Fan talk: Dogs’ trouble with ‘broken field’ plays, tougher standards and more!

The Gamecocks' Melvin Ingram scores against the Bulldogs. (University of South Carolina)

The Gamecocks' Melvin Ingram scores against the Bulldogs. (University of South Carolina)

Let’s get straight to some Junkyard Mail. …

Marion Campbell writes: I seem to see a general lack of good play in “broken field situations,” [like] fake punts, fumble pickups, interceptions, and returns that seem to go for way too many yards. The ball carrier passes right by our players, who don’t seem to know what to do. [Maybe they should] set up a time in practice with a special whistle, and when it’s heard the ball holder must give it to the nearest defender and everyone else must react immediately. I think if there was a better “damage control” on turnovers and fake punts, we could save more yardage than improved kick coverage could save.

That’s a good point, Marion. Too often the reactions we’ve seen from Georgia’s offense or punt coverage team to a turnover or fake make it look like something they’d never practiced — as if the players weren’t sure what to do in that situation. The fake punt last year in the South Carolina game was a perfect example. I’m sure they actually have practiced what to do in those instances, but Georgia’s general lack of success at handling those shifts in direction might be a sign that even more practice is needed, particularly on special teams. Supposedly, the coaching staff is paying more attention to the latter this season. Time will tell.

DW writes: Hi Bill, I enjoy your column. I will not go into some drawn out pish posh about Richt’s philosophy on breaking team rules but it occurred to me that given the way other coaches handle misconduct (see the latest in Spurrier mocking an underage drinking incident), and the fact that Branden Smith is not being suspended, do you think Richt is being tight lipped about Rambo and Tree because he is pondering suspending them for games other than the first two (which has been the norm)? It has always grinded my gears that the other programs in the SEC pick and choose which games to suspend a player from, depending on the opponent. I have never faulted Richt for this and applaud his doing so. However I wish he would consider this puts us at a disadvantage. Your two cents on Rambo (4 games) and Tree (2 games)?

Pish posh??!! That’s a new one for me. Anyway, I think Mark Richt is avoiding announcing in advance the status of Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree simply to keep the other teams guessing. But I have a feeling if those two had somehow managed to escape their much-rumored suspensions, we probably would have heard it by now, as we have with Branden Smith. It’s true, Georgia’s stricter standards on disciplinary problems do give other teams an advantage. But I don’t think lowering your standards is ever a good idea.

Could Mike Bobo's playcalling be characterized as predictable? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Could Mike Bobo's playcalling be characterized as predictable? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Rodney Brown writes: Bill, I look forward to your blog more than any other writer on the AJC and I thank you for your candor. Do you think that we have become predictable in our playcalling, or special teams formations and coverages, offensive tendencies, etc? Our defense is our greatest asset right now because we switched to the 3-4 and those zone blitzing schemes are hard to effectively game plan against. I recognize that the no-huddle speeds the game up, offers more offensive plays and keeps the defense on the field, but if the plays themselves are basically the same a coach would call in a West Coast offense, what do we gain from all the hurry-up? Hopefully Bobo has learned to be unpredictable so that even with our deficiencies, we have opportunities to surprise everyone.

Rodney, I think you’ve put your finger on the biggest problem with Bobo and Georgia’s offense in recent seasons. Let’s hope he’s come to the same conclusion.

David Rosenberg writes: Bill, I read your comments about Bobo and his tendency to go away from things that are working. I think Bobo displays a lack of understanding in one part of football: SYNERGY. I love that word. There is a synergy and an interconnection between all phases of the game … offense, defense, and special teams. You have to be able to read each side of the ball. Know when one side has been working much harder than the other. If the defense gets a bunch of three and outs, then you know they are not tired. If they have been on the field for several sustained drives or numerous times because of turnovers, then you have to know they are getting tired. So, if your defense is tired, the last thing you want to do is force them back on the field immediately. If the clock and score allow, the offense can slow the pace, use the game clock, run short to intermediate plays, or whatever. I think Bobo’s tendency to go away from things that work and seemingly not be aware of the condition of the other sides of the ball have led to things like our defense being gassed against teams like Michigan State and others. Just a thought.

Many of us have had the same thought, David, particularly after the fourth quarter of that bowl game against the Spartans!

Phillip Joiner writes: Bill, I was looking at the depth chart for THIS season and started wondering about the long term success of the program. A few things I noticed about what 2013 may look like:

1. Our entire O line will return and they will be blocking for one of 3 great signal callers and at least 3 experienced running backs. All tight ends will return and while we will lose [receivers] Tavarres King and Marlon Brown, we will still have Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Conley, Justin Scott-Wesley, Mike Bennett, Rantavious Wooten and the multiple 4-stars coming in. Offense looks to be in amazing shape.

2. Special teams will be seasoned after trial by fire in ’12 and should be a reasonable strength.

3. Dawg fans probably worry about our D for 2013 — assuming Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree go pro. But we are still stacked. D line probably has Ray Drew and Garrison Smith rushing the passer and Kwame Geathers and Michael Thornton filling the middle. Linebacker features Reuben Faloughi, Ramik Wilson, Amarlo Herrera, Chase Vasser, T.J. Stripling and 2 guys who are big time freshmen this year in Josh Dawson and Jordan Jenkins. Secondary has Mitchell potentially, Damian Swann, Corey Moore, Marc Deas and the hopeful star turn of Josh Harvey-Clemons.

None of this accounts for 30+ freshmen in a top 5 class. I think we are set up for a nice long run at the top.

Certainly, Georgia has an impressive stock of young talent at a lot of positions, and while the defense could suffer some pretty big losses to the NFL after this season, the offense should really come into its own next year. There’s good reason to be optimistic, particularly if the problems with special teams play are solved.

Steve Yearta writes: Bill, I just don’t have the confidence yet to believe Georgia will maintain (much less improve on) a # 6 ranking very long into the season. Despite the namby-pamby home schedule we have for the most part being an advantage I see danger at Missouri, South Carolina, and always Jacksonville. Mark Richt teams are notorious for finding ways to lose and playing down to weaker opponents. The brilliance of his first few seasons now seems to be a flash in the pan. Am I just being a nattering nabob of negativism?

Love the Spiro Agnew reference, Steve. But, yes, I think you are being a bit too negative. Read Phillip Joiner’s letter above and see if that makes you fee a little better.

Bruce Eklund writes: Bill, By giving ‘x’ walk-on scholarships, does Georgia decrease by ‘x’ the current high school athletes that they can bring in on scholarship?

Watch those x’s Bruce, they make me think of algebra, and that still gives me a headache. But to answer your question, no. Those scholarships awarded to walk-ons must be renewed each year and that only happens if there’s enough room on the scholarship roster. As long as Georgia doesn’t sign more than the SEC 25-player signing cap between Dec. 1 and May 31 and the total number of scholarships doesn’t top the NCAA limit of 85, they’re OK.

JC Harris writes: Hi Bill, I was thinking the other day about what we as fans could do to show Richard Samuel how we appreciate him. Remember in the Herschel days when the stadium would rock and one side yell Herschel, the other Walker?  We haven’t done that for anyone in a long time. I think Richard deserves a shout out like that from the fans — maybe on Senior Day when the seniors are introduced before the game.  I think that would be awesome — and probably jack him up so much he’d run right out of the stadium! I obviously can’t “get the word out” or organize something like that, but you could help me do that (assuming you like the idea) since you are read by tons of fans.

I think that would be a great idea to show Samuel fans appreciate his team-first attitude, though I don’t see why it needs to wait until the end of the season. But short of the cheerleaders getting involved, I’m not sure how you get something like that started. Anyone else have an idea?

Bill Ramsey writes: Mr. King, I don’t often comment but enjoy reading your perspectives on UGA football. I wonder if you see any connections between Richt’s interesting comments about not pursuing certain recruits based on issues of character and the apparent determination of some of our most talented comits to miss all the safety-nets in place to save them, especially in the backfield: Crowell this year and Caleb King last. It comes to mind because King continues to live out a self-destructive script, having just been kicked off the Vikings for an assault arrest. It almost makes me a believer in destiny. Thanks.

Sometimes, coaches guess right as to which prospect is a good bet, sometimes they guess wrong. And sometimes they get lucky and dodge a bullet, as Richt appears to have done when Da’Rick Rogers reneged on his commitment to UGA and instead signed with Tennessee — which recently kicked him off the team after what ESPN.com says were multiple violations of the school’s substance-abuse policy for athletes. Losing Rogers, who last season led the SEC with 67 catches and was second in the conference with 1,040 receiving yards, is a big blow to Derek Dooley’s beleaguered program.

I’ll answer more Junkyard Mail next week. Do you have something you want to discuss concerning the upcoming football season or UGA athletics in general? Got a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? If so, send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

153 comments Add your comment

P-Man

August 25th, 2012
10:39 pm

First! Now I’ll go back and read the article…

P-Man

August 25th, 2012
10:47 pm

Good column. I was wondering about what the depth would be like after this year, but now I feel much better about the future.

Go Dawgs!

Brunswick Marshdawg

August 25th, 2012
10:53 pm

Brunswick Marshdawg

August 25th, 2012
10:54 pm

Yes!!! My highest finish ever!

Jim

August 25th, 2012
10:55 pm

Bill, my thoughts on special teams coaching are rather than having to open a spot on the staff to hire a special teams coach why not re-structure and add a special team’s coordinator position. That way there is someone who is responsible to the head coach for the special teams play. UGA uses several position coaches for different parts of special play by there should be a focal point for special teams who provides a game plan just as the O&D. If UGA took the lead on this concept I believe many, if not all, schools would follow suit. What do you think?

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faithfuldawg86

August 25th, 2012
11:09 pm

Answering a question you asked the other day about what can we do to enhance the game day experience…. I was watching some old videos and was struck anew by how much difference Knowshon Moreno made not only in the game and on the sidelines but in the overall energy of the game. Do we have anyone this year with that kind of infectious enthusiasm? David Pollack did the same in his day…

funny....

August 25th, 2012
11:09 pm

Bill,

Are we expecting any “big seasons” from any of the other fall teams?

Vance Duly

August 25th, 2012
11:19 pm

Someone had the idea during the off-season that Coach Richt should have Coach Grantham scheme against Coach Bobo’s offense, to pick apart his tendencies/habits, so that Bobo could improve his play-calling during games. I thought it was a brilliant idea, but I’ve never heard that they do anything like that.

Bobo’s insistence on stopping what works and his predictable calls in certain situations drive many of us nuts and could cost the team a victory this year. We never play offense with the foot on the gas pedal for 4 quarters – this is one reason that teams like Kentucky, Vandy and Tech often hang close, with a chance to beat us late in the game. Has Richt done anything in this past off-season to bring improvement to Bobo’s performance?! GO DAWGS!

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SSIgator

August 25th, 2012
11:46 pm

Marion Campbell -

“I seem to see a general lack of good play in “broken field situations,” [like] fake punts, fumble pickups, interceptions, and returns that seem to go for way too many yards. The ball carrier passes right by our players, who don’t seem to know what to do.”
___________________

Patience Marion, St. Markus Rectumus is almost finished his studies of “Cutting Edge Football” that he signed up for.

SSIgator

August 25th, 2012
11:48 pm

“make it look like something they’d never practiced”
__________________

Saw the pic of the UGA players at the pool. Is that how they practice football? If so, where was the ball?

SSIgator

August 25th, 2012
11:59 pm

DW writes:

“Hi Bill, I enjoy your column. I will not go into some drawn out pish posh about Richt’s philosophy on breaking team rules”
____________________

To Bill King -

Basically DW is saying is that he does not want to read and/or respond to an article you may write on this topic that he would consider to be either redundant or absurd.

SSIgator

August 26th, 2012
12:09 am

JC Harris -

“Remember in the Herschel days when the stadium would rock and one side yell Herschel, the other Walker?”
___________________

Yeah, but it is not nearly as easy to buy a player a new Trans-Am these days.

SSIgator

August 26th, 2012
12:17 am

David Rosenberg -

“I think Bobo displays a lack of understanding in one part of football”
____________________

How so? Like, why are there laces on the ball?

SSIgator

August 26th, 2012
12:21 am

Bill Ramsey -

“Richt’s interesting comments about not pursuing certain recruits based on issues of character”
________________

Is this a new policy that he is adopting for the coming years or just lip service?

Top Row Dawg

August 26th, 2012
1:25 am

I think Bobo and the offense gets a bum rap. I mean we gained the most yards in the history of the program last year (5719). We threw for more TD’s than ever in the history of the program (37). We did this all with the total absence of a running game. Those who are critical should just be aware of these stats.

While it may be true we lost to 4 teams that finished in the top ten, there’s probably a good reason those teams were ranked there (They were good). Had we made the FG against Michigan State, we would have finished in top ten ourselves. Walsh just had a miserable season yet still managed to end his career as the top scorer in the history of the SEC.

Aaron Murray is somewhat on pace to be the all time leader in TD passes at least for the SEC if not the NCAA provided he stays next year too. His 59 TD passes is only 19 from being #1 in the history of the program(David Green 72). I’m looking for Georgia to break 6000 yards of offense this year. We beat Florida , Auburn, Tennessee, and Georgia tech for the first time in the same season since I don’t know when.

This is just crazy, the hate placed on Bobo. Shame on you folks. I for one will not cuss out loud at Bobo this season…. at least until Murray throws one of those crazy pick 6’s. Gawd those are frustrating.

Top Row Dawg

August 26th, 2012
1:27 am

13 away from #1.

7576DAWG

August 26th, 2012
3:39 am

I think the reason we have not heard anything about Rambo and Ogletree is because they definitely will miss the first two games . Whether they miss a third and fourth game will all depend on them. If they work hard and show they are team players and they have no further problems then two will be all they miss.

Dawg for Life

August 26th, 2012
4:52 am

SSIgator, why don’t you go back into the swamp and catch something diseased. You have nothing better to do than come on this blog and try to talk crap to UGA fans. Your team will do good to win 5 games this year. It’s not our fault you suck, so go the hell away, you’re annoying and take away from legitimate posts of real fans.

Just Sayin

August 26th, 2012
6:25 am

@SSLIZARD (@11:48)
actually football practice had just ended and the team was starting their 10 mile swim. UGa only does this 3 times a week as cross training….thus no football, but they do wear 10 pound ankle weights. P.S. Kinda looks like the “swamp” is drying up recently doesn’t it?

mgdawg

August 26th, 2012
7:24 am

As far as bobo being predictable, there was a time last year that I told the guys I watch games with to watch the first down play and what was called. It was almost always a running play, I would put it at 95 percent of the time. Last year to me UGA was much better passing the ball then running the ball, but virtually every first down was a run that gained nothing, or lost yardage a lot of times. I told many of my friends to further this point, I would much rather have 3rd and long then third and one because there was no way UGA could run for one yard when they needed, they had a much better chance to throw for 10 yards. I blame a lot of this on the line and lack of fullback, that was southerland’s job when he was there.

Sunny Cloisters

August 26th, 2012
7:26 am

UGA mandates that the penalty for athletes who are caught using illegal drugs is to be suspended for a minimum of 10% of the games for their sport. The regular season for football is 12 games. 10% of 12 games equals 1.2 games. When Richt suspends a player for one game, that’s only 8.3%, not 10%. Assuming that UGA plays in a post-season bowl game, it’s only 7.7%.

So how does Marvelous Mark explain that away?

I know it’s UGA, where mathematical skills are extremely limited, but even Richt, who’s not very bright, should be able to handle a calculator.

SSI

August 26th, 2012
7:27 am

You may be the best writer of all things GEORGIA I’ve read in many, many decades of reading the “Ly’n Atlanta Newspaper”. And that includes Jesse Outlar and Harry Mehre…and Furman Bisher.

CHDawg

August 26th, 2012
7:50 am

Bill, one thing writers and fans don’t seem to appreciate enough is team chemistry–the skills and leadership of the bunch of young men on the team. Imo, it is really the most important determinant for any season. Coaches are vital for all of their roles, but when it comes down to it, the players are what really matters. This year’s Dawgs look very different to me; they have gelled, they are more mature, more motivated, and they are a “hungrier” team. Anything can happen in any game, and injuries and breaks may make a difference, but I look for great things from the ‘12 Dawgs! I would look hard at this key factor. Thinking about the Gators in ‘08, or the Tide in ‘09, the players sort of willed their way to the NC. Go Dawgs.

JB

August 26th, 2012
8:27 am

I don’t like to give SC credit for much of anything but I think waaay too much has been made of how we let them score on that fake punt, last season. Sometimes the other team just makes a great play call. To my mind, that’s what happened on that play and it is far more a reflection of the call than how we reacted to it.

HBTD!!!

The rev al

August 26th, 2012
9:11 am

Bobo is a tremendous liability to this team. Unfortunately, Richt has the same blind loyalty to him that he did to Willie Martinez. Long after it was obvious that Ga’s defense (in spite of having some tremendous talent), was a liability in games Richt continued to defend him. Bobo’s offense is predictable but worse reflects horrible play calling at times. Bobo was solely responsible for the Michigan State loss. That last series of plays (with a lead), Bonehead Bobo called three straight up the middle runs even though M State had been totally shutting down Ga’s run game. Conversely Murray and the passing game had demonstrated success. MS shut down the three runs which lost yardage and it cost ga the game. Inexcusable and mindnumbingly stupid play calling in a big game. I predict Bobo will continue to be a liability and will cost ga a couple of critical games this year.

LHarding Dawg

August 26th, 2012
9:39 am

I have a big problem in thinking three plays cost us the MS game. If I remember correctly, the defense did not have a great 4th. quarter.

Ted Striker

August 26th, 2012
9:49 am

I like the Richard Samuel idea. He’s a DGD.

SSIgator

August 26th, 2012
10:20 am

Dawg for Life -

“legitimate posts of real fans”
______________________

So, a “real fan” is one that agrees with you? Too funny.

BKbroila

August 26th, 2012
10:25 am

Enter your comments here

@rev al

August 26th, 2012
10:27 am

Rev Al, You should learn a little more about making the other team use timeouts and running clock.To pass in that situation would’ve been very unwise.Georgia was playing to its strength, the defense. Unfortunately Mich State future NFL QB made some big plays. Still had a W if Walsh hits his FG’s.

Top Row Dawg

August 26th, 2012
10:46 am

Russell Hall

August 26th, 2012
10:49 am

saban

August 26th, 2012
10:54 am

Richt has pool parties…… Bama has hard nosed practices that win championships…….

ole yeller

August 26th, 2012
11:12 am

Bill,
When you read my blog is looks the same. Don’t worry about the O-line, worry about Murray and Bobo. If they don’t start fast with the talent we have, I don’t think Coach “R” will be patient. Things will happen fast, and you could see Mason. UGA has to do it this year because it may be a while before we have this load of talent aqain.

RxDawg

August 26th, 2012
11:15 am

I really enjoyed that breakdown of the future of the program. I’ve silently thought a little bit about it, but that’s the first time I’ve seen it spelled out like that. Bravo to that commentor.

I too would love to see the fans do something extra special for Richard Samuel. I’d really like to see this get off the ground somehow.

7576DAWG

August 26th, 2012
11:17 am

saban
“All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy.”

loyal dawg

August 26th, 2012
11:28 am

Hey, Saban. Go to the Bama board. One practice at the pool does not win nor lose a championship. Coaches can do whatever they want to do in order to improve THEIR team. Coach Richt is good for UGA

RxDawg

August 26th, 2012
11:49 am

“I think Bobo and the offense gets a bum rap. I mean we gained the most yards in the history of the program last year (5719). We threw for more TD’s than ever in the history of the program (37). We did this all with the total absence of a running game. Those who are critical should just be aware of these stats. ”

Very well said Top Dawg. I too think Bobo has become more of a scapegoat then a true problem.

1971DAWG

August 26th, 2012
12:07 pm

RxDawg, you might want to check the offensive stats against the 4 teams UGA lost to last year. You can defend Bobo all you want, but when you run a 170 lb. running back up the gut on 3rd down every other series, then your O.C. is either dumb, or he is being told what play to run. I think in UGA’s case it is Dumb&Dumber. Richt&Bobo

michael meatheringham

August 26th, 2012
12:12 pm

…and to carry that thought one step further Rx Dawg, I can think of at least four entirely DIFFERENT ways to get the tailback into, say the slant hole on the right, that to the uneducated ( gasp! On this blog?) might appear to be the same play. But who am I to argue with the experts?

Great article, by the way, on Jarvis Jones by Marc Weiszer in today’s Athens Banner Herald that bears reading.

Coarch Ric

August 26th, 2012
12:22 pm

Lordy me… Our moral standards are just so lofty here in Athens that it’s tough on my thuggies.

Not your typical Jacket

August 26th, 2012
12:49 pm

@Coarch Ric.
Maybe we should stay off Uga blogs until we can beat them.

Old Dog Class of 80

August 26th, 2012
12:57 pm

“Walsh just had a miserable season ”

And Coach Richt let him keep missing FGs and losing games. Just like he keeps Murray in the game even after his turnovers.

Old Dog Class of 80

August 26th, 2012
12:58 pm

“I think Bobo and the offense gets a bum rap. I mean we gained the most yards in the history of the program last year (5719). We threw for more TD’s than ever in the history of the program (37). We did this all with the total absence of a running game. Those who are critical should just be aware of these stats. ”

And how many points did the offense GIVE UP, with turnovers and pick-sixes?

Yellow Fuzz

August 26th, 2012
1:02 pm

Let me save the dog nation some time and dissappointment

ALWAYS take where georgia is ranked in the preseason bowls and add 12 to it and you will see where they will finish up at the end of the season.

Example:
2012 # 6 + 12 = 18 + Music City win + top 5 recruiting class =
2013 # 5 + 12 = 17 + Papa Johns win + top 5 recruiting class =
2014 # 4 + 12 = 16 + Outback loss + top 10 recruiting class =
2015 # 12 + 12 = 24 + Shreveport win + top 5 recruiting class =
same ole same ole, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc!

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(((((((((((((((YellowFuzz))))))))))))))))