Taking highs, lows of Dogs’ first scrimmage in stride

Richard Samuel mostly kept pace with Isaiah Crowell, but he did have a fumble. (Associated Press)

Richard Samuel mostly kept pace with Isaiah Crowell, but he did have a fumble. (Associated Press)

Most Dogs fans, I imagine, grimaced or dropped an expletive or two when they read about Wednesday’s scrimmage and saw “fumble” by Richard Samuel’s name.

That’s a natural response considering the Dogs have been bitten all too often by tailbacks putting the ball on the ground over the past couple of seasons.

But the tendency in mid-August is for football-starved fans to read too much into every little mistake in the season’s first scrimmage. And, likewise, to get too pumped up over the positives.

And there were things to get pumped about in Wednesday’s closed scrimmage at Sanford Stadium, according to coach Mark Richt. Celebrated true freshman Isaiah Crowell ran for 84 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. And although Samuel had that fumble (which Amarlo Herrerra recovered and returned for a 65-yard touchdown), he also ran for 82 yards on 11 carries and caught three passes for 32 yards. Not bad, even if it was against the second-string defense.

Also, Blair Walsh made a 58-yard field goal. And on a day when the defense generally came out on top, the linebackers were impressive, led by Alec Ogletree’s eight tackles.

The defense also had a successful goal line stand. But that’s the thing about intra-squad competiton. That also means that the offense, given four tries to punch it in from the 2 yard line, wasn’t able to do it.

In fact, the offense generally struggled, even though the first team was going against the second-string defense. In a straight scrimmage in the first half, they “had very little success,” Richt said. In the second half, running situational plays, such as third-down conversions, they did much better. Overall, though, Richt said quarterback Aaron Murray had only a good, not great, day.

But it was a scrimmage, and the first one of the season at that, so we shouldn’t get overly excited or dismayed by anything that happened Wednesday. Richt summed it up pretty well when he said, “I still don’t know what we have yet.”

Still, there were a couple of things Richt talked about afterward that heartened me, particularly Crowell doing a good job of breaking tackles and getting yards after contact.

And there was one thing that really bothered me. Explaining the offense’s showing, receiver Tavarres King said, “We came out extremely slow and sluggish in that first half of the scrimmage. It was kind of disappointing. You should always play with a lot of intensity when you step between the hedges. We didn’t do that as a group.”

We’ve unfortunately seen that in real games over the past few years. I believe, though, that come the night of Sept. 3 when they take the field decked out in their new Pro Combat uniforms before mostly a sea of red in a packed Georgia Dome to meet a Top 10 opponent, it’s unlikely that motivation will be a problem for the Bulldogs.

If it is, we’re in trouble.

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227 comments Add your comment

GrlDawg75

August 11th, 2011
9:16 am

First??!! Let’s give the guys a chance to blow out the cobwebs and such before we start worrying too much. Dawg fans love to give themselves stomach ulcers I guess!

Mike

August 11th, 2011
9:17 am

Mike

August 11th, 2011
9:17 am

GADawgs

August 11th, 2011
9:18 am

FIRST! Hell ya im awesome

Athens= God's Country

August 11th, 2011
9:22 am

This is stupid. We talkin bout practice?

59bulldawg

August 11th, 2011
9:25 am

Fumbling the ball was a problem for Samuel when he last played running back for us. Was hoping he had learned to hang on to the ball by now.

Me again

August 11th, 2011
9:25 am

Isn’t that what PRACTICE is for?

RedandBlackDAWG

August 11th, 2011
9:26 am

I will get worried if those same types of mistakes are being made in the last week of practice. I am also not surprised that the defense is ahead of the offense in practice. That is true I would bet, of almost any team in America. This is not surprising when you consider that the offense has to execute and is learning new plays as they are put in and expanding their knowledge. The defense, although a little complicated, is mostly reacting to a play and going for the football, wherever it is. UGA fans expect the defense to be ahead of the offense anyway, as the offense is breaking in a fair amount of new players at the skill positions.
I expect both sides of the ball team will be greatly improved by Sept. 3rd.

Athens= God's Country

August 11th, 2011
9:27 am

Bill said, “That also means that the offense, given four tries to punch it in from the 2 yard line, wasn’t able to do it.”

I believe Chip reported YESTERDAY that the offense scored on EVERY red zone opportunity.

Yall need to get your facts straight.

DawginLex

August 11th, 2011
9:27 am

Oh Gawd! We fumbled a ball in practice. Boise never does that.

The stat TROLL will be visiting shortly telling us why all the starters should be 2nd string and why all the 2nd string should be starters.

3

2

1

Athens= God's Country

August 11th, 2011
9:30 am

Bill, this article reminds me of the delusional “fans” that think our offense should get a first down on every stinkin play on every stinking drive. IT AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN FOLKS. CHILL OUT!

We still talkin bout practice?

Athens= God's Country

August 11th, 2011
9:35 am

Bill said, “Most Dogs fans, I imagine, grimaced or dropped an expletive or two when they read about Wednesday’s scrimmage and saw “fumble” by Richard Samuel’s name.”

No I didn’t. Because it’s practice! I must admit I am cussing Bill for writing this doom and gloom garbage. As a Dawg fan, I am sick of seeing it written. It’s August. They’re on their 7th of 29 practices. I’m pretty sure they will iron out the kinks. Good grief!

59bulldawg

August 11th, 2011
9:35 am

Chill out Lex Dawg! It’s a legitimate concern for Samuel considering it his big bugaboo before when he played. I know it’s practice dude!

kevin

August 11th, 2011
9:37 am

Agreed that you cannot read too much into things based on a single scrimmage–especially the first one of the summer. That said, Samuels has a history of putting the ball on the ground. It seemed to be the impetus for his move to LB. So, that bit is disconcerting, 1st scrimmage or not. That said, with his size and speed, if he can learn to hang onto the ball, he could really wear down defenses–especially in the 4th quarter.

DawginLex

August 11th, 2011
9:38 am

I was kidding

59bulldawg

August 11th, 2011
9:40 am

My bad then! But it is worrisome!

Cmon man

August 11th, 2011
9:41 am

Its only a matter of time before the message board all americans come on with the negativity not to mention “tide roll” and his daily dose of bs

RedandBlackDAWG

August 11th, 2011
9:43 am

He fumbled once, and that is not good, but his whole day’s work wasn’t too shabby. He will learn to hold onto the ball better or he will see limited action I am sure. I believe he will improve in that area though and will be ready to go come Sept. 3rd. That’s why they call them practices.

PowerDawg

August 11th, 2011
9:43 am

Bill-

I know I give you grief from time to time, but I whole-heartedly agree on everything you wrote.

And yes, I did release a tiny expletive or two about the fumble and I was flat out floored by the comment TK made.

BUT, it is the first scrimmage and it was against the same guys they have been hitting every day in practice, so I’ll temper my opinions for now about those two things.

Overall, I am very pleased with the chatter coming out of Athens since the spring.

Seriously speaking, the Kool-aid has been poured down the sink and I truly believe something very special is brewing in that locker room this year. I think we are going to be very pleasantly surprised at what kind of team comes out of that tunnel on September 3rd.

AltamahaDawg

August 11th, 2011
9:44 am

The thing I took from the scrimmage was that IF that had been more of a normal game situation, it seems like it would have beat the majority of the teams on our schedule.

Hard to read much into the actual stats though. Clearly it was the yield of 60 minutes of normal circumstances. When you are running red zone drills and lining up for FG atttemps 8 or 9 times to see how many you can hit, Yardage ##s are sort of skewed.

BirdDog

August 11th, 2011
9:45 am

Yes, that is what practice is for.

D A DoubleU G

August 11th, 2011
9:45 am

This is a Blawg entry that I believe is made every single year. There is NO WAY to satisfy the worry-wart fans when you keep score in any inter-squad competition.

Also, I am looking VERY forward to the other annual Blawg entry, showing how much fun the team had at their pool day, and reading all the TROLLS try and tell us that it is the sole reason we have struggled the last few years.

GO DAWGS!!!

T-Dawg

August 11th, 2011
9:48 am

FIRST!!! — to call for Mark Richt’s firing for not having flipped Marcus Lattimore to sit out a year and play for the ‘Dogs in 2014…

claytondawg

August 11th, 2011
9:49 am

Most of you guys are right. It IS only practice. There will be many more opportunities for the offense to get into its rythmn…and it will. No DOOM and GLOOM here, just a realistic approach.

outkasted

August 11th, 2011
9:49 am

Samuel didn’t fumble all the time what are u guys talking about? he wasn’t breaking tackles ….Ealey was the fumble machine

Whiskey Breath

August 11th, 2011
9:49 am

Admittedly I am no Ga guy. However, Bill you couldn’t have written a better report. No hype, just what happened at practice. The Ga people don’t know it, but you are the best reporter at the AJC. No agendas, just responsible journalism. A rare thing now days.

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

PowerDawg

August 11th, 2011
9:51 am

Yeah, the Dawg Hater Express is usually cranked up by now. Must be sleepin’ in.

Concrete Pete

August 11th, 2011
9:51 am

Not on topic od the scrimmage, but guys keep in mind that CJ Curry is a young kid, he’s probably a prisoner of the moment and got wowed by the facilities, etc at Okie St. He will probably come back around or at least reconsider. If UGA fans attack him, that could do nothing but hurt us, not only with him, but other potential recruits. Keep it positive! This season and the ensuing wins will turn a lot of kids toward UGA

Still@theBAR

August 11th, 2011
9:52 am

I still don’t understand why the #1’s go against the #2’s. Shouldn’t it be the #1’s against the #1’s and visa versa? I can see mixing it up but to get a real feel of how good the #1 O and D are shouldn’t they be banging against each other?

Lowcountry Bulldawg

August 11th, 2011
9:55 am

Hard to understand how coming off a 6-7 season and then in the first scrimmage you come out slow and sluggish.

59bulldawg

August 11th, 2011
9:55 am

Some of you are making way too much outta my comment about Samuel’s fumble. It was not meant to be critical of the guy, whom I believe is one of the model kids on the team. Yes I know it’s practice and yes I know that is why they have practice. I’m just saying it was a problem before and I had hoped he had overcome it. Time will tell if he has or not.

Georgiaboy770

August 11th, 2011
9:55 am

I believe that there is something good cooking up in that locker room this year. Look at da dawgs schedule, theres no reason for us not to think we going to the big show. lets calm down, its only the 7th or 8th practice of 29. We’ll be ok, i have confidence in Mark and the dawgs…leggo

SEC Fan

August 11th, 2011
9:55 am

Hope springs eternal…right, King?

Michael

August 11th, 2011
9:56 am

Richt won’t stay down long. His numbers indicate he is too good of a coach. Though he is trending down in the last couple of years I expect big things with their schedule the way it unfolds this season.

http://coachesbythenumbers.com/coach-profile/?coach=Mark+Richt

Athens= God's Country

August 11th, 2011
9:57 am

Still@theBAR

If you ever played football at a high level, you would know why #1 goes against #2. I’m not even going to answer that. You are a nerd.

Still@theBAR

August 11th, 2011
9:59 am

Yes it is Only Practice, but the old saying applies. “You Practice like you Play.” You work out the problems in practice so they are not repeated in the Game. The fumble thing when you are running the ball is hard to fix sometimes. If it is a fumble in the exchange. That can be worked on much easier than holding on to the ball after you are getting hit.

tide roll

August 11th, 2011
10:00 am

Biggest diappointment has to be the lack of quality and experienced depth along the offensive line. In state OL(s) like Chance Warmack (Ala.), Roke Watkins (S. Carolina), and JuWuan James (Tenn.) sure would have helped.

AltamahaDawg

August 11th, 2011
10:01 am

PowerDawg

August 11th, 2011
10:01 am

He is not going to go to Stillwater to play ball. Some place where his family and friends will get to see him play only on PPV or at best once or twice a year when and if they can afford to fly out there?

Forget that.

He’s entitled to look at all his options and consider what is best for him. In the end, he will realize he has already found where he belongs.

He’ll be Dawg in February.

Still@theBAR

August 11th, 2011
10:04 am

Athens= God’s Country

When you #1′ are not as good as your competition in the games, how does lining up against them help? If your O struggles against the #2’s that would be like playing against BAMA’s 3rd string.

Athens= God's Country

August 11th, 2011
10:07 am

tide roll

What’s it like being a Tech fan hiding behind another schools fan base? Don’t you think that is pathetic? Why didn’t “your” team (GT) sign those guys as well? Everyone knows you are a Tech fan due to your slip up yesterday. Enough already. You are making Bama fans look bad.

AltamahaDawg

August 11th, 2011
10:07 am

To me what folks miss about the #1, #2 situation is 2 things. There not a lot of difference at a lot of positions, so why not mix it up, and why would you want a team where the #2 were not getting better from competition as well?

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

Cmon man

August 11th, 2011
10:10 am

I knew it tide roll is right on time with his obsession for 300lb guys.

PowerDawg

August 11th, 2011
10:11 am

Still@theBAR-

How do you it was fumble during during the exchange? Maybe the D stripped it. You ever think of that?

You weren’t there. You have no idea what happened.

Keep your comments confined to things you actually know something about and quit spewing conjecture. You’ll be perceived in a much better light if you do.

Still@theBAR

August 11th, 2011
10:11 am

I guess what I am saying is during this early part of the season I would think. This is just me. I would think you would mix up playing 1’s against 1’s and 2’s. I would think it would help everybody get better.
1 series the #1 O gainst the #1 D then against the #2 D on the next series.
I understand it when the season starts and the Starters have to stay healthy.

QVille

August 11th, 2011
10:13 am

If the guys can’t fix the fumble thing, Boise & SC are gonna have a field day stripping the backs and get easy wins. There’s nothng more devastating to a team than driving the ball down to the 5 yard line, and fumbling away your opportunity. Or getting a fumble returned for a TD. If the RB coach doesn’t fix this, he’ll be out of work at the college level. We’re talking about a late game fumble that cost the Colorado game, another red zone fumble that cost the South Carolina game, and yet another red zone fumble that cost the Miss St game. A fumble that cost the Florida game. 4 losses from self inflicted mistakes.

Cmon man

August 11th, 2011
10:13 am

@still at the bar speaking of bama why didnt tech man up and play them in the chick fil a game in 2013 now were are stuck with bama vs va tech again. Heck even ga state had the heart to play bama

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]