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

dawg4ever

September 13th, 2010
2:14 pm

Wow, Bill – you nailed all the problems. Now I hope they nail your column in the locker room for all those bulldogs to read.

wildbill

September 13th, 2010
2:22 pm

Something tells me that the Bulldog Nation will NOT TOLERATE the level of play on last Saturday’s game. Excuses won’t cut it. If players missed the game, how come?! Maybe CMR needs to set down violators himself! Show he has some nads after all. Oh, I forgot, he’s Mr. Nice Guy. Yes, sometimes, nice guys finish last.

Mr. Reality Calling

September 13th, 2010
2:24 pm

Hey jacob hunter….what do you think most of us are on here talking about? We know our program is mediocre, but with the resources available to it, it should be elite. That’s kinda the point. Go back to your tech or florida blog.

Mr. Reality Calling

September 13th, 2010
2:28 pm

How2fish, sorry guy, but the time for being positive has passed. In case you didn’t notice, we were man-handled by of all teams, South Carolina. What’s next? Are we gonna have to worry about getting past Kentucky every year too?

King Gator

September 13th, 2010
2:29 pm

The skin is thin on the boards today dawg fans. Anyone know where I can get a Murray jersey for around a grand? Go Gators!

Mr. Reality Calling

September 13th, 2010
2:31 pm

I say again…..South Carolina. Vanderbilt has more football tradition than those guys.

Det. Dan Starks

September 13th, 2010
2:37 pm

I read an earlier post saying they wanted to hear someone note some positives from Saturday. Well, here are my 3:
1. Aaron Murray is going to be very good
2. Houston is a beast. Too bad he was the only one who came to play defense.
3. UGA didn’t lose to Kansas! Ha Ha Ha!!!

There’s always next week…

76-DAWG

September 13th, 2010
2:49 pm

As I have stated on other blogs. Fire BOBO and our CONDITIONING coach right now. Alabama made UGA look like a high school team as far as conditioning.

Phil

September 13th, 2010
2:53 pm

Southern Miss did a heck of a better job on Lattimore than we did, we couldn’t tackle the guy at all. Pathetic to say the least.

Offense wasn’t very good either. It was apparent we couldn’t run up the middle with Ealey. So as Bill pointed out, why not run Carlton Thomas or even Brandon Smith outside and see if they could turn the corner and bust a long one? My god, even Bobby Cox(the biggest idiot of all time) could have recognized that running Ealey up the middle wasn’t working.

And since we couldn’t punch it in when we got down close, why didn’t they try an end around with Logan Gray and then let him pull up and throw a pass? Geez, you have to try something different when you are getting stymied at everything else.

Terrible play calling by Bobo.

Grantham needs to teach tackling, I don’t know what the heck he’s been teaching them. At least we didn’t get any late hits on the QB or late hits out of bounds. I guess we did improve in some areas.

UGA Rec

September 13th, 2010
2:56 pm

Enter your comments here

UGA Rec

September 13th, 2010
2:58 pm

Great job by the UGA coaching staff to prepare the team. CMR needs to spend more time on the field and less in the buffet line looking at him Saturday.

how2fish

September 13th, 2010
2:58 pm

Mr. Reality Calling if you don’t know about the football tradition at SC you don’t know squat about the SEC..dismissed! And smile when you say “we” got manhandled.

how2fish

September 13th, 2010
3:00 pm

King Gator yeah I do know where to get that jersey…just ask the guy that supplies the Gators with AK-47 ammo he can hook you up !

King Gator

September 13th, 2010
3:19 pm

Maybe we could trade an AK for a signed jersey, minus the 4 game suspension. Go Gators!

Billy Jack could fight

September 13th, 2010
3:27 pm

Why does Vegas have us as a 2.5pt favorite vs Arkansas..???

how2fish

September 13th, 2010
3:35 pm

King Gator as much as we would love to get rid of that 4 game suspension..we have enough problems with the Athens cops just trying to have a beer…a UGA player with a AK-47 would really get their red panties in a wad.

RxDawg

September 13th, 2010
3:36 pm

No excuses, and this certainly didn’t make or break the game but I found this little gem and I thought I’d share it.

By Matt Zemek

Yes, the people who review plays in the booth or officiate on the field are sincerely trying to do their best. They’re not bought off and paid for. They are making an honest attempt to provide players, coaches and fans with a legitimate competition that is fairly adjudicated.

However, just two weeks into the season, we’ve already had our fill of unconscionable embarrassments served up in both the booth and on the field.

In the booth, the SEC – which presided over the atrocious non-call against LSU in its loss to Alabama last season – jobbed Georgia in its game against South Carolina.

Replay clearly showed that South Carolina receiver Justice Cunningham was dragged down by a Georgia defender at the 33-yard line, just under a full yard short of the yellow line (which is very accurate, certainly within 2-3 inches). Yet, an absurd forward-progress spot put the ball at the 34, good enough for a first down. Georgia coach Mark Richt smartly challenged the ruling, which should have been a slam dunk. Yet, the replay-booth reviewer at Williams-Brice Stadium upheld the ruling on the field.

There are no words for that kind of self-evident incompetence. None

TN Jeff

September 13th, 2010
3:55 pm

The biggest disappointment on defense is the lack of intensity by Rambo. He looks SOOOOOOOOOOO tentative & didn’t hit anybody all day. They need to get somebody else back there that will at least hit the receiver after he makes the catch – hey, could we not try to just intercept the ball rather than just watching it float by our head to the receiver as Rambo did?

cbdawg

September 13th, 2010
4:11 pm

Too bad the receivers didn’t get open? Are you kidding me? Too bad they didn’t get more chances to catch the ball, with the conservative play calling!!! Just because AJ wasn’t in the game doesn’t mean we don’t have receivers running routes and getting open. T. King is a serious deep threat!!! How do you know they were not open, without looking at the stats, I think we had 16 pass attempts? Don’t be afraid to lose Bobo and open up the play calling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Les W. Moore

September 13th, 2010
4:17 pm

Richt refuses to change… anything. Same ol’ offense, same ol’ defense, same ol’ results.

Henrietta

September 13th, 2010
4:33 pm

AJC Headline: Athens deemed No. 2 among college towns

It’s amazing what being the #1 drunken party school and owning the Fulmer/Richt Cup will do.

Also the chance to take a jail tour and meet UGA athletes, that’s a big plus too.

Or maybe it was those moist red panties the visitors center gives away. :-)

chazzo

September 13th, 2010
4:36 pm

I got stung by a yellow jacket on the golf course this afternoon. Anyone who knows the hellacious hurt that those FEROCIOUS YELLOW JACKETS CAN DELIVER quickly realizes that it is not an accurate description of Georgia Tech.

Stan

September 13th, 2010
4:38 pm

“The biggest disappointment on defense is the lack of intensity by Rambo.”

Rambo was – and will remain – a nonfactor. He’s too slow and lazy to amount to anything. Half the time, he was just standing around scratching his butt, wondering what happened. The other half of the time, he was in a trance.

hotbobby

September 13th, 2010
4:39 pm

Hmmmm! I hate to stay I told you so- We’ll lose to Ark, now, and will get all we want from Miss St! Count on it

chazzo

September 13th, 2010
4:46 pm

Phil,

It is not an accurate comparison. Lattimore only carried 14 times against Southern Miss. He carried 37 against the dawgs. Spurrier did a good job of keeping it quiet. In both games, however, he got around 5 ypc and had 2 TDs. There was a lot of arm tackling and bad angles. I’ll give you that.

Quite frankly I was wondering why Grantham didn’t call time out in the middle of Sc’s first drive and had a come to Jesus on the sidelines. I knew it wasn’t going to be good then.

georgiadawg70

September 13th, 2010
4:48 pm

I will be weaaring a Boise State hat to the GA./Ark.game Sat. If 90k other fans do maybe Coach Adams will get the message.

chazzo

September 13th, 2010
4:49 pm

Stan,
I have to say. After the big Auburn game last year, I think eveyone expected Rambo to emerge as the next star on D. It’s bad when the frickin announcers comment on how lack luster a player looks on the field. And, they did just that with Rambo. What about those Williams boys?

Cooper

September 13th, 2010
4:52 pm

Georgia beats 3 top 20 teams Ark, Florida, Auburn, and then beats Alabama in the SEC Championship. Tell me they’re not #1 when this all happens. See ya’ll in Arizona, get your tickets now.

georgiadawg70

September 13th, 2010
4:54 pm

Cooper, that’s grounds for a drug test.

Carl

September 13th, 2010
4:54 pm

You knwo what boys, Georgia got hustled. The Ole Ball Coach faked it in game 1, acted like Lattimore couldn’t run, then cut him loose in game 2. Georgia got hustled. Better wise up and make some in-game adjustments fast next time.

Cooper

September 13th, 2010
4:56 pm

if you look at 07′, Georgia lost to SC in game 2, and was right in the hunt the rest of the year. Finished #2 in 07′. It’s what happens form here that counts. This ain’t Richt’s 1st rodeo. He’s faced this same situation before, and came up smelling roses.

georgiadawg70

September 13th, 2010
4:57 pm

Carl, what about Bobo. He was just as clueless as Grantham.

Smartie Pants

September 13th, 2010
5:06 pm

2 Step Plan for Offense:
1- 275 yards Passing:
Durham 100 yards, 50 T King, 25 Logan Gray, 25 Brown, 75 TE’s
2- 275 yards rushing:
Get 125 yards rushing from Ealey, 60 from King, 40 from Murray, 50 from Smith

Carl

September 13th, 2010
5:11 pm

Bobo just abandoned the run. He gave up on the O-Line and Ealey. Spurrier gave his guy 37 carries, Ealey’s a sharp back, but only got about 1/2 of those. If Ealey had 30 carries, at 5 ypc, that’s 150-200 rushing yards (Ealey usually gets an explosion run every 20-25 carries) and Georgia wins the game.

SSIgator

September 13th, 2010
5:11 pm

I read some of the other posts today:

Dawg2010 –
“I will always plan on the Dawgs winning until proven otherwise.”

Nick –
“Ok, so Georgia still wins the National Championship, but goes 13-1 instead of 14-0. No sweat.”

Shaw –
“This team reminds me a whole mubnch of the 2007 team. Will be a great year for georgia. Defense is really improved, Murray looks terrific.”

My God, what do they put in that KoolAid in Athens? On a positive note, since UGA is playing Arkansas this weekend, if they lose UGA will still be 10-11 against SEC east teams. Same for next week against Mississippi State.

Carl

September 13th, 2010
5:13 pm

Richt should be practicing special teams and defense this week. That’s all that counts in the SEC. Can win a lot of games if you win those 2. Keep it simple on offense.

The ball needs to passed equally left, right, and middle or you become too rpedictible. Also needs to be equal to te’s, wr’s and se’s.

Carl

September 13th, 2010
5:15 pm

If Murray runs for 75 yards, Georgia wins the game.

girldawg

September 13th, 2010
5:17 pm

I especially enjoyed the dive tackling! How in the world do you tackle if you are diving at someone’s feet and they just step on you and keep going??

Way to go Richt

September 13th, 2010
5:39 pm

Another free pass after not showing up for another SEC football game or some other important game, other than Louisiana-Lafayette type teams, and there’s no guarantee Richt you will show up for the cupcakes either. Richt, why do they pay you two mill plus? Richt, you had all your success before Meyer and Saban got setup in the SEC. They stress “hit you in the mouth football” and you like “tiptoe thru the tulips football”. Once you get hit in the mouth Richt, you go reeling backwards on a fast train like you did against bad ole South Carolina. Let’s add them to the teams you’re paid to at least compete against, but don’t, like Bama and annually your a$$kicking by Florida. Yep, there’s a lot of confidence in your tulip football Richt in the smash-mouth SEC.

JDAWG

September 13th, 2010
5:54 pm

I would not waiste my money to go see them!

JDAWG

September 13th, 2010
5:55 pm

Guess we will have to wait until next…..AGAIN!

chazzo

September 13th, 2010
6:10 pm

I finally sucked it up and objectively looked at the game (tvo). The D did have some missed tackles, but they also had some big stops. I really have to say it was the play calling more than anything. If you line up and give the ball to Ealey in the I, and let him hit the hole in time, he will get 5ypc. Notice SC, other than the occasional pass, lined Lattimore up and handed it to him on the move… no pitches, no pauses, no nothing… simple timing. Anyway, the UGA offense seems to be if something works don’t do it anymore, particularly if it gets you down to the redzone. It is baffling. When they mix the pass and run, they move the ball. Then all of the sudden, let’s do the Lame Dawg and get a motion penalty, or let’s throw it four straight times and punt. Worse yet let’s throw two interceptions and run on third down. that’ll fool ‘em. Let’s make them think that we don’t want to score.

chazzo

September 13th, 2010
6:12 pm

Meant to say 2 incompletions.

BAMADAWG

September 13th, 2010
6:36 pm

I SEEM TO REMEMBER THAT MARK RICHT WAS SITTING IN ON BOBO’S MEETINGS. IS IT BOBO OR RICHT MAKING THE BAD OFFENSE CALLS?

Browndog

September 13th, 2010
6:54 pm

I thought Murray did an excellent job and the line protected him pretty well. Run blocking was OK but UGA needs a big, strong back that makes the other side pay. Lattimore made the Dogs pay big time, but poor tackling made him much better. Believe D will play better against Arkansas, but will it be good enough? Still believe 8 and 4 year.

Delbert D.

September 13th, 2010
7:55 pm

Who spelled DeAngelo Tyson at NT? Coach Richt said “we need to get the bigger players in there” or something to that effect, but the only “bigger player” on the 10-man depth chart for the DL is Kwame Geathers. He wasn’t on the participation list. 1 guy over 295.

Delbert D.

September 13th, 2010
8:11 pm

Would the coaches consider shifting 6′2″ 222 lbs. Richard Samuel back to TB? The #3, Carlton Thomas is 5′7″ 180. Here are the stats in SEC games for the 3 TBs last year:

Ealey
85/366 1TD 4.31 ypc; 61 ypg; highest game AU 98 yds

King
57/235 3TD 4.12 ypc; 39.2 ypg; highest game UK 77 yds

Samuel
52/263 2TD 5.1 ypc; 43.8 ypg; highest game ARK 104 yds

NOBODYYOUKNOW

September 13th, 2010
9:16 pm

Just as my grandad used to say (GOD REST HIS SOUL) Them dawgs just an’t no count this year!

RNB

September 13th, 2010
9:25 pm

Richt needs to grow a pair and bench some of the players when they don’t perform. How long do you thnk Saban would put up with this?

playing time

September 13th, 2010
9:26 pm

Cooper – All UGA won was an oppinion poll in 07. Put that in your trophy case.