BLOCK. SPURRIER RUNS ON FIELD DRAGGING HIS MIKE WHILE RICHT IS CONSOLING EARLY FOR FUMBLING. NO CONSEQUENCES. THIS LINE, RAMBO,HOT DOG CHARLES, EARLY SHOULD HAVE BEEN WALKING BACK DOWN I-20 SECOND HALF. I EMPLOY OVER 200 SOME OF WHOM ARE SELF MOTIVATED OTHERS I INTRODUCE THE FEAR OF GOD, OR I DISMISS. SPURRIER AND SABEN DEMAND YOU USE YOUR GOD GIVEN TALENT. IT IS NOT PLAYERS CHOICE. JIMMY FORREST

Randy

September 12th, 2010
12:59 pm

“Joe Cox” Randy was making fun of the idiots on this board, every problem GA has is correctable………..except idiots for fans. You can’t fight stupidity.

CG Dawg

September 12th, 2010
1:03 pm

Sorry you think we fans are stupid, but it seems that the leadership has tried to over-intellectualize the game. Is supposed to be a physical game, and the dawgs play like they don’t want to get their jersies dirty. Has political correctness run amock at GA?

Clipboard Joe

September 12th, 2010
1:03 pm

Randy,,,,, wake up homer its the same crap for 3 years now.

chilidawg

September 12th, 2010
1:05 pm

The game that CMR had better circle is Tennessee. If we get spanked again this year, he’ll definately be sitting on a bunsen burner.

Todd Grantham

September 12th, 2010
1:06 pm

I just blew more chunks. Mike BoBo just asked me what to do?

dawgtired

September 12th, 2010
1:09 pm

Practice some blocking and tackling,

instead of your high diving!

maybe you can give UGA 1/2 of your salary back!

FB Fan

September 12th, 2010
1:11 pm

“JOE COX” “Murray looked fine, and with or without AJ Georgia is a more talented team.” ??? More talented than what? La La? yes SC? sure didn’t look like it. If we had all the players kicked off, suspended on not admitted maybe so.

beatdowns galore

September 12th, 2010
1:12 pm

Wake up mutt fans SC gave y’all a whipping on the field which was not reflected on the score board. Even if you scored the TD I dont think with Boo Boo’s play calling that UGA would have made the 2 point conversion. Im ready for annual beatdown of the pups in Jacksonville. BTW you better worry about little Vince too.

Paul Has A Small Johnson

September 12th, 2010
1:13 pm

Randy

Your right every problem is correctable except for one thing

We have been seeing the same crap over and over and over

A few examples Morreno having to red shirt cause he didnt know the plays and block, come on

Same for 5 star Marlon Brown who has looked good to me so far this yr

And Murry come on with we have to protect him crap

This was the same crap that cost us the loss to FL 13-10 when Joe T was in for Shockley “Were just going to manage the game”

Manage the game give me a break, I almost throw up every time I hear Richt say that crap because I know were going to get beat.

Go manage a lawn care service if thats your attitude

Grantham I still think will be fine, he just has to flush out Willie

But the offensive play calling is laughable especially when we play good coaches

Dawg

September 12th, 2010
1:14 pm

Now Vandy has a new brother, Georgia.

BlawgDawg

September 12th, 2010
1:14 pm

According to the dimwitted “foobaw” prognosticator Bob Davie, the dawgs spent their practice in an “NFL mode – not hitting but rather focusing on Ball Security.” One thing for certain: from the lack of hitting and tackling skills we can be secure in their lack of bawls.

It was Willie Willie bad

September 12th, 2010
1:16 pm

GT Golden Heart

September 12th, 2010
1:18 pm

Where’s my d.a.m.n. post? ‘Cause you know it’s the TROOF!

GT Golden Heart

dawgtired

September 12th, 2010
1:19 pm

Another thought..how quickly can we waste timeouts?
once not so long ago SEC teams feared us,
that fear is disappearing as quickly as our MULTI-millionaire coach’s hairline.
At least alabama is getting THEIR money’s worthfrom their coach.

CG Dawg

September 12th, 2010
1:20 pm

The Dawgs might want to consider drinking some protein shakes and spending some time in weight room. Once they get physically stronger, then they could find a coach who could encourage them to play with some aggression. Until then, they will continue to be an embarassment.
Maybe we Dawg fans will have to be satisfied with the tennis and gymnastics programs.

GT Golden Heart

September 12th, 2010
1:20 pm

Best college teams in Georgia:

1. Georgia Tech
2. Georgia Southersn
3. Georgia State
4. Shorter College
5. UGA

Ole Yeller Dawg

September 12th, 2010
1:20 pm

Out Recruited!
Out Coached!
Out Planned!
Out Played!
Out Conditioned!

Bacarri Rambo: Shut-Up, until you can walk the talk!
Jakar Hamilton: Where did that nickname come from? HITMAN….when…where….how….who?
Vance Cuff: = Bryan Evans

Aaron Murray: Good Game = Playmaker….Game Changer! Don’t coach him down, Mark Richt. Let him play his game!!!!!!!
Logan Gray: Good Game = Yet another player thats been playing out of position!
Kris Durham: Good Game = Great senior leadership!
Justin Houston: Great Game = The only real Junkyard Dawg to show up Saturday!

Chuck Doodle

September 12th, 2010
1:20 pm

hey Coach….. Hope you and your guys have a great practice this week. Can you tell us dawg fans who is ithe best swimmer and bowler on this team?

Ed

September 12th, 2010
1:23 pm

Spurrier just beat Georgia for only the second time in 6 games at Carolina, and he couldn’t resist a little dig at the new Georgia d-coordinator. Why does a formerly respected and highly successful head coach feel the need to take a shot at the other team’s assistant?

Spurrier can’t hide his lack of class.

nick saban

September 12th, 2010
1:26 pm

Why Ed?…… because he kicked UGA’s @$$ on the field yesterday.

MATHDAWG

September 12th, 2010
1:26 pm

The offensive play calling, especially in the Red Zone, is terrible. We still have too many players going for the “kill shot” rahter than locking their arms on a good tackle. The offensive line does a good job of pass blocking, but is not very effective in run blocking. I don’t think they can blow any team off the line. As big as they are and with all their experience they should be better. Coaching may be a problem here. Maybe this is why Searles won’t give interviews. In addition, I don’t see the “toughness” on either side of the ball as we used to see with Dooley, Goff, or Donnan teams. What do they do in the closed practices? Is sure isn’t blocking and tackling. Maybe Richt is just too much of a finess coach or too fancy. How about some good ole smash mouth football — example Alabama. Pat Dye was right to question the team’s “manhood” back a few years ago and I think that is more of a problem now than ever. UGA needs to “man up” on the football fiend.

Dostoyevskiy

September 12th, 2010
1:27 pm

FB fan. What metrics or methods would you suggest for pre-approving a recruit’s character?

nick saban

September 12th, 2010
1:27 pm

Enter your comments here

nick saban

September 12th, 2010
1:28 pm

Dawgs need to hit the weight room much harder. Did you see how big the Carolina players were?

Paul Has A Small Johnson

September 12th, 2010
1:30 pm

Well Chuck Doodle

I think Ealey is our best bowler on the team as he demonstrated his bowling skills on the 4 yrd line yesterday while trying to score

Our best swimmer, man thats a tough one, If Water Girl was here she might could narrow it down for me,

Um I think if I had to pick the best swimmer its either Rambo or Hamilton they really showed how they could swim around a tackle if you know what I mean.

Scott Howard back up to You!!!

wayxdawg

September 12th, 2010
1:32 pm

I feel Orson Charles is getting too much of a pass here. He dropped a touchdown he should have caught and 2 plays latter bobbled an easy catch causing us to not make a first down and have to settle for a field goal. To me, that sequence seemed to set the theme of our inability to get into the end zone. It may also explain the hesitance to involve the tight ends for the rest of the game.

CG Dawg

September 12th, 2010
1:34 pm

MATHDAWG, Excellent post.
It all about toughness, which GA football has none of. The wuss factor against SC was astounding, and I’m sure it will come back in spades against FL.