Offensive line play a big factor as Aaron Murray hits his stride

Aaron Murray has his best game as a Bulldog. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Aaron Murray has his best game as a Bulldog. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

As we look ahead to the chance to clinch the SEC East against Kentucky, here are a few more thoughts on Georgia’s big win over Auburn. …

The Dogs’ offensive line had its most consistent game in ages and at times looked dominating. One of the results is that Aaron Murray appears to have more confidence in them, isn’t rushing passes as much as earlier in the season and consequently is much more accurate. Yeah, Murray was sacked three times, but he still looked extremely comfortable in the pocket and had probably his best day as a Bulldog against the Tigers.

Kudos also to Mike Bobo, who must have noticed a susceptibility on the part of the Auburn defense to the “back shoulder” pass, in which, with the ball in the air, the receiver suddenly stops running or even comes back to get a deliberately underthrown pass, leaving the defender out of the play. Murray threw three of those perfectly Saturday, two for big gains to set up scores and one for a touchdown. …

Yes, it seems Vandy’s success on the ground was an aberration. Todd Grantham’s run defense is for real. Having already held two SEC offenses to negative rushing yardage, against Auburn the Dogs let the conference’s second-leading running attack get only 51 yards, with minus-12 in the first half. Auburn has a lot of problems, but one thing they’ve been able to do this season is run — until they met the Dogs. …

Mark Richt thought special teams player Quintavious Harrow’s big hit to stop an Auburn kickoff return dead was the most impressive play of the game, but Brandon Boykin’s similar fourth quarter hit on a Tiger screen pass had fans in the crowd imitating the “here comes the boom!” video we’d seen just moments before. …

When’s the last time you heard a Sanford Stadium crowd cheer the arrival on the field of the third-string tailback? Brandon Harton won a lot of fans with his performance a week earlier against New Mexico State and got to carry the all four times for 15 yards against Auburn. And you knew Georgia’s domination was complete when even Ken Malcome got into the game. He got 10 yards on three carries and made a first down right before the end of the game. …

At halftime, I said I was afraid that with a 35-7 lead Bobo would go all conservative. He did, but this time it worked since the Dogs were pretty much able to line up and ram it down Auburn’s throat, with Murray only throwing two passes in the second half. Again, credit the tremendous improvement in the play of the offensive line. …

I mentioned Saturday the loudness of the Sanford Stadium crowd. It was great to see the opposing team’s quarterback having to walk over to each player to give them the call and then still have to call a time out. It happened twice! …

Rotating the placekickers seems to be working well and I was glad to see Brandon Bogotay get the call when it came time for Georgia’s lone field goal attempt. Now let’s hope they can just figure out what has suddenly happened to normally reliable Drew Butler, who shanked his lone punt for just 17 yards. Net punting is one of the weakest aspects of Georgia’s game, with the Dogs ranking 107th in the nation. …

The Auburn game was a great performance all-around, easily the Dogs’ most complete of the season, but not perfect. What is there to work on? Well, besides the punting game and Isaiah Crowell’s two fumbles, Murray still could do better getting rid of the ball to avoid taking a sack or a big hit (one of which made him do a complete flip). The Dogs still are vulnerable to gadget plays like the touchdown pass from the tight end. And there were too many penalties (eight) against Auburn.

But those were all minor points on a day when Georgia looked every bit like a team that should be playing in Atlanta on Dec. 3. First, though, there’s Kentucky. Let’s hope we see the Dogs come out for the final home game of the season with the same sort of determination that has turned this season around from its unfortunate start.

Go Dogs!

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296 comments Add your comment

WaycrossDawg

November 13th, 2011
10:07 pm

Aaron Murray really showed us something these past two games. A few insane sidewalk fans were wanting Houston Mason to get the start but he’s really settled down.

Now I see why everyone picked him as the #1 QB in the SEC.

Oh, and FIRST! 45-7! ALL IN!

Leroy1970

November 13th, 2011
10:11 pm

Kyle

November 13th, 2011
10:19 pm

Hopefully, all of those “Fire Mark Richt losers and “maybe we should give Hudson Mason a look” geniuses will shut their yappers now. Go Dawgs!

Fridawg

November 13th, 2011
10:19 pm

I heard from friends today that Danielson on CBS said Murray was making terrible throws. Everyone in the stands knew they were back shoulder throws. Anybody hear the comments? Our WR’s were awesome yesterday, and it’s exciting to think of how they’ll do for the next few years. Go Dawgs!

Still@theKool-aidBAR

November 13th, 2011
10:20 pm

Murray finally looked good, but still not sure what level the competition was. He did look the part of a big time college QB.

DawgFanInBama

November 13th, 2011
10:21 pm

I was a bit disappointed in seeing Crowell come in and ruin all of Thomas’ hard work by fumbling the ball not once…but twice. Very impressed with how well Thomas was running the ball yesterday. Haven’t seen much from him this season. Also very impressed with how well Z. Ogletree played.

My brother said that if it was a “blunt” being handed to Crowell, he would have never dropped it…ZiNg…

The boys sure did show up yesterday! GO DAWGS!

perk

November 13th, 2011
10:23 pm

damnnnnnn that was fun!!!!!

DawgFanInBama

November 13th, 2011
10:23 pm

Oh, and by the way…Listening to Lunquist and Danielson makes me want to ram my head against the wall…over and over and over.

Are there 2 announcers that hate Georgia more then these two clowns?

Anytime Lundquist laughs that awful laugh, I die a little inside…

Lowcountry Bulldawg

November 13th, 2011
10:23 pm

The 7-7 beginning of the game on 3rd down conversions was very impressive. Agreed AM is showing alot of poise heading into the final quarter of the season. Team has really came together.

gt110215

November 13th, 2011
10:25 pm

Coming from a Tech fan I would like to say good win on Saturday and we will see you in two weeks!

HotRodUGA01

November 13th, 2011
10:29 pm

Dominating Defense and our Offensive Line played smash moth football. When we win next week, I just hope the polls give us the respect we deserve. LSU is a great team, by I now believe that we can hang with anyone in the country. Is there any team out there that has a more talented group of freshmen making such a huge impact? I don’t think so!

OkieDawg

November 13th, 2011
10:39 pm

Right on target Bill! I share your obsevations. I ordered my SEC Championship tixs and for some strange reason, I actually think we can compete. I saw a lot of talent all over the field on Saturday. To win the SEC Championship, it would take a perfect game but we are capable, we did it Saturday. Oh yeah, we do need to take care of Kentucky.

ca dawg

November 13th, 2011
10:39 pm

the second fumble wasn’t all on crowell. ogletree whiffed on freeman, who made a great play by getting his hands right on the ball. i was more interested to see how hard he would run and how much contact he would take. i thought he played very, very well in the second half. keep growing, IC, and go dawgs!

brah

November 13th, 2011
10:42 pm

i just hope uga makes it to the dome so they’ll have to actually play a good team this year.
talk about some paper puppies…

OkieDawg

November 13th, 2011
10:43 pm

I think Auburn’s LB named Eltoro Freeman may have the edge on Bacarri for the best name in college football.

Dawgma

November 13th, 2011
10:51 pm

Very impressive win for our Dawgs this weekend. Still, I need to see more consistency from both sides of the ball before I say we can hang with Bama or LSU. Do we have a chance to win? Yes. But we need to cut down on the penalties and for God’s sake Crowell, hold on to the ball. I can understand the 2nd fumble, dude was almost hitting him when he was taking the handoff but WTH happend on the 1st one? Richt needs to have him carry a ball with him everywhere this week and if somebody else comes to practice with it besides him, make him do extra drills or something to drive into him to HOLD ON TO THE BALL!!!! GO DAWGS!!!!! GATA!!!!

TossSweep

November 13th, 2011
10:52 pm

I really want to hear from the fairweather fans who wanted to fire CMR since last year. Losers who say such things think they are better college football coach yet all they can do is get on these forums. Losers!

Eric C.

November 13th, 2011
10:52 pm

Bill, keep up the great commentary…go Dawgs!!! I’m wondering about the 28 pt line vs KY and if it is enough…would sure take it though!

brah

November 13th, 2011
10:53 pm

all it took to get richt off the hot seat was the easiest schedule in the sec.

next year is totally the year!

gt110215

November 13th, 2011
11:03 pm

Auburn has a terrible defense.

gt110215

November 13th, 2011
11:03 pm

That being said it was a good win for UGA

aarh

November 13th, 2011
11:12 pm

AU may not be great this yr., but these haters need to give credit where it’s due, bc UGA not only beat them, but they blew them out, & they even beat them worse than LSU did.

Alabamadawg

November 13th, 2011
11:14 pm

Great article Bill. thanks.

mark

November 13th, 2011
11:20 pm

Kept thinking about Richard Samuel. Hate that he missed out on all the fun. He ran like a tank until the injury. Like everyone else, I keep feeling giddy about the win, but we still have alot to work on. Go Dawgs.

aarh

November 13th, 2011
11:23 pm

I didn’t think the announcers were dogging UGA that bad were they? He said they were for real. Then again, I probably couldn’t hear it as good at BWW as I could have at my house.

The Truth Detector

November 13th, 2011
11:23 pm

The Truth:

UGA is a “Nice” Football Team. Nice being the optimal word. They are not a Good or Great Football team. They are not in the same category or level as a LSU, Alabama or Arkansas.

That being said, they have done a very nice job of winning 8 games in a row against weaker teams and that does not bode well for our beloved SEC. Beating a injury prone UF team and a very weak Auburn team means very little to the big boys around the league. It was nice seeing UGA lay the wood to an Auburn team that by all accounts were allowed to play a player in 2010 after the NCAA changed the rule on family members requesting benefits for their children to play. In every other known case the student athlete was ruled “INELIGIBLE” and were not allowed to play. But that is history now.

UGA will go into the Georgia Dome, get their clocks cleaned and go to a decent bowl, see Outback in Lovely Tampa( a great New Year’s Day destination) for a weak Big 10 opponent to play( See Wisconsin or Nebraska or Michigan St.)

UGA is two years away from eing a player again with the big boys in the league. Once Missouri comes into the league you will avoid those big boys in the West Division one additional year each and maybe those other Tigers from Columbia Mo. will need some time to recruit some defense before they are part of UGA’s yearly troubles.

Be happy your schedule was so weak and stop all this world beater talk.

pj

November 13th, 2011
11:25 pm

3 overlooked things that may have SAVED our program – both for this season, and the next few years…
1. Youth
2. Injuries
3. Suspensions

The fact that we’re young at WR, LB and DE has FORCED guys to get in there and learn at an advanced rate. It served as a weakness to start the season – but has truly payed off in the end. Injuries to Ogletree and Robinson and the Washington suspension allowed guys like Gilliard and Herrerra to step up and get valuable time on the field. Ealy and King getting booted and Crowell and Thomas getting suspended brought us Harton and Samuel and a clear recruiting advantage for Mister Marshall (please come to Georgia). Losing AJ made guys compete. Losing Malcolm for 3 games brought us the emergence of Bennett and Conley.

Now – we have a deep team (everywhere except the O-line of course) – and deep in the sense that many, many guys have seen the field in MEANINGFUL situations against the opposition’s 1st string players.

If Orsen and Jarvis stay another year, and Missou replaces Bama on the schedule – I think all the ingredients are there for a run at the MNC.

2012 Offense would have Murray, Crowell, Mitchell, Bennett, Conley, King, Orsen, Jay Rome, Marlon,Justin Scott-Wesley, Christian Lemay, Arthur Lynch, Samuel and hopefully a 5 star or 2.

2012 D would have – get this – Geathers, Jenkins. Abry, Lott and Garrison Smith. LB’s would consist of Jarvis, Ogletre, Cornelious, Christian, Gilliard, Drew and Herrerra. DB’s back would be B. Smith, Rambo, Commings, S. Williams and Nick Marshall

Folks – UGA is on the way back up to 2001-2005 levels and it is as clear as day to me. Go Dawgs!

GTBob

November 13th, 2011
11:27 pm

they even beat them worse than LSU did.

LSU has a really poor offense. They aren’t built for blowing out teams, it just happens sometimes because their defense is so good.

mark

November 13th, 2011
11:31 pm

@Truth

Nobody is claiming to be “world beaters” but Ga is playing like a much improved team. We may not win in the Dome, but we will not get our “clocks cleaned”. Ga defense can hang with LSU. Would LOVE to play Bama, which is way overrated.

aarh

November 13th, 2011
11:32 pm

I wasn’t saying that LSU wasn’t good, but just that I think even though AU seems to be a bit down…that I think it’s pretty impressive the way that UGA dominated them. They not only beat them by more points than LSU, but if you look at yardage totals, then they held them to less yards as well. UGA has a good defense too, I’m not making any predictions, but I’m just saying it was impressive. That’s all.

Dawg48

November 13th, 2011
11:33 pm

Will friend deserves a pat on the back! He has this O-line playing very good!
It’s funny how when the line blocks and Murray is not getting sacked or running for his life the completions go up and interceptions go down! Carolton ran great Saturday # 15 from auburn kept him from getting 200 yards cause three times he was the only guy to beat and he brought him down.
And bobo……… It’s easy to call plays when your line is pushing the other team off the ball!

The Truth Detector

November 13th, 2011
11:39 pm

mark

November 13th, 2011
11:31 pm
@Truth

Nobody is claiming to be “world beaters” but Ga is playing like a much improved team. We may not win in the Dome, but we will not get our “clocks cleaned”. Ga defense can hang with LSU. Would LOVE to play Bama, which is way overrated.

It is very easy to say ” Would LOVE to play Bama, which is way overrated”. In reality, LSU would be an easier opponent to play as they got beat play after play by an average QB in McCarron and some no name wideouts. While it looked like Alabama pretty much shut down the entire offensive output by LSU. I would have given UGA a leg up on kicking to start the year against LSU or Alabama, but from recent weeks performance that is a wash.

The facts are that UGA will not be able to run the ball against either LSU or Alabama and both teams would put Murray on his back more than he has seen all season. You forget that defenses win championships and those two defenses are the best in ALL of college football.

brah

November 13th, 2011
11:40 pm

uga would likely get beaten pretty soundly by either lsu or bama. i know common opponents isnt a great way to judge, but uga barely squeaked by florida, tennesee. and vandy this year, all of which were beaten by ~ 30 points by both western schools.

just be glad taht your soft schedule this year and a weak SEC bought you some time as far as coaching stability and allowed your team to build a little confidence. take it for what it is, but uga is nowhere near contending for a national title.

Dr. Morpheus

November 13th, 2011
11:46 pm

Vern and Gary were very complimentary about the Dawgs and pointed out how we were working the back shoulder passes. Herbstreit also complimented our D. Check the stats, both O and D. The Dawgs have made steady progress and are not the same Dawgs who seemed lost against Boise State (and lacked Rambo and Ogletree). Those who think Georgia will get beat down in the SEC Championship game are in for a big surprise, but it won’t stop them from making their pronouncements of impending doom. Once again, it’s great… to be… a Georgia Bulldog!

UGA Alumnus

November 14th, 2011
12:01 am

georgia fan

November 14th, 2011
12:01 am

i have overblown and completely distorted perspective on my football team who has beaten exactly ONE team with a winning record in the last two seasons…

Brewmaster

November 14th, 2011
12:03 am

Truth Detector, stop performing a colonoscopy on yourself and find another blog. The dogs will dominate LSU in a few weeks !

RealDawg

November 14th, 2011
12:10 am

Nations fourth longest winning streak?

GTBob

November 14th, 2011
12:18 am

Nations fourth longest winning streak?

Nope. Tied for fifth.

Robards

November 14th, 2011
12:46 am

Not to diminish what the Dawgs have done but, since the first two games, UGA has been huge favorites in almost every game (UT was around a pick back when they had a QB). So I don’t know how much it means that they have one of the longest winning streaks in the nation. Dawgs will get two more as big faves and then, well, good luck in the SEC title game

The Truth Detector

November 14th, 2011
12:57 am

Brewmaster

November 14th, 2011
12:03 am
Truth Detector, stop performing a colonoscopy on yourself and find another blog. The dogs will dominate LSU in a few weeks !

The Truth Hurts and keep on believing you have a snowballs chance. Go to your mirror and repeat the line ” The dogs will dominate LSU in a few weeks!” Over and Over again. See if you can do it without laughing.

War Dang Dawg

November 14th, 2011
1:35 am

“The Truth Detector” and others seem to be protesting a little too much. My guess: Techies trying to convince themselves that their team has a chance against Georgia. Run your mouths all you want, but you saw total domination against Auburn, and you didn’t like what you saw one bit. Man up and admit it.

dawg fan

November 14th, 2011
1:44 am

oh and @fridawg the CBS announcers gave georgia a lot of credit and noticed the back shoulder throws, and said we were the real deal, and would be a formidable team against anybody from the west

aarh

November 14th, 2011
1:57 am

brah- Nobody said UGAs contending for a national title, but all I’m saying it that UGA is at least a threat in the big SEC Championship game.

The Truth Detector

November 14th, 2011
2:02 am

War Dang Dawg

November 14th, 2011
1:35 am
“The Truth Detector” and others seem to be protesting a little too much. My guess: Techies trying to convince themselves that their team has a chance against Georgia. Run your mouths all you want, but you saw total domination against Auburn, and you didn’t like what you saw one bit. Man up and admit it.

Wrong again. One of my three Alma maters has the golden eagles of GS, the other one has Yale, and both have only one loss. I will take my 17-2 combined records and sleep just fine.

Beating a weak Auburn team is laughable and even though it was a rival game and revenge game, it was over before Auburn got off the bus.

pj

November 14th, 2011
3:22 am

I agree that beating Auburn is laughable. I stood at a tailgate right outside of the stadium and laughed my arse off at every Auburn fan that walked by. One guy even threw a cup of soda at us, but didn’t get close because there were 10 of us and 1 of him. Either way – Laughable indeed. Can’t wait to feel like that in 12 days in Atlanta when Nerds walk by.

pj

November 14th, 2011
3:25 am

Oh, I almost forgot – I challenge the blogger known as “Thomas Brown” to a duel. Except my challenge is that he doesnt get to do hours of research before he posts his opinion. Just a good old fashioned blog offf.

football fever

November 14th, 2011
5:11 am

The SEC record of the SEC teams UGA has played = 16-32

The SEC record of the SEC teams Bama has played = 17-31

The SEC record of the SEC teams LSU has played = 15-25
after Ole Miss next week = 15-31

This BS that UGA’s success is because of playing an easy schedule is just total BS.

Orange11

November 14th, 2011
5:32 am

Yeah, he had a good game. He didn’t turn the ball over like he did during the pivotal South Carolina game this year and the Florida game last year. He even earned a few “Atta Boys” off the last game. Just remember, it takes 1 million “Atta Boys” to cancel out 1 “Aw S–T”.

ZinoDawg

November 14th, 2011
6:22 am

Two more weeks and we won’t hear from GTBob no more! I can’t wait to see our run D against the one dimensional insects.