What does a Georgia fan want to see against Kentucky?

Tood Gurley should have a big day against a young Kentucky team. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Tood Gurley should have a big day against a young Kentucky team. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

There’ve been a lot of SEC schedule change-ups in recent years (and more are coming) and the Dawgs frequently have played the Kentucky Wildcats late in the season, but this year is a throwback to days of old: It doesn’t get much more traditional than an October Saturday night in Lexington.

After the big letdown in Columbia, Mark Richt’s team is looking to get back on track and, on paper, Kentucky looks like the perfect opponent to help the Dogs do just that. The Wildcats have been hit hard by injuries, play a lot of true freshmen and looked absolutely awful last week against Arkansas.

You’d figure Georgia would have no trouble covering the spread, which is more than 27 points.

But two concerns lurk in the back of Georgia fans’ minds: This is the SEC and as Todd Grantham reminded us this week, “on any given Saturday, anybody can beat you. … Any time you play on the road in this league is going to be a battle.”

Throw in the fact that Kentucky led South Carolina 17-7 at halftime and Grantham’s defense has gotten off to a slow start this season, even against lesser opponents, and you have the elements of another underwhelming first half by the Dawgs.

I’d be shocked if the outcome of the game was still in question in the fourth quarter, but what would really please me would be for Georgia to come out taking care of business from the very beginning, especially on defense. And, of course, the Dawgs’ offense doing what they should be able to do pretty easily against the Wildcats. If at least one half of Gurshall doesn’t have another 100-yard game, I’ll be surprised. And Aaron Murray ought to finally take that career touchdown pass record, too.

I’ll take any SEC win, but the last time the Dawgs were favored by more than 20 points on the road was 2004, ironically at Kentucky. Georgia won that game 62-17 in an effort that saw Richt emptying the bench.

Parker Welch, I’m hoping I get to see you play some this week!

Now, let’s get to some Junkyard Mail. …

Sammy Tribble writes: Whew, the 2013 schedule looks quite a bit tougher for my Dawgs. But at least it’s not Alabama we’ll be facing from the SEC West next year, and seeing Zach Mettenberger play Between the Hedges should be cool. But what’s with Georgia having to go to Auburn two years in a row? And a home schedule without either Auburn or Georgia Tech? Bill, when’s the last time that happened? I’d say Georgia season ticket holders are getting shortchanged, wouldn’t you?

Zach Mettenberger should get a return to Sanford Stadium in 2013. (Associated Press)

Zach Mettenberger should get a return to Sanford Stadium in 2013. (Associated Press)

Well, in a pure football sense, swapping a home game against LSU for Auburn is an even swap for UGA ticket holders, but that, of course, ignores the fact that Georgia-Auburn is a special rivalry. But the conference says it needed three teams to make repeat visits in order to set up the proper rotation between SEC East and SEC West teams from 2014 on, and Georgia was one of the ones that got stuck. So much for all those Georgia-gets-special-treatment conspiracy theories. And 2013 will be the first season since 1957 that Georgia hasn’t had a home game against either Auburn or the Yellow Jackets. There’d been speculation that Tech might be agreeable to switching things up and playing in Athens two years in a row in order to get out of having to play road games against Virginia Tech, Clemson and Georgia all in the same season, but with the uncertainty about the 2014 SEC schedule still looming, that now looks unlikely.

J Lucas writes: If Georgia doesn’t finish strong and compete for the SEC, should Georgia look for a different coach? Or do you think Richt will eventually “finish the drill” and get a national championship for the Dawgs? It’s so frustrating because he is such amazing person and coach but the Dawgs can’t keep going this route of winning 10,11, and even 12 games and think that’s enough. Hate to sound greedy, but like I said before we are in the SEC, we have had the talent. What is wrong with Georgia?

It’s hard to say what’s wrong other than a fairly consistent failure in recent years for the Dawgs to play their best against big-time opponents, but calling a program a failure simply because it doesn’t win a national championship is setting the bar so high that you’re bound to be disappointed. And, frankly, getting rid of a coach who wins 10 games a year doesn’t seem very likely. Where Greg McGarity will have to make a tough decision is if Richt’s teams start performing in the eight- to nine-win range. Next season, with a much tougher schedule and quite a few defensive players likely to leave for the NFL, I think the expectations will be relaxed somewhat. But beyond that, yes, a breakthrough season would work wonders for the program’s long-term stability.

Johnathan Tatman writes: Does UGA have a chance of taking the SEC East again this year? How would the rest of the season for Florida and South Carolina have to play out for those two teams to be eliminated? If we are able to make it to the SEC championship, what are our chance of holding a current Bama or Mississippi State team?

If Florida beats South Carolina and Georgia beats Florida and wins out in the conference, Georgia would be the SEC East winner. How would this year’s team match up against Alabama? Well, if they get that far, the outlook would probably be better than it seems at this juncture. But you’d expect the Crimson Tide to be favored. And if it’s not Bama representing the West, I think LSU is a much more likely division winner than the Maroon Bulldogs.

John writes: Bill: I have to hand it to the South Carolina. Those people did a great job of getting the crowd into the game. Even in big games, the crowds at Sanford Stadium do not seem to get as pumped up as South Carolina was. One reason may be the canned music. Every time the Gamecocks were set to kickoff, the stadium was blasting the song “Sandstorm,” and that really got that crowd going. I think Georgia could learn something from South Carolina about trying to get the fans more involved in the game.

I think you’re right, John. The atmosphere at Sanford Stadium definitely could use some tweaking.

Ron Roberts writes: Where the HELL is Richard Samuel? Recalling the way he ran rough-shod over the Florida Gator defense late last year had me wondering — particularly when it was evident (and that was pretty early in the game) why he wasn’t dispatched to give extra blocking?  It’s THAT kind of “in-game” adjustment we seem to be ill-equipped to make.  So where is he?  Why was it painstakingly obvious to everyone else that we needed to lose a wideout (that Murray had little-to-no time to get to anyhow) to bolster our backfield blocking?

Samuel simply has been beaten out by other players. He’s pretty much out of the tailback rotation now, it seems, and the Georgia coaches have been pleased with how Merritt Hall is playing at fullback. As Richt put it: “He is a very tough kid, very sharp and he makes very few missed assignments.” And Quayvon Hicks is getting playing time blocking in goal-line situations. At this point, it doesn’t look like Samuel is going to see the field a lot, but there’s still half a season to go so that could change.

Should Aaron Murray be running the ball more? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Should Aaron Murray be running the ball more? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Ed writes: Hey Bill. I’m sitting here watching the replay of the Georgia-South Carolina game on ESPN3. It’s tough to watch, and this occurred to me while watching the first few plays. Why is Georgia not capitalizing on Murray’s running ability to make plays? He and [Connor] Shaw are mirror images of each other as far as their build and athletic ability are concerned, but Murray is a better passer. Spurrier does capitalizes on Shaw’s running ability, but Bobo neglects to do so with Murray. I think if he would reel off a few nice runs it would open our passing game up, too, with the opposing D having to spy the QB. I feel like we’re wasting a valuable talent that he has.

I have to disagree with you here, Ed. I don’t really want to see Murray running the ball a lot more than he has this season. Yes, he made some nice plays a couple of years ago when he tended to panic and take off running when his pass protection faltered, but Murray isn’t really built to be a running quarterback on a consistent basis. And he’s prone to fumble when he does take off. Plus, look who’s on the bench if he gets injured. Georgia really would prefer at this point not to have to take the redshirt off Hutson Mason, and Christian LeMay isn’t ready for prime time. Plus, the Dawgs have Gurshall to carry the ball. So, no, I don’t think Murray needs to be more of a part of the running game.

I’ll answer more Junkyard Mail next week. Do you have something you want to discuss concerning the current 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

164 comments Add your comment

P-Man

October 19th, 2012
11:17 am

P-Man

October 19th, 2012
11:23 am

Please, please, PLEASE don’t say that UGA is thinking of going to canned music! Nothing is better than to hear the college bands playing…

dean

October 19th, 2012
11:25 am

Absolute destruction of KY is what a dawg wants to see. Sorry KY fans. It’s not personal. It’s just business.

Stiffneck

October 19th, 2012
11:29 am

Need to power run the ball much more.

gomdawg

October 19th, 2012
11:30 am

SOME JUNKYARD DEFENSE GO DAWGS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
RUN BABY RUN AND LET MURRAY RUN ON THE OUTSIDE OPEN UP HIS SKILL HIS FRESHMAN YEAR HE RAN THE BALL LET HIM DO WHAT HE DOES BEST PLAY FOOTBALL

lol

October 19th, 2012
11:30 am

i want mark richt fire.

gomdawg

October 19th, 2012
11:34 am

BILL WHO CARE IF WE HAVE TO BURN A RED SHIRT YOU PLAY THE GAME TO WIN. WE WILL WORRY ABOUT NEXT YEAR NEXT YEAR

Duncan Hines has the best Brownie Mix

October 19th, 2012
11:45 am

Sit back watch my Dawgs,drink a few beers and eat some brownies.Oh,and hope they do not lose!

Vance Duly

October 19th, 2012
11:50 am

I want to see our defense shut the Wildcats down for 4 entire quarters. With a backup QB and Kentucky’s other problems, they should not score more than 7 – max. Also, I want to see Samuel get a few carries and for Morgan to miss NO extra points. I agree — I’d like to see Parker Welch play and have the chance to throw 4 or 5 times. I hate how Bobo shuts down our offense when we have big leads…. GO DAWGS!!!

Biggdawg33

October 19th, 2012
11:51 am

This is one UGA fan that would be as pumped as the Chicken fans if I could go to Sanford and see the Dawgs play. It just makes me sick that UGA fans can not get pumped up for a football game!

SSIgator

October 19th, 2012
12:03 pm

“Grantham’s defense has gotten off to a slow start this season”
_______________________

Giving up 35 unanswered points is not a “slow start” as you call it – That is called not even showing up, but then again, you have to defend your team.

NCDawg

October 19th, 2012
12:11 pm

Bill, I have disagree on the letting Aaron Murray run the ball question. Yes, he has fumbled a few times when he is scrambling but I really think that having a few designed runs in the repertoire would do wonders for loosening up defenses. Nobody prepares for him to run the ball. They don’t fear breaking containment on him either. Coach Bobo should roll the dice and really scare the crap out of some defensive coordinators by at least having a few designed runs and roll outs every game. The running QB that can throw the ball is the largest wildcard a DC has to worry about. How much game planning do they spend on stopping that 10-15 yard bootleg that moves the chains twice a game? Against UGA… none. Against SC… alot. That extra worry makes DE’s think twice about blowing containment. Turning Aaron loose against SC might have stunted their pass rush enough to move the ball effectively. Instead he will only take off when he is feeling heat and by that time he is just running to survive. You can’t play the game worrying about getting hurt. You play to win and when you have feet like Aaron Murray does why not use that weapon every once in a while to keep opposing defenses honest? I’d rather him go down with an injury using ALL of our weapons rather than chewing on another loss and playing the what if game.

DawgFanInBama

October 19th, 2012
12:14 pm

Holy crap Gom…Take the damn capslock off for ONCE when you post on here. It is quite annoying…

SSIgator

October 19th, 2012
12:15 pm

J Lucas writes: Or do you think Richt will eventually “finish the drill” and get a national championship for the Dawgs?
__________________

Sit back and enjoy that Kool-Aid J Lucas. St. Markus Rectumus is still studying “cutting edge” football so it is going to be awhile.

joe jenkins

October 19th, 2012
12:18 pm

I want us to beat kent so bad….that after the game the joker takes a swing at richt….I want to see big john jenkins swallow the qb whole….i want to see russ bite the uk mascot….I want to see tears coming out ofthe jokers eyes before halftime…I want to beat kent so bad…that after the game, the kent president will anounce the university will no longer play football
thanks!!!

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution [...]

SSIgator

October 19th, 2012
12:23 pm

Ed writes: Hey Bill. I’m sitting here watching the replay of the Georgia-South Carolina game on ESPN3. It’s tough to watch.
__________________

Wow, talk about a true masochist. Of course, playing the role of the sadist in that farce was Spurrier and the SC football team.

NCDawg

October 19th, 2012
12:24 pm

SSI Gator will you be man enough to come on these blogs and eat crow when the Dawgs end your Gators SEC hopes? I doubt it…

sogadog

October 19th, 2012
12:24 pm

What does a Georgia fan want to see against Kentucky?

Thats easy, Coaching!

Dawg Haus

October 19th, 2012
12:25 pm

I want what joe jenkins wants.

SSIgator

October 19th, 2012
12:40 pm

NCDawg -

Will be here win or lose, but the bigger question is can UGA finally beat UF two years in a row – which is something they have not been able to do since the 1980’s. To borrow your phrase – I doubt it . . .

PrimeTime

October 19th, 2012
12:43 pm

Dadgumit! I want to see Richard Samuel in the game too! He is the only TB worth his salt when it comes to blocking for pass protection.

7576DAWG

October 19th, 2012
12:51 pm

I would like to see a half time score of 28-0 Georgia. Then put in all of our Freshmen . Freshmen against Freshmen. Take Murray out and give LeMay and Bauta or the walk-on QB some playing time.I wouldn’t play Gurley and Marshall more than the first half either unless Georgia doesn’t have the game won by half time . You want them at full speed for the Florida game.
This would be a great opportunity to play Malcomb ans Samuels , Beard and Drew.

astrouga

October 19th, 2012
12:58 pm

SSIgator writes: Will be here win or lose…

__________________

BTW, since you haven’t figured it out yet — As far as I can tell, no one really cares. I haven’t seen a single useful comment or non-aggressive post from you yet. My guess is the gator fan base has booted you from all of their chat groups and this is the last place left for you. ;-) Just kidding. Seriously, why the hate? If you have particular reasons to post on a subject, fine. But keep it on subject just once if you can. If I thought you were going to answer in an appropriate tone, I’d ask for you thoughts on Muschamp and the gators. Specificaly about the weaknesses you see in them. Are you game for a meaningful post?

AirForce1

October 19th, 2012
12:58 pm

Yeah Mr. King…I wouldn’t have Murray scramble either or run just a couple of running plays…are you serious? This kid has wheels and is quick. Watch Murray over the years and to me it seems he does pass better while rolling out or mobile. The reason for his efficiencey in passing while rolling out is because in the past….Murray proved that defenses had to respect his running ability. While I am sure you never played the game…..players are taught and supposed to be coached to “Leave it all on the field.” That is one thing that Spurrier, Miles and Saban do…they leave it all on the field, NO DOUBT. Something UGA seems to of made a habit of is NOT using all of your weapons. You can have the best soldiers but if the Commanders do not give the proper orders then you are exposed on the battlefield.

7576DAWG

October 19th, 2012
1:02 pm

I agree that for the most part Murray should not run because he doesn’t have sense enough to get on the ground before a Linebacker makes hamburger out of him but in a few choice spots I think he could be very effective. When Georgia was first down on the South Carolina 3 yard line, a fake to the Tailback and Murray doing a naked bootleg out to his left side would have scored.

AirForce1

October 19th, 2012
1:06 pm

7576DAWG…you are correct, he does not seem to know when to slide. Just look at the beating Conner Shaw for SC has taken this year so far. But here gain, I give that kid props because he is tough and that toughness gets a lot respect from your team mates. But on the flip side…..how can the run blocking for UGA “appear” to be so superior to the pass blocking?

AirForce1

October 19th, 2012
1:08 pm

Why not keep one or two tight ends in to help with pass blocking since it obvious over the years that the tight end position at UGA has almost become null and void as a receiving threat?

AirForce1

October 19th, 2012
1:10 pm

NCDawag…well said above at 12:11 mark, my thoughts excatly if you read above.

THE Dixie Redcoat Band

October 19th, 2012
1:12 pm

PLZ don’t make UGA play Oregon..gessh. Keep reading that Le May not “ready”..is this code for…”he’s another bust”?

7576DAWG

October 19th, 2012
1:15 pm

AirForce1
Murray has done a lot better than last year but he still takes way too long in making a decision or what to do with the ball. Shaw at South Carolina and Bray at Tennessee get rid of the ball much faster than Murray. The Quarterback at Boise State and at Oklahoma State last year were very successful because they made very fast decisions one of Murray’s biggest flaws.

AirForce1

October 19th, 2012
1:18 pm

THE Dixie….how can a back up QB at UGA ever know if they are a bust if they don’t get ANY playing time? Once a starter at UGA…always a starter. Tough for any back up at UGA to get playing time unless the straters are hurt or here lately….SUSPENDED

AirForce1

October 19th, 2012
1:20 pm

7576….do you think the routes by the recievers at UGA take too long to develope? That could be a contributing factor to his release time…just curious?

David

October 19th, 2012
1:21 pm

56 points on offense by the third quarter.
A shutout on defense. That should get some pride back after the SCAR-ring game.

7576DAWG

October 19th, 2012
1:28 pm

AirForce1
That would help but something else that help a lot is if Murray could throw a screen pass to one of his back’s. Murray has a completion rate on screens to his running backs of probably less than 20%. There are a few things that could be used to slow down the defensive ends, which would give Murray a little more time.

AirForce1

October 19th, 2012
1:30 pm

7576 That is correct. Have not seen any successful screen passes. Well maybe we can beat up on 1-5 Kentucky. Florida is going to be tough…they have a running QB in Mr. Driskel that our D must game plan for.

Whiskey Breath

October 19th, 2012
1:31 pm

I don’t know about a GA fan, but this Bama fan just want’s Ga to show up like you usually do.
Act like they own the place and do the white trash thing you normally do.
.

'94 UGA Alumnus

October 19th, 2012
1:32 pm

Hey Bill,

You’re dead wrong about not wanting to run Murray. Murray is a true dual threat QB but for some reason we never let him run. We are missing out on a big weapon by not letting Murray run in my opinion.

7576DAWG

October 19th, 2012
1:34 pm

David
I EXPECT Grantham to shut down an offense nearly made up of only Freshmen. Shut down Florida’s offense and that would restore pride a lot more.

Lombardi

October 19th, 2012
1:39 pm

Better enjoy this season. Next year Murray and Bobo will be back with a MUCH tougher schedule.

Frankly

October 19th, 2012
1:40 pm

There is NOTHING I want to see against Kentucky. Until UGA beats a team with a worth some I have ZERO faith in this program. A 70-0 win over Kentucky wont matter one bit to me.

AirForce1

October 19th, 2012
1:41 pm

Yeah…no pride in baeting a team you should dominate and who is 1-5 KU. Beat a team that actually contends for championships and bowls, oh and ranked. Go Dawgs!

7576DAWG

October 19th, 2012
1:42 pm

I think that the reason Richt and Bobo turned Murray into a pocket passer when he ran for nearly 1000 yards his senior year in high school is because they don’t want him to get injured running the ball but more important I think Richt wants Georgia as close to an NFL team as possible so Richt can use it in recruiting. Georgia is now running a 3-4 defense which is the preferred defense in the NFL. A pocket passer is the preferred use of an NFL Quarterback which holds down on the starting Quarterback getting hurt.

AirForce1

October 19th, 2012
1:46 pm

The NFL sounds great….for now and probably future recruiting. But what about keeping intact a powerhouse program with some championships in UGA? I see your above point 7576

joe jenkins

October 19th, 2012
1:53 pm

I want to see us wear black jerseys and red pants….on the first play of the game i want to see us run mitchell on a reverse for a 90 yard td……I want the defnse to pitch a shut out!! If the defense allows a touchdown before halftime i want richt to punch grantham in the nose. If offense doesn’t score forty points…I want bobo to make the whole offense to jog back to athens….

Everything is still....

October 19th, 2012
1:54 pm

……in front of us this season.

obama SIN LADEN

October 19th, 2012
2:06 pm

A “w” . what else?

Ed

October 19th, 2012
2:26 pm

Don’t really care as long as we get a W. Beating up on weak teams is what we do, so getting up for this game and executing isn’t a big concern. I’m more concerned about what happens next week at the WLOCP – will we show up for that game? With this team, who knows.

7576DAWG

October 19th, 2012
2:29 pm

AirForce1
I think Richt should adjust to what best works for College Football. These are 17 to 22 year old kids. They don’t know anything compared to the NFL and should only be expected to get so far in being Pro ready. Now if the coach in college spends too much time on individual development then you will have a bunch of individuals ready for Pro ball but at the expense of your player playing as a team. The individuals have to be developed around the strengths and weaknesses of your TEAM. You don’t develop a bunch of individuals and expect the team to develop around them.
I just think that Richt expects too much if he thinks Georgia should emulate an NFL team. College coaches need to be flexible.

Fridawg

October 19th, 2012
2:33 pm

I want to see NO MAJOR INJURIES againt Kentucky.

I bet GT will let us have 2 home games in a row and solve the problem of AU/GT away in the same year.

Murray’s not a great runner, and when we do call those plays they seem to break down.

Lattimore isn’t starting against Florida. We can only hope FL is banged up next week after facing Carolina. Go Dawgs!