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

elliemae

September 12th, 2010
3:36 pm

I refuse to be a Mark Richt apologist anymore. On and off the field, Coach Richt cannot control the players, nor get them to perform to a high level commanded by top tier college ball.

bugsquacher

September 12th, 2010
3:45 pm

Hmmmmm……. lets see……..
1. superior, top-of-the-SEC offensive line…. check.
2. new, improved defensive scheme….. check
3. new coaches….. check
4. new AD…… check

but……

5. same old middle of the road third place finish in the SEC east …… check

TIME TO SMELL THE ROSES…………CHANGE AT THE TOP HAS TO HAPPEN!!!!!!

bugsquacher

September 12th, 2010
3:48 pm

NOW I KNOW WHY UGA DIED LAST YEAR…….HE COULD SMELL THIS COMING

Red Panties Rick

September 12th, 2010
3:51 pm

Wait now, let’s focus on the positives. The dawgs uniforms were clean and fresh. The halftime show was very entertaining. The only mistake I can see was limiting Ealey to just a one game suspension, had he been suspended for two games uga might have won….

Lewis

September 12th, 2010
3:52 pm

I don’t understand the UF fan on here saying how good they looked yesterday. It took the Gators until the 4th quarter to pull away from USF (repeat USF!). Were we watching the same game? That’s not a good sign and a definite change from the last few seasons. UF is going downhill and will get beat by SC and Bama. If UGA improves and given AJ will be on the field in Oct, then a loss to the Dawgs is also likely. Murray is a pleasant surprise and handled himself well in his 1st game against a SEC opponent. This kid will continue to improve and will be a great QB for the Dawgs. The D and O-line has to improve or else we are in for a long season. The team has to play with heart and play each game like it’s the SECCG. They owe the fans at least that much.

McDawg

September 12th, 2010
4:01 pm

even though the game was probably closer than my biased opinion might suggest (i thought we were throughly whipped)-it looked to me like USC knew what they wanted to do and we looked confused, timid, and reactive–on the D–and hapless on the O-Line

We have nothing to worry about in Murray-strong arm great release

Bobo ????? sometimes i’m left wondering what that call was all about

we need AJ Green back real bad

what is most troubling is that this game reminded of the Oklahoma St game-lackadasical etc…..

next week will tell us alot about this team

SOUTHGADAWG88

September 12th, 2010
4:08 pm

SC is a serious team with that mack truck in the back field.Spurrier has him a superstar at tailback….SC is going to be a legit contender for the next 3-4 years.I’m not impressed with SS and have asked repeatedly what’s so great about him.We don’t seem to recruit well on the OL and the better ones we do sign often are injured.Bobo has to step up his game…if we don’t win at least 10 games he is gone.Go back to the booth!!Murray is the real deal,I wouldn’t have a problem with him putting it up 30 plus times.The D will have it’s ups and downs but we must remember the 4-3 we ran depended upon smaller,faster defenders.That does not work well in a 3-4 scheme there will probably be a lot of shuffling in lineups this year to find the best combination.We should look better against Ark since they don’t have a power running game.We should get some sacks and TO’s on D.We have to expect to score at least 24 pts in Athens.

Shane

September 12th, 2010
4:18 pm

Honestly I don’t think that we have as much to worry about as GT or Tenn.

Pitbull

September 12th, 2010
4:19 pm

Coach Richt came from Fla State with a book plan he got from Bowden. The longer he got away from it, changed it, etc. The worst they have got. I think it will only continue. Remember, Richt use to call plays. He doesn’t anymore. He just walks around saying stuff like “finish the drill”. They finished it Saturday. Same drill they been running for a few years now. Inept football. I DON’T THINK THE OFFENSIVE LINE COACH CAN COACH!!!! Where does Richt get these people?

FB Fan

September 12th, 2010
4:22 pm

We should have several more good players on our roster if not for the off the field issues. That was the difference between winning and losing on Sat and may bite us again. I wonder why so many scholarships are wasted on low character guys? The head coach is ultimately responsible. Obviously the AD had other things on his mind. When does the administration take responsibility?

bilbo

September 12th, 2010
4:25 pm

I said this 20000 times over the summer. OUR O-LINE IS NOT THAT GOOD. The O-line played well against: Tenn Tech, GA Tech, Auburn, TX A&M. None of those teams had legitimate defensive lines. FIRE BOBO NOW. FIRE BOBO NOW. FIRE BOBO NOW.

76-DAWG

September 12th, 2010
4:26 pm

If CMR will let Murray play with all his strengths , Run when no one is open and if Grantham will blitz all day UGA can beat Arkansas. If they can beat Arkansas I think UGA can beat Flordia. Too many freshman and sophomores that didn’t play last year. Florida is very beatable. UGA can still win the east. SC doesn’t have much more than Lattimore . Garcia is not a very good QB. Garcia will not be the starter by the 4th game.SC is too good a team to play them in the first couple of games each year.Their lack of depth always catches up with them by the 8th game.We should schedule SC later in the year. If we get by Arkansas UGA could go into the Auburn game with only one loss.

Win P.

September 12th, 2010
4:31 pm

Was it the new UGA line backer coach who asked the question, who taught UGA how to tackle? Now we know…NOBODY

Bob Horner had a big fro

September 12th, 2010
4:33 pm

Vols embarrassed the SEC last night. First, they wimp out on the UNC games, then they get lit up by the Beavers. Wow. UT sucks.

Big Harry

September 12th, 2010
4:37 pm

You know, I would rather drop a game early in the season rather than later…

That being said: I think the coaches already know what lost them the game. By not opening the play book and letting this kid learn was the death nail on the coffin. Sure, our D was outplayed, man-handled, and generally speaking look inept on takles; however, our offense was stymied not by schemes but our own OC.

Not having Green certainly didn’t help, but I submit the results would have been the same had he been in the game. You saw the plays, you saw what Bobo called – do you think the results would have been any different?

Granted, the receivers did not step up like they could have, indeed SHOULD have. But let’s put the blame where its due: Mike Bobo.

dawgtired

September 12th, 2010
4:38 pm

what color uniforms can we try next week?
can we have another “white or black or yellow out?
will richt do a double backflip off the high dive?
can memorizing bible verses make us hit harder..then ask for forgiveness?
prayer meetings just ain’t gittin ‘er done..
sure would like to swap coaching staffs with boise state
then the boys in idaho could improve their bowling and swimming
and we could return to ga football

virginia dog

September 12th, 2010
4:44 pm

Richt at UGA is a sinking ship. 2-3 years from now he will be done. He lost the fire that it takes to coach major college football. He had a great run. But just like a CEO of a fortune 500 company. His effort and results are just not cutting it and It is time to bring in another hungry hot shot willing to work the 90 hours a week and do all those repugnant things you have to do to get the best players to your program.
This is a business and Mark Richt is old business. Time to call Will Muschamps home.

old dawg

September 12th, 2010
4:49 pm

where to start:
tackling was pathetic
line play on both side of the ball was embarrassing
offensive play calling was predictable, uninspired, stupid, guaranteed to lose (you pick)
the only thing missing from last years offense was joe cox
problem starts with the coaching. they did not look ready to start play in the SEC. this is the world you chose to live in fellas. step up or get out.
my 2 year old granddaughter can call the game as well as ya’ll did.
i put this game squarely on the shoulders of the coaching staff. you recruited the players, you train them, you prepare them. you call the plays. you motivate them. you should be embarrassed to pick up those 6 and 7 figure checks. the only place performance like this is tolerated is in washington.
if this is what i have to look forward to week in and out this year, i am done. 35 years of season tickets, no more. i have sat by quietly for 3 years saying they will get it worked out. so don’t tell me to be patient.
the least you could do is look competitive. you don’t even warrant a little discussion of the program on espn anymore. the program is no longer on the national scene.

FBR

September 12th, 2010
4:50 pm

Is Martinez still coaching the defense? I’ve never seen such poor tackling in all my life. And I thought we were getting an upgrade with Grantham!!!!!

DAWG with a dag over his head

September 12th, 2010
4:51 pm

Sweet Charlotte, I could have written that same post word for word. In fact, I made the same statement at lunch today. Richt is a good man and a good coach, but definitely not a great coach. Real Dawg fans shouldn’t settle for mediocrity of the last 3 seasons. It’s definitely time for a change at the top or let’s at least hire a professional OC.

I just don’t understand why so many people are sure things will get better as the season goes on. Did anything really change the last two seasons when we started off slow? Not really.

John, the real UGA fan

September 12th, 2010
4:52 pm

Shut up about firing Mark Richt!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you arm chair coaches can do better, then apply for the job. You make me sick. You are not UGA fans; you are the most pessimistic group I have ever seen. Support the team and say a few positive things or find another team to support. UGA does not need you! Go Dawgs!!!!!

Tech Hater

September 12th, 2010
4:53 pm

GO DAWGS: BBQ pig on Saturday 9/18/10 menu

DAWG with a dag over his head

September 12th, 2010
4:55 pm

John, apparently you’re satisfied with being a second (or third tier) SEC team. I’m not and a lot of others are not either. I submit that we are indeed the real fans. Blind Homers have gotten us where we are today.

Tech Hater

September 12th, 2010
4:55 pm

Murry and the defense will get better, calm down, new QB, new defensive system and coaching. We will improve throughout the season, by November we will have something for Auburn and Tech.
Go DAWGS

Vote

September 12th, 2010
4:57 pm

Why do we pay top money for second level football????

Sick of Richt and Bobo

September 12th, 2010
4:57 pm

Richt, Bobo, and Rambo Suxs!!!!!!!

Vanilla calling Bobo, Vanilla lines, not man enough Vanilla Defense, and Vanilla Richt all should be cleaning the men restroom in Southern GA gas station. Please get rid of Richt.

DAWG with a dag over his head

September 12th, 2010
4:58 pm

We have anything but vanilla on defense. Thanks Rodney.

Fire Mark Richt Now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

September 12th, 2010
4:58 pm

‘exposed’ Dogs’ weaknesses on offense and defense

more like

Once again a no show from the Head coach!

Dawgs fan

September 12th, 2010
4:59 pm

FIRE PAUL JOHNSON! FIRE FRANK BEAMER!!!! FIRE BRIAN KELLY!!!! FIRE JIMBO FISHER!!!! FIRE RANDY SHANNAN FIRE HOUSTON NUTT AFTER LAST WEEKEND!!! FIRE…. ANYONE THAT LOST THIS WEEKEND NOT NAMED NICK SABAN… HE IS OBVIOUSLY A FOOTBALL GOD. (OH YEAH>>> FIRE LES MILES… Don’t want to forget about him.)

People need to get a life…

Fire Mark Richt Now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

September 12th, 2010
5:02 pm

first it was martinez. now its bobo. both only follow the head coach’s wishes and instructions. This Is CMR’s team and it about time he man up and admit that he doesnt have a clue, and stop using God as justification for his garbage.

Richt sucks.

Fire Mark Richt Now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

September 12th, 2010
5:02 pm

People need to get a life…..?

Dawgs need to get a HEAD COACH!

AltamahaDawg

September 12th, 2010
5:03 pm

On the upside, we may have solved that Bryan Evans mystery.

Fire Mark Richt Now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

September 12th, 2010
5:07 pm

Richt get these people?

HE USES HIS UNDERACHIEVING HEAD COACHING SKILLS!

TOP 5 TALENT NATIONALLY FOR THE LAST 6 YEAR TO WHICH WE ARE OUT OF THE RUNNING BY THE 4TH WEEK, WHILE WISHING THE YEAR WOULD END SO WE CAN START ALL OVER. YOU RICHT SUPPORTER ARE ABOUT OUT OF EXCUSES.

IT WAS UGA IV FAULT, THAT THE TICKET.

Cathy

September 12th, 2010
5:08 pm

Let the Redcoat band play Dixie!!! Maybe that will fire up some people!!!!!!!!!!!!

SSIgator

September 12th, 2010
5:12 pm

Some of my favorites from before the SC game:

clint -

“When did Marcus Lattimore become Jim f’n Brown?”

Answer:

Yesterday. In case you missed it he ran for 182 yards.

CHDawg -

“I think the Dawgs are going to win this one by a very healthy margin.”

Answer:

I hope you did not bet the mortgage on it.

Dorsey Hill -

“The key is knowing that it’s Garcia and Jeffery that can beat you, not lattimore. In other words don’t stuff the box worriing about their frosh tb.”

Answer:

Sounds like the coaching staff bought in to what you said Dorsey.

cadawg -

“i like the look of this dawg team.”

Answer:

Really. How do they look now?

DawginLex -

“Our talent is better on both sides of the ball.”

Answer:

Really? Are they saving it for the Arkansas game?

JB -

“This blog is easy……If Georgia plays and behaves like Dawgs and Carolina plays like Carolina, Georgia wins.”

Answer:

You were right JB. UGA did play like dogs.

Boca Baby -

“the 3-4 will blow Garcia’s mind. UGA BIG!”

Answer:

It sure did. SC could not believe how easy it was to run on UGA.

SOUTHGADAWG88 -

“I’m more concerned with ARK than SC”

Answer:

You don’t have to worry about SC any more this year, but you really do need to worry about Arkansas now.

Pago Pago Dawg -

“No problem, UGA is suppose to have the best “O” line in the SEC.”

Answer:

That is the difference between wishful thinking and reality.

dawgbites -

“Thanks to the revamping of the coaching staff, and a better quality one at that. Sound minds and discipline prevail this game. UGA 30- USC 17.”

Answer:

Too bad UGA did not bring the sound bodies along as well.

Fire Mark Richt Now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

September 12th, 2010
5:13 pm

“You are not UGA fans; you are the most pessimistic group I have ever seen. Support the team and say a few positive things or find another team to support.”

HOLDING THE HEAD COACH RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS LACK OF PRODUCTION WHILE HAVING NFL CALIBER TALENT ON HIS TEAM IS NOT BEING A DOG FAN? SHOULD I ENCOURAGE YOU TO F-UP? THE TEAM AND SCHOOL IS IN DECLINE. THIS IS FOOTBALL COUNTRY AND WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH TALENT TO WIN 2 OR 3 NATIONAL TITLES UNDER RICHT WITH THE SAME RESULTS LETS BUILD THE PROGRAM UP…NOT TEAR IT DOWN. GET SOMEBODY HERE WHO CAN COACH!

RODNEY GARNER

September 12th, 2010
5:20 pm

Dear Bulldog Fans –

I would like to address the charges I’m running a recruiting program that descriminates against country boys and corn feds from the midwest. It’s not my fault we haven’t been able to recruit a white defensive back since Kirby Smart, back in 1997. I can’t be blamed for not having a single white starter on defense since David Pollack. Everyone knows football is all about 40 yard dash times and slam dunking ability. You fans have to face the fact that white boys can’t jump. I know, I know, fans out there are pointing to the Boise State defense, Clay Mathews for the Trojans and Boston College’s outstanding LB. Who’s Brian Urlacher, is he one of those Croatians on the Los Angeles Lakers?

Look in the last 5 years we’ve recruited Chase Vasser and one other country boy from Florida who’s name escapes me. We also have an Arab walk on who’s name I can’t spell. It’s important to realize that because of Title 9 we’ve got to give more scholarship to thugs and dudes with dreds. It’s the law! Do you think I like berating my homies when they keep giving up on the field and can’t figure out that driving without a license aint cool? Heck no, I’m gettin tired of telling these morons they gotta be acting right.

So in closing, I want to tell you faceless bigots to chill. You can’t argue with how many players I’ve put in the NFL. I know we haven’t won a national championship with all that talent, but don’t pull the race card on me, it just ain’t fittin. Besides I’ve got all the politically correct libtards on my side. So until Michael Adams fires me (he knows he can’t cause all sue him for discrimination) I’m going to keep recruiting boys from the hood and there ain’t nothin you can do about it.

Sincerely,
Rodney Garner

Jharkle

September 12th, 2010
5:21 pm

Same ol dawgs. Awful predictable play calling and our defense’s inability to tackle are going to make for a long season. Not even AJ “Superman” Green could of helped us yesterday. On the plus side – the penalties seem to be improving.

Blowing Smoke up my rear end

September 12th, 2010
5:24 pm

FIRE DAWGS fan !

Blowing Smoke up my rear end

September 12th, 2010
5:28 pm

SSIGator just exposed the blind homers with that list………

old dawg

September 12th, 2010
5:33 pm

John,
you probably think that we should not even keep score just like you advocate for your little league. it just causes everybody to get upset and teaches everyone the wrong principles.
listen up you little socialist. the dawg tradition is fighting, being competitive, and winning.
the fact that you so strongly defend mediocrity says it all.
stick to dungeons and dragons. it suits you.

Barbie Doolies

September 12th, 2010
5:34 pm

My Gawd a freshman and almost 200 yards of it !

Jim 007

September 12th, 2010
5:34 pm

Dawg defense was extremely pourous……

It was poetic justice the Ealey ” The Latest Criminal “… fumbled down deep

I totally agree with F B Fan, Dawgs Need Leadership NOW and Richt is not it.

Use to think Richt was a high quality, stand up guy. I was wrong ! He just looks the other way .

Now after all these arrests and minimal suspensions, he is just the 2010 version of his mentor Bobby Bowden… aka…. ” King of the Hyprcrites ! ”

Dagws do Not need these type of recruits, who continually get in trouble.

The time for Leadership at EVERY level is now or who will be arrested next ???

BullDawgMike

September 12th, 2010
5:36 pm

Except for Lattimore, this was the same team that got creamed by UConn in the Papa John Bowl last year. UConn didn’t have any trouble moving the football against this defense. So what we have here is a failure to communicate. UGA coaches not getting anything over to the players. Players not being team oriented.Etc.Etc Etc….And oh by the way, I thought we had a strength and conditioning coach at UGA? What in the He*l are we paying him to do? These guys Saturday couldn’t bring down their grandmothers in the open field………..same o same o

Since Vince

September 12th, 2010
5:40 pm

you are correct BullDawgMike…… Stacy Searles cant coach his offensive line trough a wet paper bag on a running play. No wonder he wont do interviews…he knows he is clueless.

Since Vince

September 12th, 2010
5:41 pm

Jim Donnan

September 12th, 2010
5:44 pm

Richt’s initial success at UGA was all piggybacked on my recruiting. Maybe if you suckers weren’t so short sighted we would have gotten a national championship or two in place of consolation bowls.

aladawg

September 12th, 2010
5:47 pm

Dawg fans lets admit it the entire Georgia Football team sucks. The coaches have them playing like high school on a Friday night. Yep, BoBo and Richt need to go this program goes farther down with each new season. And about Rambo most of the time is stood around with his thumb up his a–

Chuck Doodle

September 12th, 2010
5:52 pm

Coach Richt,…… you and I go together around this state for speaking engagements and meeting fans at touchdown clubs. Since we are on the road a lot we usually will stop in at Wendys. Can you share with Dawg fans your favorite food item ?

aladawg

September 12th, 2010
5:57 pm

Cathy, it would be worse if the Red Coat Marching Band played Dixie hell, all the black players would quit. No waite, they have already quit along with the whites.