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

Realist

November 14th, 2011
6:36 am

The first question is whether UGA’s offensive line will be able to handle LSU’s defensive line. The second question is can the LSU defensive backs lock down UGA’s receivers? Based on the games I have watched of both teams, the answer to the first question is not very well and the answer to the second question is probably. UGA’s offensive line has not lived up to its potential foe whatever reason this season and the showing against Auburn is no indicator of greatness. My guess is LSU will beat UGA 14 points if UGA plays well and a hell of a lot worse if they don’t.

Regarding Richt, I think McGarity better think long and hard about what kind of a contract extension to give Richt at the end of the season. All McGarity has to do is look at what happened to Fullmer several years back, which UT still has not recovered from. Does he want to put UGA into that kind of difficult situation? Keep the contract extension, if any, minimal…no more then 2 years.

Wavy Gravy

November 14th, 2011
6:39 am

I was surprised by how quickly this Auburn team quit. When they started the season, they were out-matched by Utah State, but they found a way to win. They were used to winning and simply refused to lose. They did the same against MSU. The first time they really just quit was against Clemson. They’ve been up and down since then. I thought they would play well against LSU, but they were never even in the game. Then they appeared to have regained their Mojo against Ole Miss. Oh well… That’s just typical Ole Miss, I guess.

At any rate, Auburn has learned to lose again and Georgia seems to have learned how to win. That has to be a good thing for the Dawgs. Auburn was the best team that Georgia has faced since South Carolina. I’d call this a quality win. Kudos to Georgia!

dawgdip

November 14th, 2011
6:40 am

Great win for the Dawgs but too much talk about SEC Championship Game before we play Kentucky. I believe the Dawgs will prevail against the Wildcats but they must be prepared. HBTD

Deano

November 14th, 2011
6:43 am

THE TRUTH wears Paul Johnson pajamas

Wavy Gravy

November 14th, 2011
6:48 am

@dawgdip

It will be hard to get excited over a game with Kentucky. After all, this is the team that South Carolina beat 54–3 the first week after kicking their starting quarterback off the team. If Vandy can hand them a 38-8 defeat, then it should be exceedingly difficult to lose to the Mildcats.

Spike

November 14th, 2011
6:52 am

Take THAT! Trooper Taylor, Nick Fairley and the “All In” Auburn family. War Eagle, indeed.

chazzo

November 14th, 2011
6:53 am

I did love hearing the announcers change there tune during the game. At the start of the game, it was all UGA hasn’t beaten anybody. Then they started complementing Murray. By the fourth quarter they were gushing about UGA almost as much as they gush about UF.

chazzo

November 14th, 2011
6:54 am

Don’t forget about UK and Tech! It’s still one game at a time.

Spike

November 14th, 2011
6:57 am

What ever became of St. Simons? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Dandy Dawg

November 14th, 2011
7:06 am

I’m enjoying being able to say that we’re better than Florida – no matter how much company we have in saying that! Winning makes being a Dawg fan much more fun.

GATA!!!

BobDawg

November 14th, 2011
7:07 am

The CROWD needs to show up for Ky and get wild and crazy again… This is for the DOME people… Bobo shut it down so Murray would not get “wild and crazy” anymore.. He only knows one speed and that is full tilt run it till we make contact with someone…

Silly Rabbits a.k. (dawg fans)

November 14th, 2011
7:08 am

Trix are for kids. Don’t you know you will lose to LSU and lose the bowl game? Next year, you will lose to Bama, Florida and South Carolina, and then you’ll be back to “Fire Mark Richt” like you do every year. LOL. Silly Rabbits!

BobDawg

November 14th, 2011
7:11 am

I think AuBarn fell in love with the pass early like UF did and thought they could open up the run game later in the game… Like I said all week…once we got past their 12-15 scripted plays and “razzle-dazzle” stuff.. it was all over… They had 2 weeks to fashion a game plan and we dominated them from the git-go… New Mx State was a tune-up just like Ky will be for Tech….

BobDawg

November 14th, 2011
7:15 am

… so you think we are playing LSU, do U??? I think Arky has a more balanced Offense and may trip up LSU…. In fact, UGA and Arkansas would be a heckava game with both offenses going up and down the field…

Dandy Dawg

November 14th, 2011
7:41 am

If Arkansas defeats LSU (which is not out of the question), then Alabama will play in the SECCG.

stout

November 14th, 2011
7:43 am

I would say that UGA is better than just a ‘good’ team by the way they are playing right now. Sure, they started out the year shakey, but they have been getting better and better every week which is what you want in a college football team. Right?

I am not going to sit here an knock Georgia’s schedule and cry like the haters because it’s weak. The way I see it, all these teams that UGA has played in conference have done pretty well in recruiting. The Dawgs cannot control how the other SEC teams play. Even if it gets ugly they are still winning. I for one would like to see how well the Dawgs stack up against an LSU, or Bama. They may not win, but I would give them a good chance.

SoGaDawg

November 14th, 2011
8:01 am

Only have one comment to make about a line out of this article. That Vandy was able to run on us was not so much an abberation as it was the very obvious chop blocking that they were getting away with. I expect to see the sand fleas out of Atlanta do that as well, since that seems to be the only way they know how to block. Go Dawgs!!!!

Fair and Balanced

November 14th, 2011
8:08 am

If Football Fever is right then that is very interesting about opponents. However, hasn’t LSU played a few good teams….Bama for 1 and Oregon for another outside the conference. They still have AK to play….Ga could end up playing Bama after all. The NC is not about who is best. It’s about who has the best season. Unless there is a playoff we won’t really know who is the best team. I wouldn’t say GA is a top 10 team right now and neither do the voters, but we are improved for sure. We could be a top team in a few weeks. Just saying.

Kato

November 14th, 2011
8:11 am

AJC headline: Nearly 50 arrests made after UGA-Auburn game

The usual drunken mob of UGA fantards and students.

Really sickening.

evil empire

November 14th, 2011
8:13 am

please shut up dawgtards…its way too early in the morning for all of your foolish “we’ll beat LSu” talk…just makes you sound stupider than you normally do…

Victory Dawg

November 14th, 2011
8:20 am

Where is that loser ” 2010 BCS Champions” now. I am sure he has a lot of excuses just as he said Dawg fans would have.

Fair and Balanced

November 14th, 2011
8:21 am

Realist has a good point about contract extension. The truth is that Richt has produced in much the same way Fulmer did…under pressure Fulmer won when he had to in order to keep his job. Richt had 3 down seasons before contract talk got serious. But I say we ought to keep him…on a short leash. He HAS had an easy schedule this year and needs to keep the improving team to keep improving. Take us inside the top 5 nationally and vie for a NC in the next 2 years. It appears to me that the potential is there for it. Will he get us to our potential?

ARdawg

November 14th, 2011
8:26 am

evil empire is to a blog what blow flies are to a corpse

virginia dog

November 14th, 2011
8:27 am

Gentlemen … as my life unfolds it is amazing how much luck has to do with sucess and failure. With his job on the line all year Richt was lucky and that is better than being good. He was lucky that tennessee, Florida and Auburn are down and lucky to not have to play Arkanasas Alabama or LSU.
Now it appear he will keep his job and i am a happy bulldog fan for the results. But i can’t help wondering is this team on the upswing or has this team simply played the worst SEC schedule in 50 yrears.

DawginLex

November 14th, 2011
8:29 am

Disappearing TROLL list

Ever growing!!

MS Bully
Colonel Reb
Vandy Sandy
Rock E Topp
Dogs Smell
SSI Gator
Gator Chomp
2010 BCS Chump
Auburn
TrishaDishaWarEagle

wiseoldawg

November 14th, 2011
8:32 am

“2010 BCS Champions” is down at Tech dreaming up another bogus name.

trupert

November 14th, 2011
8:42 am

I really hope Ga doesn’t play on CBS anytime soon. Gary Danielson always pulls against Ga and he tries to make Ga look bad.

Last year when Fairley was rubbing his facemask into Aaron Murrays chin he said ”Look their facemasks are stuck together”.

While Ga’s defense was dominating Fla to minus rushing yards, he gave all the credit to Brantleys ankle.

When Mark Richt took the ball out of Murrays hand and the RB’s were running through the Auburn D-line at will, even though Auburn knew that Ga wasn’t going to pass, it was all about how bad Auburn was looking.

Gary Danielson needs to learn how to play both sides alot better.

Delbert D.

November 14th, 2011
8:44 am

DawginLex – Good post on the trolls.

ugab

November 14th, 2011
8:45 am

It is great to have bragging rights on Auburn this year. The dawgs played a great game. Butler did shank one punt, though. Our defense caused a couple of fumbles and an interception. It should of been 2 pick sixs. IT IS TIME TO FINISH THE DRILL. BEAT KENTUCKY! BEAT TECH! GO TO THE DOME AND PLAY UR HEARTS OUT. NO MISTAKES. FINISH THE DARN DRILL!

ugab

November 14th, 2011
8:47 am

Is anyone getting playing time at center? Can anyone else play center on the OL?

trupert

November 14th, 2011
8:49 am

@ Kato. It must be amazing to hear that the police actually arrest people for doing what is thought of as a common everyday activity in Auburn.

Joey

November 14th, 2011
8:53 am

If we get by KY, and get LSU in the Dome, we’re gonna need a punter and kicker. You know there will be a few 3-and-outs vs that defense. As bad as Walsh is right now, Butler is worse. Has one team ever had both kickers get the YIPS at the same time?

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

November 14th, 2011
8:55 am

I would like to know where that redneck TrishaDishaWarEagle went to

We should all blow her a kiss like that arrogant Scam Newton did to us last year

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

November 14th, 2011
8:56 am

Hey TrishaDishaWarEagle

Keep washing them dishes at the Waffle House and save your pennies so you can help donate to the Auburn Pay for Play fund

Spike

November 14th, 2011
8:57 am

Trooper Taylor.. We are ALL In… Your endzone. Bite Me.

JDawg1785

November 14th, 2011
9:07 am

Just an all-around great win for the Dawgs! And I second DawgFanInBama. Those CBS announcers drive me insane. Back when I was at UGA, we’d mute the TV and turn on Munson’s broadcast.

Delbert D.

November 14th, 2011
9:13 am

Gary Danielson said on 680thefan Friday that Murray is the best QB in the SEC by far. I don’t see where all the criticism of Danielson is coming from.

DawginLex

November 14th, 2011
9:17 am

Danielson also said he thought we could hang with LSU

I didn’t hear any criticism

TampaDawg

November 14th, 2011
9:21 am

@Realist – “Does he want to put UGA into that kind of difficult situation? Keep the contract extension, if any, minimal…no more then 2 years.”

I bet you were one of those after the 0-2 start predicting UGA to finish the season with 5-6 losses too right? What will it take exactly. How about this for being a realist? 8 straight wins, holding Dyer and McCalebb to under 80 yards combined (less than LSU did), and their overall defense can hang with any offense.

Delbert D.

November 14th, 2011
9:24 am

Sagarin Strength-of-schdule ranking through Nov. 12
Top Ten in S.O.S.

1- Missouri
2- Texas A&M
3- Kansas
4- Tennessee
5- Oklahoma St.
6- Oklahoma
7- Auburn
8- Kansas St.
9- Baylor
10-Texas Tech

Sagarin SEC s.o.s.

4- Tennessee
7- Auburn
14-Florida
18-LSU
20-Alabama
21-S. Carolina
23-Mississippi
29-Miss. St.
31-Vanderbilt
34-Georgia
49-Arkansas
56-Kentucky

TampaDawg

November 14th, 2011
9:24 am

hey Lex, add Dave Cutler to the disappearing troll list. He just couldn’t buy into the fact possibility that without Cam and dirty Nick, Auburn would lose their 5th out of their last 6 against UGA. Sucks for him.

JB

November 14th, 2011
9:25 am

Auburn better be glad Richt has some class, because if he would of allowed Murray to play pitch and catch the entire second half against that demoralized AU defense, it would of been ugly. Richt ran the ball the entire second half to eat clock. I’m thinking Murray would of had 4 more TD passes, set a bunch of records and made it 60 something to 7. AU D seemed to of quit in the second half.

Crap

November 14th, 2011
9:25 am

ugab: I’m enjoying bragging rights for 5 out of the last 6 against AU (all but their rent-a-team year).

Fair and Balanced: LSU plays AK? I thought they had AR.

TampaDawg

November 14th, 2011
9:26 am

evil empire

November 14th, 2011
8:13 am

please shut up dawgtards…its way too early in the morning for all of your foolish “we’ll beat LSu” talk…just makes you sound stupider than you normally do…
——————
The guy is cracking on us UGA fans intelligence but using the word “stupider” .. I think we’re done with this one.

ARdawg

November 14th, 2011
9:26 am

Delbert

I don’t know where it comes from either. I find Danielson to be very good at calling the games. Very knowledgeable and 9 of 10 times right on the money. By far the best announcer. It’s a shame he has to be teamed with Vern

Flo-Ri-Duh

November 14th, 2011
9:27 am

Auburn has been blown out in four games. Don’t get to carried away by this blow out. Focus on Kentucky. I will take a one point win right now and a chance to win the SEC. I thought it was interesting that Spurrier admitted that South Carolina was out played and fortunate to win against Georgia. The Dawgs deserve to be where they are and must focus on Kentucky.

Delbert D.

November 14th, 2011
9:27 am

One reason that the Big-12 dominates s.o.s is that the 10 teams play a round-robin schedule. Another is that 4 teams play only FBS OOC opponents, and the other 6 play only 1 FCS opponent. All OOC opponents were played in weeks 1-3.

TampaDawg

November 14th, 2011
9:27 am

JB, you’re right, they could have ran 60 on Auburn easily. But by the end, we were handing off every down and all the way down to Boo on the RB depth chart. Auburn fans actually thought they could hang. I gave them too much credit and predicted a 31-17 win for UGA.

Vince

November 14th, 2011
9:29 am

Guess where GT’s bowl game is going to be !! Its going to be at their scrawny little stadium on North Ave. in Atlanta when they play the Dawgs. This is a trap game if I’ve ever seen one. They have nothing to lose and all to gain. We better be prepared!!!!

ARdawg

November 14th, 2011
9:31 am

TampaDawg

After the 0-2 start, I thought 4 losses were a given (am guilty) maybe more. Needless to say I am more than pleased. It’s still difficult to say if the opponents were/are that bad or if we are this good.