Dogs fans worry about the defense but have faith in the offense

Whether he's handing off or throwing, Aaron Murray should be able to lead the Dogs to scoring success against the Jackets. (Associated Press)

Whether he's handing off or throwing, Aaron Murray should be able to lead the Dogs to scoring success against the Jackets. (Associated Press)

In my conversations with UGA fans about Saturday’s game against the Jackets, two general themes have emerged.

The first is a conviction that whether Mike Bobo chooses to emphasize the run like last year or have Aaron Murray toss it in A.J. Green’s direction every chance he gets, the Dogs can score points on an inconsistent Tech defense.

The second is a real concern over whether Georgia’s own inconsistent defense, which has had trouble stopping running offenses and running-oriented quarterbacks all season, can handle Paul Johnson’s triple-option rushing attack.

Last season in the upset win over the Jackets at Grant Field, the middle of Georgia’s defensive line came up big, keeping Tech’s Jonathon Dwyer from becoming much of a factor in the game and the Jackets were held to just 205 yards rushing. This year, the undersized middle has been a weakness for the Dogs’ defense, which has also had trouble at times with players sticking to their assignments and wrapping up tackles — both keys to stopping the Jackets’ running game, which leads the nation with an average of 319 yards rushing per game.

Still, even if the Dogs are not as successful in shutting down those fullback dive plays as a year ago and the Jackets get their usual yardage, a Georgia fan has to like the odds in this match-up. If Tech loads the box to try and stop Washaun Ealey and Caleb King from revisiting their “I run this state” glory, A.J. and Kris Durham and Tavarres King are likely to be wide open all day for Murray.

So, yes, I’m concerned about whether Todd Grantham’s troops can do against Tech what they failed to do against Auburn, Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi State and even lowly Colorado.

But I think as long as Bobo doesn’t start second-guessing himself and try to get too clever in his playcalling, the Dogs simply have too many offensive weapons for Tech’s outmanned defense. Basically, I’d like to see Bobo stick with whatever’s working and not take his foot off the pedal like he did in the second quarter against Auburn.

This is Tech, after all, the game that more than any other the Dogs have to live with for the next year. Getting bowl-eligible is just the gravy.

Speaking of which, I’ll be hitting the road today for our annual family gathering in Athens, and I hope all of you have an enjoyable, safe Thanksgiving and will be back here to discuss another Georgia win over Georgia Tech this weekend.

See you at the game Saturday.

Go Dogs!

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146 comments Add your comment

Tony Barnfart

November 24th, 2010
11:16 am

CHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHIMMMMI CHANNGGAAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jsmoth

November 24th, 2010
11:17 am

Tony Barnfart

November 24th, 2010
11:18 am

its just tech, im not too worried

For the record

November 24th, 2010
11:19 am

Only losers say first when they are second. But you were the first loser!

MountainDawg

November 24th, 2010
11:25 am

The Dawgs offense has the weapons & potential, so I think they’ll put up 38-45+ on GT. I share the “concern” that the defense might not be able to blanket the option. UGA has the defensive speed, but must scheme & execute accordingly. My guess is UGA 42, GT 24.

Washaun Easy

November 24th, 2010
11:35 am

weze run the state pen ,IZ got the pinstipes to proveit but I canz hold on to that dang pigskin , I hope we getsin a tickle pile likes we did last years when we hurt Joshua Nesbitt but this Tevin Washinton kid & the Predator will makes it relly roughs for our pansy azz defense, mutt lovers IZ SCARED of them jackets and Im fraid thays gonin kick our arses like they did last timz they played us in our dog house….

Dawg 39

November 24th, 2010
11:35 am

I expect CMR & CMB to put up enough points to win the game We still have A.J.
I also expect Tech to make some big plays passing despite their rather inept passing attack,and, to get to the outside with some big plays. Why Not? Everyone else has.

Washaun Easy

November 24th, 2010
11:43 am

dont underscores them bad ass jackets D cuz last year that big azz white boy number 98 jacked me up pretty good but weze put him outta the game to, and that runnings game they gotz is the BEST in NCAA this yers and we aint stop jack all year & coach Grathems is CHOCKING if you knows whatz I mens…them boy might just rock ours house dudes ,,

Washaun Easy mommy

November 24th, 2010
11:48 am

beez carefuls my sun but i thinks tech wins in an upsets by the scor ofs 66-21….run that state pin my onlys son…hehe

Athens= God's Country

November 24th, 2010
11:52 am

Bumble Bees look awful lately. This one might get ugly. 52-10.

bug

November 24th, 2010
12:01 pm

Bill, Tech fans say the same thing.

Columbus Dawg

November 24th, 2010
12:04 pm

Sounds like Bill is one of those who puts way too much emphasis on this very unimportant ACC game that UGA is playing this week. This game means nothing unless you have already wrapped up the SEC East, and are playing in the Dome for a shot at the MNC. Otherwise it’s just a game against a middle of the pack ACC team that does not mean squat. All SEC East games are bigger than this meaningless game. Maybe that’s the trouble in Athens, the players are brainwashed into thinking that this is biggest game of the year. Richt has his head in the sand thinking that this is what is on the Bulldog Nation’s mind, a meaningless game against Tech. Don’t get me wrong, I do not want to have to change coach’s and staff either, but there are too many things pointing to the wrong priorities in Athens. Richt’s comments on how he handles underclassmen jumping to NFL is very telling. Sitting down with the player and his folks to try to determine what is best for the “player”, is not the priority that the people who support UGA’s football program with time and money see as the important goal. When a man is hired to be the head coach at a school like Georgia, or Auburn or Alabama, or UF for that matter, and is compensated at a level second to none in College Football, then their priority is expected to be about the program, not individual players or a certain assistant coach who is underperforming, ect. This very way of thinking and priority setting I believe rubs off on these players, and their priorities in turn get all screwed up. Richt should be sitting down with A.J. Green and his mom and tell them that the Bulldog nation expects A.J. to live up to his end of the deal that was put in place when he signed his letter of intent. Allowing jersey sales that leads to NCAA suspension is not a part of those expectations set forth by the University at signing, and that he is expected to play out his senior season in Athens. It’s not about A.J. Green, not about Matthew Stafford, not about Knowshon Moreno, it’s about The University of Georgia. I fearm that if this line of thinking is not changed that we will never see the potential reached by the top recruits that UGA does sign. Oh, and by the way, if Georgia can’t outscore pathetic Georgia Tech to win this game, then this team goes down as being the worst Georgia team since Ray Goff’s 4-7 team.

CMR

November 24th, 2010
12:05 pm

We will be wearing BLACK

CMR

November 24th, 2010
12:07 pm

You are correct Columbus Dawg

Dawg'88

November 24th, 2010
12:08 pm

CMR….Class Shown Again:

“South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier received a congratulatory letter from Georgia’s Mark Richt for winning the SEC East”

Think Spurrier would ever do that? Hell NO!

Big Harry

November 24th, 2010
12:10 pm

I’m wondering that if they do load the box if Bobo will make an adjustment to throw… call me crazy…

Gratefuldawghead

November 24th, 2010
12:14 pm

Dawg'88

November 24th, 2010
12:18 pm

So I gather that Columbus Dawg doesn’t care if the Dawgs win or lose Saturday….for that matter he/she will not be watching either, right? And BTW…you must not have watched or followed that 4-7 team. A loss Saturday still wouldn’t make this team as bad as that one. What team did you see back then…geez!

CMR somehow did this “allowing” players to sell jerseys. How did he “allow” it. AJ got suspended for 4 games (but remember was held out of 2 before the ruling came). What should he have done to AJ kicked him off the team forever?

And this argument that he shouldn’t do what is “in the best interest of the player”….he supposed to lie and not tell a guy that he is ready to play at the next level. You want CMR to be egocentric and not look out for a young man’s future to win more games?

Wow…thats says alot about you that you want an adult to put himself before the future of another. Talk about self centeredness. Get over it…AJ is leaving. Houston is leaving. Should CMR try to convince them to possibly return…sure but not by sacrificing their futures.

BTW…how do you know he doesn’t try to get them to come back. Do you have first hand knowledge about what he tells each player? I know the answer: NO! Get over yourself and start worrying about others instead of yourself!

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Mark (another one)

November 24th, 2010
12:41 pm

Columbus Dawg: Stay put. We don’t need that kind of sour attitude in Athens. Richt recruits these young men and develops relationships with them. Some of that has to be based on honesty and caring. It is a critical element in leadership, and Richt has it.

If Richt isn’t viewed by the player and his family as being honest, Richt won’t even be asked his opinion. The agents will visit and convince the family the player needs to turn pro and get the money. With Richt in the room, he can bring up balanced arguments for staying.

Get over yourself. This is a bad year for UGA football, but we need to support our players. Your attitude is that of a slave owner, not a fan.

dawgster

November 24th, 2010
12:44 pm

Dawg’88…Great comments. I get as frustrated as you with some of these fair weather fans that only can focus on the negatives. I know the record this year doesn’t reflect it in wins, but this team kept fighting and you have to give them and the coaching staff credit for that. Everyone is easy to bash Coach Richt and he is responsible, but we have a class act as coach, and i personally just don’t think he has forgotten how to coach. He made some tough staff decisions last year, some may say it should have happened sooner, but the fact is he recognized a problem and did his best to upgrade our team. There still may be more changes this off season, who knows, but these players need our support, and if you don’t think if affects recruiting, then you haven’t been watching…Even one or our top committed recruits have noticed base on his comments. If we want to get better then we need the players, everyone focuses on ranked classes, but they forget that while we may be finishing 8, 9, or 10, the Bama’s, Gators, LSU and such are finishing in the top three. The coaching staff is quiet aware that we need to upgrade. We have a great recruiting class coming it appears and there are some players still uncommitted that we need that are looking at us. Our record this year is not going to be the determining factor. The Ga-Tech game this Sat is huge for alot of reasons, but not only for the win, but we will have several top target recruits there…go dawgs

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William the 2nd

November 24th, 2010
12:52 pm

Bill-

Are you seeing something we’re not all seeing?

Defense ranked:
25th against run, 29th against pass, 21st total defense

Offense ranked:
71st in run, 41st in pass, 54 in total offense

Murray stinks.

Dave

November 24th, 2010
12:53 pm

Murray is the problem.

Jim

November 24th, 2010
12:53 pm

Offense is pretty good, except for Aaron Murray.

Scott

November 24th, 2010
12:54 pm

AJ, Durham, Charles, King have done a great job, but their rookie QB has a little choking issue.

Ricky

November 24th, 2010
12:55 pm

Ealey and King make a nice tandem. They get 5 ypc together, and Ealey’s been great in the red zone the few times Murray handed him the ball instead of carrying it himself, 9 td’s, on about 100 touches.

Greg

November 24th, 2010
12:55 pm

O-Line is the #1 most experienced O-Line in college football. And Georgia’s 5-6. Must be Aaron Murray’s fault.

Perry

November 24th, 2010
12:57 pm

Georgia’s defense won all 5 games:
Shutout against Idaho State
Held La Lafayette to 7 points
Held Vanderbilt to 7 points
Forced 4 turnovers against Kentucky
Forced 3 turnovers against Tenneessee

Plus:
Held South Carolina & Miss St to UNDER 20 points.

Carl

November 24th, 2010
1:09 pm

Bama, Florida & Auburn win by RUNNING THE FOOTBALL, yet, Bobo, with Ealey averaging more yards per carry, decides to try and win the SEC PASSING THE BALL.

BOBO MUST BE FIRED.

HE DOES THIS EVERY YEAR.

Carl

November 24th, 2010
1:10 pm

Ealey averages more yards per carry than Lattimore.

Carl

November 24th, 2010
1:13 pm

Wihtout AJ & Ealey’s 18 td’s, this offense would really stink.

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Carl

November 24th, 2010
1:13 pm

Georgia has never lost a football game when Ealey gets a 100 yard rushing.

Sam

November 24th, 2010
1:18 pm

Phil Steele thought this offense would be prolific and score 40 a game, and put up 450 yards of offense a game.

They underachieved, big time.

JB

November 24th, 2010
1:22 pm

I think most real football Tech fans know that this Saturday will belong to Dawgs. Just to many weapons and enough speed and Talent on D to hold Tech to 17-24 points. Dawgs will score 45 or so. We can run and pass, and Tech’s lack of speed, talent and depth on D will just be too much to overcome…..

Saint Simons

November 24th, 2010
1:22 pm

(((( 49 – 31 ))))

HAHAHAHAHAHA

JB

November 24th, 2010
1:25 pm

Traffic on these blogs from Tech folks down 75% this week vs last year game week when they were ACC champs and all and BCS bound….Beating them at home last year with them having their best team since 1990 was sweet. 9 of 10 coming.

Joe

November 24th, 2010
1:26 pm

Georgia just can fix their #1 problem:

SCORING MARGIN.

In 2002, and 2007, Richt’s 2 best years, won games by an average of 15+ a game.

In 2009, finished 9th in the SEC in scoring margin.

In 2010, finished 6th in scoring margin in teh SEC.

Alabama, LSU, Auburn, all averaged a +12 to +19 points scoring margin and they’re all 9-2 or better.

The teams that average less than a 10+ scorign margin in the SEC, don’t have good years.

Georgia can’t fix this.

BirdDog

November 24th, 2010
1:29 pm

You guys that claim Murray is the problem and that he stinks are way off base. Last I heard, he was the #1 freshamn QB in the Nation is passing efficiency. The kid plays his heart out and lays it on the line every game! You people must not have watched a game all year if you choose to bash Murray. The play of the O-line has been absolutely horrible and the biggest disappointment of any aspect of the UGA team this year, period. Murray’s freshman year is mcuh better than Stafford’s was and he turned out to be pretty good.

gomdawg

November 24th, 2010
1:33 pm

Carl , get a life were would Auburn be without Cam were would Oregon be without their top players stupid ?

BirdDog

November 24th, 2010
1:39 pm

Murray is ranked # 17 in the Nation in QB efficiency:

http://espn.go.com/college-football/statistics/player/_/stat/passing/sort/collegeQuarterbackRating/year/2010/group/80

Your bashing of Murray doesn’t hold much water.

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Heath

November 24th, 2010
1:45 pm

“This is Tech, after all, the game that more than any other the Dogs have to live with for the next year. ”

Um, yeah… try living here in FLA. Bet I can come up with a different game this Dawg has to live with all year long.

Colonial Dawg

November 24th, 2010
1:55 pm

Carl, are you sure you are not Marcus from yesterday’s blog? I find it hard to believe that 8 guys in a row would be that down on Murray. Is it possible that William the 2nd, Dave, Jim, Scott, Ricky, Greg, Perry and Carl are all the same person? Maybe Marcus?

Mike

November 24th, 2010
2:14 pm

One thing I have noticed about this year’s defense is it seems to play off the offense. When UGA is moving the ball well, the D gets pumped up and usually comes up big. Case in point, the Colorado and Florida games. The D held UF to 10pts in the second half after the offense got rolling. Colorado scored nearly half their pts in the first quarter when Bobo was trying to remember AJ Green was on the field.

Its when the offense struggles, and the D feels like all the pressure is on them that things start to happen badly. Still for all the negatives, Auburn is the only team the D has allowed to run away with the game.

Smith

November 24th, 2010
2:30 pm

If Murray is so good, why is Georgia 5-6? Something doesn’t add up.

Smith

November 24th, 2010
2:31 pm

Thought Murray looked great against that D2 team opener, Louisa Lafeyatte 1-10 team. Man, he looked like the next Vince Young that day.

how2fish

November 24th, 2010
3:00 pm

Hey Bill hope you and yours have a great Thanksgiving…Go Dogs!

how2fish

November 24th, 2010
3:02 pm

Smith he also looked pretty good in coming back vs SC and UF oh and Auburn…if you can see his worth your either clueless or a Bug. He lead a offense that scored 40 how many times this year?