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

edumacated

September 12th, 2010
10:26 am

Way to go Richt, now we can look forward to loosing every year to SC as well as Tenn and Florida. How about you earn your pay?

MDG

September 12th, 2010
10:35 am

Awful tackling…not much more to say. USCe has a pretty good team this year.

Pago Pago Dawg

September 12th, 2010
10:38 am

This just in…that MICH qb just ran for another 300 yards!!!

A.J. "E-Bay" Green

September 12th, 2010
10:38 am

Dang, I’ve been on e-bay all morning, and no UGA apparel is moving at all after the beat-down in Columbia.

At least the red panties are still a hot item – can’t keep those in stock! Thanks for helping a brother, Damon!

hartdawg

September 12th, 2010
10:43 am

I am disappointed in the play of our offense. I new going in that Carolina would move the ball but i felt with our o-line we would be more affective than they would. Once again UGA is behind the eight ball. Its an eye opener to what the potential of our Dawgs really is.

edumacated

September 12th, 2010
10:45 am

I’m not so sure SC is really that good. Actually, it seems that we watched a poor excuse for a Georgia team yesterday get beat by a mediocre SC team. Just a few months ago SC got beat down in their bowl game by who was it? UConn? Richt has lost his edge. Period.

ryan

September 12th, 2010
10:46 am

CHECK OUT MY THOUGHTS ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL FROM YESTERDAY AT http://ramsonsports.blogspot.com/

Paul Has A Small Johnson

September 12th, 2010
10:47 am

Thanks Bill

For talking about the bonehead run the ball up the middle crap when it was working only on the outside

The coaching staff wonders why UGA fans want them replaced when they make this kind of salary and call plays like that continuously

Paul Has A Small Johnson

September 12th, 2010
10:49 am

By the way

Right an article entitle thanks Green for your stupidity now move on to the NFL

Lets put the future WR’s in to get experience please

BeeeDawg

September 12th, 2010
10:49 am

Get Chris Petersen from Boise in the off season. Richt’s time here has passed

Mike

September 12th, 2010
10:50 am

We played not to lose. Coddling Murray is indicative of the culture of this team, and that falls on Richt, hence the offseason issues, etc.

King Donko of Punchstania

September 12th, 2010
10:50 am

FIRE MARK RICHT! FIRE MIKE BOBO! FIRE TODD “SON OF WILLIE” GRANTHAM! This is the most pathetic group of coaches in college football. They waste more talent in one year than a team like TCU gets in 15 years. The new AD needs to bring in a coaching staff dedicated to producing championship football. Otherwise, let’s drop the ticket prices to something more in line with the product on the field. I can’t believe it’s been nearly 30 years since my Dawgs have even sniffed a MNV game. Even harder to believe is that the administration hasn’t done anything about it. UGA football- what a joke.

dawgfan820

September 12th, 2010
10:52 am

My biggest disappointment was the comments by Richt and Bobo about protecting Murray. Hell, this is the SEC! What are trying to protect him from? A sad commentary of how far the program has fallen in the last 3 years…I was at the Sugar Bowl for the beat down of Hawaii and thought UGA was the team of the future…it has taken so many steps back now that I’ll watch from my living room, not gonna waste my time and effort to attend in person anymore…

Fat Ball Coach

September 12th, 2010
10:53 am

Lattimore for SC is legit….and the dawgs tackling was bush league. That was a dealy combination! Basic tackling drill has you GATA and then fit on the ball with your helmet, wrap up( around the player) and drive them into the turf. Now what is so hard about that? Our dawg D was trying to arm and even hand tackle Lattimore and that is not going to happen against any back in the SEC! Get into position to be successful dawgs…On the offensive side, the lineman need to run their tracks, drive the def. player back while staying on their blocks! Two arms/hands on the ball in the red zone is taught to 10 year olds………….bottom line, we better strap on our helmets and play solid basic football or ARK will rip our head off and shove it down our throat! Our team is so much better than what they showed Sat. Basic football will make UGA 1000% better football team. Junkyard Dawg Defense…….where are you?

Same ol thing

September 12th, 2010
10:53 am

Our offensive line is the most overrated line in the country!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Xenophon

September 12th, 2010
10:57 am

Does this season begin to look eerily like the last three or four? And don’t the excuses also have the same tone? Like I said before, it’s not how you win that counts…it’s how you lose. And Georgia has not been losing well the past four years. You can form your own conclusions…

bj

September 12th, 2010
11:01 am

I’m a dogs fan to heart. You guys on here bashing the team and coaches are crazy. Yeah the offensive play calling yesterday was awful but we still was in the game until the very end. The defensive coaching is not the problem when the players are in position to make the tackle and don’t you can’t blame the coach.

jb

September 12th, 2010
11:02 am

Slick Richt has got to go.

TallyDawg

September 12th, 2010
11:02 am

Our offense has not been the same since bozo bobo started calling plays. Everyone in the country knows what’s coming.
1st deep ball
2nd run up the middle
3rd screen pass
4th punt

Lather rinse repeat. Send bobo’s ass back to Thomasville.

same ol fan base

September 12th, 2010
11:05 am

Lets talk about some of the positive things that happened yesterday.

edumacated

September 12th, 2010
11:05 am

The most innovative wrinkle BooBoo and Richt have come up with is a copy of the Wildcat formation? Hey guys, why don’t you go just ahead and line ‘em up in the wing T while you’re at it.

jb

September 12th, 2010
11:05 am

Hey bj,you moron. I don’t want to “be in the game’. I want to win. And who do you blame if you don’t blame the coaches. They are responsible for putting the best players on the field and coaching them up.

edumacated

September 12th, 2010
11:07 am

Wrong bj, when one guy can’t tackle, then you blame him. When all of the guys can’t tackle, then you blame the coaches.

Turn him loose

September 12th, 2010
11:08 am

I was dissappointed the most in the non-immaginative play calling…..The D will get better….But AM is a playmaker and seems very cool and in controll of the game…..use all his skills!……Did anyone see the bootleg play on around their 15 and there was not a single body in the TV screen and AM threw a little behind O Charles…..I thought surelly he would run it in for a TD but obviously the staff put the reigns on AM…….Also, we had success gettin Ealy on the outside but decided not to exploit that opting instead for predictable 2nd down plays up the middle….

ryan

September 12th, 2010
11:09 am

The Gators are lurking around i like SC but they still have to beat Urban Meyer so i not sold on them yet .

georgiadawgg

September 12th, 2010
11:11 am

BONZO BOBO HAS 5 KIDS UNDER 5 YEARS OLD HE HAS TO FEED. HIS DADDY SLICK RICHT WON’T FIRE HIM. REVERAND RICHT NEEDS TO LOOK FOOR A NEW JOB.

Bud

September 12th, 2010
11:11 am

Grantham picked his poision, he was content to give up a 4-5 yard run as opposed to big pass play. SC’s drives were all very long, Spurrier sure didn’t seem to be able to complete a long pass, which is surprising, given Spurrier’s supposed genius fr the passing game. He clearly lost that battle and was outcoached. But that 1 zone play, was something Grantham thought he could live with. 2nd half, Spurrier couldn’t make that zone play work, Lattimore only got 60 yards in the 2nd half. Usuallually, if you have a long drive of 10+ plays, the defense will get a to. Didn’t happen except once Sat. But, hard to fault the gameplan. Grantham could have put 8 in the box to stop the run, but decided against it.

Bammer Dawg

September 12th, 2010
11:12 am

While reading CMR’s post game comments, I noted that he said that we “didn’t miss too many tackles”. What game was he watching? Poor offense + poor play calling + poor tackling is caused by poor coaching, and results are another disappointing season, ruined aby an early season conference loss.
Been there, done that with this guy.

tide roll

September 12th, 2010
11:12 am

Enter your comments here

Tommy

September 12th, 2010
11:13 am

If Bobo could score TD’s in the red zone, Georgia gets 21 instead of 6 and wins the game. The red zone play-calling was defunct.

Tommy

September 12th, 2010
11:14 am

There were only 2 plays of 20+, so Richt’s right, didn’t giv e up big plays.

Bud

September 12th, 2010
11:16 am

I found it interesting Spurrier didn’t test Lakatos’ corners. Was he afraid after the way Lakatos’ corners destroyed SC in the Bowl game? Probably so.

George

September 12th, 2010
11:17 am

Enough about AJ, he shouldn’t even be in the conversation, he was a non-factor, and the team should have won without him.

ryan

September 12th, 2010
11:18 am

How embarrassing is it to Vol fan they up 13 to nothing then Oregon spots 41 points on them .

Dawggone

September 12th, 2010
11:18 am

Once again we don’t get the job done! Abysmal tackling, O line run blocking and play calling. Same crap, different year. How long are we going to except this from a talented team. We have heard we have a sub par strength and conditioning problem and it showed up again yesterday. We got taken behind the woodshed and I am sick of it! What happened to Grantham’s FIRE? Rambo is not ready to play and looks out of place. The coaches need to GATA on the O line! They are not ready to run the ball. Bobo is on the clock! He was the worst of the worst yesterday! Murray will be a good one and was the bright spot. Get it together Coaches and take responsibility for this crap.

greg

September 12th, 2010
11:18 am

Rambo needs to take a game off just as he took a few plays off during the game. But I watched a lot of college football Saturday and he looks like the art of wrapping up on tackles is not big around the country.These kid think you can knock people off there feet with a shoulder. Could be a long season maybe 7-5 .

Elliot Garcia

September 12th, 2010
11:20 am

The Dawgs will lose way more than two games this year…

lizboy

September 12th, 2010
11:21 am

Ugly I say. What next? We go to Urban Meyer and ask for somemore Florida players? Or, on the positive side, South Carolina is due. They have a great coach and now he has a team that can play—he has a real good chance of going to the SEC championship game—congrats to SC—–And Georgia–well you know we are just Georgia now—yea we won 2 championships in 10 years. Thats great, but look where Georgia is heading. Not pretty. See ya’ll next week.

ryan

September 12th, 2010
11:22 am

Yea if CMR looses 2 or 3 games his A$$ is grass .

Stat Man

September 12th, 2010
11:23 am

UGa Total Offense 47-253 (5.4) SC Total Offense 69-354 (5.13) 116 total offensive plays in game

GT Total Offense 67-407 (6.1) KS Total Offense 67-320 (4.78) 134 total offensive plays in game

High School Offense does it AGAIN!!! Defense has a failing grade.

Tommy

September 12th, 2010
11:23 am

UGA got to SC’s 10 yard line on 2 different drives, cam eaway with 6 points. Got to the 2 on a 3rd drive, came away with 0 points. 3 drives inside the 10 yard line, and 6 points. That was the story.

DAWG OL for Heisman!

September 12th, 2010
11:24 am

Man, we’ve got the most dominating OL in the country. It’s true, I don’t care how many losses we have this year. Right here next to me I’ve got this big stack of pre-season college football magazines that says this Georgia OL is one of the top 5 in country. Reality, screw reality, this magazine says this is the strength of this Bulldog team. Lookout FL, TN & SC, here we come! Honey, it’s time for work!

Bud

September 12th, 2010
11:27 am

Spurrier thought the weakness of the UGA defense was inside the tackles. He didn’t want to mess with UGA’s outsaide speed on runs, or corners on passes. He thought his O-Line could whip UGAs inexperienced D-Line inside runs, and in the 1st half, he was right. In the 2nd half, Georgia D-Line adjusted, SC only scored 3 points in the 2nd half, but after the fumble on the goal-line, it was too little too late.

Chris

September 12th, 2010
11:28 am

To anyone on here trying to give Richt the benefit of the doubt, “Open your eyes!”

This is not just the result of one bad game. This is several years in the making. Mark Richt has lost it, and it has been more evident in this early season than ever before. He FINALLY admitted after the game that we just need to let Murray play. You think? Why did it take getting man handled by South Carolina to realize that? Shouldn’t Richt have realized that maybe before the game? I for one am sick and tired of all the excuses. Richt makes all these valid points of what we should have done different AFTER we lose. When is he going to wake up and realize what he should do before we play the games?

Richt has got to go. Anyone on here that thinks otherwise, is living about 5 years in the past.

Fire this man in December McGarity!

BIG JOHN

September 12th, 2010
11:28 am

As a team we have to be disciplined and make the plays, make the tackles and not focusing on a “highlight” play….look for CMR and crew get busy on these items. Really like Grant ham and the passion he brings. Go Dawgs!!!

Bud

September 12th, 2010
11:29 am

Spurrier thought th weakness of the offense was Murray and the receivers, so he stuck 8 in the box, and dared Murray to beat him throwing the ball, and Georgia wouldn’t let Murray loose.

Bud

September 12th, 2010
11:34 am

When you have 6′4 Brown and 6′5” Durham on the goal-line, and you just keep running the ball up the middle, you deserve to lose. In the 1st game, Durham proved the fade to a tall reliable receiver is almost impossible to defend. We didn’t try a single fade pass in the red zone. You can’t win the SEC just running the ball well, MSU ran the ball best in SEC last year and went 5-7. You have to have balance. We needed 200 passing (close, got 192), needed 200 rushing (got 50). King will help, andhaving a 50/50 play mix will help. And mixing up which downs you pass on will help.

Johnnie

September 12th, 2010
11:35 am

When your #1 RB and #1 WR are both out, and your best QB is a freshman, going to be hard to generate points.

G Baller

September 12th, 2010
11:35 am

Shouold have gone with Logan Gray at QB back in the Spring. Georgia has no confidence in Murray.

SickandTired

September 12th, 2010
11:36 am

At what point does not beating teams that Georgia, with the resources it has, should beat stick to Saint Mark? Mark Richt is out of his league. He never was in charge of anything. He never has had to scheme and work all night long building something. He was handed the keys to a well stocked, top 5 revenue porducting program and used another mans players to win an SEC Championship. He is good at recruiting athletes. He’s terrible at recruiting football players. His offense is old and stale and his discipline on and off the field is probably the worst in college football. Enough. Beat Florida and don’t lose to either Vanderbilt, Kentucky or Georgia Tech or fire Mark Richt. Nothing less is acceptable.