Wild Dawg or not, Richt should use defensive talent on offense

We’ve been down this road before, with Mike Bobo teasing us in seasons past about possible scenarios for the “Wild Dawg,” only to see it rarely used by Georgia and even more rarely used effectively.

Two years ago it was Logan Gray who was supposed to be a threat in Georgia’s version of the single-wing formation and all that ever produced was a few highly predictable QB option runs. Last season Washaun Ealey occasionally took the direct snap, again without much success.

But, like most college football fans, I’m a sucker for a coach touting some possible new wrinkle in the offseason, so I could’t resist getting a little pumped up about Mark Richt telling UGA fans in Greenville the other night that we might see incoming freshman quarterback-turned-cornerback Nick Marshall taking snaps in the Wild Dawg formation.

As Richt himself put it, having Marshall run the formation would add a new dimension to what Georgia has tried in the past. “We’d stick Washaun back there or Caleb [King] back there. It’s nothing like having a Nick Marshall back there,” the head coach said.

That’s because Marshall has, up to now, primarily been a quarterback and quite a successful one at that, completing about 55 percent of his passes for 2,728 yards and 41 touchdowns as a senior at Wilcox County. So while it might be pretty obvious what’s going to happen when an Ealey or King takes a direct snap in Georgia’s offense, defenders would have to be thinking pass, run or handoff with Marshall back there, creating confusion — which is actually supposed to be the whole point of the “wildcat” offense.

I’ve no idea how serious Richt is about using Marshall this way, though back when Marshall signed with the Dogs in February his high school coach said Georgia’s staff had told him they planned to have packages on offense at quarterback for him. So it sounds like it’s been part of the plan all along.

I’m not really a fan of offenses that shuttle different quarterbacks in and out, depending on the situation (like Florida last season), but Marshall is a special athlete and I’m glad Richt is thinking about using his talents on ofense as well as defense. Same for G-Day star Branden Smith, whose speed gives Georgia a breakaway threat, and Brandon Boykin, who probably will see some time as a kick returner and, who knows, might be able to boost the depleted receiver corps.

With A.J. Green gone, the Dogs are going to need all the offensive juice they can muster this year.

I’m on board with more two-way players. How about you?

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

158 comments Add your comment

JDAWG

May 13th, 2011
10:53 am

jboog

May 13th, 2011
10:54 am

I think one of the things that separates the good and great teams are the utilization of the truly gifted athletes. And sadly, I think that is one area where UGA has frankly failed in recent years. So I agree with more two-way players.

JDawg

May 13th, 2011
10:55 am

1st? I am all for anything that will help the bulldogs win!
Go Dawgs!

ray burnette

May 13th, 2011
10:55 am

I hope you are right about using Marshall I saw him in high school many times and he is an awesome talent that I believe can play quarterback in college let’s see some : Wild Dawg” this year!

Fred

May 13th, 2011
10:56 am

First! I agree with you Bill…We need an explosive package for our offense! We were way too predictable last year at times with our offense and especially in the Central Florida Bowl Game.

NWGA Dawg

May 13th, 2011
10:58 am

I would love to see that as well, but like you, I haven’t seen where we untilize our guys in that kind of offensive formation much. Imagine having Marshall back there, and using BSmith motioning across the formation to do the Jet sweep. THAT I would like to see!!!!

FU-UF

May 13th, 2011
10:59 am

I think it is a fantastic idea. CMR has the recipe for success with this team next year, but can he bake us some wins? I think so…

LC Dawg

May 13th, 2011
11:01 am

How many more posts until a Techie wants to turn this into an academic debate??

Mobile Dawg

May 13th, 2011
11:03 am

Richt really can’t afford not to use all available talent can he Bill? That said in the past the “wild dawg” was always a thing of predictability, which is one of the knocks folks seem to consistently hang on Bobo.

I’m like others, I just want to see some Dawgs that are hungry, can’t remember any “Hunting Dawgs since, Blue, Davis, Pollack, Greene, Shockely, and a few others come to mind. I remember a “lot” of “entitled Dawgs” lately including a “Head Coach”.

Scrambled Dog

May 13th, 2011
11:04 am

Let’s do anything that will help us win and win now……….Let’s Go Dawgs, GATA !!!!!

Mobile Dawg

May 13th, 2011
11:06 am

Just for the record Bill, more than the “wild dawg” I would like to see a solid running game behind “five bulldozers”. I say to Richt, commit to the running game, force this line to perform at a high level, you will be well served by that philosophy often and early. Seriously doubt he would do it, Richt is to much “fluff and stuff”.

Watkinsville Hound

May 13th, 2011
11:06 am

LeMay actually impressed me the most at G-Day.

I am excited and hopeful that Bobo will utilize he and Murray similarly to the way David Greene and DJ Shockley were utilized in different scenarios in the early aughts.

Dawg_Mike

May 13th, 2011
11:08 am

Every time i saw Logan Gray trot onto the field in that formation I ( and EVERYONE else ) knew what was coming.
predictability = failure.
keep em guessing and your success rate goes up.

DawginLex

May 13th, 2011
11:09 am

Absolutely.

With no depth at running back and our offensive line losing players, we MUST get more creative on offense. I am hoping Richt tells Bobo to study some spread formations and actually implement them.

Also, why just limit this to Marshall? Murray and Lemay both ran variations of it in high school. Running a pro style offense relying on a talented kid who is only 6 feet tall standing behind an inexperienced offensive line is a recipe for disaster.

Make the other team game plan for different sets. Spread them out and use our speed and athleticism.

sonny

May 13th, 2011
11:11 am

is it true? first

Timbodog

May 13th, 2011
11:15 am

I actually don’t think this is a really good idea. Trickery like this is better suited for teams who don’t have enough talent to play straight up.

As a side note, please Bill…can you find out if there is any truth to the rumors floating around about John Jenkins and/or Crowell not being academically eligible for the upcoming season?

NWGA Dawg

May 13th, 2011
11:16 am

@ Dawg_Mike:

It worked for Arkansas with McFadden & Felix Jones…EVERYONE knew what was coming, but could not stop it.

I’m not saying do this all the time…but it is a good change of pace, and forces the other teams to spend time on working to defend it(Less time working on stopping our base packages/plays).

Lowcountry Bulldawg

May 13th, 2011
11:18 am

This could be a huge weapon in the Red Zone for this offense that seemingly struggles inside the 20.

icedawg

May 13th, 2011
11:18 am

Makes an interesting story. However, the real question is line play on both sides of the ball. If they do not dominate their opponents the gimmicks won’t help that much.

Nomobama

May 13th, 2011
11:21 am

Use defensive stars on offense? Sounds like CMR realizes his team isnt going to score a lot of points…

lawdawg

May 13th, 2011
11:25 am

The real benefit of the wildcat type formation is the extra blocker. A passing threat adds an extra wrinkle but its definitely not the true advantage of the package. See, e.g., McFadden at Arkansas a few years ago. Wildhog was deadly even without much throwing from him.

tide roll

May 13th, 2011
11:30 am

Bill, Forget the “Wild Dawg”. Richt and Bobo’s lack of foresight have left you absolutely no depth on the offensive line! For example, there’s no competition at center (there should be!), because the loss of Harmon has forced the move of Burnette to guard ! Richt and bobo have completely removed the most essential element of all – COMPETITION FOR PLAYING TIME – out of the offensive line equation! There’s not another program in the Conference that has to put up with this mismanagement. At least threaten to use Geathers, Jenkins, Garrison Smith or some other defensive lineman, at least part time, on the offensive line, in an effort to keep the starters motivated. It’s unbelievable for a program like Uga’s to be in this predicament! There’s no legitimate competition for playing time on your offensive line ! Total negligent lack of foresight. Why can’t Richt and Bobo catch these issues before it’s too late!?

jarvis

May 13th, 2011
11:30 am

The “Wild Dawg” would still require adequate run blocking?

Gatadawg

May 13th, 2011
11:31 am

I’m more excited about marshall then lemay. As far as the “wilddawg,” if we commit to the idea then we should use it often enough with different variations so it’s not so predictable. We really won’t need it though if Crowell is legit. Think back to the offenses of 07 and 08, we need those kinds of offenses with defenses like 03 and 04. Time to put if all together and win the weak sec east Dawgs!!

DawginLex

May 13th, 2011
11:32 am

We have been way too easy to prepare for in 2008-2010. If we can change the mindset of the offensive line to run block effectively, having things spread out can only help with a power running game available too.

Ealey is gone
King is most likely gone

Crowell is a freshman
Malcome is unproven.

We are going to have to do somethigs differently to get defenses out of their comfort zone.

Timbodog

May 13th, 2011
11:33 am

Please, PLEASE, someone tell me the rumors are unsubstantiated.

Ca dawg

May 13th, 2011
11:34 am

I think well see more of boykin and smith on offense than nick marshall, but with the unsettled RB and OL situations it’s looking more and more like we’re going to have to scramble to score points. Marshall, smith, Boykin, and swann are all playmakers. Were going to need to get them the ball in space to give them a chance to make plays.

DawginLex

May 13th, 2011
11:36 am

tide roll,

The front line OL is big and talented and has good experience. The depth has taken a hit because of Sturdivant and possibly Harmon. There is some depth and we do have recruits coming in.

This blog is about what we are going to do on offense to add some playmakers, not gripe about richt and Bobo and what you think should have been. Your nagging nelly attitude does no one any good. Your OL depth just took a unfortunate hit as well in a very sad way. It happens. There is no sense whining about things you can’t change at UGA just like there is no sense whining over an untimely death.

Grow up.

sogadog

May 13th, 2011
11:37 am

We are pinning our hopes on a lot of players who are still in high school right now. (Nick Marshall, Isaiah Crowell, Ray Drew, Jay Rome) These guys should develop into key players, but its going to take time. There is plenty of talent already in Athens to get the job done and they will be the key to success this season, not the high school guys.

And Icedawg, you are right.

Ca dawg

May 13th, 2011
11:38 am

Timbodog: no one knows anything yet. I’m worried too. I know there were concerns about Jenkins qualifying from the beginning, and there have been whispers about Crowell for awhile, but don’t worry until there’s a real reason to. Jenkins is in Athens now, but not sure what that means. Just cross your fingers bro. HBTD!

Reginald

May 13th, 2011
11:39 am

Who cares Bill?, boooooooooooooooooooo.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

May 13th, 2011
11:39 am

We have to stop the fear mongering here about Caleb King. No one knows for sure about what is going to be the result. Speculation is only going to get the fanbase rised up and if nothing come up if only ad fuel to the fire as to how many UGA fans look foolish. Lets let the situation unfold as it will. Nothing we can do about it anyway. So why get ourselves all worked up about King and his acadenic status?

tide roll

May 13th, 2011
11:39 am

i am an idiot and a racist, but everyone knows that already.

Richt`s Hammer

May 13th, 2011
11:41 am

Boise State 256 Dawgs 3

Richt`s Hammer

May 13th, 2011
11:43 am

Wild Dawg.. Is that Choakdawg without his 500 krispy kreme`s each day?

Ca dawg

May 13th, 2011
11:47 am

Btw, tide roll: Harmon is a tackle. Losing him (which isn’t official just yet) didn’t force us to move burnette– previously a center– to guard. And burnette got moved while Harmon was with the team because we wanted to get our best guys on the field. Seems like an OL guru like you would know that. But then, there is the possibility that you’re just a moron.

Joey

May 13th, 2011
11:48 am

Somebody’s got an obsession with Coach Richt’s body part.

Gandolph

May 13th, 2011
11:50 am

Forget the wildcat!! Seriously come on. Gimme a few different 3 TE sets out this group. I cannot believe this coaching staff has not developed such a formation. Lack of creativity from Bobo once again. I mean the Patriots are doing it…

Joey

May 13th, 2011
11:56 am

Surely Richt’s comments about studying football and cutting edge means that he is gonna add some stuff to the playbook. I would love to see the no huddle offense Greene and Shockley ran multiple times per game, and lots of spread fields – even on running plays.

Jonkdawg

May 13th, 2011
11:56 am

My fingers cross this year hopefully the defense is taking to another level, i aint worried abt the offense like ftball xpert said theyre not that good, we’ll see!!

bjohndawg

May 13th, 2011
11:58 am

Two way it.

And just win the whole damn thing!

Matt

May 13th, 2011
12:02 pm

I have no problems with this. Plenty of teams do this and have success doing it. Hell, on 3 and 3 you knew Tebow was going to run it and you still couldn’t stop it. It can work when run properly. Problem is that UGA’s staff has failed to show they know how to run it. It usually blows up in our face when we try it. If he was such a a versatile stud at QB then why the F is he playing defense???

Matt

May 13th, 2011
12:04 pm

Not to mention they have shown they aren’t creative enough to run anything that is not obvious to 90,000 fans and the opposing D when in these formations.

Mobile Dawg

May 13th, 2011
12:05 pm

Three times….Did I just get censured twice, or just a glitch in the program Bill? Let’s try again.

Cutting Edge my arse. Anyone remember real football players like Eddie “Meat Cleaver” Weaver? Just give me some football players and play ball, I’m just sick and tired of gimmicks and excuses presented by this regime. Forget the gimmicks and play football.

School Dawg

May 13th, 2011
12:11 pm

I say put Lemay, Marshall, and Murray all in at once. Triple reverse with option to throw on the run…

Matt

May 13th, 2011
12:14 pm

School dawg- that is way to complex for this coaching staff. It will be an endaround where we lose 5 or possibly gain 2, a standard off tackle run where the RB runs into the back of the OL, or a misread “read option” netting 0.

the u

May 13th, 2011
12:19 pm

Just coach the defensive and offensive guys up and they won’t have to rely on a defensive player carrying out an offensive play. Haven’t the bulldogs learned from past experience this flip flop stuff has no benefit for player or team. Hard to imagine a team couldn’t find a capable offensive player to run the “wild whatever”.

D Bag Trolls

May 13th, 2011
12:21 pm

Why monitor this blog now. You have let it get completely out of control over the last several months. This rag is a joke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Steve Superior

May 13th, 2011
12:26 pm

Richt needs to mix it up because his offense is so predictable …… just ask the Kentucky coach.

Steve Superior

May 13th, 2011
12:29 pm

The coaching staff at UGA are buffoons. Why tell everyone you may have a different wrinkle. Its called the element of surprise not transparency. Silly Coaches.