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

12-2

September 13th, 2010
1:30 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

Marshmallow

September 13th, 2010
1:31 am

Is it just me, or has Richt put on a few LBs since last year?

Drew Carey dropped 80 pounds

September 13th, 2010
1:34 am

CMR needs to do a few laps in the pool………

12-2

September 13th, 2010
1:58 am

I love the idiot fans who come in here and post that because of recruiting, that we have to come in here and say how great we are with a 10-11 SEC East Record since the last time we made it to The SEC Championship Game. That was 2005; this is 2010.

That is without discussing # 2 Fulmer Cup Standings since the last time we were even in The SEC Championship Game.

Dabbler

September 13th, 2010
3:05 am

Ga fans are delusional. Sloppy tackling made M. Lattimore look better than he really is? I saw him carrying Ga. defenders on his back like a sack of potatoes more than several times. You can’t tackle that. The truth is, Spurrier has out – recruited GA for several years running, and it showed big time on on Saturday. Face the biting reality — if you don’t turn it around, you can forget your annual talk of “National Championship”, SEC Championship, and both Ga and Tenn will fall to the middle SEC East tier SC has held forever.

Slobodan

September 13th, 2010
4:54 am

I think Bobo is a good dawg. He played a great game in 1997 in a win over Spurrier/Gators. His precise passing to Hines Ward opened up the running game for Robert Edwards and company. He was fabulous in the 97 Outback Bowl.
I like Richt. He has orchestrated some great Dawg moments.
But alas; what the heck are you guys thinking these days? Admonishing a QB for demonstrating his natural talent. His natural talent comes without overthinking. Your quotes make no sense. You say you want him to conduct a simple/conservative game plan and not use his gift that many schools (including FL UT and SC) recruited him for. I realize it’s an unintentional consequence; but it turns out that you make the game plan more complicated for him by requiring him to overthinking; instead of letting him lead the offense. What’s the objective? Every player should be coached to maximize their individual talent for collective team win.

76-DAWG

September 13th, 2010
5:09 am

I think it’s time for CMR to burn the old play book on offense and start over. The best way to get a new offensive play book is to hire a new offensive coordinator.Get rid of Bobo. CMR want fire Bobo because he has 5 kids at home., I don’t care how bad UGA’s offense looks.

Rocky Mountain Dawg

September 13th, 2010
6:13 am

I agree Richt needs to start calling the plays again, and take the reigns off Murray.
The D needs to wrap up on tackles.
The O line needs to drive block.
That’ll doer.

12-2

September 13th, 2010
6:35 am

Rocky,

No that will not do it.

Did you watch the Coach Richt Show with Chuck Dowdle ? God, Dowdle is horrible homer.

Coach Richt said : ” I do NOT bother the players getting ready to play the games. They EACH have THEIR OWN WAY of getting ready. I do not get in their way pre-game, doing that. ”

We also have HUGE ISSUES in recruiting offensive players because of the (1) sorry inept offense we run here and (2) because we play FAVORITES. What’s up with giving 5 walk-ons scholarships ? 5 this year.

12-2

September 13th, 2010
6:50 am

Coach Richt said on Coach Richt Show yesterday : ” I do NOT bother the players getting ready to play the games. They EACH have THEIR OWN WAY of getting ready. I do not get in their way pre-game, doing that unless they play their music too loud. ”

NCAA Rank Total Offense UGA # 94

NCAA Rank Total Offense Arkansas # 10

What we have exposed here is that since our last SEC Championship Game in 2005, we are 10-11 vs SEC East.

King Gator

September 13th, 2010
7:29 am

Unless the AJ Green moves to the DL, I’m not sure how much of a difference he would have made Saturday. The OL and DL needs to step it for the Dawgs if they’re going to bounce back. Go Gators!

Trent

September 13th, 2010
7:30 am

AJ TWEATING????? you have got to be kidding me. This moron is still talking his smack. EARTH TO COACH RICHT- GET RID OF THIS LOSER….MAKE A STATEMENT…FINALLY!!!!!

chazzo

September 13th, 2010
7:34 am

I agree with the statements about the O-line. Everybody still seems to love Searles. Yet this seems to happen every year. The line never seems to gel until five or six weeks or rotating guys. Despite Washaun’s fumble and a line that wasn’t exactly blasting holes for him, he did a good job. He ran tough and had some good runs. He repeatedly got some extras. I don’t think they gave him the ball enough. Yes, he coughed it up. That’s going to happen. Consider, though, that at half he was averaging 4.0 yards a carry, and Lattimore was averaging 4.5. Had he been given the ball more, perhaps he could have broken a couple. UGA needs to run it more than 19 times. Bobo is too quick to give up on the run, and seems to go all pass or all run. I think they can still turn Murray lose and run it 25-30 times.

I have always been quick to defend Richt and the players who have gotten in trouble. However, I would like to see one season where all of our guys are ready to play and eligible to play as a team game 1. Doesn’t that happen at other schools? Now, you are gladly welcoming guys back, but simultaneously crapping on the guys who stepped up.

Todd

September 13th, 2010
7:34 am

“we have the potential to have a very special year” HA! Between AJ tweating smack and the Oline looking like panseys and the defense looking worse than pansies and coaches NOT willing to do anything about it toss in Murray being told to tone down his play some and yep coach- it’s gonna be quite a special year. Cant wait to see how you top last years “special year”

chazzo

September 13th, 2010
7:39 am

IS IT NOT OBVIOUS THAT UGA NEEDS A NEW STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING PROGRAM?

Georgiadawg70

September 13th, 2010
7:44 am

After ten years we are right back where we started, losing to a team ranked number 21. You can count on one hand the players at S.C. that were good enough to play at Ga. Fl. Tenn. Al or Aurb. I think it’s time to call Boise Idaho.

Jeffro Bodeen

September 13th, 2010
8:04 am

Bobo is not an SEC caliber OC. He got the job by default to begin with. If CMR wants to see what the rest of the country thinks of Bobo’s abilities, put his A$$ on the market and see what the others have to offer. He might get an invitation to join Mettenberger at a JUCO!!!

robdawg08

September 13th, 2010
8:09 am

Who wants to pay $100 to go watch this mess ? UGA has fallen from SEC top contender to a middle of the pack wanna-be. Fla.,LSU,Bama,Auburn rule the SEC now. A head coaching change is needed at UGA. The players play with no fire and the mistackling is unacceptable.

robdawg08

September 13th, 2010
8:14 am

I can see it coming now. Richt will call a news conference saying “We are very young this year. We look to be a winner again 2 years from now.” All while Bama,Fla.,LSU just reload every year and remain competitive. Auburn has a freshman QB too but they are 2-0 and beat a SEC team.

robdawg08

September 13th, 2010
8:17 am

I don’t know about you Bill but wearing my UGA gear is getting embarassing. Having a loser advertised on you ain’t much fun. The money and the talent is at UGA. Where’s the coaching at ?

robdawg08

September 13th, 2010
8:18 am

Bobo’s vanilla offense has gotta go. Fire Bobo now.

gt

September 13th, 2010
8:20 am

Terry Hogue, circa 1983: “We don’t always have the best athletes. Coach recruits winners. We refuse to lose.” The Junkyard almost always overachieved. Always fun to watch. Mr. walker,among others, was not out at 3 am running into cars in a parking lot.

chazzo

September 13th, 2010
8:31 am

I proudly wore my G-hat out Saturday afternoon. I am fan. Always have been. Always will be.

While I am beginning to think folks are right about the mediocrity and the need for change, I also think there is a problem with expectations. UGA started the season unranked. Best predictions from the pros were for a 9 win season (still attainable). A lot of folks were predicting a loss to SC. There is a new defense which we all asked for. There is a new QB, who I think is going to be great.

Given all of this info, some of us still thought we would go undefeated and play for the BCS. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with the criticisms. See my posts above. But, I say if you want to give up on your team and sell some of those tickets at a much reduced rate, I’d gladly pick up a couple. My wife has never been to a game at Sanford Stadium.

Go Dawgs!

playing time

September 13th, 2010
8:32 am

robdawg08 – Where is this great talent you speak of? If you want to win game it starts on the offensive and defensive lines. Name one all SEC player on either side of the ball. It aint gonna happen until you improve the talent and increase the strenght and conditioning period!

Hope2013

September 13th, 2010
8:47 am

It’s so funny how you people turn on UGA after 1 loss of the season. Just last week everyone was so happy that the won. All I can say is that UGA fans are a bunch of fair weather fans. Which is so sad.

Dawgie Bowser

September 13th, 2010
8:57 am

Aaron has a great arm and will only get better as he progresses in this level of play. While the S.C. loss is disappointing, I saw some things I liked and feel we can build on. It’s way too early to get down in the mouth folks. Support the troops. Every battle will not go our way. Keep plugging Dawgs! We love y’all….

Mustangdawg97

September 13th, 2010
9:26 am

This is another classic case of uga fans getting to excited by a loss. You have a freshman QB and a brand new defense sometimes stuff is going to go wrong don’t freak out just yet. Admittedly the defense other than houston didn’t tackle worth two burnt rusty pennies but 4 months ago it was in this paper about sorry tackling some habits are hard to break. Maybe a change is coming Florida looked like Crap against a sorry USF team for 2.5 quarters. I think that SC is pretty good but can’t pass protect(see 5 sacks)they can run but what happens if someone shuts down that run game and you can’t pass protect. This is the SEC its hard to go undefeated. Did you really think it was going to happen with a new defense and a new QB? One game and people are talking about players, coaches and firing. Get a life and become a true fan everyone knew ahead of time that there would be some headache games. You would see games where nothing seems to go right. Wake up and quit being a fan that just loves them when they winning. True fans stick with them through the good times and the bad times. Yeah who did you have before richt Jim donnan/ray GOOF? and no SEC championships, no sec east division crowns a constant 8 or 9 win team. Yeah get a life and become a true Georgia Bulldog fan!!!!

PMC

September 13th, 2010
9:32 am

Honestly they should just revoke the scholarship for anyone that got arrested this year… and when AJ Green comes back he should sit the rest of the season and lose the extra money he’d get by showcasing his talent this year.

They can lose without those players.

Mark Richt has used up his usefulness. Anyone…..heck Chan Gailey can go 8-5 at Georgia.

They might as well start over after this year.

PMC

September 13th, 2010
9:34 am

Richt has been one of the best coaches in UGA history… but a decade in…what more do you need to see. He can’t get his team to play consistant enought to beat Florida and Tennessee and South Carolina in the same year…win the East…win the SEC and then have a shot at the National Championship. He’s had all the chances in the world. It hasn’t worked. They can do a lot worse than Richt…but if they want to be better…he’s not the guy anymore.

Mobile Dawg

September 13th, 2010
9:46 am

For those of you who think Bobo needs to go do you not think he’s just an extension of CMR? If CMR took back the play calling would things really be much different.

Chazzo, good comments. Playing time, also an excellent point, the lines are the foundation of the football team. I believe our Oline could be a good one if the coaches allowed them to do what physical lines do. Beat your opponents “CONSISTENTLY”. We don’t work to establish a running game, 19 carries and after the first drive most of them inappropriately timed don’t do it.

robdawg08

September 13th, 2010
9:55 am

Excuse,excuses. Auburn has a new QB and won. Georgia looks like a team playing not to lose (ultra conservative) instead of a team trying to win (explosive). UGA had top 5 rated recruiting class (up until this year) for last 8 years. Why don’t those top 5 recruits translate into a top 5 ranked team ?

robdawg08

September 13th, 2010
9:56 am

How does Texas,Oklahoma,Fla.,Bama,Ohio St.,Boise St.,Oregon always have top 10 teams every year when they graduate players just like UGA does ?

robdawg08

September 13th, 2010
9:58 am

Tebow gone, Fla. rolls. Ingram out, Bama rolls. A.J. out UGA lays an egg…

robdawg08

September 13th, 2010
10:00 am

And Bobo’s need to go is a body of work over last 3 years not just the SC game. He sucks at play calling. Vanilla Ice Bobo !

Concrete Pete

September 13th, 2010
10:09 am

So it appears that “chazzo” is the only other person with some knowledge. It ain’t an X and O problem, its a strength problem. Since ‘05, we have been getting beat in the weight room. All these football expert journalists ignore the obvious and try to explain scheme, Bobo, Martinez, Cox, Murray, Green’s suspension, etc… When an 18 year old 210 lb. kid breaks tackles of every member of the defense, thats nothing more than strength. When out OL and DL are dominated consistently, thats strength. Van Hallanger needs to realize it’s 2010, not 1998 anymore. Technology happens, accept it

robodawg

September 13th, 2010
10:09 am

Minus about 150 of the rushing yards we gave up, this was about the kind of game I expected. Those yards, and the clock they chewed, were the decisive factor in this game. That and not having better production in the red zone.

We obviously miss our three DTs in the NFL from last year, and we need to get Anderson and Geathers ready to play nose quickly (and put Tyson at his natural position). We have to at least slow down the back as he comes thru the line. Lattimore is a fantastic back — you recruit guys like that b/c of their ability to break tackles. But we’ll see more good running backs when we face Florida, Auburn and Tech, and we’ll need to be ready.

The D did make good adjustments at half time. Looked like we were run blitzing a lot.

I saw Murray get chased down by bigger, faster defenders at times when he scrambled. I’m not sure how effective he’ll be taking off against SEC defenses. (I also didn’t like the called QB run on 3rd and 9.) The coaches are right to tame that instinct a bit. But he made some good throws and he’ll be dangerous when he settles in. He’ll also learn when he has adequate space to run downfield.

JDC

September 13th, 2010
10:13 am

I just read where the 2 biggest defensive players never entered the game Saturday. In addition to that you hear that Richt and Bobo wanted to “protect” Aaron Murray. Nonsense and this is why UGA is now a mid level SEC team. Winning coaches don’t “protect and coddle” their quarterbacks and replace defensive players who are not doing their jobs! No guts no glory! Wish UGA had real coaches and real men playing the game.

Same ol, same ol

September 13th, 2010
10:33 am

I see that arm tackling is not an idea that was exclusive to Willie Martinez.

coachKR

September 13th, 2010
10:40 am

Our offensive line ruins many a good running back! The best running back on the team got moved to defense, because he couldn’t get any blocks and Bobo calls a crappy game!!!! Wish Richard had gone to any other school. They ruined his college career!

Dawg Tired

September 13th, 2010
10:55 am

The sky is not falling.

Nut Job

September 13th, 2010
11:38 am

Richt averages 10 wins a year! This argument isn’t what it used to be. With teams playing 13-14 games a year, 10 wins isn’t that elite anymore.

2009 – 18 teams in the top 25 had 10 wins or more.
2008 – 17 teams ” ”
2007 – 16 teams ” ”

Say what you want…Richt is not an elite coach. We have the talent, mentally we are just not there. That part of the game comes from coaching and preperation.

Alabama doesn’t have a problem tackling running backs. Neither does Ohio State or any of the other teams that will be in the top 5 in the nation at the end of the year.

We can expect more but we are not going to get more. He won’t win a National Championship at UGA.

Homer,GA

September 13th, 2010
11:46 am

Every week they ( Richt,Bobo) say we need to get the ball to the play makers and every week they don’t. For O Charles to touch the ball 2 times and Aaron White not at all is crazy. There is NO game plan! Southern Miss piled up the passing yards on SC. You can’t tell me they have as much talent as GA.

Florida Dawg

September 13th, 2010
11:54 am

Thanks Bill, all your comments are on target.
At this point, after loosing to SC, I say goodbye to Green. He should go to the NFL now. Part friends, his time is up.
Another note….if you are an SEC team and you want to be us, just run up the middle or two the right or left a little…that will do it.
I have concerns about every team we play now.
Murry is as good as advertised and he deserves better. Our punter and field goal kicker is dependable and first class too.
It’s hard to believe we are 70 miles from Atlanta, the hub of the south and apparently can’t find enough quality football recruits of high moral character.

Snoop Dawg

September 13th, 2010
12:37 pm

Richt and Bobo will continue to make UGA a biggerf and bigger loser until the Bulldog Nation rises up and demands that they be fired for incompetency.

Even an idiot can see that Richt is the problems after ten years.

broken record

September 13th, 2010
12:43 pm

Agree with the comments on Bobo. He never really earned the job or has shown much of anything. As to the D, agree we need a NT, but we need some LBs that fill the holes. Been years since we had that. I can remember all the praise for Boss Bailey and what a great athlete he was. He was great a making tackles 10-12 yards downfield. We need a Singletary / AJ Hawk to fill the holes!

old dawg

September 13th, 2010
12:52 pm

wheres all the bugs crowing how there ranked above us now?

Golf Tyme

September 13th, 2010
12:53 pm

Georgia is ranked in the top 20 defensively in:
total defense
scoring defense
pass defense
sacks
tackles for loss
interceptions

jacob hunter

September 13th, 2010
1:34 pm

Georgia fans always have an over-inflated opinion of their program. UGA is stuck in mediocrity and their fans need to realize the fact. Richt is a good coach and a great person, but he is not elite like Urban Meyer. UGA fans have to realize they are not that good, just mediocre.

Inge

September 13th, 2010
1:37 pm

Richt and Bobo will continue to make UGA a biggerf and bigger loser until the Bulldog Nation rises up and demands that they be fired for incompetency.

Add complacency to that.

And recruiting way too many players who don’t understand the words “integrity” and “self-discipline.”

The won-loss record and the arrest record are related. Until enough fans and supporters realize that and give Mark Richt the heave-ho, nothing will change, and UGA will slip deeper and deeper into mediocrity and irrelevancy.

how2fish

September 13th, 2010
1:53 pm

My God look at all the Bugs in disguise on the blog today… please lets remember last week this time everyone was sooooo fired up…if you change your mind every week depending on the outcome of the game boo-hoo…we got beat by perhaps a pretty darn good team, we didn’t get blown out and we didn’t quit…we have to tackle better and give Murray the keys to the car without the governor on it…should we have won the game..nope we didn’t play well enough to win..could we have won yes we could have..and folks its not like we were playing the Jayhawks…we were picked to lose, the real test of the team and the coaches will be how well we prepare for Ark..and if we can fix the mistakes..good news turnover and penalties have been reduced we are in position most of the time to make a tackle..but we just have to wrap up..lets see if we can this week. Go Dawgs! Bye the way the folks talking arrests,complacency etc are all Bugs..